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Afghanistan's roller-coaster history

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There is a myth people in Afghanistan like to recount: Conquerors come and go, none of them stay for long.

This thought fills many people with pride — but also trepidation. They dream of a free Afghanistan that is no longer at the mercy of foreign powers.

On the other hand, how can this country thrive and flourish without help from outside? It is, after all, an arid landlocked country, rich in natural resources but lacking the technology and infrastructure to exploit them.

The first modern-day attempt at creating a stable and autonomous Afghanistan began 100 years ago in 1919. Back then, after three grueling but ultimately unsuccessful wars, the British colonial masters had to accept that they would never be more than a footnote in the nation's history, and granted independence to their former protectorate.

The inaugural ruler, King Amanullah Khan, wanted to open the country to foreign influence without allowing the outside world to impose any demands.

He envisioned following modernist trends across the Orient. Turkey's new secular leader, Kemal Atatürk, was his idol.

But he was also very much impressed by Germany's Weimar Republic, to........

© Deutsche Welle