This article needs additional citations for verification .(March 2019)
|Part of the Russian conquest of Central Asia and The Great Game|
Painting of Franz Roubaud about the battle, taken from the article "Kushka" of the Sytin Military Encyclopedia.
|British Empire||Russian Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
Naib Salar Teimour ShahCharles Gate
|Casualties and losses|
|600 killed||40 killed and wounded|
The Panjdeh incident (called in Russian historiography as Battle of Kushka)was an armed engagement between Afghanistan and the Russian Empire in 1885 that led to a diplomatic crisis between the British Empire and the Russian Empire caused by the Russian expansion south-eastwards towards the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British Raj (India). After nearly completing the Russian conquest of Central Asia (Russian Turkestan) the Russians captured an Afghan border fort, threatening British interests in the area. Seeing a threat to India, Britain prepared for war but both sides backed down and the matter was settled by diplomacy. The effect of this incident was to stop further Russian expansion in Asia, except for the Pamir Mountains and to define the north-western border of Afghanistan.
After the Battle of Geok Tepe in January 1881 and the annexation of Merv in March 1884, Russia held most of what is now Turkmenistan. South of Merv, towards Herat in Afghanistan, the border was not clearly defined. The British were concerned because the line Merv–Herat–Kandahar–Quetta was a natural invasion route to India. The Russians had begun to build Trans-Caspian Railway which would allow them to bring men and supplies to Merv and beyond.
Most of Turkmenistan is desert but irrigation supports a fairly dense population on the north slope of the Kopet Dag (Geok Tepe and Ashgabat). East of this are the oases of Tejend and Merv, one of the great cities of central Asia. Tejend was much smaller and to the south of Tejend and Merv is a grassy region sometimes called Badghis which is bounded by the Hari-Rud river on the west and the Murghab River to the east. The Hari-Rud flows north along the modern Iranian border, enters Turkmenistan and spreads out forming the Tejend oasis before drying up in the desert. The Murghab flows north through what is now Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, reaches Yoloten and spreads out, forming the Merv oasis. Where the Murghab crosses the current border, the irrigated area of Panjdeh (Five Villages) existed. Badghis was about 100 mi (160 km) wide and 75–150 mi (121–241 km) long from north to south, depending on where the boundaries are set. South of Badghis is the important Afghan city and border fort of Herat.
At the time of the Panjdeh incident it was generally agreed that the northern frontier of Afghanistan started from the Persian border at Serakhs and ran about 270 mi (430 km) east-north-east to meet the Oxus at Khoja Sale, an old name for the point where the Oxus now leaves Afghanistan. This border had never been properly defined.
In 1882 Britain and Russia began discussions about the Afghan boundary. In the summer of 1884 they agreed to form an Afghan Boundary Commission, the commissioners being Generals Zelenoi and Sir Peter Lumsden. They were to meet at Serakhs in October but both were delayed. The Russians tried to push the border as far to the south as possible before it became fixed. General Komarov, governor of the Transcaspian Oblast, went south to Serakhs and expelled a Persian garrison in the east side of the Hari-Rud. The Russians occupied Pul-i-Khatun 40 mi (64 km) south in Afghan territory. Later they occupied the pass or canyon at Zulfikar and a place called Ak Robat about 50 mi (80 km) to the east. On the east side, the Sarik Turkomans of Yoloten submitted in May 1884 but their kinsmen at Panjdeh refused, saying that they were subjects of the Amir of Kabul. The Afghans sent troops to Bala Murghab and in June began building a fort at the north end of Panjdeh at the mouth of the Kushk River, which they called Ak-Tepe (White Hill; probably the old fort visible from space at ). The Russians thought that the Afghans had done this with British connivance but the Afghans and British claimed that the people of Panjdeh had always paid tribute to the Afghans or whoever controlled Herat. The Russians claimed that Panjdeh had never been garrisoned and that its people were part of a tribe that had submitted to Russia. On 8 November, Lumsden arrived at Serakhs with 250 Sepoys and 200 Bengal Lancers, having crossed little-known country in Baluchistan. Komarov avoided meeting him, claiming he was "occupied with other affairs". In mid-November, Komarov made a move up the Murghab toward Panjdeh and more Afghan troops were shifted up to counter this. the Russians built an advanced post at Sanduk Kuchan (Sandykgachy?) on the Murghab. Alikhanov went to parley with the Ak Tepe commander but was driven away with threats. The Afghans sent a detachment to occupy Sary Yazy 10 mi (16 km) south of the Russian outpost.
For a few months there was a lull, then in February 1885 the Russians occupied a post 3 mi (4.8 km) south of Sary Yazy. Lumsden advised the Afghans to withdraw further south. Russia next built a fort at Kazyl Tepe (Red Hill) about 2 mi (3.2 km) south of Ak Tepe and a mile south of Pul-i-Khishty (Brick Bridge) across the Kushk. On 25 March, Komarov arrived at Kazyl Tepe with 1,500 men and two days later they advanced, apparently trying to provoke the Afghans into firing first. Captain Charles Yate was the most senior British officer present, with only two other Europeans, and they futilely attempted to defuse the situation by talking to the Russian officers. On 30 March 1885 the Russians captured Ak Tepe with a reported loss of 900 Afghans and 11 Russians. The news reached England on 7 April and preparations for war began. On 27 April, Gladstone asked the Commons for a credit of £11 million (£4.5 million for Sudan and the rest for Russia). Alexander III of Russia suggested arbitration and negotiations, which the British accepted. The crisis was partly averted by the wisdom of Abdur Rahman Khan the Amir of Afghanistan, who was then at Rawalpindi talking to the British. Having no wish to see two foreign armies fighting in his country, when told of Panjdeh he pretended to see it as a mere border skirmish. In mid-summer Lord Salisbury replaced Gladstone, which may have made British threats more credible. By 10 September, it was roughly agreed that Russia would keep Panjdeh, give up Zulfikar and that the border would be approximately where it is now. The border commissioners started at Zulfikar on 10 November, reached the Murghab by Christmas and went into winter quarters. In 1886 the line was run from the Murghab to the Oxus. Some minor problems had to be resolved by diplomats and the final protocol was signed on 22 July 1887. Persia somehow retained the Atak country north-west of Serakhs into which Russian patrols had penetrated.
Britain did not aid Afghanistan, in violation of the Treaty of Gandamak. That led the Amir to believe that he could not rely on the British in the face of Russian aggression.Tensions between Russia and Britain were eased when the Russian foreign minister Nikolay Girs and the ambassador to London Baron de Staal set up an agreement in 1887 which established a buffer zone in Central Asia. Russian diplomacy thereby won grudging British acceptance of its expansionism. In 1890 Russia founded Kushka (Serhetabat) at the south end of the new territory and in 1901 connected it by rail to Merv. Kushka remained the southernmost settlement in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The 1921 Afghan-Soviet Treaty of Friendship was the first international agreement made by the Soviet Union. Although "the Soviets agreed to return to Afghanistan, subject to plebiscites, territories in the Panjdeh area ceded under duress by Afghanistan to Russia or Bukhara in the nineteenth century", that was not done.
The Hari River or Herat River is a river flowing 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) from the mountains of central Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, where it forms the Tejend oasis and disappears in the Karakum Desert.
"The Great Game" was a political and diplomatic confrontation that existed for most of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century between the British Empire and the Russian Empire, over Afghanistan, Tibetan Kingdom, and neighbouring territories in Central and South Asia. It also had direct consequences in Persia and British India. Britain was fearful of Russia invading India to add to the vast empire that Russia was building. As a result, there was a deep atmosphere of distrust and the talk of war between the two major European empires. Britain made it a high priority to protect all the approaches to India, and the "great game" is primarily how the British did this. Some historians have concluded that Russia had no plans involving India, as the Russians repeatedly stated to the British.
Merv, also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria, Antiochia in Margiana and Marw al-Shāhijān, was a major Iranian city in Central Asia, on the historical Silk Road, located near today's Mary in Turkmenistan. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of culture and politics at a site of major strategic value.
Ahal Region is one of five provinces of Turkmenistan. It is in the south-center of the country, bordering Iran and Afghanistan along the Kopet Dag Range. Its area is 97,160 km2 (37,510 sq mi) and population 939,700.
Mary Region is one of five provinces in Turkmenistan. It is located in the south-east of the country, bordering Afghanistan. Its capital is the city of Mary. Its area is 87,150 km2 (33,650 sq mi) and population 1,480,400. The average population density is about 15 persons per square kilometer, but it reaches 150–200 per square kilometer in the most developed oases.
Mary, formerly named Merv, Meru and Alexandria Margiana, is a city on an oasis in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, located on the Murgab River. It is the capital city of Mary Region. In 2010, Mary had a population of 126,000, up from 92,000 in the 1989 census. The ruins of the ancient city of Merv are located near the city.
Edmund O'Donovan, Irish war correspondent, was born in Dublin. In 1866 he began to contribute to The Irish Times and other Dublin papers. He was the first journalist killed in the Kurdufan area during the Sudan campaigns while reporting for The Daily News.
Serhetabat is a city and administrative center of Serhetabat District, Mary Province, Turkmenistan, in the valley of the Kushka River. The population was 5,200 in 1991. It is immediately opposite Torghundi, Afghanistan, with which it is connected by a road and a 1,520 mm gauge railway.
The Transcaspian Oblast, or just simply Transcaspia, was the section of Russian Empire and early Soviet Russia to the east of the Caspian Sea during the second half of the 19th century until 1924.
The Kushk is a river which, during a portion of its course, forms the boundary between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, and used to form the southernmost border of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The Kushk is fed by the Aq Robat and Galleh Chagar rivers in north-western Afghanistan. After 150 km, it flows into the Murghab River.
The Treaty of Akhal, also known as Akhal-Khorasan Boundary Convention, was an agreement signed between Qajar Iran and Imperial Russia on 21 September 1881 to mark Iran's official recognition of Khwarazm's annexation by the Russian Empire. The title of the treaty is derived from the name of the vast region north of Khorasan where the Turkmen tribe of Tekke lived – Akhal.
Ghormach is a district situated in the northwest of Faryab Province of Afghanistan. The district centre is Ghormach.
Beluch or the Baloch of Turkmenistan are a small part of the greater Baloch people who live primarily in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. They immigrated into the Merv and the Murghab River inland delta from the areas west and north of Herat, Afghanistan and Iran in the mid 19th century. More followed in the early 20th century and closure of the Russian/Soviet borders under Stalin in 1925.
Ýolöten is a city and capital of Ýolöten District, Mary Province, Turkmenistan. The city is located in the delta of the Murghab River, 55 kilometers southeast of Mary. It was granted the status of a city in 1939.
Gonur Depe is an archaeological site, dated from 2400-1600 BCE, and located about 60 km north of Mary, Turkmenistan consisting of a large early Bronze Age settlement. It is the "capital" or major settlement of the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC).
Bādghīs is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the northwest of the country, on the border with Turkmenistan. It is considered to be one of the country's most underdeveloped provinces. The capital is Qala i Naw, while the most populous city and district is Bala Murghab. The ruins of the medieval city of Marw al-Rudh, the historical capital of the medieval region of Gharjistan, are located in the province near the modern city of Bala Murghab.
The list of Turkmenistan-related articles is below
The Battle of Geok Tepe in 1881 was the main event in the 1880/81 Russian campaign to conquer the Teke Turkomans. Its effect was to give the Russian Empire control over most of what is now Turkmenistan, thereby nearly completing the Russian conquest of Central Asia.
The Russian conquest of Central Asia took place in the second half of the nineteenth century. The land that became Russian Turkestan and later Soviet Central Asia is now divided between Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan across the center, Kyrgyzstan in the east, Tajikistan in the southeast and Turkmenistan in the southwest. The area was called Turkestan because most of its inhabitants spoke Turkic languages with the exception of Tajikistan, which speaks an Iranian language.
The Afghanistan–Turkmenistan border is 804 km (500 mi) in length and runs from the tripoint with Iran to the tripoint with Uzbekistan.