This is the first article in a series on world history that will cover … ; to read more about this, click here.

It seems fitting that this journey around the world should begin with the country that—perhaps more than any other in the world—has so long resisted becoming one.

There are several peoples around the world who are struggling for the independence or diplomatic recognition of their countries but where, for geopolitical or ethnic reasons, one has not emerged yet. Afghanistan is not one of those places.

Afghanistan has a history, but it’s not the history of a country.

The 2019 Pocket World in Figures (published yearly by The Economist) doesn’t have an entry for Afghanistan. Indeed, Afghanistan has never had a comprehensive, nationwide census.