Policy Towards Afghanistan: The Policy of masterly inactivity

Lord Lawrence was cautious in dealing with the Afghanistan and Persia. On the death of Dost Mohammed, on June 9, 1863, Sher Ali, the third son and acknowledged heir of the Dost, was recognized as Amir of Afghanistan by Lawrence, and his son, Mohammed Ali, as heir apparent. But then there was a long civil war in Afghanistan in which two older sons of the Dost, Afzal and Azum, obtained possession of most of Afghanistan, and were partially recognized as de facto rulers by Lawrence, who at the same time refused to withdraw his recognition from Sher Ali. The latter soon won his way back to power, and in 1869 was able to notify Lawrence that he was once more in complete control. Lawrence’s policy had been ” that we will leave the Afghans to settle their own quarrels, and that we are willing to be on terms of amity and goodwill with the nation and with their rulers de facto,’‘ This is known as policy of masterly inactivity.

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