History 1960s Coursework

The idea of Russian influence in this region (the only neighbouring territory with easy access to Britain's Indian empire) inevitably rings alarm bells in London. The British immediately break off negotiations and are ordered to leave Kabul.

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He uses the rebuff as a pretext for an invasion of Afghanistan, in 1838, with the intention of restoring a ruler from the Durrani dynasty (Shah Shuja, on the throne from 1803 to 1809) who has shown himself to be more malleable.

This is the first of three occasions on which the British attempt to impose their political will on Afghanistan. In December 1838 a British army is assembled in India for an Afghan campaign.

In January 1842 the British garrison of some 4500 troops withdraws from Kabul, leaving Shah Shuja to his fate (he is soon assassinated).

Most of the retreating British and Indian soldiers are also killed during their attempt to regain the safety of India.

Since the time of Peter the Great, in the early 18th century, Russia has been interested in developing a direct trading link with India.

This means the need for a friendly or puppet regime in Afghanistan. While discussions are under way, a Russian envoy also arrives and is received by the amir.Ahmad Shah Durrani, as he is now called, has learnt from Nadir Shah the profession of conquest.He applies his skills with great success over the next twenty-five years.Their leader, Ahmad Khan Abdali, enters Kandahar and is elected king of the Afghans in a tribal assembly.He takes the title Durr-i-Durran ('pearl among pearls') and changes the name of his tribe to the Durrani.The region of Afghanistan has for much of history been part of the Persian empire.From time to time it has been linked with the northern plains of India, as under the Kushan dynasty of the 2nd century AD.Ahmad Shah wins from his people the title Baba (meaning approximately 'father of the nation').The throne in Afghanistan remains with Ahmad Shah's tribe, though much disputed between his descendants, until they are ousted from Kabul in 1818.A British army recaptures Kabul during the summer of 1842, more as a gesture of defiance than as a matter of practical policy - for the decision is subsequently taken to restore Dost Mohammed to his throne.He returns from India in 1843 and rules peacefully, without further British interference, for another twenty years.


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