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Lunes 20 de marzo de 2017, 12:00h

Conferencia Jules Stewart.- Afghanistan: Myths and realities

Aula 225, Edificio Aulario, Upna

Jules Stewart: "I have spent most of my professional life in journalism, reporting from more than 30 countries. I began my career as a university lecturer in Spanish language and literature in the US, before moving to Madrid, where I spent 20 years as a journalist. After joining Reuters, I re-located to London in 1987, now my permanent home. I have been working as a freelance reporter since 1994 and have published ten books to date, mostly historical works on Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier. My latest book, however, departs from that subject: Gotham Rising: New York in the 1930s. I have also published a biography of Prince Albert, a history of Madrid and a history of the Pundits (the Indian agents who spied for the British). My next book is a literary guide to Madrid for travellers." 

Taken in its historical context, the thirteen-year presence of NATO combat troops in Afghanistan amounts to scarcely a footnote to thousands of years of foreign military intervention. From the Achaemenid imperial army in the 6th century B.C. to the combined might of 48 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) nations which deployed to that country in 2003, Afghanistan has endured nearly 2,500 years of invaders.
There is a common misconception which runs like this: Afghanistan is a country that cannot be conquered and every foreign power that has attempted to hold it has come to grief. The first assertion is false, the second is true.  
Once the great Russian and British empires of the 19th century converged almost on the borders of Afghanistan, armed intervention became all but inevitable. This was ‘denying it to others’ taken to its logical extreme. It fell to uninformed and arrogant British politicians in London and Delhi to order a pre-emptive strike, on the basis of evidence comparable to the ‘dodgy dossier’ that took the US and Britain into Iraq in 2003, and with the aim of achieving a ‘regime change’ desired by almost no one.