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Posts Tagged ‘British-Afghan conflicts’


Amir Dost Mohammad Khan (1793-1863)
emir of Afghanistan

Amir Dost Mohammad Khan belonged to the Pashtun ethnic group and was the grandson of Hajii Jamal Khan who founded the Barakzai dynasty. Coming from a family of influence and power he was cut out to play a significant role in ruling the country. His elder brother Fatteh Khan was instrumental in restoring Mahmud Shah to the throne in 1809 and was duly assassinated by him in 1818. Such treachery made the king fall out with the rest of the tribe elders. After a bloody conflict Mahmud Shah was deprived of his power and his dominion was divided up among Fatteh Khans brothers. It was thus Dosti received Ghazni and in 1826 he added Kabul the richest of the Afghan provinces.
After many years of civil war, Dost Mohammad Khan came to power and ruled Afghanistan from 1826 to 1863. One thorn on his side was Maharaja Ranjit Singh the Sikh ruler of the Punjab. The proxy war between them was in the dethroned Sadozai prince Shuja Shah Durrani whose attempts to recover his kingdom was foiled by Amir Dost. The wily Sikh king however managed to annex
Peshawar. Subsequently much of his energy was taken up in recovering this strategic fort.
Rejecting Russia’s overtures he wanted to forge an alliance with Great Britain which was rejected and it forced him to reconsider the alliance with Russia. In 1839 Britain made war against him.

During the first Anglo-Afghan War, Dost Mohammad Khan surrendered himself to the British, and was sent to India to live as a hostage. After the Afghans, led by his son, Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan, defeated the British Army, Dost Mohammad Khan returned to Afghanistan and regained the throne. He then consolidated his power; he captured Kandahar in 1855, and Herat in 1863. A few days later after the capture of Herat, he died.
We have men and we have rocks in plenty, but we have nothing else.’ in his letter to John Lawrence.

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