|Second Anglo–Afghan War|
|Part of the Great Game|
92nd Highlanders at Kandahar. Oil by Richard Caton Woodville Jr.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
Total fatalities are unknown
Total: 9,850 fatalities
|History of Afghanistan|
The Second Anglo-Afghan War (Dari: جنگ دوم افغان و انگلیس, Pashto : د افغان-انګرېز دويمه جګړه) was a military conflict fought between the British Raj and the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1878 to 1880, when the latter was ruled by Sher Ali Khan of the Barakzai dynasty, the son of former Emir Dost Mohammad Khan. The war was part of the Great Game between the British and Russian empires.
The war was split into two campaigns – the first began in November 1878 with the British invasion of Afghanistan from India. The British were quickly victorious and forced the Amir – Sher Ali Khan to flee. Ali's successor Mohammad Yaqub Khan immediately sued for peace and the Treaty of Gandamak was then signed on 26 May 1879. The British sent an envoy and mission led by Sir Louis Cavagnari to Kabul, but on 3 September this mission was massacred and the conflict was reignited by Ayub Khan which led to the abdication of his brother Yaqub. 
The second campaign ended in September 1880 when the British decisively defeated Ayub Khan outside Kandahar. A new Amir – Abdur Rahman Khan selected by the British, ratified and confirmed the Gandamak treaty once more. When the British and Indian soldiers had withdrawn, the Afghans agreed to let the British attain all of their geopolitical objectives, as well as create a buffer between the British Raj and the Russian Empire. 
After tension between Russia and Britain in Europe ended with the June 1878 Congress of Berlin, Russia turned its attention to Central Asia. That same summer, Russia sent an uninvited diplomatic mission to Kabul. Sher Ali Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, tried unsuccessfully to keep them out. Russian envoys arrived in Kabul on 22 July 1878, and on 14 August, the British demanded that Sher Ali accept a British mission too. 
The Amir not only refused to receive a British mission under Neville Bowles Chamberlain, but threatened to stop it if it were dispatched. Lord Lytton, the viceroy of India, ordered a diplomatic mission to set out for Kabul in September 1878 but the mission was turned back as it approached the eastern entrance of the Khyber Pass, triggering the Second Anglo–Afghan War. 
The first campaign began in November 1878 when a British force of about 50,000 fighting men, mostly Indians, was distributed into three military columns which penetrated Afghanistan at three different points. The British victories at the battles of Ali Masjid and Peiwar Kotal meant that the approach to Kabul was left virtually undefended by Afghan troops. 
An alarmed Sher Ali attempted to appeal in person to the Russian Tsar for assistance, but their insistence was that he should seek terms of surrender from the British.  He returned to Mazar-i-Sharif, where he died on 21 February 1879. 
With British forces occupying much of the country, Sher Ali's son and successor, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, signed the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879 to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country. According to this agreement and in return for an annual subsidy and vague assurances of assistance in case of foreign aggression, Yaqub relinquished control of Afghan foreign affairs to Britain. British representatives were installed in Kabul and other locations, British control was extended to the Khyber and Michni passes, and Afghanistan ceded various North-West Frontier Province areas and Quetta to Britain. The British Army then withdrew. 
However, on 3 September 1879 an uprising in Kabul led to the slaughter of Sir Louis Cavagnari, the British representative, along with his guards, and staff – provoking the next phase of the Second Afghan War. 
Major General Sir Frederick Roberts led the Kabul Field Force over the Shutargardan Pass into central Afghanistan, defeated the Afghan Army at Charasiab on 6 October 1879, and occupied Kabul two days later.  Ghazi Mohammad Jan Khan Wardak, and a force of 10,000 Afghans, staged an uprising and attacked British forces near Kabul in the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment in December 1879. The rebellion collapsed after the failure of a direct attack on Roberts' force on 23 December. Yaqub Khan, suspected of complicity in the massacre of Cavagnari and his staff, was obliged to abdicate. The British considered a number of possible political settlements, including partitioning Afghanistan between multiple rulers or placing Yaqub's brother Ayub Khan on the throne, but ultimately decided to install his cousin Abdur Rahman Khan as emir instead.  
Ayub Khan, who had been serving as governor of Herat, rose in revolt, defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Maiwand in July 1880 and besieged Kandahar. Roberts then led the main British force from Kabul and decisively defeated Ayub Khan on 1 September at the Battle of Kandahar, bringing his rebellion to an end. 
With Ayub Khan defeated, the war was officially over and the British selected and supported a new Amir – Abdur Rahman Khan son of Muhammad Afzal and nephew of the former Amir Sher Ali. Rahman confirmed the Treaty of Gandamak, whereby the British took control of the territories ceded by Yaqub Khan, and also of Afghanistan's foreign policy in exchange for protection and a subsidy.  The Afghan tribes maintained internal rule and local customs, and provided a continuing buffer between the British Raj and the Russian Empire. 
Abandoning the provocative policy of maintaining a British resident in Kabul, but having achieved all their other objectives, the British withdrew from the region.  By April 1881 all British and Indian troops had left Afghanistan, but British Indian agents were left behind to smooth liaison between the governments.  No further trouble resulted between Afghanistan and British India during Rahman's period of rule, and he became known as the 'iron Amir'. The Russians kept well out of Afghan internal affairs, with the exception of the Panjdeh incident three years later, resolved by arbitration and negotiation after an initial British ultimatum. 
In 1893, Mortimer Durand was despatched to Kabul by British India to sign an agreement with Rahman for fixing the limits of their respective spheres of influence as well as improving diplomatic relations and trade. On November 12, 1893, the Durand Line Agreement was reached. This led to the creation of a new North-West Frontier Province.
There were several decisive actions in the Second Anglo–Afghan War, from 1878 to 1880. Here are the battles and actions in chronological order. An asterisk (*) indicates a clasp was awarded for that particular battle with the Afghanistan Medal.
In November 1878, at the start of the war, the British established three Field Forces – designated Peshawar Valley, Kurram Valley and Kandahar respectively – each of which invaded Afghanistan by a different route. 
At the end of the first phase of the war in May 1879, the Peshawar Force was withdrawn, while the Kandahar Force was reduced in size. In September 1879, at the beginning of the second phase, additional British and Indian Army units were despatched to Afghanistan, while the Kurram Valley Force was reinforced, and redesignated the Kabul Field Force. 
European influence in Afghanistan has been present in the country since the Victorian era, when the competing imperial powers of Britain and Russia contested for control over Afghanistan as part of the Great Game.
The Third Anglo-Afghan War began on 6 May 1919 when the Emirate of Afghanistan invaded British India and ended with an armistice on 8 August 1919. The Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 resulted in the Afghans gaining control of foreign affairs from Britain and the British recognizing the Durand Line as the border between Afghanistan and British India. According to British author Michael Barthorp, it was a strategic victory for the British because the Durand Line was reaffirmed as the border between Afghanistan and India, and the Afghans agreed not to foment trouble on the British side. However, Afghans who were on the British side of the border did cause concerns due to revolts.
The North-West Frontier was a region of the British Indian Empire. It remains the western frontier of present-day Pakistan, extending from the Pamir Knot in the north to the Koh-i-Malik Siah in the west, and separating the modern Pakistani frontier regions of North-West Frontier Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan from neighbouring Afghanistan in the west. The borderline between is officially known as the Durand Line and divides Pashtun inhabitants of these provinces from Pashtuns in eastern Afghanistan.
The 101st Grenadiers was a regiment of the British Indian Army.
The Treaty of Gandamak officially ended the first phase of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Mohammad Yaqub Khan ceded various frontier areas as well as Afghanistan's control of its foreign affairs to Britain.
The Battle of Maiwand, fought on 27 July 1880, was one of the principal battles of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Under the leadership of Ayub Khan, the Afghan forces defeated a much smaller British force consisting of two brigades of British and Indian troops under Brigadier-General George Burrows, albeit at a high price: between 2,050 and 2,750 Afghan warriors were killed, and probably about 1,500 wounded. British and Indian forces suffered 969 soldiers killed and 177 wounded.
Mohammad Yaqub Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from February 21 to October 12, 1879. He was the son of the previous ruler, Sher Ali Khan.
Ghazi Mohammad Ayub Khan also known as The Victor of Maiwand or The Afghan Prince Charlie was, for a while, the governor of Herat Province in the Emirate of Afghanistan. He was Emir of Afghanistan from 12 October, 1879 to 31 May, 1880. He also led the Afghan troops during the Second Anglo-Afghan War and defeated the British Indian Army at the Battle of Maiwand. Following his defeat at the Battle of Kandahar, Ayub Khan was deposed and exiled to British India. However, Ayub Khan fled to Persia. After negotiations in 1888 with Sir Mortimer Durand, the ambassador at Tehran, Ayub Khan became a pensioner of the British Raj and traveled to British India in 1888, where he lived until his death in 1914 in Lahore, Punjab. He was buried in Peshawar and had eleven wives, fifteen sons, and ten daughters. Two of his grandsons, Sardar Hissam Mahmud el-Effendi and Sardar Muhammad Ismail Khan, served as brigadiers in the Pakistan Army.
The Battle of Ahmed Khel took place during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. It was fought on 19 April 1880, on the road between Kandahar and Kabul in central Afghanistan between Afghan tribesmen and soldiers of the British Empire, including forces from both British and Indian armies.
The Battle of Kabul was part of a punitive campaign undertaken by the British against the Afghans following the disastrous retreat from Kabul. Two British and East India Company armies advanced on the Afghan capital from Kandahar and Jalalabad to avenge the complete annihilation of the British-Indian military-civilian column in January 1842. Having recovered prisoners captured during the retreat, the British demolished parts of Kabul before withdrawing to India. The action was the concluding engagement to the First Anglo-Afghan War.
The Battle of Kandahar, 1 September 1880, was the last major conflict of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The battle in southern Afghanistan was fought between the British forces under command of General Roberts and the Afghan forces led by Ayub Khan. It ended with a decisive British victory, having inflicted nearly 3,000 casualties in total on the routed Afghans.
The siege of the Sherpur Cantonment was a battle fought in December 1879, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
The Emirate of Afghanistan, known as the Emirate of Kabul until 1855, was an emirate in Central Asia and South Asia that encompassed present-day Afghanistan and parts of present-day Pakistan. The emirate emerged from the Durrani Empire, when Dost Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Barakzai dynasty in Kabul, prevailed.
The Battle of Ali Masjid, which took place on 21 November 1878, was the opening battle in the Second Anglo-Afghan War between the British forces, under Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel James Browne, and the Afghan forces, under Ghulam Haider Khan. The perceived offence of an Afghan general's refusal to allow a British envoy entrance to the country was used as an excuse to attack the fortress of Ali Masjid, as the opening battle in the war. Despite numerous setbacks, including half the troops getting lost or delayed and missing the battle entirely, the British were lucky that the Afghans abandoned their position overnight.
The Peshawar Valley Field Force was a British field force. It was the largest of three military columns created in November 1878 at the start of the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), each of which invaded Afghanistan by a different route. The Peshawar force initially consisted of around 16,000 men, a mix of both British and Indian Army regiments, under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Samuel J. Browne.
The following lists events from 1879 in Afghanistan.
The Battle of Charasiab was fought on 6 October 1879 during the Second Anglo-Afghan War between British and Indian troops against Afghan regular forces and tribesmen.
The siege of the British Residency in Kabul was a military engagement of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The British resident, Sir Louis Cavagnari and his escort were massacred after an 8-hour siege by mutinous Afghan troops inside their Residency in Kabul. This event triggered the second phase of the war, during which an Anglo-Indian army invaded Afghanistan and captured Kabul.
The Kurram Valley Field Force was a British military formation during the first phase of the Second Afghan War, 1878–79.
British forces were victorious and Sher Ali was deposed
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abdur Rahman Khan". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 37–38.