The Causes of the First Anglo-Afghan War
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Afghanistan is a land where war seems to last forever. The goal of this article is to show how the first intervention of western power in Afghanistan started. The main conflict in Central Asia in the 19th century was a long-term struggle between Russia and the British Empire over the influence in this part of the world, usually called, “The Great Game.” Russia started to march towards Khanates such as Bokhara or Khiva and strengthened its influence in Persia. Concerns about a Russian advance and the security of the Indian western border grew in London and British India at the same time. Afghanistan experienced a long and bloody fight of succession between two branches of the Durrani tribe, Sadozais and Barakzais, in the beginning of the 19th century. The Barakzais won this civil war and Dost Mohammad Khan became the Emir of Kabul. Nevertheless, Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the Sikh state, took control of Peshawar during the civil war and this created the chasm of interests between Afghanistan and the Sikh state, which could never be overcome. The article tries to explain how these aspects merged and led to the war, and attempts to clarify who holds the dominant part of responsibility in the final decision that resulted in a start of the armed conflict.
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