Rise of Dost Mohammad Khan in Afghanistan

The Durrani Empire which was founded by Ahmad Shah Abdali ended in 1823 and Dost Mohammad Khan became the Emir of Afghanistan usurping the throne and occupying Kabul & Ghazani. But by that time Peshawar had gone into the hands of Sikhs.

Sikhs under the forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh occupied and Dost Mohammad’s forces, under the command of his son Mohammad Akbar Khan in 1836 defeated the Sikhs at Jamrud, yet could not retake Peshawar.

Dost Mohammed contacted Lord Auckland, the Governor General of British India and this was the first indication of British Intervention in Afghanistan.

Dost Mohammad Khan surrounded by the Sikhs and Persians had tried to win friendship from the British to win back Peshawar from Sikhs. However, British were aware and fearful of the Russian intervention in Persia. There was a fear among the British that Russia could attack India through Persia and Afghanistan. There was a series of 4 Russo-Persian wars in 1722-23, 1796, 1804, 1826-28 and all of them Russia was victorious. Persia had surrendered the territories around the Caspian Sea to Russia and Russia had a dominant position.

The Great Game

Afghanistan which was between the Russia and British India was a cradle of the Great Game, the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia.

  • The fear of Russian attack, dominant position of Russia made the British try to increase their interference in Afghanistan.

However, Dost Muhammad Khan wanted to take Peshawar Back from Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a friend of British. The culmination of the hotch potch was the Treaty of Lahore.

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