World War One and its impact in Middle Asia: The Third Afghan War

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


On May 3, 1919, few months after the end of the war in Europe, Afghan troops entered Indian territory via the Khyber Pass and occupied the border village of Bagh. This move, part of a broader plan to attack the British Raj, pushed the viceroy, Lord Chelmsford (r. 1916-21) to declare war (May 6) to amir Amanullah (r. 1919-29), who had recently acceded the throne. The war (mostly fought in the territories of the on the North-West Frontier and in the tribal areas adjoining them, and partly overlapping with an uprising of the local Pashtun population) was short and ended on August 8 with the signing of the treaty of Rawalpindi. The treaty recognized the full sovereignty of the Afghan state; in their turn, British authorities renounced to spread their influence beyond the Khyber and stopped paying the allowance until then paid to the amir. Despite the distance, the conflict (Third Afghan war) was related to Word War One in many aspects. The strain that the latter placed on the Anglo-Indian military establishment (already stressed by the growing need to preserve internal order) was one the reasons of its timing, while the wakening of the Russian pressure in the north after the outbreak of the October revolution was one of the reasons why Amanullah could muster on Afghanistan’s southern border the relevant (according to local standards) strength of 50,000 men and some 280 modern guns. On the British side, the Third Afghan war provided the occasion to test in India doctrines and technologies already tested in World War One; among them, motor transport and wireless communication, as well as armoured cars and aircrafts, also involved in long-range bombing missions. Aircrafts proved one of the key assets in British hand, and largely contributed to the final victory of the Anglo-Indian forces. However, this tactical success was largely overshadowed by Amanullah’s strategic victory. The war allowed the amir to strengthen his grip on Afghanistan and, at the same time, to regain the freedom of action that his country had lost – at international level – with the treaty of Gandamak, in 1879. The treaty of Rawalpindi also ended the thorny issue of the Indo-Afghan border. However, Amanullah’s formal recognition of the ‘Durand Line’ as the legal border between the two countries did not ended the claims that, periodically resurfacing, contribute in making the current Afghan-Pakistan border one of most troubled spot in the world.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteActa 2019. Unsettled Problems after the 1919 Peace Conference. Military Conflicts and Diplomatic Negotiations. 45th. International Congress of Military History, Sofia, 18-23 August 2019
EditorJordan - Minchev, Dimitar Baev
Numero di pagine9
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Terza guerra anglo-afgana


Entra nei temi di ricerca di 'World War One and its impact in Middle Asia: The Third Afghan War'. Insieme formano una fingerprint unica.

Cita questo