History of the War in Afghanistan, Volume 1

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The First Anglo-Afghan War began in early 1839 when the British undertook an invasion of Afghanistan from India with the aim of overthrowing the Afghan ruler, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan, and replacing him with the supposedly pro-British former ruler, Shah Shujaʻ. The British were at first successful. They installed Shah Shujaʻ as ruler in Jalalabad and forced Dost Mohammad to flee the country. But in 1841 Dost Mohammad returned to Afghanistan to lead an uprising against the invaders and Shah Shujaʻ. In one of the most disastrous defeats in British military history, in January 1842 an Anglo-Indian force of 4,500 men and thousands of followers was routed by Afghan tribesmen. The British then sent a larger force from India to exact retribution and to recover hostages, before finally withdrawing in October 1842. History of the War in Afghanistan is a two-volume study of the war, based on unpublished letters and journals by British political and military officers who served in the conflict. The author, Sir John William Kaye (1814-76), was a onetime officer in the army of the East India Company who resigned in 1841 to devote himself full time to the writing of military history. The book begins with a detailed analysis of the events of 1800-1837 that led up to the war and of the "Great Game of Central Asia"--the rivalry between Russia and Britain for influence in the region that spurred British intervention in Afghanistan. This is followed by detailed accounts of the major battles and military campaigns. Kaye joins other authors in concluding that the war was a disaster for Britain: "No failure so total and overwhelming as this is recorded in the page of history. No lesson so grand and impressive is to be found in all the annals of the world." Kaye also wrote a novel based on the war, Long Engagements: a Tale of the Affghan Rebellion (1846), and several other major historical works, including The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John Malcolm (1856) and the three-volume The History of the Sepoy War in India, 1857-8, published in 1864-76.

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Page 357 - The Governor-General deems it in this place necessary to revert to the siege of Herat, and the conduct of the Persian nation. The siege of that city has now been carried on by the Persian army for many months. The attack upon it was a most unjustifiable and cruel aggression, perpetrated and continued, notwithstanding the solemn and repeated remonstrances of the British...
Page 640 - Whereas certain differences which had arisen between the British Government and the Rajah of Lahore have been happily and amicably adjusted, and both parties being anxious to maintain the relations of perfect amity and concord, the following Articles of Treaty, which shall be binding on the heirs and successors of the two parties, have been concluded by Rajah Runjeet Singh on his own part, and by the agency of Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, Esquire, on the part of the British Government.
Page 319 - Suddozyes, to whatever territories lying on either bank of the River Indus- that may be possessed by the Maharajah — viz., Cashmere, including its limits...
Page 357 - M'Neill, Her Majesty's Envoy, that his Excellency has been compelled, by a refusal of his just demands, and by a systematic course of disrespect adopted towards him by the Persian Government, to quit the Court of the Shah, and to make a public declaration of the cessation of all intercourse between the two Governments. The necessity under which Great Britain is placed of regarding the present advance of the Persian arms into Afghanistan as an act of hostility towards herself, has also been officially...
Page 357 - ... to the Persian policy, with the same full knowledge of its opposition to the rights and interests of the British nation in India, and have been openly assisting in the operations against Herat...
Page 357 - Governor-general would yet indulge the hope that their heroism may enable them to maintain a successful defence, until succours shall reach them from British India. In the meantime, the ulterior designs of Persia, affecting the interests of the British government, have been, by a succession of events, more and more openly manifested. The Governor-general has recently ascertained, by an official despatch from Mr.
Page 640 - In the event of a violation of any of the preceding Articles, or of a departure from the rules of friendship on the part of either State, this Treaty shall be considered to be null and void.
Page 356 - After much time spent by Captain Burnes in fruitless negotiation at Caubul, it appeared that Dost Mahomed Khan, chiefly in consequence of his reliance upon Persian encouragement and assistance, persisted, as respected his misunderstanding with the Sikhs, in urging the most unreasonable pretensions...
Page 9 - Sketches, p. 30. gagements it was provided, that, " should an army of the French ' nation, actuated by design and deceit, attempt to settle with a ' view of establishing themselves on any of the Islands or shores
Page 599 - Now upon what do you found your assertion that there is a national feeling against us, such as that against the French in Algiers or the Russians in Circassia ? Solely, so far as I know, because the turbulent Douranees have risen in rebellion. From Mookoor to the Khybur Pass all is content and tranquillity, and wherever we Europeans go we are received with respect, and attention, and welcome.

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