About the author:  Robert Hormats is a managing director at Tiedemann Advisors and former U.S ambassador.

With the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan now complete, it may be useful to take a longer-term view. As someone who first visited the region over 40 years ago and who has been fascinated with it ever since, I’ve observed the complexities and contradictions of this multiethnic, multitribal society firsthand. 

In 1977, when Mohammed Daoud Khan was president of the newly established Afghan Republic, I had the opportunity to travel through what was then a very different Afghanistan. After a thrilling and often nerve-wracking drive from Islamabad, Pakistan, I visited a number of cities in eastern, and then southern and northern, Afghanistan—starting in Jalalabad and ending up in Kabul. And while a high level of discontent with the government was perceptible, it was nowhere near what it was soon to become. 

My main…

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