Armchair Traveler: Why Did the U.S. Invade Afghanistan?

US Soldiers in Afghanistan

If you’re a reader of my Nepal series, you may remember The Drunk Welshman, back in Pokhara, telling me about his theory that the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in order to control the global heroin industry.

While it’s generally a good idea to take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt (especially those told to you by a drunkard in a foreign country), it’s also a good idea to not immediately discount them, just because they don’t square up with your own background knowledge. If traveling teaches us anything, it’s that ALL of us, no matter where we’re from, have woefully inadequate, incomplete, and utterly skewed educations. (See: Fake News in Former Yugoslavia)

Last weekend, I decided to investigate the Welshman’s claim. In doing so, I fell down a bit of a YouTube hole, and learned some really interesting things about modern Afghanistan. Below are three videos that shed some light on the situation in this country. Don’t take them as complete, unbiased texts, but maybe use them to think about your preconceptions about this country and the foreign involvement there. I found them fascinating. I hope you do too.

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10 Reasons Trekking to Annapurna Base Camp Needs to Be on Your Travel Bucket List

Prayer flags fluttering in front of snow-capped peaks? Huge glacial rivers carving out immense valleys in the mountains? A journey you take with your own two feet, where you can disconnect from technology and the stresses of everyday life?

Sounds good, right?

Those are just a few of the reasons you should go trekking to Annapurna Base Camp. Still need convincing? We’ve got 10 more great reasons below the break!

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11 Books That Will Kickstart Your Wanderlust

Before I ever left home, I’d left home a thousands times in the pages of the books I loved. I grew up as a bookish kid, who wolfed down words faster than food. Still today, after I’ve been to more than 20 countries, books have this wonderful ability to take me to new places — even when I’m nowhere more exotic than a comfy armchair in my own home.

Here are 11 of my favorite books to kickstart your wanderlust:
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Sweden’s Apathetic Refugee Children

The next day, a doctor inserted a feeding tube through Georgi’s nostril. “He showed no resistance,” Soslan said. “Nothing.” Georgi was given a diagnosis of uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, an illness that is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees. The patients have no underlying physical or neurological disease, but they seem to have lost the will to live. The Swedish refer to them as de apatiska, the apathetic. “I think it is a form of protection, this coma they are in,” Hultcrantz said. “They are like Snow White. They just fall away from the world.”

—From: “The Apathetic” by Rachel Aviv

I read this article in The New Yorker over my morning coffee, and it blew me away so much I had to share. One of those stories that seems so fantastical it can’t possibly be true. But it is — and it’s not new, either.

I don’t have much to add, but you should read the article. It’s incredibly interesting.