Have you ever wondered just what the heck is going on in Afghanistan? Why all the tribal warfare and the warlords? Why did the Soviets invade such a wasteland of a place? Why is the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan so porous, and so amenable to Islamists?
For me, the first time I ever really tried to figure out anything about the country was right after 9/11. Prior to that, other than knowing vaguely about the Soviet invasion and pull out, I didn't give the country any thought at all. Even after 9/11, the information I was able to find was essentially random facts presented out of context. Things like the tribal nature of the culture and the mess on the Pakistani border were presented as if floating in the ether, meant to be accepted as "truths", though it was never clear to me why these things were so, and what, if anything we should conclude from them.
Well, if you have wondered about some of these things too, and want to get a good survey of Afghani history and some cogent observations about why things are the way they are, head over the Scott Powell's blog and read Afghanistan: Highway of Conquest.