Former Kabul correspondent Alan Johnston reflects on decades of turmoil in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion in 1979 to the intervention by the West.
Hard Lessons from Afghanistan
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Alan hears from ordinary Afghans who witnessed events, Russian soldiers who served in Afghanistan and the American intelligence experts who served in the field, as well as some of the British commanders who have since faced fierce fighting in the Hindu Kush.
Programme 2: Into the morass
While America looked away, al-Qaeda took root in the wreckage of Taleban-held Afghanistan. But when the Twin Towers collapsed into the streets of Manhattan, confrontation became inevitable.
British and American soldiers now find themselves fighting in the same dust where the Russians failed.
Hopes that Afghanistan could easily shed its traumatic past are in ruins, and there is now talk of the conflict lasting for decades to come. What chance is there for peace in the country?
First broadcast 12 November 2008