‘Afghanistan – Doomed to repeat the mistakes of past wars’ – William Dalrymple

Event Description

Renowned historian William Dalrymple is in conversation with Roddy Gow and the Asia Scotland Institute to discuss how foreign armies in Afghanistan have been doomed to repeat the mistakes of past wars.

William Dalrymple observed in a recent article Repeating the mistakes of past wars in Afghanistan, Harold Macmillan reportedly advised Alec Douglas-Home “My dear boy, as long as you don’t invade Afghanistan you’ll be absolutely fine.” The sage and simple advice from Macmillan has not been observed before and after his words.

As Dalrymple wrote, “Britain’s fourth Afghan war was to an extraordinary extent a replay of the first. The parallels between the two invasions were not just anecdotal, they were substantive. The same tribal rivalries and the same battles were fought out in the same places 160 years later under the guise of new flags, new ideologies and new political puppeteers. The same cities were garrisoned by troops speaking the same languages, and they were attacked again from the same high passes. In both cases, the invaders thought they could walk in, perform regime change, and be out in a couple of years. In both cases they were unable to prevent themselves getting sucked into a much wider conflict.”

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