The Info List - Second Anglo-Afghan War

 Emirate of Afghanistan

 British Empire

 United Kingdom  India

Commanders and leaders

Sher Ali Khan Ayub Khan

Samuel Browne Frederick Roberts Donald Stewart

Casualties and losses

5,000+ killed in major battles Total unknown[6] 1,850 killed in action or died of wounds 8,000 died of diseases[6]

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Second Anglo-Afghan War

Ali Masjid Peiwar Kotal Kam Dakka Kabul Charasiab Sherpur Ahmed Khel Second Charasiab Maiwand Kandahar

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The Second Anglo-Afghan War
Second Anglo-Afghan War
(Pashto: د افغان-انګرېز دويمه جګړه‎) was a military conflict fought between the British Raj
British Raj
and the Emirate of Afghanistan
Emirate of Afghanistan
from 1878 to 1880, when the latter was ruled by Sher Ali Khan
Sher Ali Khan
of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir
Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the second time British India invaded Afghanistan. The war ended after the British emerged victorious against various Afghan forces, and the Afghans agreed to let the British attain all of their geopolitical objectives from the Treaty of Gandamak. Most of the British and Indian soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan. The Afghan tribes were permitted to maintain internal rule and local customs but they had to cede control of the area's foreign relations to the British, who, in turn, guaranteed the area's freedom from foreign military domination as a buffer between the British Raj
British Raj
and the Russian Empire.[4][5]


1 War

1.1 Background 1.2 First phase 1.3 Treaty 1.4 Second phase

2 Timeline of battles

2.1 1878 2.2 1879 2.3 1880 2.4 1881

3 Order of battle 4 See also 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 External links

War[edit] Background[edit] After tension between Russia and Britain in Europe ended with the June 1878 Congress of Berlin, Russia turned its attention to Central Asia. That same summer, Russia sent an uninvited diplomatic mission to Kabul. Sher Ali Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, tried unsuccessfully to keep them out. Russian envoys arrived in Kabul
on 22 July 1878, and on 14 August, the British demanded that Sher Ali accept a British mission too.[7] The Amir not only refused to receive a British mission under Neville Bowles Chamberlain, but threatened to stop it if it were dispatched. Lord Lytton, the viceroy of India, ordered a diplomatic mission to set out for Kabul
in September 1878 but the mission was turned back as it approached the eastern entrance of the Khyber Pass, triggering the Second Anglo–Afghan War.[7] First phase[edit] A British force of about 50,000 fighting men, mostly Indians, was distributed into military columns which penetrated Afghanistan
at three different points. An alarmed Sher Ali attempted to appeal in person to the Russian Tsar for assistance, but unable to do so, he returned to Mazar-i-Sharif, where he died on 21 February 1879.[8]

Mohammad Yaqub Khan
Mohammad Yaqub Khan
with Britain's Sir Pierre Cavagnari on May 26, 1879, when the Treaty of Gandamak
Treaty of Gandamak
was signed, photograph by John Burke.

Treaty[edit] With British forces occupying much of the country, Sher Ali's son and successor, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, signed the Treaty of Gandamak
Treaty of Gandamak
in May 1879 to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country. According to this agreement and in return for an annual subsidy and vague assurances of assistance in case of foreign aggression, Yaqub relinquished control of Afghan foreign affairs to Britain. British representatives were installed in Kabul
and other locations, British control was extended to the Khyber and Michni passes, and Afghanistan ceded various North-West Frontier Province areas and Quetta
to Britain. The British Army then withdrew.[9] However, on 3 September 1879 an uprising in Kabul
led to the slaughter of Sir Louis Cavagnari, the British representative, along with his guards, and staff – provoking the next phase of the Second Afghan War.[10] Second phase[edit]

Titled "Dignity & Impudence" for stereotypic personality traits of elephants and mules respectively, this photograph by John Burke shows an elephant and mule battery during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The mule team would have hauled supplies or towed the small field gun, while the elephants towed the larger gun. The gun appears to be an Rifled Muzzle Loader
Rifled Muzzle Loader
(RML) 7-pounder mountain gun. The men in the photograph are a mix of British soldiers and Indian sepoys. The group kneeling around the smaller, muzzle-loaded field gun is preparing to fire after the soldier at front left has used the ramrod to jam the charge down into the gun. The gun at right, towed by elephants, appears to be an Rifled breech loader
Rifled breech loader
(RBL) 40-pounder Armstrong

Major General Sir Frederick Roberts led the Kabul Field Force over the Shutargardan Pass into central Afghanistan, defeated the Afghan Army at Charasiab on 6 October 1879, and occupied Kabul
two days later.[11] Ghazi Mohammad Jan Khan Wardak, and a force of 10,000 Afghans, staged an uprising and attacked British forces near Kabul
in the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment in December 1879. Despite besieging the British garrison there, he failed to maintain the Siege of Sherpur, instead shifting focus to Roberts' force, and this resulted in the collapse of this rebellion. Yaqub Khan, suspected of complicity in the massacre of Cavagnari and his staff, was obliged to abdicate. The British considered a number of possible political settlements, including partitioning Afghanistan
between multiple rulers or placing Yaqub's brother Ayub Khan on the throne, but ultimately decided to install his cousin Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan
as emir instead.[12][13] Ayub Khan, who had been serving as governor of Herat, rose in revolt, defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Maiwand
Battle of Maiwand
in July 1880 and besieged Kandahar. Roberts then led the main British force from Kabul
and decisively defeated Ayub Khan on 1 September at the Battle of Kandahar, bringing his rebellion to an end.[12] Abdur Rahman had confirmed the Treaty of Gandamak, leaving the British in control of the territories ceded by Yaqub Khan and ensuring British control of Afghanistan's foreign policy in exchange for protection and a subsidy.[14] Abandoning the provocative policy of maintaining a British resident in Kabul, but having achieved all their other objectives, the British withdrew.[12] Timeline of battles[edit] There were several decisive actions in the Second Anglo–Afghan War, from 1878 to 1880. Here are the battles and actions in chronological order. An asterisk (*) indicates a clasp was awarded for that particular battle with the Afghanistan

British team at the site of the Battle of Ali Masjid

British Royal Horse Artillery
Royal Horse Artillery
withdrawing at the Battle of Maiwand

Afghan victors of the Battle of Maiwand


Battle of Ali Masjid* (British victory) Battle of Peiwar Kotal* (British victory)


Action at Takht-i-Pul (British victory) Action at Matun (British victory) Battle of Khushk-i-Nakud (British victory) Battle of Fatehabad (British victory) Battle of Kam Dakka (Afghan victory) Battle of Charasiab* (British victory)[15] Battle of Shajui Battle of Karez Mir Battle of Takht-i-Shah Battle of Asmai Heights* (Afghan victory) Siege of Sherpur* (British victory)


Battle of Ahmed Khel* (British victory) Battle of Arzu Second Battle of Charasiab Battle of Maiwand
Battle of Maiwand
(Afghan victory) Battle of Deh Koja (Afghan Victory) Battle of Kandahar* (British victory)


Kandahar (and Afghanistan) Evacuation

Order of battle[edit]

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Durban Maidan of Sherpur Cantonment in 1879.

Bengal Sapper and Miners Bastion in Sherpur cantonment.

Highlanders of Amir Yaqub at Gandamak

Drummer James Roddick of the Gordon Highlanders defends a wounded officer during British attack at Gundi Mulla Sahibdad during the Battle of Kandahar

45th Rattray's Sikhs
45th Rattray's Sikhs
guard Afghan prisoners during an advance through the Khyber Pass

Peshawar Valley
Peshawar Valley
Field Force Lieutenant General Sir Samuel Browne

Cavalry Brigade Brigadier General C. J. S. Gough

10th Hussars
10th Hussars
(2 Sqdns) 11th Probyn's Lancers Guides Cavalry

Royal Artillery First Infantry Brigade Brigadier General H. T. Macpherson

4th Battalion Rifle Brigade 20th Brownlow's Punjabis 4th Gurkha Rifles

Second Infantry Brigade Brigadier General J. A. Tytler

1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment Queen's Own Corps of Guides (infantry component) 51st Sikhs

Third Infantry Brigade Brigadier General F. Appleyard

81st North Lancashire Regiment 14th Sikhs 27th Punjabis

Fourth Infantry Brigade Brigadier General W. Browne

51st King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 6th Jat Light Infantry 45th Sikhs

Kurram Valley
Kurram Valley
Field Force Major General Roberts

Cavalry Brigade Brigadier General Hugh Gough

10th Hussars
10th Hussars
(1 sqdn) 12th Cavalry 25th Cavalry

Royal Artillery Colonel A. H. Lindsay First Infantry Brigade Brigadier General A. H. Cobbe

2nd Battalion, 8th Foot 23rd Pioneers 29th Punjabis 58th Vaughan's Rifles

Second Infantry Brigade Brigadier General J. B. Thelwell

72nd Seaforth Highlanders 21st Punjabis 56th Rifles 5th Gurkha Rifles

Kandahar Field Force

First Division Lieutenant General Donald Stewart

Cavalry Brigade Brigadier General Walter Fane

15th Hussars 8th Cavalry 19th Fane's Lancers

Royal Artillery Brigadier General C. G. Arbuthnot First Infantry Brigade Brigadier General R. Barter

2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifles 15th Sikhs 25th Punjabis

Second Infantry Brigade Brigadier General W. Hughes

59th East Lancashire Regiment 12th Kelat-i-Ghilzai Regiment 1st Gurkha Rifles 3rd Gurkha Rifles

2nd Division Major General M A Biddulph

Cavalry Brigade Brigadier General C. H. Palliser

21st Daly's Horse 22nd Sam Browne's Horse 35th Scinde Horse

Artillery Colonel Le Mesurier First Infantry Brigade Brigadier General R. Lacy

70th East Surrey Regiment 19th Punjabis 127th Baluchis

Second Infantry Brigade Brigadier General Nuttall

26th Punjabis 32nd Pioneers 55th Coke's Rifles 129th Baluchis

See also[edit]

has original text related to this article: Treaty of Gandamak

First Anglo-Afghan War Third Anglo-Afghan War European influence in Afghanistan Military history of Afghanistan Tournament of Shadows


^ Schmidt, Karl J. (1995). An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History. M.E. Sharpe. p. 74. ISBN 978-1563243332.  ^ Adamec, L.W.; Norris, J.A. (2010). "Anglo-Afghan Wars". Encyclopædia Iranica.  ^ Norris, J.A. (2010). "Anglo-Afghan Relations". Encyclopædia Iranica.  ^ a b Barfield, Thomas (2010). Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. Princeton University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-691-14568-6. Retrieved 22 August 2010.  ^ a b Posturee, Bad (2002). Understanding Holocausts: How, Why and When They Occur. iUniverse. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-595-23838-5. Retrieved 22 August 2010.  ^ a b Robson, Brian. (2007). The Road to Kabul: The Second Afghan War 1878–1881. Stroud: Spellmount. p. 299. ISBN 978-1-86227-416-7.  ^ a b Barthorp, Michael (2002) [1982]. Afghan Wars and the North-West Frontier 1839–1947. London: Cassell. pp. 66–67. ISBN 0-304-36294-8.  ^ Hanna, Henry Bathurst (1904). The Second Afghan War, 1878-79-80: Its Causes, Its Conduct and Its Consequences. 2. Archibald Constable & Co. pp. 150–155.  ^ Barthorp, Michael (2002) [1982]. Afghan Wars and the North-West Frontier 1839–1947. London: Cassell. p. 71. ISBN 0-304-36294-8.  ^ Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (1998) [1977]. North-West Frontier 1837–1947. London: Osprey Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 0-85045-275-9.  ^ Barthorp, Michael (2002) [1982]. Afghan Wars and the North-West Frontier 1839–1947. London: Cassell. pp. 77–79. ISBN 0-304-36294-8.  ^ a b c Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (1998) [1977]. North-West Frontier 1837–1947. London: Osprey Publishing. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-85045-275-9.  ^ Barthorp, Michael (2002) [1982]. Afghan Wars and the North-West Frontier 1839–1947. London: Cassell. pp. 81–85. ISBN 0-304-36294-8.  ^ Barthorp, Michael (2002) [1982]. Afghan Wars and the North-West Frontier 1839–1947. London: Cassell. pp. 85–90. ISBN 0-304-36294-8.  ^ Alikuzai, Hamid Wahed (2013). A Concise History of Afghanistan
in 25 Volumes, Volume 14. Trafford Publishing. p. 594. ISBN 1490714413. 


Barthorp, Michael. 2002. Afghan Wars and the North-West Frontier 1839–1947. Cassell. London. ISBN 0-304-36294-8 Gathorne-Hardy, Gathorne (1878). The Afghan War. Publications of the National Union. Westminster: National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations.  Walker, Phillip Francis. Afghanistan: A Short Account of Afghanistan, Its History, and Our Dealings with It. London: Griffith and Farran (1881). Wilkinson-Latham, Robert. 1977. North-West Frontier 1837–1947. Osprey Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85045-275-9

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Second Anglo-Afghan War
Second Anglo-Afghan War
1878–1880 Second Anglo-Afghan War
Second Anglo-Afghan War
Chronology British Battles Online Afghan Calendar with Historical dates Frederick Roberts and the long road to Kandahar Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library William Simpson's diary and album of sketches and watercolors covering the early part of the campaign, and done for the Illustrated London News Afghanistan
& the British Raj : The Second Afghan War & its Aftermath From the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia blog entries for Afghanistan
& the British Raj
British Raj
that cover the subject chronologically with images through reference works in our collection.

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Anglo-Afghan Wars


British Empire

William Hay Macnaghten John Keane Willoughby Cotton George Pollock William Elphinstone Sam Browne Frederick Roberts Donald Stewart Arthur Barrett Reginald Dyer


Amir Dost Mohammad Khan Wazir Akbar Khan Amir Sher Ali Khan Ghazi Ayub Khan Amanullah Khan Mohammed Nadir Shah


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Third War

Third Anglo-Afghan War


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