the west of the Indus. Immediately beyond lies the mountainous
region known as the Roh, composed of ridges and valleys descending
from the western watershed of the Indus. It was the homeland of
tribes who always had been practically independent of control, and
whose poverty drove them to prey on the peaceful inhabitants of our
lowland border districts. This region can be divided roughly into
three sections, each of which is inhabited by tribes of as many origins.
To the south of the Bolan Pass, and between it and the Arabian Sea,
lies Baluchistan ; the largest of the three sections. To the north of
this is the Pathan Section and north again of the latter lie the small
INDIAN FRONTIER POLICY. 1 87
Dard States of Hunza, Naq^ar, and others, of which Gilgit had been
the ancient capital.
Over Baluchistan, with the exception of Kalat, Persia had
exercised a fluctuating- control down to a recent period. The Pathan
Section was nominally subject to the Ruler of Afghanistan, while
China reg^arded one or two of the Dard Principalities as being under
The steady advance of Russia from the Caspian had led to
considerations for the protection of the North-West Frontier of India,
and the celebrated Frontier Official, Colonel John Jacob, had foreseen
the necessity of entering into arrangements with the tribes adjoining
the Sind Frontier, and for the occupation of Quetta at the head of the
Bolan Pass. In 1867, Sir Henry Green, Political Superintendent and
Commandant of the Sind Frontier, placed the matter before the
Government officially. The scheme involved the occupation of Quetta,
and it was carefully considered by the Government of India, and was
rejected in the most decisive terms.
On the question of border management, there grew up two schools,
one of which believed the "close border" policy, as a general
principle, to be the better. By this all unnecessary interference with
the tribes was to be avoided, treating them in a friendly manner when
they behaved well, and punishing- them when they molested us; but no
attempt to occupy their territory or to send British Officers among
them should be made, nor to establish any sort of control over
them. The other school held that our officers should be encouraged
to enter into close personal relations with the tribesmen, to enter
their country, and efforts should be made in course of time to
establish permanent control over the tribes, and to introduce some-
thing like peace and order among them.^ For some time the advocates
of the "close border" policy had their way; but even before the
second Afghan War, the Government of India had been compelled by
force of circumstances to depart from this policy. As early as 1864
the establishment of a Political Agency in Kalat (Baluchistan) had
been mooted, but till about 187 1 the matter had remained in abeyance.
Then recurring quarrels between the Ruler and his Chiefs led to the
appointment of a Political Agent in Kalat, to compose the differ-
ences and quarrels which distracted that country and which re-acted
injuriously on our territory adjoining the boundary of that State.
Owing- to the anarchy which prevailed, the Political Agent was with-
^ Indian Frontier Policy ; Edinburgh Review, January li
l88 INDIAN' HKONTIEK i'OLICN.
drawn on tlie 23rd of April 1873, and the question of Military intervention
was under consideration. Captain (afterwards Sir Robert) Sandeman,
however, was deputed to put into effect his suggestion, that an effort
should be made to arrange a peaceful settlement of Kalat affairs be-
fore resorting to the military expedition recommended by the authorities
in Sind, The occupation of Quetta followed, and with it began the
extension of our influence and control over the tribes, Baluch and
Afghan, within reach of that place. In 1877 the Indian Government
had to remind the Amir Sher Ali that they had never recognized his
claim to allegiance from Chitral, Dir, Bajour or Swat ; and that any
attempt on his part to enforce such a claim would be regarded as an
unfriendly act by us.
The Government of India at the same time was fully alive to the
importance of securing an effective control over the northern passes
leading into the Dard Section ; but it was determined that this should
be done, if possible, through the Maharaja of Kashmir, a body of
whose troops had been stationed in Gilgit to control, to some extent,
the tribes and to check their raids upon settled Kashmir territory.
The Maharaja had been encouraged to tighten his hold upon the Dard
country. Although, owing to their altitude the passes leading from
the north into the valleys of this country are blocked by snow for a
great part of the year, yet in 1881, Mr, Gladstone's Government had
observed that this part of the Frontier was especially exposed to
intrigues. The open gap, which existed in this region between China
and Afghanistan, offered a very strong temptation to adventurous
spirits to explore the valleys to the south of the Hindu-Kush and
Karakoram Ranges. Russian Oflficers, in 1889, had actually pene-
trated into the Dard States ; and even, in 1891, the Chieftain of Hunza
had openly declared that he was under Russian protection. The Gov-
ernment was obliged to take action for the exclusion of Foreign influ-
ence from these tracts.' The Political Agency at Gilgit had been with-
drawn in 1881; but it was necessary in 1885 to send Sir William Lock-
hart to Chitral, to thoroughly examine the country with a view to defen-
sive measures ; and in 1889 a Political Agent again was placed in Gilgit.
For a long time both the Amir of Afghanistan and the Government
of India claimed the right to exercise control over some of the tribes
in the Roh or Pathan Section. There was incessant correspondence
with Amir Abdur Rahman about the Afridis, the Turis of Kuram, and
the Waziris, and at times some very sharp letters were written. ^ In
1 Ibid, pp. 267-68.
THE DIRAND MfSSION TO KABUL. 189
1893, both the Indian Government and the Amir being" weary of this
perpetual friction, Lord Lansdovvne sent his Foreign Secretary, Sir
Mortimer Durand, to Kabul. An amicable settlement on this subject
was reached, and the respective spheres of influence within the tribal
belt were defined. The actual delimitation of the boundary between
the two followed. The Amir was given a free hand with regard to
Kafristan. He retained Asmar, and was given the Birmal Valley ;
but on the south, Chagai was relinquished by him. He also
engaged to refrain from exercising any interference in Swat, Bajour
For some time past communications had been exchanged between
the British and Russian Governments, regarding their respective spheres
of influence on the Pamirs, and about the Clarendon-Gortchakoflf
Agreement of 1872-7;:^, making the River Oxus the north-eastern
boundary of Afghanistan up to Lake Victoria (Sar i-Kul). This bound-
ary had been fixed at that time on insufficient information, and it had
been discovered afterwards, that Shighnan and Roshan, portions of
which lie to the north of the Oxus, formed part of Badakhshan, a pro-
vince belonging to the Amir of Afghanistan, while the district of
Darwaz, the greater portion of which lies to the south of the river,
was tributary to Bokhara. Russia, however, claimed the literal fulfil-
ment of our agreement of 1872-73 ; and it was necessary to explain to
the Amir the terms of the agreement of 1872-73, and the extent
of the Russian claim which involved His Highness' withdrawal from
trans-Oxus Shighnan and Roshan.^
^ The work of determining the actual boundary between the spheres of in-
fluence was divided into sections, and was carried out for the most part by Joint
Commissions during the years 1894-96, the only portion of the Frontier line re-
maining undemarcated being a small section in the vicinity of the Momand coun-
try and the Khyber. The Afghan-Waziristan Boundary from Domandi to Laram
was demarcated by British Officers at the special request of the Amir.â€” Treaties,
Engagements and Sanads, India, Vol XI, p. 331, 4th Edition, 1909.
This boundary has now come to be regarded, as the Indo-Afghan Boundarj-.
But in the agreement, " the line was not described as the boundary of India, but
as the eastern and southern Frontier of the Amir's dominions, and as -the limit
of the respective ' spheres of influence ' of the two Governments. At one point
the boundary of ' British territory ' is mentioned, but this was actual British terri-
tory, not tribal territory. With regard to the latter, the extension of our
authority, not the extension of our Frontier, was evidently the course of action
Indian Frontier Policy; Edinburgh Review, January, 1898, p. 264.
Â« In the spring of 1892, a party of Russian troops cut off' the Afghan outpost
at Somatash on the Yashikul (Yellow Lake) in trans-Oxus Sighnan, on the
northern tributary of the Oxusâ€” the Alichur River. The Russians were command-
ed by a Colonel Yanoff.
In the month of September 1S93, while the Durand Mission was on its way to
Kabul, a collision between Russian and Afghan troops took place at Murghab,
â– n Afghan-Badakhshan. The Russians were beaten off on this occasion.
Life of Abdur Rahman Amir of Afghanistan, Vol. I., (pp. 285-2S7).
igO PAMIR BOUNOARY COMMISSION.
Sir Mortimer Durand had been instructed that this was to be his
primary duty, and the negotiations resulted in the conclusion of two
agreements, both dated the 12th of November 1893. By one of these,
the Amir bound himself to abandon all districts not then held by him
to the north of the Upper Oxus, on condition of receiving in exchange
all the districts to the south of the river. The other agreement
referred to the boundary between Afghan and British spheres of influ-
ence. To mark their sense of the friendly spirit in which the Amir
had entered into the negotiations, the Government of India raised his
annual subsidy to eighteen lakhs of rupees ; he was granted full per-
mission to import munitions of war, and was promised some help in
this respect. The Amir agreed that the Frontiers of his dominions,
from Wakhan to the Persian border, should follow the line shown in
the map attached to the Agreement ; the Amir also received from Sir
Mortimer Durand a letter, dated the nth November 1893, informing
him that the assurance given him by the British Government, when
he had come to the throne in 1880, remained still in force, and was
applicable to any territory which might come into his possession in
consequence of his agreement with the British Government regarding
the Upper-Oxus Frontier.'
On the nth March 1895, after prolonged negotiations, notes were
exchanged between the British and the Russian Governments con-
cluding an agreement in regard to the spheres of influence of Great
Britain and Russia on the Pamirs ; and the demarcation of the
boundary line by a Joint Commission composed of British and Russian
Delegates. The Amir being informed by the Government of India of
the terms of this agreement, expressed his pleasure with the
The British and Russian Commissions met at Lake Sari-Kul (the
former having completed the distance from Bandipur, in Kashmir, in
exactly one month) on the 22nd of July 1895. On the 28th of July,
the first pillar was erected at the eastern end of Lake Sari-Kul, and
before the middle of August the line had been demarcated as far as
the Orta Bel Pass. The Commissioners decided that Lake Sari-Kul
should henceforth be known by the British as well as by the Russians
as "Lake Victoria," the range to the south as the " Chaine-de-
I'Empereur Nicholas II" and the peak nearest to the Lake, as
*' Pie-de-la-Concorde."" Difficulties, however, arose regarding the line
from Orta Bel onwards. It appeared that, while the lattitude of Lake
1 Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, India, Vol. XI, 4th Edition, igcq.
â– ' Ibid.
DOMESTIC AFFAIRS â€” THE GHILZAI REBELLION. IQI
Victoria had been correctly determined to be 37Â°-27', the positions of
Kizil Robat, the Orta Bel and Baiyik Passes were inaccurate, and
about six minutes south of their true positions.' It was found to be
impossible to adhere strictly to the terms of the Anglo-Russian Agree-
ment and the British Commissioner recommended the acceptance of
a line proposed by the Russians, running- southwards to the water-
shed of the Taghdumbash, which the Russians acknowledged to be
the Chinese Frontier. The British Commissioner considered this to
be the only natural Frontier south of the lattitude of Lake Victoria.
He was empowered to accept this line, and the sites of the final pillars
were fixed accordingly. The final Protocol was signed on the loth
September 1895, and the Joint Commission was dissolved on the 13th
The Amir was supplied by the Indian Government with copies of
the map signed by the British and Russian Commissioners, with a
description of the bovmdary of Afghanistan in the direction of Wakhan
and the Pamirs.
In accordance with the terms of the Anglo-Russian Agreement of
the nth March 1895, Bokhara evacuated Cis-Oxus Darwaz in October
1896. The Amir had retired from trans-Oxus, Shighnan and Roshan
By the agreement arrived at by the Pamir Boundary Commission,
Eastern Wakhan was formally acknowledged by Russia as forming
part of the territories of the Amir of Afghanistan. To enable him to
carry on the administration of this strip of country properly, the Gov-
ernment of India granted him an additional subsidy of rupees fifty
thousand a year, with effect from the ist March 1897.
The Ghilzai rebellion in 1886 and 1887 was a widespread and
dangerous movement, an expression of the feud which this important
section of the people of Afghanistan nourish against the supremacy
of the Duranis. After some successes at the commencement, the
insurgents suffered a decisive overthrow on the 27th July 1887. Ayub
Khan fied from Tehran and attempted to join the rebels, but the
Amir's Frontier Officials were on the alert and unable to evade their
vigilance, and after suffering great hardships in the desert, the
Sardar and his followers surrendered to General MacLean on the 9th
of January 1887. The Sardar with a very large number of followers
was sent to India, where a suitable provision has been made for their
^ On this parallel of latitude, equivalent to about 7 miles.
'^ Treaties, Engagements and Sanads, India, Vol. XI, 4th Edition, 1909.
192 THE HAZARA REBELLION.
support, and he has undertaken to make no attempt to disturb the
peace of Afghanistan.
This insurrection was barely suppressed, when the Amir's cousin,
Sardar Muhammad Ishak Khan,' who was Governor of Afghan-
Turkistan, threw off his allegiance ; proclaimed himself Amir, and
began his march on Kabul. He was, however, completely defeated on
the 29th of September 1887, in the Valley of Ghazni Oak, three miles
south of Tashkurgan, and fled across the Oxus. He is now living
in Samarkand, where he receives a small allowance from the Russian
Government. The Amir visited Turkistan. He was delayed there
for some time, and did not return to his capital till the 24th
July 1890. In the month of December 1S88, the Amir's life was
attempted. He was fired at by a soldier while reviewing his troops
at Mazar-i-Sherif. '
The Hazaras had shown signs of disaffection in 1890 and in 1891
a widespread rebellion of these tribes against the Amir's authority
broke out. It was not till July-August 1893 that the tribesmen were
compelled to make their submission, and their country was settled.
If there was any truth in the very circumstantial stories, which drifted
across the border into Quetta, the punishment which the Hazaras
received must have been terribly severe. It was openly said that
pillars were made at points on the highways of the heads of slaugh-
tered Hazaras, as a warning to others who might contemplate a trial
of strength with the existing Government. The bazars of Kandahar
and of all the principal towns were said to be full of Hazara prisoners
of both sexes who were sold as slaves ; and at that time Hazara
slaves were very cheap. The first insurrection of 1891 was followed
by a more extensive rising in 1892. On this occasion Muhammad
Azim Khan, Hazara, the Amir's Governor of the Hazara country, threw
in his lot with his countrymen. His defeat was effected by another
Hazara notable, Muhammad Husen Khan, a personal enemy of the
rebellious Governor. On his return to Kabul Muhammad Husen
Khan was received with distinguished favour by his master and was
^ Son of Sardar Azim Khan (uncle of the Amir) by an Armenian Christian
slave girl. Ishak Khan had joined the Nakhsbandi Sect, to currj' favour with the
Turkomans, who were his subjects and who are specially de\oted to this sect.
The holy men of Mazar-i-Sherif told him that the Saint had bestowed the throne
of Kabul on him.
In June-August 1888, the Amir was suffering from a long and severe attack of
gout, for which he was treated by Miss Lillian Hamilton, M. D., and a report was
t:irculated that he was dead. â€” Life of Abdur Rahman, Amir of Agfhanistan, Vol.
I, pp. 261-267.
- J bid.
DE\TH OF ABDUR RAHMAN. I93
appointed Governor of the Hazara country ; nevertheless he also
rebelled soon after, and thirty thousand of the Amir's troops had to be
employed to subdue the tribesmen. Muhammad Husen Khan was
made prisoner, with other Hazara Chiefs, and these persons with their
families were sent to Kabul.' They were replaced by men on whom
the Amir was able to depend, and who were imposed on the tribesmen
as their Chiefs. The Jamshidis and Hazaras as Shiahs were more
rigorously treated than the Ghilzais and the other tribes, who were
reluctant to submit at once to the stern rule of the Amir.
In 1895 the Amir, whose state of health prevented his undertaking-
a journey to England, deputed his second son, Shahzada Nasrullah
Khan, to pay his respects to her late Majesty Queen Victoria.
Leaving Bombay on the 29th of April, the Shahzada arrived in
England en the 23rd of May, and was received by the Queen at
Windsor, on the 27th. He left England on the 3rd of September, and
after visiting Paris, Rome and Naples, he arrived in Karachi on the
i6th October 1895. He returned to Kabul through Quetta, Chaman
About this time the dignity of Knight Grand Cross Â©f St. Michael
and St. George was bestowed upon Sardar HabibuUah Khan, as well
as upon his younger brother, Sardar Nasrullah Khan. The Grand
Crosses of the Orders of the Bath and Star of India had been bestowed
previously on their father, the Amir.
In 1896 Kafristan was conquered and annexed to the dominions of
the Amir, never before had any of his predecessors been able to impose
their authority on this people, nor had Afghan troops ever penetrated
into the sanctuaries of the Kafirs in the valleys of the Hindu-Kush.
The Amir's authority now was acknowledged in every part of his
kingdom within the boundaries which girdle the country. In the
same year, he assumed the title of Zia-ul-Millat-wa-ud-din (The Light
of the Nation and of Religion).
Amir Abdur Rahman died in Kabul on the 3rd of October 1901,
aged about 57 years.- Not an old man in point of time, but for
twenty eventful years he had toiled and planned unceasingly to
consolidate his power over the unruly Afghans, and until his eldest
son was old enough to assist him in the routine of the Government,
Abdur Rahman had laboured single-handed. In addtion, during the
latter part of his life-time, he had suffered greatly from gout. He had
^ Life of Abdur Rahman, Amir of Afghanistan, Vol. I, p. i, Note .
194 MANUFACTURES IN KABUL.
no brothers ; but this was an advantag^e, as he was relieved of all
dangers from family intrigues, which might have seriously embarassed
him in his dealings with the refractory tribes. His cousins
were very inferior to him in character and ability, and with the
exception of Sardar Muhammad Ishak Khan, they have served him
loyally ; dominated by the master-mind which guided the affairs of
their country through many critical periods, when mistakes might
have entailed serious consequences. The recognition of the in
tegrity and independence of Afghanistan, by the two Powers, who
had become his neighbours, gave him a free hand in his dealings
with his subjects ; as secret malcontents and his open enemies were
deprived of all hope of being countenanced or assisted from outside
in their struggles with the Amir. His death was immediately followed
by the peaceful accession of his eldest son, Sardar HabibuUah Khan.
It was not till 1885 that the late Amir found time to devote attention
to establishing manufactures, and then it was to provide arms and
ammunition for a million soldiers. The first European who entered
his service was a M. Jerome, a Frenchman, whom the Amir picked up
in Rawalpindi in 1885. This person was succeeded by Mr. (now Sir
Salter) Pyne, who arrived in Kabul early in April 1887, and the
foundation stone of the first factory was laid on the 7th of that month.
Other factories were established as time went on, the number of English-
men in the service of the State was increased, and in 1894 the first
hospital was opened by Miss Hamilton, M, D.' The residence of
Englishmen (and women) in Kabul has resulted in the publication of
several books, describing the personal experiences of the authors ; the
conditions of life of the small European community at the capital,
the circumstances under which they have worked, and the difficulties
they have had to overcome. Incidentally, however, light is cast on
the Political situation at the capital. The facts emerge that the
progress made appears to depend very greatly on the exertions and
the life of the Ruler, who is very far in advance of his countrymen; and
that there exists a strong conservative or reactionary party, even
at the capital and near the throne, who view with grave doubt, if not
with actual disfavour, the policy of the Ruler with regard to
domestic affairs and his relations with foreigners.
A great advance has been made in Engineering, especially with
regard to bridging and the manufacture and repair of arms ;^ and in
these matters the Afghans display considerable aptitude. But the
1 Ihid, Vol. II., p. 70.
â€¢^ Afghanistan : the Buffer State. Captain Gervais Lyons, 1909, p. 177.
THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN. 195
progress made is due to the energy and foresight of the Rulers ; and
it is not the outcome of a desire for progress that has originated
and grown upwards among the people at large. Their appreciation
of the benefits of civilization is manifested in a direction which
threatens the tranquility of their country â€” a keen desire to equip them-
selves with fire-arms of modern patterns. This is due primarily
to a feeling of nervous apprehension as to the ultimate fate of their
country, placed as it is between two Great Powers, and of the over-
whelming strength of both, the Afghans are fully aware. With
any rising of the tribesmen, to which the possession of serviceable
breech-loaders may tempt them, the Amir with the resources
at his disposal, would be able to deal successfully, provided he was
not seriously embarrassed by grave family dissensions. As each year
passes without disturbances, his position is strengthened and the
likelihood of a successful rising diminishes. No foreign capital is
invested in Afghanistan, and no Power would be compelled to inter-
vene to protect the interest of its subjects, in the event of serious
disorders breaking out in that country. The effects even of complete
anarchy might possibly be confined within the boundaries that enclose
the country. For this reason the linking up of the rail heads at
Chaman and at Kushk (about 450 miles apart), the cost of which
the Amir could not defray from his revenues, would appear to in-
troduce a certain element of danger into the existing relations with
Afghanistan that would outweigh all the prospective, commercial and
other advantages, which are urged in favour of establishing Railway
communication between India and Europe, through the territory of
His Majesty the Amir.^
" For never did Chief more sorely need Heaven for his aid and stay"
"Than the man who would reign in this country, and tame Afghans or
^ Ibid, p. 146.
* Verses written in India. Sir Alfred Lyall, London, 1896. "The Amir's
Soliloquy," p. 58.
THE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE OF THE AFGHANS.
THE language of the tribes who style themselves Afghans,
is Pashto ; and it belongs to the Aryan sub-family of the