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"Historians date the birth of contemporary Afghanistan back to the 1880s, when the country's borders were largely the result of Russian-British colonial commissions. The first emir, Abdur Rahman, theorised what was to become Afghan politics for almost a century.

At a time when comparisons between American misadventures in Afghanistan and the French presence in the Sahel are rife, this first thematic dossier offers a geopolitical overview of the situation in Afghanistan.

It reviews the history of external intervention in the country, suggests possible explanations for the West's failures there, and finally outlines the consequences of the US departure for the sub-region.

As a factual summary and review of the literature on these issues, I hope that this first dossier will structure and stimulate our substantive exchanges.