As Nato forces leave and Isis gains ground, Afghanistan continues to fascinate, inspire and dismay the West. We ignore it at our peril

The retiring Afghan President who, for all his faults, has defended freedom and democracy

A truly splendid work of erudition, storytelling and humanity

Two new histories of separate conflicts in Afghanistan show that both the Victorians and a young Churchill struggled at the North-Western Frontier

The US army’s “catch and release programme” in Afghanistan puts allied troops in grave danger and is destabalising in the long term.

The West has turned to former Afghani drug traffickers to hunt insurgents. But these “covert armies” are producing unpredictable warlords as powerful as the ones they are tracking down.

The British official who fixed the frontier that now divides Afghanistan and Pakistan unwittingly unleashed a century of war

Official voices are unwilling to claim victory, but Nato forces in southern Afghanistan are defeating the Taliban

A new National Theatre play avoids cliché to portray US involvement in Afghanistan