To mark ten years since the invasion of Afghanistan, key decision-makers reveal the inside story of how the West was drawn ever deeper into the Afghan war. John Ware charts the history of a decade of fighting and looks at when the conflict may end.
<p id="story_continues_1">Landlocked and mountainous, Afghanistan has suffered from such chronic instability and conflict during its modern history that its economy and infrastructure are in ruins, and many of its people are refugees.</p>
Since the fall of the Taliban administration in 2001, adherents of the hard-line Islamic movement have re-grouped.
It is now a resurgent force, particularly in the south and east, and the Afghan government has struggled to extend its authority beyond the capital and to forge national unity.
Its strategic position sandwiched between the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent along the ancient "Silk Route" means that Afghanistan has long been fought over - despite its rugged and forbidding terrain.