"[B]y the time the last American combat soldier departs, at the end of next year, Afghanistan will have been at war for thirty-five years. It was Christmas Eve, 1979, when the first of eighty thousand troops from the Soviet Union swept across the border, ostensibly on a brief mission to stabilize a restive neighbor. Since then, war has never died out: the Soviets retreated, in 1989, ushering in an epoch of civil war that helped to bring the Taliban to power, in 1996. And then, in 2001, came the Americans. Entire generations of Afghans—not to mention journalists, diplomats, and aid workers—have come and gone."
Robert Nickels’ Afghanistan: A History