Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880)

The British invasion resulted from British apprehension concerning Russian expansion into Central Asia in the 1860s and 1870s. British strategy, which would eventually become known as "The Great Game," was focused on keeping Russian influence out of Afghanistan, which could become Russia's stepping-stone to India.

In summer 1878, a Russian delegation called on the Emir of Afghanistan in the capital city, Kabul. Afghan border guards, probably by mistake, turned away a countering British mission. The British quickly declared war.

Thus, in November 1878,29,000 British troops moved from India into Afghanistan. British invaded Afghanistan and occupied the key cities of Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Khost.
With British forces occupying much of the country, Sher Ali's son and successor, Yaqub, signed the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879 to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country.

Relations with the Afghans began to sour, and in September a rebellion against the British broke out in Kabul.

In December 1879, Afghan and British forces fought in the hills outside of Kabul. The British retreated and the Afghan forces overtook Kabul. British gained ground again in Sherpur, winning easily against Afghan soldiers and retaking Kabul.

On 27 July 1880 a 1,500-man British-led force close to Kandahar was decimated near the town of Maiwand by a composite Afghan army and tribesmen who had over 10,000 troops and fighters.

British forces marched out and overcame the insurgent forces led by Ayub Khan. With Ayub Khan quelled, the war was officially over.

The Second Anglo-Afghan War ushered in a new ruler, Abdur Rahman, who would become known as the Iron Amir.
The Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880)

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