Afghanistan timeline 1896-1900

From Academic Kids

Timeline of Afghan history


Negotiations are going on between the Indian government and the amir tending to the appointment of a joint commission for determining the last 100 miles of Indo-Afghan frontier yet unsettled, from Lundi Kotal in the Khyber to Nawar Kotal on the Kunar River.

Nasrullah Khan is received in a most cordial manner on his return from his visit to England. There are great rejoicings for two or three weeks, but then he gradually drops out of notice. His brother, Habibullah Khan, on the other hand, is immensely popular with everybody, and is in high favour with the amir.

Early 1896

In the fighting in Kafiristan, the Afghans have captured twenty-five forts at an admitted loss of 1,500 killed and wounded. In some of the valleys, however, the Kafirs still hold out, although many of the chiefs submit to the amir at the beginning of February. Soon after hostilities are resumed on the southern and eastern sides of Kafiristan, and nearly all the fertile portions are taken by the Afghan forces. In May the troops are ordered into the more inaccessible northwestern part, so as to complete the subjugation of the country. The amir treats the conquered people with leniency. Orders are issued forbidding slave traffic in Kafirs, for it was alleged that after the victories in the Bashgal Valley at the beginning of the year certain captives were reduced to an atrocious form of slavery. The amir also gives orders to the Afghan officers to treat the Kafirs kindly, and not seek to convert them by force to Islam.

Summer 1896

The amir sends a force of militia to occupy the Mittai Valley in Bajaur, where the clans previously received a demand for taxes. The Khan of Nawagai, who rendered excellent service in the Chitral campaign, is alarmed and complains to the government of India. The amir, after some hesitation, acknowledges his obligations under the Durand Treaty, but at the close of the year the Afghan outpost still remains at Mittai.

October 1896

On the Pamir frontier the surrender of the Darwaz district of Bakhura to the Afghans up to the Amu Darya, as agreed upon between Russia and Britain, is completed. It is stated that Russia is making movements in the direction of Herat, and intends not only to extend the railway from Merv into the Kushk Valley, but also to build a line from Charjui along the Oxus to Karki, close to the Afghan frontier.

December 1896

A slight collision takes place between the forces of the Khan of Nawagai, whose territory was threatened by the Afghans at Mittai, and the Khan of Pashat, and the Afghan force moves down the Kunar River about fifteen miles from Asmar to protect their communications with Jalalabad, but nothing more serious happens, and the final solution of the frontier question is in a fair way of settlement. The arrangements for the demarcation of the boundary between British Baluchistan and Persia from Koh-i-Malik Siah on the north, to a point near Jalk, are concluded, and pillars are to be set up in the desert marking the frontier.


The amir's realm is quiet during the year. Some suspicions that Abdor Rahman is acting unfaithfully towards the British are entirely dispelled by his loyal attitude in refusing to aid the rebel tribesmen engaged in the frontier war, or even to sympathize with them.

January 1897

The Kamdesh Kafirs are being rapidly disarmed. The headmen of the villages in the Bashgal Valley send a deputation to the Sipah Salar (commander-in-chief) requesting him to keep back the force that is to be sent to collect arms in every village, promising themselves to collect the knives, guns, and other weapons, and to hand them over to the Afghans.

May 1897

The amir withdraws the officials and irregular soldiers who occupied for a year the Mittai Valley in contravention of the Durand agreement.

September 6 and 7, 1897

Nearly 150 shops in the Kabul city bazaar are destroyed by fire, and several lives are lost.


The state of Afghanistan is peaceful and quiet throughout the year, with few exceptions. The amir suffers much inconvenience and loss through the frontier disturbances, and to steer a middle course between the fanatical forces about him and his foreign obligations is difficult. He is accused of harbouring Afridi refugees, but since they are fugitive Muslims, the amir by his religion is bound not to repel them when seeking refuge without prearrangement. The amir is not implicated in supplying arms and ammunition to the tribesmen.

April 1898

The amir appoints Mir Atta Khan of Herat to succeed the late Sipah Salar Gholam Haidar Khan Orakzai.

May 1898

It is announced that the Afridis are again sending jirgas to interview Abdor Rahman at Kabul. These deputations, which are composed of Zakka khels, are turned back by the governor of Jalalabad, no doubt by orders from the amir. Sir James Westland, when speaking at Simla in June, warmly eulogizes the conduct of the amir, and says that the tribesmen should now see that although the Indian government made an agreement with the amir, that agreement was not intended to interfere in any way with their independence.

December 1898

A message from the amir is received by the Indian government in which he says, speaking of the raid by Waziris into Afghan territory, that he expects the British will check such raids, just as the Indian government expects the Afghan officials to prevent attacks similar to that made in August on a party of coolies in the Tochi Valley.


Not for many years has Afghanistan been less disturbed than this year. Few tribal risings occur and the amir Abdor Rahman continues to express friendly relations with Britain. Yet there is a disquieting rumour that Russia is preparing to advance on Herat in certain eventualities, and that an experimental mobilization of Russian troops from Tiflis to Kushk (some sixty miles from Herat) was made at the close of the year. The amir keeps up a friendly correspondence with the viceroy, Lord Curzon, during the year, and the relations between Afghanistan and the Indian government were never more cordial.

February 1899

Several small disturbances are created along the frontier by marauding bands of Waziris and Mahsuds, which are easily suppressed by the local militia without aid from regular troops.

March 1, 1899

Capt. George Roos-Keppel makes a sudden attack on a predatory band of Chamkannis that have been raiding in the Kurram Valley and captures 100 prisoners with 3,000 head of cattle. These raids, though tiresome, are, however, of no political importance.

May 1899

In consequence of repeated outrages committed by the Waziris, and especially because of the murder of Col. E.H. le Marchant of the Hampshire Regiment, the Indian government orders the partial disarmament of the Peshawar division, and of all trans-border Pathans at the frontier, and the disarmament of all persons without licenses in all municipalities and cantonments within the division.

July 1899

In spite of punitive measures the Waziri robbers continue their lawless attacks, chiefly with a view to cattle raiding.

December 1899

In accordance with the frontier policy of the viceroy all regular troops are withdrawn from the Khyber Pass to Peshawar, leaving the forts and posts in the pass to be guarded by the Khyber Rifles. Complete tranquillity prevails in consequence, and the Afridis and other local tribes are thereby convinced that the government has no idea of annexing their territory or of placing British garrisons over the border.


Rumours of contemplated aggression by Russia continue throughout the year, and are the source of much annoyance to the amir Abdor Rahman. He complains that the British government takes no interest in his distresses, and that whenever he has proposed some check upon Russian aggressions the government of India has made no response except the suggestion that Afghanistan might consent to the construction of railways and telegraphs within her territories. From the Afghan point of view he declares that such concession will be impossible and only a step to ruin. For several years the amir has given much attention to increasing the efficiency of his army, and his regulars, backed by the tribes on the frontier, would be formidable against any invader of his territory. The amir has never departed from a purely defensive attitude, and under his treaty with England if an unprovoked attack was made upon him he could claim British help.

Trade with India is injured by the fiscal policy of the amir. Besides creating state monopolies with regard to several articles, he forbids the export of horses to India and the import of salt therefrom. Only sixty-two camel loads leave Peshawar in the year compared with 2,285 during the previous year.

June 1900

A cholera epidemic breaks out at Jalalabad and at Kabul and continues to the beginning of August, causing in Kabul the death of nearly 5,000 persons. After the departure of Sir Salter Pyne the government workshops go on with their regular work under Afghan management.

September 1900

The Mahsud Waziris resume their petty raids on the frontier. On the night of October 23 a band of them attacks the military post of Nasran, killing two men and robbing the magazine. Lieutenant Hennessey starts in pursuit, but his force is not sufficient to capture them and they escape to the ravines. A wounded Mahsud lying prone fires at Lieutenant Hennessey at a distance of five yards with fatal effect. The raiders lose one killed and five wounded.

October 1900

A successful operation is carried out against the Madda Khels in the Tochi Pass by a small column. Four Pathan towers are blown up by the troops, who meet with no opposition. This action was due to the refusal of the Khels to surrender certain ringleaders implicated in the Maizar outrage of 1897.

November 1900

The amir Abdor Rahman publishes his autobiography, in which he complains that English policy in Afghan affairs has been inconstant and vacillating, and he urges the importance of direct diplomatic relations with Britain. He considers that England ought to give Afghanistan more of her confidence and more of her moral and material support, allowing him to annex all the territory of the independent Pathan tribes and to form a triple alliance with the neighbouring Muslim states, Persia and Turkey. Also that Afghanistan ought to secure an outlet to the ocean and have a port for her own steamers at which to load and unload. He thinks that the policy of Afghanistan towards her two strong neighbours - England and Russia - should be friendly towards the one least aggressive, and hostile to the power wishing to pass through her country or interfere with her independence.

November 8, 1900

The commissioner of Derajat, W.R.H. Merk, meets some 500 Mahsud Waziris and announces to them the terms of the government. Payment of a fine of one lakh is demanded, one half to be paid by November 25, otherwise the whole tribe would be blockaded from December 1. Dreading a blockade much more than a punitive expedition the Mahsuds agree to pay the fine and promise not to raid. The mullah Powindah, their fanatical leader, is personally assisting in the collection of the fine in December.

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