The Third Anglo-Afghan War 1919

A.) The Situation Preceding the War

In 1919 HABIBULLAH KHAN, Emir of Afghanistan, was assassinated; under him Britain by and large had controlled Afghanistan's foreign affairs. He was succeeded by his son AMANULLAH KHAN; he resented British influence and declared the JIHAD (Holy War) against Britain. His motives include the Masacre of Amritsar (1919) and the desire to regain territories lost to Britain in the 1890es (NORTH WEST FRONTIER PROVINCE).
With Britain's old competitor Russia paralyzed through a revolution, this was an opportunity for Britain to establish a stronger hold on Afghanistan, strategically still of vital importance for British India.

B.) The Cource of Events

The war began in May 1919 with the invasion of a small Afghan force onto British-Indian territory. British Indian forces responded by launching a massive invasion of Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass. Amanullah Khan requested an armistice on May 31st; the PEACE OF RAWALPINDI was signed on August 8th 1919; it was amended in 1921.
The British-Indian forces, in total c. 50,000 strong, lost 1,751 casualties, including 500 who died from cholera.

C.) Legacy

As Afghanistan also signed a treaty of friendship with the RSFSR (1919), the war had established Afghanistan as an independent, neutral nation. Britain ended the payment of subsidies to Afghanistan; the latter cultivated diplomatic relations with the USSR as a counterweight to Britain's military presence nearby.

Events Afghanistan 1800-1999, from Armed Conflict Events Data
The Third Afghan War 1919, an introduction, by Paul Hinson
Third Afghan War 1919, from

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 7th 2002, last revised on November 17th 2004

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