AFGHANISTAN: The Poor Goat

Like a tortoise shell on Asia's back, Afghanistan lies athwart the spiny Hindu Kush mountains, sloping northward to the Oxus River and Russia, eastward to the Khyber Pass. Perhaps no land has been so trodden upon by history and yet kept its independence. Darius, Alexander, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Babur all invaded it. In the 19th century the British Empire, following a northwesterly course, approached the Hindu Kush and southward-marching Russians. In the end, Britain and the Czars, fearful of what might happen if their armies met, agreed to keep Afghanistan as a buffer state.

Chafed Afghanistan's Amir Abdur Rahman: "This...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!