Anglo Afghan War


Importance of Afghanistan for British Empire

  • Check the Russian military threat
  • British interest in Central Asia
  • Buffer state between Russia and British India

First Anglo  Afghan War(1839)

Immediate reason of First Anglo Afghan War was the  interfere of Britishers in the internal matter of Afghanistan. British replaced Afghanistan ruler Dost Muhammad with Shah Shuja with the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A Tripartite treaty was signed between Britishers, Sikhs and Shah Shuja in June 1838

  • British attacked Afghanistan in February 1839 and on August 7, 1839 Afghanistan fell into the hands of British Empire.
  • But on 2nd November 1841 Afghan forces again occupied Afghanistan from British forces and Shah Shuja.
  • On 11 December, 1841 Afghan and British signed a treaty according to which Dost Muhammad was restored and British agreed to evacuate Afghanistan. But this adventure of Lord Auckland proved fatal and British forces lost 16,000 soldiers in this battle. 
  • To avenge this humiliation British forces under the direction of Lord Ellenborough annexed Kabul in 1842 but this time Dost Mohammad was reinstated as the ruler of Afghanistan.

Second Anglo Afghan War(1878)

Immediate reason of Second Anglo Afghan War was the non acceptance of British mission sent by Lord Lytton to Afghan ruler Sher Ali.

British attacked Afghanistan in 1878 and in sometime most of Afghanistan was under British rule. To stop British convoy Mohammad Yakub Khan signed the “Treaty of Gandamak” with the Britishers.According to the treaty British maintained the right to keep a British resident in Kabul.

Aftermath of Second Anglo Afghan War(1878)

  • On September 3, 1879 British Resident Major Cavagnari was killed by the Afghan mob. Again war like situation prevailed between Afghan ruler and Britishers. Mohammad Yakub surrendered before British and was sent to jail.
  • Dost Mohammad’s grandson Abdur Rahman was instituted as the new ruler of Afghanistan. 
  • Abdur Rahman pledged to maintain foreign relations only with the Britishers. 

Third Anglo afghan War(1919)

  • After Russian Revolution of 1917 Afghanistan demanded full independence from Britishers.
  • Habibulllah son of Abdur Rahman was assassinated on 20th February 1919.
  • Habibullah’s son Amanullah declared war against Britishers n 6th may 1919.
  • War ended with a truce established between Afghan ruler and Britishers on 8th August 1919.
  • With this truce Afghan gained its independence from Britishers in foreign affairs and Durand Line was accepted as the official boundary between Afghanistan and British India.




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