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In 1842, 16,500 British and Indian troops (and some civilians), which had invaded Afghanistan as a part of the Great Game in order to contest Russian moves to dominate Central and South Asia, began a retreat from Kabul, the Afghan capital, toward Jalalabad, Pakistan.
Only one Britisher, a doctor, survived, because the Afghans wanted someone to carry a message back to the British to let them know what had happened -- and what would happen again should they dare to repeat their attempt at conquest.
In 1989, after a 10-year war in which 1 million Afghans were slaughtered by the Soviets and another 5 million became refugees from one of the bloodiest occupations anywhere at any time, the Soviet Union withdrew in ignominious defeat.
Not even the great Ghengis Khan, who invaded the country in 1219, was successful in totally pacifying the Afghans. Although he was able to place an occupation force there, he did so only by killing approximately half the indigenous population and by salting the arable land. And even those draconian tactics did not result in a successful permanent occupation.
The Obama administration has pledged to keep American troops in Afghanistan through 2024.