Much has been written about Afghanistan, a complex cultural space that different people see in different ways. But not all of their views are of equal value. Stereotypes do no-one any favours. Ella Maillart and Annemarie Schwatzenbach were two Swiss women writers who set off for Afghanistan in June 1939. Ella was a traveller who wrote, Annemarie a writer who travelled, but their books give a sense of the realities of Afghanistan, Nancy Dupree first visited more than twenty years later than the two Swiss, but stayed involved for decades in a variety of different ways. She accepted and coped with the fact that the country was changing and would change still further.