The New Silk Road: Can a U.S.-Backed Initiative Bring Peace and Prosperity to Afghanistan?

Photograph by Adam Ferguson for TIME

Breaking ground The mountains of Bamiyan province, site of an iron-ore mine to be built by an Indian consortium

Trucker Saleem Khan likes to think of himself as a modern version of the camel drivers who once traversed the central Asian plateau in trade caravans destined for the suqs of Arabia, the bazaars of China and the markets of India. For more than a millennium, Khan's Afghanistan was the linchpin of the Silk Road, a trading giant and a cultural crucible that cast its influence as far as Greece and Japan. Trade could make Afghanistan rise again, says Khan, thumping the bejeweled bumper of his modern beast of burden, a Mercedes flatbed loaded with cedar logs from the forests of...

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