The War of Independence

description: 
<p>For Afghans, it was a war of independence even though they were never formally colonized.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-warofindependence.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1919.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-warofindependence.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Geography &amp; Destiny
Identity &amp; Perception
Year: 
1919
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p>Burke, John. <i>Group. The Amir Yakub Khan, General Daod Shah, Habeebula Moustafi, with Major Cavagnari C.S.I. &amp; Mr Jenkyns [Gandamak].</i> 1879. British Library, London.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang"><i>KES-632-A-1</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-632-A-1</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-802-1-A-171-1</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-11-173-11</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-12-A-173-12</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-13-173-13</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-14-173-14_1</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-15-173-15</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-5-173-5</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-6-173-6_1</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-804-A-173</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-956-A-325</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Alexis Menten and Kate Harding</div> </div> </div>
Video Transcript: 
<p>The Third Anglo Afghan War is called the War of Independence because from the point of view of Afghans, even though their country had not been formally colonized by the British, they still viewed themselves as under the thumb of the British.</p> <p>In the treaty that ended the Second Anglo Afghan War, it was stipulated that the Afghans would allow Great Britain to have control over their foreign policy. For them it was a question of demonstrating their own independence, their own autonomy, and their status as a full partner in the community of nations.</p> <p>In 1919, what&rsquo;s now usually referred to as the Third Anglo-Afghan War was instigated by the man who was about to become the King of Afghanistan, Amanullah, who at that point was one of the contenders to the throne after the assassination of his father, King Habibullah.</p> <p>For a long time, Amanullah had been urging the Afghan government to oppose the British. They said the British had too much power over their foreign affairs, too much influence within Afghanistan, and also they resented the fact that the British controlled some of the Pashtun tribes along the border after the imposition of the Durand Line.</p> <p>[King] Amanullah, in his efforts to consolidate his authority, declared Jihad, declared a holy struggle, a holy war, against the British. And using the idiom of Jihad, using Islamic leaders, he was able to mobilize tribes along the border and other groups in Afghanistan, to rally against the British.</p> <p>And so while the war didn&rsquo;t last long, it was largely inconclusive because this was 1919, the British were exhausted from World War I, they didn&rsquo;t have any interest in a prolonged struggle along the Afghan frontier, so both sides got out of it quickly.</p> <p>It essentially accomplished what Amanullah wanted it to, which was to rally support for himself and the Jihad, and in the process, to push to the side other potential contenders for the throne of Kabul.</p> <p>So for them, it was independence, even though the country had never been formally colonized.</p>

Through Afghan Eyes

description: 
<p>Photography came to Afghanistan sometime in the late 19th century. For the first time, the world could witness Afghanistan through Afghan eyes.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-throughafghaneyes.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1910.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-throughafghaneyes.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Identity &amp; Perception
Traces &amp; Narratives
Tradition &amp; Modernization
Year: 
1910
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p><i>Image32</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1025-A-394</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1051-H-420</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1069-H-438</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1114-H-483</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1116-H-485</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1123-H-492</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1152-H-521</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1204-A-573</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1246-A-615</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1252-A-621</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1263-A-632</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-131-H-42</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-14-A</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1536-A-905</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-157-2-H-68-2</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1578-A-947</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1586-A-955</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-158-H-69</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1603-A-972</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1653-A-1022</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1657-A-1026</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1662-A-1031</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1716-A-1085</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1730-A-1099</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-183-21-H-94-21</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1848-A-1217</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1849-A-1218</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1890-A-1259</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1934-A-1303</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-197-H-108</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-2009-A-1378</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-2190-HG-13</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-2191-HG-14</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-2198-E-4</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-228-H-139</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-238-H-149</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-267-H-178</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-330-H-241</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-363-H-274</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-429-H-340</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-459-H-370</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-503-2-H-414-2</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-514-H-425</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-517-11-H-428-11</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-517-14-H-428-14</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-517-9-H-428-9</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-532-H-443</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-600-H-511</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-604-H-515</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-627-H-538</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-645-A-14</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-730-A-99</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-758-A-127</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-815-A-184</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-947-A-316</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-996-A-445</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Lopez, Vincent, Harry Donnelly, and Wilander Wiliam. <i>Afghanistan</i>. Lopez and Hamilton's Kings of Harmony Orchestra. 1920. Accessed September 4, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/27tomp9.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Grace Norman</div> </div> </div>
Video Transcript: 
<p>Photography came to Afghanistan sometime in the late 19th century, most likely from Europe.</p> <p>For the first time, the world was able to witness Afghanistan through Afghan eyes. There was portraiture, and photographs of important political events and historical turning points. Photographers documented different peoples of Afghanistan &amp;mdash but mostly it captured the high society that could afford this new photo technology.</p> <p>The outside world had a glimpse of well-to-do Afghan families. Photography revealed a changing society. New fashions came and went. There was a life of leisure, for those who could afford it.</p> <p>And it caught the innocence that a future generation of Afghan children would not know.</p>

The Second Anglo-Afghan War

description: 
<p>Afghanistan once again found itself as a playing field for games between empires. And once again, that game did not turn out as planned.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-2ndangloafghan.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1878.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-2ndangloafghan.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Identity &amp; Perception
Tradition &amp; Modernization
Year: 
1878
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p><i>Action at Maiwand Map</i>. 1892. Perry-Casta&ntilde;eda Map Collection, University of Texas. In <i>Wikipedia Commons</i>. Accessed August 30, 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Action_at_Maiwand_map.jpg.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang"><i>Amir Yaqub Khan</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Captured Guns [Sherpur Cantonment, Kabul].</i> 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>General Roberts and Staff [inspecting Captured Afghan Artillery, Sherpur Cantonment, Kabul]. 36</i>. 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Group British Officers (Q.O.) Guides.</i> 1878. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Group. The Amir Yakub Khan, General Daod Shah, Habeebula Moustafi, with Major Cavagnari C.S.I. &amp; Mr Jenkyns [Gandamak].</i> 1879. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Kohistani and Hazara Combatants [Kabul].</i> 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Officers of H.M. 51st Regiment on Sultan Tarra, Showing Different Service Uniforms Worn (detail)</i>. 1878. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Panorama [of Kabul] from Siah Sung.</i> 1879. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Upper Bala Hissar from Gate above Residency [Kabul].</i> 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Upper Bala Hissar from West [Kabul].</i> 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&quot;The Great Game: Britain Keeps the Russian Bear from India.&quot; Digital image. The Great Game. Accessed August 30, 2010. http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/kenanderson/histemp/thegreatgame.html.</div> <div class="hang"> <p>H2O Alchemist. &quot;The Maiwand Lion.&quot; Digital image. H2O Alchemist's Flickr Photostream. Accessed August 30, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/h2oalchemist/379508215/.<br /> Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en</p> </div> <div class="hang">Mohammad, Yar, and Baz Mohammad. <i>Urozgan Province, Tirin Hotel</i>. Field Recordings: Hiromi Lorraine Sakata. Sakata Music Collection, 1966.&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Portrait of the Members of Court</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Russian Troops Crossing Amu Darya 1873</i>. 1889. In <i>Wikipedia Commons</i>. Accessed August 30, 2010.<br /> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KarazinNN_PereprTurkOtrARTM.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>&quot;Save Me From My Friends!&quot;</i> In <i>Afghanistan Old Photos</i>. www.afghanistan-photos.com.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Simpson, Sir Benjamin. <i>Ruins of Old Kandahar Citadel.</i> 1881. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Unknown. <i>Afghan Women (detail)</i>. 1895. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Unknown. <i>Royal Horse Artillery Fleeing from Afghan Attack at the Battle of Maiwand</i>. 1880. In <i>Wikipedia Commons</i>. Accessed August 30, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/33dmt97.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>In the 1870s, Afghanistan once again found itself as a playing field for games between empires. And once again, that game didn&rsquo;t turn out as planned.</p> <p>Afghanistan was considered to be strategically important because if the Russians gained control of it, they would have a warm water port in the Indian Ocean, and they could potentially jeopardize the integrity of the Raj, over the British control of India.</p> <p>In the 1870s, Russia began making advances near the Afghan border. Sher Ali Khan was worried they would attack and began asking the British for support. In 1878, Russia sent an uninvited diplomatic mission to Kabul. Sher Ali Khan tried to stop the party, but failed. The British saw an opportunity. They demanded that Sher Ali Khan also accept a British diplomatic mission to Kabul.</p> <p>Sher Ali Khan found himself caught between the Russian bear on one side, and the British lion on the other.</p> <p>He decided to refuse the British request. But the British responded to this snub by forcing their diplomats across the Khyber Pass. When they were turned away, the British resolved to invade. They sent a force of 40,000 troops, attacking Afghanistan from three different angles. Sher Ali Khan retreated to Mazar-i-Sharif, where he died only a few months later.</p> <p>In May of 1879, Sher Ali Khan&rsquo;s son, Yaqub, signed the Treaty of Gandamak in order to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country. The British agreed to protect Yaqub in exchange for control of all Afghan foreign affairs.</p> <p>But the British were far from winning the war. Battles with the Afghans sparked throughout the country. Perhaps the most famous was the Battle of Maiwand &ndash; fought in the ruins of the Kandahar citadel, where an Afghan force of 25,000 men overwhelmed the British force of 2,500.</p> <p>This battle would produce an unlikely heroine.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a famous heroin in Afghan history Malalai, who at the battle of Maiwand which is when the British were defeated by the Afghans in the second Anglo-Afghan war the battle was going backwards and forwards and it was said that the Afghan troops got discouraged and were about to run away. And Malali came up onto the battlefield, pulled her scarf off and then said that if these cowards ran away, you know they didn&rsquo;t deserve to be called Afghan. She shamed them and they attack again and they defeat the British and she&rsquo;s considered the heroin of that battle in part because you know she was saying, you want to act as men, go back there and fight.</p> <p>And fight they did. The British forces were decimated and British morale throughout the country sunk to an all-time low.</p> <p>Back in Britain, the battle would be commemorated by the Lion of Maiwand. But not before popular support for the war had slipped away.</p> <p>The British people wondered why their government was spending so much money and manpower on a country so far away, and they questioned the logic of the effort. Political cartoons like this one suggested the British were being turned into fools.</p> <p>This cartoon shows the British Prime Minister and the Russian bear, and the interesting thing, and it&rsquo;s meant to illustrate the idea of the Great Game. But you see that the Russian bear has the flute in his mouth, and he seems to be making the British Prime Minister dance, rather than the British Prime Minister making the bear dance. So I think it illustrates the way in which neither side was really in control. Each side thought it was in control, but in fact the game that they were playing was a dance, that there was really no winners. And from the point of view of a lot of people, didn&rsquo;t make much sense.</p>

State vs. Tribe

description: 
<p>The Afghan state had to rely on tribal militias that worked in the interest of the State&mdash;but whose loyalty was always in question because they maintained their interest in tribal autonomy. Authority is a delicate balancing act in this part of the world.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-statevtribe.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1860.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-statevtribe.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Identity &amp; Perception
Tradition &amp; Modernization
Year: 
1860
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p><i>KES-18</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang"><i>KES-439-H-350</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-440-H-351</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-957-A-326</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Afghaun Foot Soldiers in Their Winter Dress, with Entrance to the Valley of Urgundeh</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Fortress of Alimusjid, and the Khybur Pass (detail)</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Ghiljie Women in the Lower Orders</i>. 1848. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Gool Mahommed Khaun, King of the Ghiljyes</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Kelaut-I-Ghiljie</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Khoja Padshauh, a Ko-i-staun Chief, with His Armed Retainers</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Oosbegs of Mooraud Bev</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>As the Afghan state evolved, it faced a lack of resources, as well as a vast and difficult terrain.</p> <p>To consolidate its power, the government needed to rely on tribal leaders.</p> <p>Traditionally, the Afghan State had to rely on militias, on tribal groups that worked for the interest of the State, but whose loyalty was always in question, in part because they maintained their identity as a tribal group.</p> <p>And so the State had to play a balancing act. On the one hand, it needed powerful tribal leaders to exercise authority over their own pockets of the country, but on the other hand, it needed to make sure those leaders were under the control of Kabul.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s always been very difficult, both because of the lack of resources and because of the ongoing, to this day, identification of individuals with their tribes, with their indigenous social groups.</p> <p>What that means is that people oftentimes look first to their local authorities before their national authorities. And a large part of that is due to the importance of kinship in Afghanistan.</p> <p>There are obligations to defend your paternal kin, in times when they come into contact, for example, with, or into hostile relations with other groups. Your obligation primarily would be to defend your paternal kin in opposition to more distantly related or unrelated people. So kinship is an important variable.</p> <p>Uniting the tribes despite their different kinship ties has been a consistent challenge for Afghanistan as it tries to create a cohesive nation.</p> <p>Abdur Rahman Khan, the king of Afghanistan in the late 19th century, had a special strategy. He identified key leaders in communities who could carry out the national agenda &mdash; while also gaining the trust of locals.</p> <p>One such leader was a Pashtun man named Babrakan.</p> <p>He was from the Zadran tribe in Paktia Province in eastern Afghanistan. The story is that Abdur Rahman initially recruited him to be his representative among the Zadran because he was not, himself, a powerful figure. He did not want any rivals for authority, to his own authority, among the Zadran. So Babrakan was loyal to him. He was a resourceful man. Reputedly, he was a thief before he became &mdash; that&rsquo;s the story anyway &mdash; that he was a thief before he became part of Abdur Rahman&rsquo;s government service. It&rsquo;s interesting, though, because at that time the State had so little authority in the tribal regions that they needed to find representatives from within the tribe who would represent the interests of the State. They didn&rsquo;t have officials&rsquo; administrative centers. What they basically had was tribal militias and figures like Babrakan, who were supposed to be, at least, supposed to be loyal to the State.</p> <p>In the 20th century, the relationship between the state and the tribes would be tested. When Abdur Rahman Khan&rsquo;s grandson &mdash; King Amanullah &mdash; attempted to outdo tribal authority, he would see the scales tip and he would learn the importance of balance all too late.</p>

Identity: The Sum of All Parts?

description: 
<p>Colonizing powers were obsessed with the concept of nations. They tried to carve the world into clearly marked borders&mdash;as if humanity can be organized in clear, distinct ways.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-sumofallparts_0.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1850.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-sumofallparts.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Identity &amp; Perception
Year: 
1850
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p><i>0062</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang"><i>0110</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>0185</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>54-10</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Alvesgaspar. &quot;Fern&atilde;o Vaz Dourado 1571-1.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010.<br /> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fern%C3%A3o_Vaz_Dourado_1571-1.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Blitz-Lexikon, Meyers. &quot;Meyers Blitz-Lexikon Ethnic Groups.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LA2-Blitz-0263.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&quot;British Empire Color.&quot; Digital image. Electronic Educational Environment. Accessed September 6, 2010. https://eee.uci.edu/programs/humcore/images/India/British_empire_Color.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Besutee Hazara Chiefs [Hazaras of Besud]</i>. 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Kohistani and Hazara Combatants [Kabul]</i>. 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London. In <i>British Library</i>. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/k/019pho0000430s3u00058000.html.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Collet, C. &quot;Four Native American Indians of New France (Canada).&quot; Digital image. America's Story, from America's Library. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/colonial/jb_colonial_deerfld_2_e.html.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dcoetzee. &quot;Wenceslas Hollar - A Peony (State 2).&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wenceslas_Hollar_-_A_peony_%28State_2%29.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dcoetzee. &quot;Wenceslas Hollar - Title Page (State 3).&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Title_page_%28State_3%29.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>A69-304-C</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>A70-1</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Exter, Buchenwald. &quot;Buchenwald Prisoners 83718.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buchenwald_Prisoners_83718.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>G-00183-35</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>H-00220-29</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>The Horse in Motion. &quot;Sallie Gardner,&quot; Owned by Leland Stanford; Running at a 1:40 Gait over the Palo Alto Track, 19th June 1878</i>. Prints &amp; Photographs Division, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3a45870/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Jalali, Jawad, and UNAMA. &quot;Photo of the Day: 29 January 2009.&quot; Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/unama/3238604922/in/set-72157612962776233/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-934-A-303</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Koochigirl</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Mackenzie, Donald A. &quot;Myths of Babylonia and Assyria.&quot; Digital image. Project Gutenberg. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16653/16653-h/16653-h.htm.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Mahwash. &quot;Mast-O-Ghazalkhan (Drunk With Ghazal).&quot; In <i>Radio Kaboul</i>. Accords Crois&eacute;s, 2003, CD.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Menten, Alexis. <i>Southern Uzbekistan</i>. 2004.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Moeller, U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew C. &quot;Breaking down Language Barriers during Operation Silver Creek.&quot; Digital image. The U.S. Army's Flickr Photostream.Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/3808258896/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Q-00492-17</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Q2-01263-19a</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rayray. &quot;The Speaking Portrait.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_speaking_portrait.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>&quot;Save Me From My Friends!&quot;</i> In <i>Afghanistan Old Photos</i>. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.afghanistan-photos.com/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Sl-00012</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Sl-04273</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Stroop, J&uuml;rgen. &quot;Stroop Report - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 06b.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_06b.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&quot;Table of Natural History, Cyclopaedia, Volume 2.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Table_of_Natural_History,_Cyclopaedia,_Volume_2.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Thomson, John Turnbull. &quot;ChineseKayTribeStonecutters-Singapore.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ChineseKayTribeStonecutters-Singapore.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&quot;Types of the Chief Living Races of Mankind.&quot; Digital image. ImageShack. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://img72.imageshack.us/i/histman3os3.jpg/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">UNAMA. &quot;Posters.&quot; Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Accessed February 6, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/unama/3715331217/in/set-72157618947457368/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Unknown. <i>Afghan Women</i>. 1895. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London. In <i>British Library</i>. Accessed September 6, 2010. http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/a/019pho000015s10u00030000.html.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>Of course it doesn&rsquo;t exist.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s an optical illusion that shifts, depending on your perspective. And that illusion is drawn and re-drawn, adjusted and erased. But as much as it doesn&rsquo;t exist, it also does. It shapes the reality of peoples&rsquo; lives.</p> <p>In the 19th century, Afghanistan began to emerge as a nation. Russia and British India were exerting pressure on the region, each wanting to forge a buffer state between two empires&mdash;a state that would be called Afghanistan. But within this new national identity, there was an endless spectrum of ethnic identities&mdash;different groups and tribes that stretched across the region.</p> <p>In the 19th century, colonizing powers were obsessed with the concept of nations. They wanted to carve the world into clearly marked borders that would allow empires to maintain absolute authority over their territories. They were fascinated by mapping &ndash; whether it was land or people &ndash; and they wanted to draw clear lines &ndash; as if humanity organized itself in clear, discreet groups.</p> <p>This pursuit was directly related to the spread of science and classification and the desire for everything to fit into a neat, functioning model&ndash;a working sum of all parts.</p> <p>In the European and Soviet empires, nations were often viewed as synonymous with ethnicity. In this model, nations were a tidy, self-contained package. In other words, a nation consisted of a &ldquo;People&rdquo; who wore certain styles of clothing, who ate certain kinds of food, and who lived in certain kinds of houses. In some cases, these national borders were created so that everyone could have their own homeland. And in other cases, they were created to split people apart and weaken their power.</p> <p>But equating nations with ethnicity would lead, in some cases, to purification campaigns&mdash;massive genocides to erase anyone who didn&rsquo;t fit the national ethnic model.</p> <p>Afghanistan was comprised of hundreds of ethnic groups, and it would be impossible to successfully draw lines around them. More importantly, these groups intermixed and migrated and didn&rsquo;t necessarily equate themselves with the national identity.</p> <p>We tend to focus on ethnicity using the Soviet model of nationality as if there are fixed groups and boundaries. And in Afghanistan they&rsquo;re not, and that even if you&rsquo;re a Pashtun, what if your mother is a Tajik? You have relatives that are Tajik. You can call upon them. And even a place that has two different ethnic groups as different as Hazaras and Pashtuns, if they&rsquo;re from the same region, they may find that they have more in common with each other and cooperate more than they would with some co-ethnic from the other side of the country. These are our people. We know them, we know where they live. And so this concept of locality can often crosscut ethnicity.</p> <p>And so as Afghanistan has evolved, identities have also evolved, changing according to the perspective from which they are viewed and according to who they are viewed by. And that&rsquo;s key.</p> <p>It depends a lot on the relationships that people have with other people. The concept, what we call ethnic identity, emerges when groups come into contact with each other and they begin to notice differences between what they are like and what other people are like. And different features of identity can become paramount, of paramount importance. They can be differences of language; they can be differences of clothing; hairstyle. Any number of different factors can become what people focus on as the critical differences between what we are, what we represent, what we&rsquo;re like and what these other people are like.</p> <p>In the case of Afghanistan, boundaries between groups are often, historically often, been quite flexible and mobile. But at other times they become more fixed. And often when they have become fixed it&rsquo;s because people have manipulated those differences in order to gain some kind of political advantage.</p> <p>Ethnic identity is something that has varied a lot historically, and has been one tool for political gain that&rsquo;s been used, both by groups themselves and by the State.</p> <p>And yet in spite of this manipulation, Afghanistan has yet to see the kind of ethnic splintering that tore across other parts of the world, the most famous example being Yugoslavia&mdash;a multiethnic nation that fractured along ethnic lines.</p> <p>When one looks at all the ethnic groups in Afghanistan, one almost immediately assumes that there must be considerable ethnic conflict. But if this were the case one would have to ask why hasn&rsquo;t Afghanistan fallen apart already? It&rsquo;s had no centralized government for 20 years. It was a failed state and yet one of the most interesting things about Afghanistan is that no ethnic group has demanded for itself an independent country, or amalgamation with neighboring ethnic groups.</p> <p>I think what we need to look at in Afghanistan is that in Afghanistan ethnicity was never associated with nationalism. That is, the fact that you were an ethnic group did not immediately lead people to assume we must have our own nation.</p> <p>Another key point is that ethnicity in Afghanistan changes depending on perspective. One useful term for understanding this is the word <i>kaum</i>.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s very easy in Afghanistan to talk about large ethnic groups, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, but actually inside Afghanistan people rarely identify with such large ethnic groups. They&rsquo;re too large. They don&rsquo;t have any meaning. But how one identifies ethnicity depends very much on context in Afghanistan. And the Afghans have a particular term that they use called <i>kaum</i>. And the nice thing about this term <i>kaum&nbsp;</i>is essentially it could be translated as our people, our group.</p> <p>If you want to say well what are the boundaries of our group? First of all, you have to ask well, what&rsquo;s the problem that we&rsquo;re discussing here? So a <i>kaum</i> could be a small village. That&rsquo;s it, that&rsquo;s our <i>kaum</i>. That&rsquo;s not that other village. You know they&rsquo;re not. But in conflicts with the next valley, everybody is a member of our <i>kaum</i>, all the way up to Tajik, to Uzbek. So what we find is like an onion, you peel it there&rsquo;s layers, there&rsquo;s layers, there&rsquo;s layers, but the important thing is, and this is what makes ethnic maps quite problematic, is the question of whether this identity is useful or not depends upon the problem that&rsquo;s at hand.</p> <p>Today, Afghanistan has an estimated population of 30 million people. But it has an infinite number of ethnicities depending on who you ask, when you ask, and why you ask. It would be mistaken to draw lines around these ever-changing identities.</p>

The First Anglo-Afghan War

description: 
<p>Tensions ran high, militaries were assembled, and the first shot was fired. One side suffered a devastating and humbling defeat.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-firstangloafghanwar.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1839.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-firstangloafghanwar.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Geography &amp; Destiny
Year: 
1839
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p>Atkinson, James. <i>Arghandi (Afghanistan). Guns Surrendered by Dost Muhammad Khan in Centre Secured by Major Cureton and His Lancers</i>. 1839. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang">Atkinson, James. <i>Surrender of Dost Mohommed Khan, to Sir William Hay Macnaghten Bart, at the Entrance into Caubul from Killa-Kazee</i>. 1842. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Butler, Elizabeth. <i>The Remnants of an Army</i>. 1879. Tate Collection, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Eden, Emily. <i>Dost Mahomed Khan and Part of His Family: Mahomed Akram Khan, Hyder Khan, Abdool Ghunee Khan</i>. 1844. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Qeran, Baba. <i>Naghne Danbora</i>. Radio-Television Afghanistan.&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Afghaun Foot Soldiers in Their Winter Dress, with Entrance to the Valley of Urgundeh</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Bala Hissar and City of Caubul with the British Cantonments from the 'Ba Maroo' Hill (detail)</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Dost Mahommed, King of Caubul, and His Youngest Son</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Encampment of the Kandahar Army, under General Nott</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Interior of the City of Kandahar, from the House of Sirdar Meer Dil Khaun</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Interior of the Palace of Shauh Shujah Ool Moolk, Late King of Cabul</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Jugdelluk, the Last Stand Made by General Elphinstone's Army in the Calamitous Retreat</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Salter, William. <i>William Elphinstone</i>. 1836-39. National Portrait Gallery, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Vigne, Godfrey Thomas. <i>`Abdul Samud - Persian General in Dost Mohd.s. Service Kabul'</i> 1836. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Vigne, Godfrey Thomas. <i>Dost Md Khan Taken at Kabul</i>. 1835-38. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>In 1837, British presence in Afghanistan amounted to a handful of diplomats.</p> <p>By 1841, British presence ballooned to 16,000 military personnel.</p> <p>By 1842, only 1 British soldier survived.</p> <p>By the 1830s, the Great Game between Tsarist Russia and Imperial Britain had begun. In Afghanistan, Dost Mohammed&mdash;the Emir of Kabul&mdash;was facing attacks by the Sikhs, and he was struggling to hold onto his power. In 1837, he sent a letter to the British in India and asked them to support him against their mutual enemy. Britain, eager to turn Afghanistan into a buffer against Russia, responded by saying that they&rsquo;d protect him only if he cut off all relations with the Russians. But the British never put the agreement in writing, so Dost Mohammed, desperate to defend against a Sikh attack, turned to the Russians for help.</p> <p>The British, furious, decided to cross the Khyber Pass with troops. They hoped to bring down Dost Mohammed in order to prop up their own man&mdash;Shuja Shah&mdash;the exiled leader who was eager to be reinstalled, even if it meant being nothing more than a puppet of the British.</p> <p>When the British troops arrived, Dost Mohammed knew he would quickly be deposed. He fled into the hills while the British took Kabul with ease.</p> <p>They propped up Shuja Shah and they continued to pacify locals with bribes.</p> <p>The British assumed their mission had succeeded and they began to feel all too safe in Afghanistan. The commanders allowed their soldiers, many of whom were Indian, to invite their families and soon the British presence in Afghanistan numbered in the thousands.</p> <p>But the calm would not last for long. In 1841, multiple British officers were assassinated by locals, and supplies were sacked. By winter, it was clear to the British that they were unwanted and that they should retreat before things got worse. They negotiated a safe passage to India for a party of 16,000 troops, personnel, and family members.</p> <p>They began their retreat in January 1842, led by William Elphinstone. But Akbar Khan, the proud son of Dost Mohammed, had been hiding in the hills gathering a massive army of supporters and waiting for the day when he could avenge his father&rsquo;s defeat.</p> <p>His soldiers attacked the British party relentlessly.</p> <p>Of the 16,000 people in Elphinstone&rsquo;s party, only 40 survived. Only one of those men was British.</p> <p>In January of 1842, the Afghans showed the world that they would be players rather than pawns in their country&rsquo;s affairs.</p>

The Great Game: Who's Playing Whom?

description: 
<p>Great Britain and Russia vied for control over Afghanistan and its strategic mountain passes. But it wasn't about military might; it was about winning the hearts and minds of a people. The question remains whether Afghanistan was a pawn&mdash;or a player.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-greatgame-2.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era3/1838.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-whosplayingwhom.png
Era: 
Afghanistan in the World
Theme: 
Geography &amp; Destiny
Identity &amp; Perception
Year: 
1838
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p>Anonymous. &quot;Russian Cavalry.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_Cavalry_in_1827.png.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang">Atkinson, James. <i>Arghandi (Afghanistan). Guns Surrendered by Dost Muhammad Khan in Centre Secured by Major Cureton and His Lancers</i>. 1839. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. <i>Group. The Amir Yakub Khan, General Daod Shah, Habeebula Moustafi, with Major Cavagnari C.S.I. &amp; Mr Jenkyns [Gandamak].</i> 1879. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Burke, John. &quot;The 44th Hill Looking towards Jugdalluck, 1848.&quot; Digital image. The British Library. Accessed October 20, 2010.http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/t/019pho000000487u00091000.html.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Chand, Dip. <i>Portrait of East India Company Official</i>. 1760-63. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Eden, Emily. <i>Dost Mahomed Khan and Part of His Family: Mahomed Akram Khan, Hyder Khan, Abdool Ghunee Khan</i>. 1844. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-1610-A-979</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Myprivatecollection7. &quot;1879 Afghan War Football Match Soldiers Khelat-I-Gilzai.&quot; Digital image. Myprivatecollection7's Flickr Photostream. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4291175069/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Painting (the Signing of the Treaty of Bhairowal on 26 December 1846)</i>. 1846-47. &copy; Trustees of the British Museum, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Dost Mahommed, King of Caubul, and His Youngest Son</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Encampment of the Kandahar Army, under General Nott</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Fortress of Alimusjid, and the Khybur Pass</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Jaunbauz, or Afghan Cavalry, with Horse, Bearing Implements for Smoking</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Temple of 'Ahmed Shauh', King of Afghanistan</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Unknown. <i>Painting (Sir John Dalling in Tanjore)</i>. 1785. &copy; Trustees of the British Museum, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Ustad Awalmir. <i>Esta De Qasam Wi</i>. Radio-Television Afghanistan Archives.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&quot;Victorious Ukrainian Cossack with a Head of a Tatarin.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:22._Kozak_z_golovoju_tatarina.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Von Kaufman Portrait</i>. 1880. Navoi State Library, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In <i>Wikipedia Commons</i>. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Von_Kaufman_portrait.jpg.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>By the beginning of the 19th century, the British held enormous power in India. The British East India Company, which had started originally as a trading company, was now ruling several parts of India with its own military. The revenue from the company supplied massive wealth to the British economy, and at several times the company established trading monopolies that crippled other economies.</p> <p>The company began pushing north into the Punjab and into Kashmir.</p> <p>And at the same time, Russia pushed south into Central Asia, expanding its territory and its influence across the entire continent. Both empires began to realize that they would need to protect their borders &mdash; and their economies &ndash; from each other.</p> <p>So the Russians wanted Russian goods to be sold in Central Asia and no British goods and similarly the British didn&rsquo;t want to have any Russian goods.</p> <p>Now, new tensions in the region were further hindering trade through Afghanistan, to the point where much of it was blocked all together.</p> <p>Afghanistan had begun to disintegrate into unstable units after the death of Ahmad Shah Durrani. Both the British and the Russian empires realized that if they could win the support of local rulers, then they could ensure a favorable edge to their empire.</p> <p>By 1837, the British demanded that the leader of Kabul &ndash; Dost Mohammed &ndash; cut off all ties with Russia in exchange for the British to protect him. But when the British refused to put the agreement in writing, Dost Mohammed quickly began negotiating with the Russians instead.</p> <p>The British responded by declaring war and invading Afghanistan in 1838. That war, the First Anglo-Afghan War, would end disastrously for the British.</p> <p>The Great Game had begun. And it wouldn&rsquo;t just involve militaries. Like the Cold War of the 20th century, the Great Game would be about hearts and minds.</p> <p>You had great imperial powers who were trying to improve or to create greater leverage, create greater influence over countries that were, to this point, independent in Asia &ndash; small countries like Afghanistan. But the way in which that competition between the imperial powers was played out was, as in the case of the Cold War, not done with standing armies, but rather through attempts at besting one another through gaining leverage in the courts of the independent kings and khans and feudal lords in central Asia.</p> <p>Those attempts would continue well into the 20th century as Afghanistan became both a player and a pawn in the Great Game.</p>

The Game Begins: Buzkashi as Metaphor

description: 
<p>The Afghan national sport of Buzkashi&mdash;which involves kicking an animal carcass across a playing field&mdash;is often used as a metaphor to describe The Great Game.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-gamebegins.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era2/1818.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-gamebegins.png
Era: 
Age of Empire
Theme: 
Geography &amp; Destiny
Tradition &amp; Modernization
Year: 
1818
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p>Allahdad, Nara. <i>Urozgan Province, Tirin Hotel</i>. Field Recordings: Hiromi Lorraine Sakata. Sakata Music Collection, 1966, Cassette.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-142</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-153</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-155</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-157</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-161</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-164</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-166</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-168</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-170</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-173</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-179</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-189</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>88-202</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>In the early 19th century, Afghanistan became a playing field.</p> <p>Sandwiched between Tsarist Russia and British India, the emerging nation was maneuvered by its neighboring empires. Afghans, historians, and anthropologists have compared the country to the national Afghan sport of buzkashi.</p> <p>Buzkashi requires players on horseback to capture the carcass of a dead animal. Players must drag the carcass into a designated ring, and in the traditional game, a match can go on for days.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the rich owners of the horses watch the players from the sidelines, hoping that their own prestige will rise in the event of a win. They are perhaps the real players of bukhashi.</p> <p>And so there are varying levels of manipulation and competition in the game, varying spheres of influence as the game unfolds upon the playing field. And like all games, there is more at play than just what&rsquo;s on that field.</p> <p>Buzkashi is an apt metaphor for describing the politics of Afghanistan. Early in the 19th century, Russia and Britain began a long struggle to best each other on the playing fields of the Hindu Kush. This struggle, which would last well into the 20th century, would be known as The Great Game.</p> <p>The concept of the Great Game is an interesting one and very 19th century in the way in which it was framed as a game&hellip;.You can think of the Great Game in Asia of the 19th century as similar to the Cold War in the 20th century, in the sense that in both cases you had great imperial powers who were trying to improve or to create greater leverage, create greater influence over countries that were, to this point, independent in Asia&ndash;small countries like Afghanistan.</p> <p>And like the Cold War, the Great Game never involved direct conflict between the empires.</p> <p>In the 20th century the Cold War was played out through development projects, through modernization schemes, through dams, hydroelectric power, other ways in which the West, the U.S. in particular, and the Soviet Union tried to demonstrate their superiority. In the 19th century the Great Game was also not played out with armies, but rather with spies, with secret agents. And I think this is one of the ways in which they call it a game, because it was not a war per se, but these great powers were definitely competing with each other.</p> <p>But while the empires never warred directly with each other, they certainly did with the Afghans. The British fought three wars against the Afghans, and the Russians continually tested the strength of the Afghan border.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to see the Afghans as victims.</p> <p>But perhaps, like a game of buzkashi, the issues are a bit more complicated. Afghan leaders also played the empires off of each other in order to secure their own spheres of power.</p> <p>Who exactly was the player and who was the pawn, who was playing from the sidelines and who was playing from the field?</p>

Founding of a Homeland

description: 
<p>Modern Afghanistan starts to take shape.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-formationofanation.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era2/1755.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-formationofanation.png
Era: 
Age of Empire
Theme: 
Geography &amp; Destiny
Identity &amp; Perception
Year: 
1755
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
More Information: 
<p>&quot;Ancestral Timurid Group.&quot; Digital image. Freer Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution. Accessed August 21, 2010. http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/zoomObject.cfm?ObjectId=3811.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang">Anonymous. <i>Golden Temple, Amritsar 486</i>. 1860. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Anonymous. <i>The Battle of Panipat 13 January 1761</i>. 1770. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Anonymous. <i>View of Lahore</i>. 1825. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Atkinson, James. <i>Kandahar (Afghanistan); View Taken from the Camp of the 4th Brigade about One and a Half Miles South of Kandahar</i>. 1839. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Blunt, James Tillyer. <i>F.21 'Panniput 1792. 54 Miles North of Delhi in Bengal.' Landscape with City in the Background.</i> 1792. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Bust Portrait in an Oval of the Bhao, Sadhashir Rao, a Maratha General, Killed by Ahmad Shah.</i> 1761. British Museum, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Carrick, Robert C. <i>City of Kandahar, Its Principal Bazaar and Citadel, Taken from the Nakkara Khauna</i>. 1848. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Carrick, Robert C. <i>Mosque of Goolaum Hoosein Huzrut-Jee, a Great Prophet of the Afghauns</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>City of Lahore</i>. 19th C. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Guru Gobind Singh</i>. 1800. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>An Important and Rare Contemporary Portrait of Nadir Shah</i>. 1740s. Private Collection.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-261-H-172</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Mahwash. &quot;E Zema Porsan La Racha (Oh My Fairy, Come And Meet Me).&quot; In <i>Radio Kaboul</i>. Accords Crois&eacute;s, 2003, CD.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Ram, Sita. <i>Three Sikh Sirdars on Horseback</i>. 1815. British Library, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Dourraunnee Chieftains in Full Armour</i>. 1847. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Interior of the City of Kandahar, from the House of Sirdar Meer Dil Khaun</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Temple of 'Ahmed Shauh', King of Afghanistan</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Town and Citadel of Ghuznee</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Shams, A. <i>Ahmad Shah Durrani</i>. In <i>Wikipedia Commons</i>. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ahmad-Shah-Durani.jpeg.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>I think the Afghans have always been aware of themselves as a great people in a small nation.</p> <p>Today, Afghanistan looks like this.</p> <p>But this is a country with a long cultural memory. And in that memory, Afghanistan looks more like this.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s because of one man: Ahmad Shah Durrani.</p> <p>When the Persian emperor Nadir Shah expanded east and took Kandahar, Ahmad Shah Durrani was a charismatic young man. He joined the invading army, traveled with its campaigns into India, and quickly rose to become one of Nadir Shah&rsquo;s favorite commanders.</p> <p>When Nadir was assassinated in 1747, Ahmad Shah returned to Kandahar and declared the region independent from the Persians.</p> <p>He rallied the Pashtun tribes in the area and convinced them to join together in fighting outside powers instead of fighting each other. With new, massive armies, he captured Ghazni, then Kabul, then parts of Iran.</p> <p>As Ahmad Shah&rsquo;s power was rising, the Mughal&rsquo;s power in India was declining. To save themselves from an attack, the Mughals ceded land to Ahmad Shah.</p> <p>While the Mughals in India were weakening, other powers were starting to rise. The Marathas and the Sikhs were each making important gains, and the power struggle for northern India had begun.</p> <p>To hold onto his lands, Ahmad Shah Durrani had to do two things. First, he engaged the Marathas in the famous Battle of Panipat in 1761 &ndash; a battle that saw 100,000 Afghans fight 100,000 Marathas. Ahmad Shah&rsquo;s armies won, decisively, and returned home, victorious, to Kandahar. But the sweetness of victory would not last long. This time, the Sikhs were rising, taking the Punjab out from under the Afghans.</p> <p>So in this second attempt to hold onto his lands, Ahmad Shah crossed the Khyber Pass once again the following year. If he had exercised benevolence in previous campaigns, as some historians suggest, this time he unleashed nothing but wrath. He sacked the city of Lahore and killed thousands of Sikhs. In the holy city of Amritsar, he destroyed the Golden Temple and filled its pool with cow&rsquo;s blood.</p> <p>Ahmad Shah&rsquo;s empire was facing more and more challenges. The Sikhs continued to rise up, and in the north, other rebellions were also breaking out.</p> <p>The vast empire was beginning to weaken. After his death in 1772, it would disintegrate quickly.</p> <p>Despite its brevity, Ahmad Shah Durrani&rsquo;s reign was one of the most important in Afghanistan&rsquo;s history. Finally the region wasn&rsquo;t the edge of somebody else&rsquo;s larger empire. Now, it was its own empire, and its people were united under their own common identity. This was a dramatic change, and one that would remain significant into the 21st century. Now, the concept of Afghanistan&mdash;of an Afghan homeland&mdash;was beginning to emerge.</p> <p>The concept of homeland or <i>watan</i> is an important one in Afghanistan. One of the important ideological developments was to gain or transfer identification of homeland with tribe, tribal territory, to homeland with the nation state. And I think that there is a strong identification among Afghans, and not just Pashtuns, but all Afghans throughout the country, with Afghanistan as a single political entity, and with the idea of Afghanistan as their homeland.</p> <p>Afghanistan, as a concept, had been born.</p>

Pashtun Unity

description: 
<p>The Pashtuns are one of the largest ethnic groups in Afghanistan. While ethnicity is powerfully felt, it is also powerfully adaptable.</p>
Asset Media
Media Type: 
Video
Video Still: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/still-pashtununity2.png
Video URL: 
http://media.asiasociety.org/education/afghanistan/era2/1747.mp4
Video Thumbnail: 
http://cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/sites/cms.afghanistan.asiasociety.org/files/thumb-pashtununity2.png
Era: 
Age of Empire
Theme: 
Identity &amp; Perception
Year: 
1747
BCE/CE: 
CE
Date Period: 
CE
Caption: 
Lithograph by British Lieutenant James Rattray, 1839.
More Information: 
<p>Bowman, Capt. Vanessa R., and U.S. Army. &quot;070721-A-5475B-768.&quot; Digital image. Defenseimagery.mil. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/36rdm3c.</p> <div id="export-html"> <div class="chicagob"> <div class="hang">Bowman, Capt. Vanessa R., and U.S. Army. &quot;070721-A-5475B-808.&quot; Digital image. Defenseimagery.mil. June 1, 2009. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://tinyurl.com/3ytv5vz.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>60-R30-11</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Dupree, Nancy. <i>61-313</i>. Dupree Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Evans, Steve. &quot;Northern Pakistan.&quot; Digital image. Babasteve's Flickr Photostream. March 13, 2007. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/528858449. <div>Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> </div> <div class="hang">&quot;Genealogy of Pathan Tribes, Originating from Qais Abdur Rashid.&quot; In <i>The Imperial Gazetteer of India</i>, 207. Vol. XIX. 1908.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Jalali, Jawad, and UNESCO. <i>Kite Flying for Peace in Kabul: 23 September 2009</i>. UNAMA, Kabul, Afghanistan. In <i>UNAMA's Flickr Photostream</i>. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://www.flickr.com/photos/unama/3949978494/.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-138-H-49</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-16</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-2188-HG-11</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-2191-HG-14</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-29</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>KES-697-A-66</i>. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>L-c-00334-35</i>. AMRC Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Map of Afghanistan during the Safavid and Moghul Empires</i>. 1747. Library of Congress, Washington, DC.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Naqqash-bashi, Bahram. <i>Portrait of Nadir Shah</i>. 1743. State Hermitage of Russia, St. Petersburg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Nastaliq. Xayr ul-Bayān, the oldest known document written in Pashto, circa 1651. Digital image. Accessed August 21, 2010.<br /> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chair_al-Bayan_retouched.png.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Portrait of the Members of Court</i>. 1901. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Portrait of the Members of Court</i>. 1901. Khalilullah Enayat Seraj Collection, Williams Afghan Media Project, Williams College, Williamstown, MA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"> <p>Rahim Shah. <i>MAAMA DEY</i>. Courtesy of Khanzentertainment, MP3.<br /> http://www.youtube.com/user/KHANZENTERTAINMENT</p> </div> <div class="hang">Rangel, Pfc. Daniel M. &quot;Torkham Gate, Afghan, Pakistan Border.&quot; Digital image. Wikipedia Commons. August 19, 2007. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torkham_gate,_Afghan,_Pakistan_border.jpg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, James. <i>Dourraunnee Chieftains in Full Armour</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, James. <i>Kelaut-I-Ghiljie</i>. 1848. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Rattray, Lieutenant James. <i>Interior of the Palace of Shauh Shujah Ool Moolk, Late King of Cabul</i>. Courtesy of the British Library Board, London.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Shams, A. <i>Ahmad Shah Durrani</i>. In <i>Wikipedia Commons</i>. Accessed August 29, 2010. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ahmad-Shah-Durani.jpeg.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">Star Group, Royal Aziz, and UNESCO. <i>Burka</i>. UNESCO. http://photobank.unesco.org/exec/fiche.htm.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang"><i>Tribal Dancing in the National Stadium</i>. 1920s. Courtesy of the Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside, CA.</div> <div class="hang">&nbsp;</div> <div class="hang">UNAMA, and Fardin Waezi. &quot;Photo of the Day: 9 February 2010.&quot; Digital image. UNAMA's Flickr Photostream. Photo of the Day: 9 February 2010.</div> <hr /> <div class="hang">Producer: Kate Harding</div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video Transcript: 
<p>The Pashtuns are one of the largest ethnic groups in Afghanistan, and they share a common heritage and language. But understanding what it means to be Pashtun is like trying to catch the wind. No matter where you grab it, it&rsquo;s still going to find ways of blowing around the definitions. Ethnicity is powerfully felt, but it&rsquo;s also powerfully adaptable.</p> <p>When the Persian leader Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1747, he left behind a crumbling empire. By the end of the year, one of his favorite commanders, an Afghan, established his own army and declared autonomy in Kandahar. His rule would expand into what is now India, Pakistan, and Iran. And he was able to do this because he mobilized the Pashtun tribes to work together as a single unit. This leader, Ahmad Shah Durrani, would become known to many as the father of modern Afghanistan.</p> <p>With Ahmad Shah&rsquo;s campaigns, the Pashtuns began to see themselves as a group who shared important commonalities in spite of their differences. Today the Pashtuns number an estimated 40 million people, living mostly in Afghanistan and in Northwest Pakistan, divided in half by the borders of nation states.</p> <p>There are many more Pashtuns in today&rsquo;s Pakistan North-West Frontier Province and Balochestan than there are in Afghanistan. The division between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the so-called Durand line, divides the Pashtuns, particularly the eastern Pashtuns between Pakistan and Afghanistan and this is a border that Afghanistan has considered illegitimate since the time it was done on the grounds precisely that it does divide a Pashtun nation.</p> <p>But despite being split in half by an international border, the Pashtuns are held together by a certain bond&ndash;a bond that unites more than 60 distinct tribes and 400 subclans. That bond allows for shared experiences, traditions, and language, as well as a sense of meaning and a sense of belonging in the world.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to understand what the bond is, and the definitions, like all ethnic definitions, are constantly, almost necessarily, slipping out of reach. They are debated, contested, and re-made every day.</p> <p>On the one hand, Pashtuns define what it is to be Pashtun by tracing their lineage to a man named Qais Abdur Rashid&mdash;a man who traveled to Mecca in the 7th century and met the Prophet Mohammed.</p> <p>In general the Pashtuns claim descent from the founder of the Pashtun lineage, a man named Qais. Because they do that, every Pashtun group can put itself on a genealogical chart and relate itself to any other Pashtun group. The closer you look at these genealogies the more you discover that they may be considered questionable.</p> <p>Because of this, people define what it is to be Pashtun through another means: their language. Pashto is one of the two main national languages of Afghanistan. But there are lots of Pashtuns who don&rsquo;t speak Pashto, and there are lots of non-Pashtuns who do.</p> <p>Another way that Pashtuns identify themselves is through Pashtunwali. This is a code of conduct that governs Pashtun life, from individual behavior to tribal affairs. It&rsquo;s an unwritten code that encourages people to act in accordance to justice, honor, bravery, and righteousness. But because it&rsquo;s unwritten, it means that it&rsquo;s up to each individual to interpret and re-interpret throughout a lifetime.</p> <p>Huge questions can flare about what it means to follow true Pashtunwali&ndash;and a lot of that can be seen in the political issues throughout Afghanistan.</p> <p>Today the question of Pashtun identity is one that is especially politicized. In the 80s, many Pashtuns mobilized to fight the Soviets. And in the 90s, many joined the Taliban. And as in many other countries, political weight can be tied to demographic weight.</p> <p>The question of ethnic groups in Afghanistan is highly political because the question of how large a group is and how much influence it should have is a subject of considerable dispute&hellip;And that&rsquo;s because every ethnic group that you ask tends to inflate its own numbers and reduce the numbers of the others. So the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, its estimated make up about 40 percent of the country&rsquo;s population. But if you ask questions they&rsquo;ll say no, no we&rsquo;re a majority, 50 percent, 60 percent, maybe more. Are they? We don&rsquo;t know. And that is true of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Pashtuns have been tied to politics for centuries. After Ahmad Shah died, he was soon replaced by a string of Pashtun leaders that continued until the 1970s. In some ways, even the national identity of Afghanistan is tied directly into Pashtun identity because at one time, the very word &ldquo;Afghan&rdquo; was a synonym for Pashtun.</p> <p>So we find the Pashtuns being considered, or considering themselves to be the most important group in Afghanistan and they can point to the name of the country, because Afghan in the 18th and 19th century used to be the equivalent of Pashtun. So one could easily say Afghanistan was land of the Pashtuns.</p> <p>These ethnic divisions may look like a recipe for the kind of violence seen in many other parts of the world. But unlike many other countries, Afghanistan hasn&rsquo;t splintered into ethnic mini-states, and perhaps we need to be careful not to oversimplify what ethnicity means for Afghans.</p> <p>In America, when for example they do the ten year census, people will check off in a box that they belong to a particular group &ndash; white or black or Asian. And so that gives us the sense of ethnic identities being something very concrete. And in a place like Afghanistan, ethnic identity is much more flexible and variable.</p> <p>That flexibility means that what it is to be Pashtun is something that is forever in flux and forever open to reinterpretation.</p> <p>One could say, it&rsquo;s up in the air.</p>
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