Afghanistan timeline 1941-1950

From Academic Kids

Timeline of Afghan history


Under its enlightened monarch Zahir Shah the country is advancing steadily in education and in the industries which are expected to exercise a civilizing influence on its turbulent people. But endeavours to stir up trouble are not lacking. The ex-emir Amanullah is hanging on to the other side of the frontier and is believed to be under Nazi orders to foment disaffection. The faqir of Ipi, an old campaigner among the tribes, is also intriguing. The king, however, is most correct in his neutrality, and his handling of the German colony in the country in the closing months of the year gives proof of his sincerity. German nationals organized themselves as a foreign branch of the Nazi party, and were developing active pro-Hitler propaganda on the approved fifth-column lines. Their position was one of some strength; they were employed as experts in economic development and in education, as engineers and as suppliers of machinery and plant for industrial enterprises. On British representations, however, the government orders the deportation of all German and Italian nationals; and a considerable danger to British India is thus averted. During the year, Sir Francis Wylie succeeds Sir William Fraser-Tytler as British minister at Kabul.

November 1941

The king, Zahir Shah, formally opens the Loya Jirga (Grand Council). The foreign minister takes the opportunity to reiterate the government's determination to maintain neutrality and to follow a peaceful policy.


June 1942

Diplomatic relations with the United States are opened.

July 1942

The king again reaffirms his country's policy of neutrality "provided Afghanistan is left unmolested."

November 26, 1942

The 9-year-old crown prince, Mohammad Akbar Khan, dies.


The Saadabad Pact with Turkey, Iran, and Iraq is automatically renewed for a further five years, as none of its signatories has denounced it six months before expiration.

June 1, 1943

A new departure is taken by the appointment of the first Afghan minister to the U.S., Abdul Hossein Aziz, who formerly represented his country in Moscow.

October 24, 1943

It is learned that negotiations for a treaty of alliance between China and Afghanistan have been completed in Ankara.


Although diplomatic relations with Germany and Japan are maintained, the relations of Afghanistan with the Allied Powers become more intimate. The country is dependent for its essential imports on India, the U.S.S.R., and the United States.

January 1944

Gen. Patrick J. Hurley visits Kabul as U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal representative.

March 1944

The Afghan ambassador and Chinese minister in Ankara conclude a lengthy negotiation with the signing of a treaty of friendship establishing diplomatic and consular relations between the two countries.


There is little change in internal affairs as Zahir Shah continues a peaceful rule and the end of World War II sees an unbroken record of neutrality for the country. During the year, Eli E. Palmer, formerly with the foreign service at the Australian embassy, succeeds Cornelius Van H. Engbert as U.S. minister at Kabul.

July 1945

The Red Crescent Society of Afghanistan donates 5,000 to the fund opened by the International Red Cross at Geneva as a token of its sympathy with the fate of European peoples.

May 1946

Sardar Shah Mahmud succeeds Sardar Mohammad Hashim as prime minister. This change of government, after a period of 17 years without change, leads to the proclamation of a general amnesty for political prisoners and the setting up of a high court of justice for the trial of future political offenders.

June 5, 1946

Afghanistan applies for membership of the United Nations. This is approved on August 29, and Afghanistan is formally admitted as a member by the Assembly on November 19.

June 13, 1946

An agreement is signed in Moscow by Vyacheslav Molotov and Sultan Ahmad Khan, Afghan ambassador, reestablishing the frontier which had existed between Afghanistan and imperial Russia; the new treaty concerns the frontier line along the Penj and Oxus rivers and provides for the incorporation in the U.S.S.R. of the Kashka district, ceded to Afghanistan in 1921.


Because of close ties of kinship and common cultural tradition, Afghanistan is deeply concerned over the question of the right to self-determination of the Afghans of the North-West Frontier Province of India, arising from the creation of the separate independent states of India and Pakistan.

Afghanistan sends an observer-delegate to the Geneva meetings of the UN Conference on Trade and Employment.

September 30, 1947

Afghanistan is the only country to vote against the admission of Pakistan to the United Nations.


Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are peaceful and formally correct. The unsettled relations between Pakistan and India, however, interfere with the Afghan foreign trade which for decades had gone mostly by the Khyber Pass. Another reason for the not too favourable balance of trade is the falling price of karakul lambskins, the most valuable of the country's exports. Three new motor roads are under construction in 1948: Kabul to Mazar, Kabul to Khyber Pass, and the Badakhshan road from Kabul toward Sinkiang province, China.

March 29, 1948

It is announced that the British legation at Kabul and the Afghan legation in London are to be raised to the status of embassies. On June 5 a similar step is taken between the U.S.A. and Afghanistan.


The cold war between Afghanistan and Pakistan continues. Political circles in Kabul and the Afghan government insist that Pakistan should constitute the North-West Frontier Province as an independent Pathan republic, or at least allow the Pathans of the tribal areas on the Pakistan side of the Durand Line to opt for Kabul. The British government categorically refuses the Afghan request that it should intervene. The press and wireless of Kabul continue to pour out propaganda against Pakistan. The Pakistan government refrains from reprisals and trade between the two countries goes on as before; in fact economic cooperation is offered. Afghanistan is in the grip of an economic crisis. The Persian lamb trade, a vital element in Afghan finance, is languishing; Indian import duties paralyze the export of fruit.

June 1949

The Afghan parliament cancels all treaties which former Afghan governments have signed with the British, including the Durand Treaty, and thus proclaims that the Afghan government does not recognize the Durand Line as a legal boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

November 24, 1949

The Export-Import Bank of Washington grants Afghanistan a $21,000,000 loan on the strength of which important work on roads, bridges, and irrigation dams, which a U.S. firm had been carrying out for two or three years but which was held up because of dwindling Afghan credit, is to be resumed.


January 4, 1950

The year begins auspiciously by the signature at New Delhi, India, of a treaty of friendship with India. The treaty provides that each signatory should be able to establish trade agencies in the other's territory. It will last for five years in the first instance, and at the end of that period it will be terminable at six months' notice. This friendship with India does not find reflection in Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan. Pakistan feels that Afghanistan is too tolerant of the so-called independent Pashtunistan movement, which has for its aim the creation of a Pashtu-speaking enclave and therefore a new state to be carved out of Pakistan territory. With Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, Afghanistan develops closer relations during the year.

July 1950

Relations with U.S.S.R. being naturally of much importance to Afghanistan, the conclusion in Moscow of a four-year trade agreement is taken as a favourable sign in that regard.

September 1950

Disturbances are caused by an apparent invasion of Pakistan near the Bogra pass. The Afghan government promptly denies that the invaders have comprised Afghan troops. The prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, in disclosing that a protest has been sent to Kabul on what he describes as the culminating incident in a number of minor frontier violations, declares that Pakistan is willing to discuss economic and cultural questions of common concern to the two countries. He nevertheless deprecates any action which might disturb the peace of the strategic frontier area.

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