Changing borders of Afghanistan 1808-1893

  • Map of Asia from 1808

    Map of Asia from 1808
  • First diplomatic contact between Afghanistan and Britain

    First diplomatic contact between Afghanistan and Britain
    Mountstuart Elphinstone, on behalf of the East India Company & Britain, travels to Afghanistan to create a treaty with Shah Shuja Sadozy. The Afghans agree to prevent the French and Persians from entering their country-- so that they cannot invade British India. The treaty
  • Period: to

    Points of Contact and Significant Events

  • Shah Shuja overthrown

    Shah Shuja overthrown
    Shortly after the conclusion of the treaty, Shah Shuja was overthrown by Mahmud Shah Durrani.
  • Map of Russian Empire in 1820

    Map of Russian Empire in 1820
  • Treaty of Torkmanchai

    Treaty of Torkmanchai
    Russia and Persia sign a treaty limited the borders of Persia, ceding much terrain to the Russia Empire. The British fear that this is part of a larger plan to invade India.
  • Dost Mohammad declares war on Sikh-held Peshawar

    Wanting to reclaim Peshawar as part of the kingdom of Kabul, Mohammad declares war on the Sikhs in the region. Meanwhile, Shah Shuja promises Peshawar to the Sikhs, in exchange for safe passage of himself and an army through Punjab.
  • Alexander Burnes meets Dost Mohammad

    Alexander Burnes meets Dost Mohammad
    Alexander Burnes undertakes a mission to Cabool, but fails to make an official alliance between Britain and Afghanistan. Dost Mohammad wants to retake Peshawar from the Sikhs, but Lord Auckland, Governor of India, refuses support. Suspecting that Mohammad will next turn to the Russian for support, Auckland plans to restore Shah Shuja to the throne of Kabul, as a puppet of the British.
  • Mohammah Shah invades Herat

    Mohammah Shah invades Herat
    Persia, with support from Russia, lays seige to Herat, The British attempt to align themselves with the rulers of Herat, Kabul and Kandarhar, prompting Alexander Burnes' mission. The mission fails.
  • Start of the First Anglo-Afghan War

  • British army enters Kandahar

    British army enters Kandahar
    A British army of nearly 21,000, led by Sir John Keane, takes Kandahar province, having marched from Punjab.
  • The British capture fort city of Ghazni

    The British capture the fort, which overlooks the NWFP, with information from an Afghan informer. They lose 200 men, while the Afghans lose over 500.
  • Shah Shuja restored to throne

    The British invaded Afghanistan to counteract Persia's invasion of Herat, with Russian support. They deposed Dost Mohammad, and installed Shah Shuja as a puppet of the British.
  • East India Company secures Kabul

    East India Company secures Kabul
    The East India Company army of 16,000 secures the city of Kabul, but is unable to control the surrounding countryside.
  • British retreat becomes massacre

    Nearly out of supplies, the British armies fall back under attack from the Afghans. This tactical retreat quickly becomes an attempt to escape, the entire force is massacred.
  • Map of Central Asia, 1849

    Map of Central Asia, 1849
  • Dost Mohammad conquers Balkh

    Dost Mohammad conquers Balkh, making it part of the kingdom of Kabul.
  • Dost Mohammad captures Kandahar

    Dost Mohammad adds Kandahar to the kingdom of Kabul.
  • Treaty of Peshawar

    The British resume diplomatic relations with Afghanistan with this treaty, declaring the two countries allies and "enemies of each others' enemies." The was a response to Russia advances into Central Asia.
  • Anglo-Persian War begins

    The Persian army captures Herat, and the British declared war on Persia. The British decided not to send an army through Afghanistan because of the heavy losses suffered during the First Anglo-Afghan War.
  • Peace treaty ends Anglo-Persian War

    Peace treaty ends Anglo-Persian War
    A peace settlement between Persia and the British is negotiated-- Persia agrees to no longer interfer in Afghanistan. The Persia army withdraws from Herat.
  • Map of Central Asia, 1860

    Map of Central Asia, 1860
  • Dost Mohammad brings Herat under direct rule

    Dost Mohammad brings Herat under direct rule from Kabul. He dies several days after its capure. His son Sher Ali Khan, becomes amir.
  • Russian map of India Empire, 1875

    Russian map of India Empire, 1875
  • Russian diplomatic mission to Kabul

    The Russians send an uninvited diplomatic mission to Sher Ali. He tries to refuse them, knowing it will agitate the British.
  • British demand to send a mission to Kabul

    In response to the uninvited Russian mission, the British insist upon sending their own to Kabul. Sher Ali tells them that a British mission will not be accepted, and will be stopped if they attempt it.
  • British mission stopped at Khyber Pass

    British mission stopped at Khyber Pass
    The British mission to Kabul is stopped by Afghan forces at the Khyber Pass. This triggers the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
  • Start of Second Anglo-Afghan War

    Start of Second Anglo-Afghan War
    The British invade Afghanistan at three points with 40,000 men. Sher Ali attempts to make it to Russia to plead with Tsar Alexander II for military support, but fails. He retreats to Balkh, where he died in 1879. The British install his cousin, Abdur Rahman Khan, as the new emir.
  • Treaty of Gandamak

    Treaty of Gandamak
    Sher Ali's son, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, negotiates the Treaty of Gandamak with the British, which reliquishes control of Afghanistan's foreign affairs to the British. The British also gain control of the Khyber Pass.
  • Uprising in Kabul

    Locals who disagree with the terms of the Treaty of Gandamak revolt in the streets of Kabul, killing Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari, a British administrator and his guards. The British army, which had been withdrawing from Afghanistan, launches another attack on Kabul.
  • British forces march on Kabul

    British forces march on Kabul
    The British march on Kabul to quell the uprising, but are beseiged by December in the Sherpur Cantonment. When news of a British relief force reached the Afghans, they stormed the cantonment. Nearly all were killed. Mohammad Yaqub abdicates.
  • Governor of Herat defeats British

    Governor of Herat defeats British
    Ayub Khan, governor of Herat and son of Sher Ali, revolted and defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Maiwand besieged Kandahar.
  • Abdur Rahman Khan officially recognized as amir

    Abdur Rahman Khan officially recognized as amir
    The British officially recognize Abdur Rahman as amir of Afghanistan, so long as he keeps the country's foreign policy in line with that of the British.
  • British defeat Ayub Khan

    The British defeat the Herat governor's uprising in the Battle of Kandahar.
  • Russian and Afghan skirmish at Panjdeh

    Russian and Afghan skirmish at Panjdeh
    Russian troops clashed with Afghan troops along a point on the Oxus. Abdur Rahman was at the Rawalpini conference with Lord Dufferin, Viceroy of India. The Amir convinced the Viceroy that it was merely a frontier scuffle, and not the beginning of a war. To prevent further conflict, Russia gained the oasis city of Merv. This area was never again part of Afghanistan.
  • Russian map of "Afghanistan Frontiers" 1893

    Russian map of "Afghanistan Frontiers" 1893
  • Mortimer Durand meets with Abdur Rahman

    Mortimer Durand meets with Abdur Rahman
    Mortimer Durand, on behalf of the British, meets with Abdur Rahman to establish a clear boundary between Afghanistan and British India. They agree on the Durand Line Treaty, which carves out what will become the North West Frontier Province.
  • Map of Afghanistan in 1893 before Durand Line

    Map of Afghanistan in 1893 before Durand Line