Afghanistan: one of the most isolated and barren landscapes on earth is a strange place for an empire or a superpower to invade. But for three of the greatest powers the world has seen, it became an unlikely target and an enduring obsession. The 19th century British invasions into Afghanistan, immortalised by Rudyard Kipling as ‘The Great Game’, ended in a huge loss of life, a British retreat and created a template for the perils of incursion in this mountainous country. In this two-part series Rory Stewart MP - author, journalist and former deputy governor during the coalition’s occupation of Iraq - travels to Afghanistan to uncover the fears, the paranoia and perceived threats that led three very different superpowers - Britain, Russia and the United States - into Afghanistan from the 19th century to the present day.


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