Afghani'd claim that Alexander the Great did not defeat Afghanistan or the Patans (Pukhtoon) people. Is this true or is it only a myth?

  • 7
    Unless present-day Afganistan has developed time travel, then they can't have been at war with Alexander. If memory serves, anything Alexander did WRT the people then living in present-day Afganistan would have been a side effect of his conquest of the Persian Empire. IOW, it's like me claiming that Muhammad Ali wasn't a great boxer 'cause he never beat me :-)
    – jamesqf
    Jan 23, 2017 at 18:32
  • 1
    Alexander the Great went to India because Afghanistan didn't offer him good war.
    – Santiago
    Jan 23, 2017 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


In Alexander the Great's time the region of Afghanistan was known as Bactria. Alexander overran this region but had trouble managing it. Nominal ownership remained that of the successors of Alexander's empire, eventually phasing into the Macedonian-based Seleucid Empire. During my time in Afghanistan, old architecture could still be seen dating back to Alexander's conquest.

There is a claim by Afghans that they were not defeated by Alexander because they maintained an insurgency during the foreign ownership. As with so many other foreign invaders to the region (including Genghis Khan and the USSR), the Afghans claim to have always resisted and outlasted the outsiders. In other words, "We were here before they came and we were still here after they left."

  • yeah, I also saw one or two of Alexander's fortifications when visiting Uzbekistan. Not much left of them, but impressive to see the scale of their building efforts.
    – jwenting
    Dec 17, 2018 at 6:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.