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2nd Anglo-Afghan War (1878-81) and Fall of Barakzay Dynasty

After Dost Mohammad’s death in 1863 his third son Sher Ali took the charge. At the beginning, the family did had some bitter arguments but later on it was Sher Ali who decided to build ties with Russia. His decision provoked British hostility. He then welcomed a Russian mission to Kabul in 1878 but at the same time, rejecting a British mission. This evoked the memories of the British for his father offence in 1837.

2nd Anglo-Afghan War (1878-81)

In 1878 British army entered the Afghanistan through mountain passes and took Jalalabad & Kandhar before the end of the year. In May 1879 a treaty was agreed between the British and Yakub Khan, the son of Sher Ali. Under the treaty Yakub Khan had to accept a permanent British embassy in Kabul and secondly, all the Afghans Foreign affairs will be conducted by the British. It was being believed that the British did achieve what they wanted, but later events proved that such type of privileges in Afghanistan can be dangerous. In September the British ambassadors and staff were assassinated while moving to Kabul.

This disaster increased the tension between Britain and Afghanistan. The British military escalated their activities in Afghanistan and in result, Yakub Khan was exiled to India. After him British accepted Abdurrahman Khan, a rival grandson of Dost Mohammad, as the amir as he was also a popular choice of Afghan Tribes.

During the era of his Uncle, Sher Ali he spent 10 years in exile as he was in the losing side of the family during the war of succession. He was exiled to a Russian empire in Samarkand, where he learned the Russian method of administration, which helped him as an amir.

After the British accepted Abdurrahman as an amir in 1880 and also arranged an agreement to not to demand residence for any British envoy anywhere in Afghanistan. After this arrangement, British troops were extracted from Afghanistan in 1881 and Abdurrahman proved himself as an excellent amir.

Abdurrahman Khan and his Successors (1880-1933)

Abdurrahman set certain strict rules during his regime; he was more dedicated in introducing the technology and arranging investment from developed countries. He set some outlines which his successors followed after him.

In 1901 he passed away and his son Habibullah Khan took the throne. During World War I, he maintained the objective policy and right after it, he demanded an international recognition of Afghanistan as an independent nation. Britain once again tried to intervene in Afghans affairs but by that time, Habbibullah was already assassinated in 1919 and his son Amanullah Khan had to deal with the crises.

The war only remained for a month and then a treaty was signed by which British accepted Afghanistan’s independence as a nation. After that Amanullah started to improve ties with the European lines but civil war broke in 1929 and he was forced into exile.

After him, his cousin Nadir Khan restored the order but he was assassinated in 1933 and. Zahir Shah, the 19 year old and only surviving son of Nadir Shah, succeeded his father.

Zahir Shah and Daud Khan (1933-1978)

In his regime of 49 years he promoted Afghan interest very skilfully; in World War II again Afghan adopted a neutral policy so that he could get benefit from the major player of both sides. Both the USA & USSR build highways and hospitals in a mood of super power competition.

Daud Khan, a cousin and brother-in-law of Zahid Khan, was elected as the prime minister in 1953 but he resigned in 1963 when tension began to rise between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Following his departure ,Zahir Shah made a major constitutional reform.

Elections were held in 1965 and in 1969. At first the system was working fine but later on friction started to rise between the king and the parliament in result of which in 1973 Daud Khan returned to power with Military support. Zahir Shah, who was the last member of Barakazy Dynasty, goes into exile in Europe.

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