On Afghanistan's Plains: The Story of Britain's Afghan Wars
Britain's military involvement in Afghanistan is a contentious subject, yet it is often forgotten that the current conflict is in fact the fourth in a string of such wars dating back more than 170 years. Aiming to protect British India from the expanding Russian empire, the British fought a series of conflicts on Afghan territory between 1838-1919. The Anglo-Afghan wars of the 19th and early 20th Centuries were ill-conceived and led to some of the worst military disasters ever sustained by British forces in this part of the world, with poor strategy in the First Afghan War resulting in the annihilation of 16,000 soldiers and civilians in a single week. In his new book, Jules Stewart explores the potential danger of replaying Britain’s military catastrophes and considers what can be learned from revisiting the story of these earlier Afghan wars.
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Abdur Rahman advance Afghanistan Akbar Khan Amanullah army army’s artillery attack Auckland Ayub Khan Bala Hissar battle Bengal Bombay brigade Britain British Government British India British troops Burnes Burnes’s Calcutta camp followers campaign cantonment Cavagnari cavalry column command country’s defend dispatched Dost Mohammed Dost Mohammed’s Durand Durand Line Ellenborough Elphinstone emir emir’s enemy envoy fighting force garrison general’s Ghazni Government’s governor guns hand Herat hills hostilities Ibid Indus infantry invasion Jalalabad Kabul Kandahar Kaye Keane Khan’s Khyber Pass Kurram later London Lord Lytton Macnaghten Maiwand Masson miles military mission Nott Nott’s Palmerston Pashtun Persian Peshawar political Pollock position Pottinger Punjab Ranjit Singh regiments retreat Rifles Roberts Roberts’s rode Roos-Keppel ruler Russian Sale Sale’s Second Afghan War sent sepoys Shah Sherpur Shuja siege Sikh Simla soldiers Third Afghan War throne took treaty tribal tribes tribesmen viceroy victory Yakub Khan Yar Mohammed