This two-part series tells the history of two centuries of foreign intervention in Afghanistan. It looks at how history has forged the Afghanistan of today, and asks what is it about this place that has created repeated aggression and tragedy.
The story of foreign intervention in Afghanistan from the 19th century to the present day.
One of the most isolated and barren landscapes on the planet, Afghanistan is a strange place for an empire or superpower to invade. But for three of the greatest powers the world has seen, it became an unlikely target, an enduring obsession and an unwinnable war. Rory Stewart, a former charity worker in Kabul, reveals the history of foreign intervention in Afghanistan.
In episode one, Rory Stewart tells the story of British interventions in Afghanistan in the 19th century, when the British Empire became obsessed with the idea that their rival, Russia, was considering the invasion of Afghanistan as a staging post for an attack on British India. It was a period of mutual suspicion and paranoia that later became known as "The Great Game". Afghanistan was perceived by Victorian Britain, as it's believed to be today, to be an immediate threat to British national security.
Stewart tells the story of the decision-making that led to the first British invasion of Afghanistan, and the three Anglo-Afghan wars fought in this era.
Rory Stewart tells the story of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the twentieth century, and how it parallels with the American-led coalition intervention today.Quite contrary to popular understanding, the Soviets were reluctant invaders who agonised over the risks of intervention, but despite all these misgivings, they were sucked into Afghanistan.At first they thought it would take them a matter of months, but eight years later, when they departed, they had gained nothing but humiliation and horror.
Stewart meets the soldiers and generals on both sides, and he meets the CIA spies who covertly funded the Afghans to the tune of nine billion dollars. He investigates the bloody and tragic aftermath of this invasion - civil war, the rise of the Taliban, and the US-led invasion following the World Trade Centre attack.
Physicist and author Brian Greene, brings us a mind-blowing new exploration of space, time, and the very nature of reality.
Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.
A fresh perspective on the birth of civilisation in the Near and Middle East and its dynamic influence on the West.