THE FIRST ANGLO AFGHAN WAR 1839


The first Anglo Afghan war was fought between Dost Muhammad and triple alliance of Lord Auckland, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Shaha Shuja.

Dost Mohammad had recently lost Afghanistan’s second capital of Peshawar to the Sikh Empire and wanted support to retake it, but the British were unwilling.

When Governor-General of India Lord Auckland heard about the arrival of Russian envoy Yan Vitkevich in Kabul and the possibility that Dost Mohammad might turn to Russia for support, his political advisers exaggerated the threat.

British fears of a Russian invasion of India took one step closer to becoming a reality when negotiations between the Afghans and Russians broke down in 1838.

Lord Auckland’s plan was to drive away the besiegers and replace the ruler of Afghanistan with one who was pro-British, Shuja Shah Durrani.

On 22 July 1839, in a surprise attack, the British-led forces captured the fortress of Ghazni, which overlooks a plain leading eastward into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The British achieved a decisive victory over Dost Mohammad’s troops, led by one of his sons.