Second Anglo Afghan War 1878-80

Second Anglo Afghan War 1878-80

In the winter of 1878, the affairs of Afghanistan again forced themselves into notice. The First Anglo Afghan war had ended in 1842, in a humiliation for the British and this failure kept haunting them for many years.

  • The successive governments in Britain remain calm, but when Lord Disraeli became PM, he sent Lord Lytton to India to increase the influence in Afghanistan.

    On this side, under Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammed, Afghanistan once again became independent and Dost Mohammad Khan came back to power in 1843. Akbar Khan died in 1845.

    Treaty of Peshawar

    In 1855 Treaty of Peshawar between Dost Mohammad and British reopened the diplomatic relations. After a series of incidents, Russia established a fixed boundary between Afghanistan and its territories in 1873. But within a period of 5 years the rivalry turned back. This was because of an uninvited diplomatic mission sent by the Russians to Kabul. The ruler Sher Ali Khan, son of Dost Mohammad Khan wanted to stop them, but failed. The British too wanted to send a mission, but Sher Ali refused. A diplomatic mission was ordered by Lord Lytton, the viceroy of British India, and the Mission was turned back. This triggered the Second Anglo Afghan War.

    Treaty of Gandamak

    In the second Anglo Afghan war, much of Afghanistan was occupied by British. Sher Ali was defeated and he fled towards Turkistan. Sher Ali’s Son, Mohammad Yaqub Khan signed a treaty of Gandamak in May, 1879 to prevent British Invasion in rest of the country. However, he paid the price by relinquishing the Control of Afghan Foreign Relations to British. British Control was thus extended to much of the country. He also agreed to receive a British Resident at Kabul.

    The treaty of Gandamak was signed in May, 1879, but in the same year in September, the British Resident Major Cavagnari was murdered. This again triggered the war and Kabul was occupied. Yakub Khan surrendered and he was sent to Dehradun as a Prisoner.

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