top of page

British invasion of Afghanistan

September 30, 1838
Anglo-Afghan War
Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857



The British invasion of Afghanistan took place in 1839 when a British army, led by Sir John Keane, crossed the Bolan Pass and entered Afghanistan. The invasion was triggered by concerns about the growing influence of Russia in Central Asia and the perceived threat to British interests in India. The British also wanted to replace the Afghan ruler, Dost Mohammad Khan, with a more pro-British leader. The invasion was initially successful, and the British army occupied Kabul, the Afghan capital. However, the British soon faced fierce resistance from Afghan tribesmen, who were angered by the presence of foreign troops in their country. The British were also hampered by the harsh Afghan winter and the difficult terrain, which made it hard for their troops to move around. In 1841, a rebellion broke out in Kabul, led by Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammad Khan. The British garrison in Kabul was besieged, and in January 1842, the British commander, Sir William Elphinstone, agreed to a ceasefire and the withdrawal of the British troops from Afghanistan. However, as the British army began its retreat, it was ambushed by Afghan tribesmen, who killed many of the soldiers. Only a handful of British troops managed to make it out of Afghanistan alive, and the event became known as the "disaster in Afghanistan" or the "Afghanistan catastrophe". The British were humiliated by the defeat, and the invasion had little impact on British interests in the region. The Afghan tribesmen, on the other hand, saw the invasion as a victory over a foreign power and a symbol of their independence. The invasion had significant cultural and literary consequences, and it became the subject of many works of literature, including Rudyard Kipling's poem "The Young British Soldier" and George MacDonald Fraser's novel "Flashman". The invasion also helped to shape British perceptions of Afghanistan and its people, and it has been cited as a cautionary tale for military interventions in foreign lands.

Rate This BookDon’t love itNot greatGoodGreatLove itRate This Book

Your content has been submitted

Post Comment
Ratings & Review
Click To Close Comment Box
Click To Post Your Comment
Show Reviews

Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

Mughal Library brings readers of our history and related subjects on one platform. our goal is to share knowledge between researchers and students in a friendly environment.


bottom of page