Lead: The history of British imperial interference in 19th Century Afghanistan is replete with useless wars, miscues, mismanagement, ineptitude and disastrous choices. Afghanistan’s attitude toward the outside world is in many ways shaped by this record of incompetence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Brits viewed Afghanistan only from the perspective of the jewel in the Crown, the Indian sub-continent. The region northwest of present-day Pakistan was not an essential player in central Asia save as it was perceived as a buffer state deflecting threats, mostly Russian, to the imperial enterprise in India. Britain treated Afghanistan as a trip wire and its policy there reflected its relative unimportance.

 

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