By Victoria Schofield
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Extra resources for Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia
If this had happened, the concept of retaining the buffer would have been abandoned altogether. Alternatively, Britain might have maintained the ‘scientific frontier’, leaving the buffer kingdom of Afghanistan centred on Kabul. Debate in Parliament raged long and hard as to whether they should retain Kandahar or retire further to the east, to Sibi in Baluchistan, relinquishing even Quetta to the Afghans. In fact, by the time the British came to agree their border between Afghanistan and British India, they had long since abandoned their ‘forward’ policy into Afghanistan, which was neither feasible financially nor acceptable morally.
Among the booty which Nadir Shah took back from Delhi was a solid gold throne on legs of gold, studded with precious stones and adorned with the outspread tails of two peacocks, also encrusted with jewels. This was the Peacock Throne, symbol of splendour of the Mogul emperors. He also took fabulous jewels, including the ‘Mountain of Light’, the Koh-i-Noor diamond, first presented to Humayun two centuries previously by a Hindu rajah in return for his protection. Master of northern India, Nadir went on to extend his empire across the Oxus almost to the limits of the old empires of Darius and Alexander, but he was assassinated in 1747, and, in the confusion that followed, Ahmed Shah Abdali of the Afghan tribe, the Saddozais, took power.
There is the same mountainous tangle of country on both sides of it, and nowhere is there anything artificial or natural to tell you when you have reached it,’ was the disparaging comment of Dundas. Even so, this was the line which came to divide British India and Afghanistan, more by default than for any other reason. In the present day, it is the border which Pakistan adopted when it gained independence in 1947. In 1893 when Durand went to visit the Amir of Afghanistan, they agreed upon a boundary in territory which neither had fully explored.
Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia by Victoria Schofield