Royal Horse Artillery fleeing Afghan attack in the battle of Maiwand, Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1880.
From the British perspective, Russian plans for territorial expansion toward the south threatened to destroy the ``Pearl of the Empire,'' India. When Russian troops set out to subdue khanate after khanate, British observers expressed concern that Afghanistan might become the base for a Russian advance into India. The British therefore initiated the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838-1842), in which Britain tried to impose a puppet regime in Afghanistan. Both sides suffered heavy losses, and the attempt to annex Afghanistan to British India failed. Instead, rival Afghan tribes join forces to fight the British, and Dost Mohammad returned to the throne in 1843.
Dost Muhammad expanded Afghan territory by adding Balkh and Baldakhshan in 1855 and Heart in 1863. Nevertheless, Russia continued to advance steadily toward Afghanistan, formally annexing Tashkent in 1865 and Samarkand in 1868. Although ...read more