کور / علمي / احمدشاه ابدالي جرګــه

احمدشاه ابدالي جرګــه






ځان به ويښ کړو هرې خوا ته     هرې خواته رقيبان دي

يو پر بل مو سره وژني   وايي خپل يو، غليمان دي

احمدشاه بابا 





‘What crimes have the gentle Pakhtuns committed that they should be erased from the pages of history, deprived of their land and through serfdom pushed to their doom!… For centuries they have known no peace. They have been repeatedly ravaged by bombardment, war and massacre. Their territory is a war zone, a training ground for imperialist powers … All the necessities of life are denied to them … I wonder what the pathetic world expects of them! I want them to stand on their legs with head erect, and then want to throw this challenge: ‘Show me another decent, gentle and cultured race like them!’  

Faith is a battle. The faithful fights to the end. He needs no weapon.   

Fakhr-e Afghan, Abdul Ghafar Khan 

Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivered a speech to the United Kingdom International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) on Friday 4th September 2009. In a five thousands words long document, the Prime Minister set out his vision concerning the ongoing problems for the international community in Afghanistan. He spoke in length about the Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and terrorists. He cited the high number of casualties sustained by British soldiers in Helmand Province. He said, however, they were justified. ‘Each time I have to ask myself’, Gordon Brown emphasized, ‘if we can justify sending our young men and women to fight for this cause … And my answer has always been yes. For when the security of our country is at stake we can not walk away.’ 

In his speech, the Prime Minister has dwelt on al-Qaeda and terrorism, their activities and the real or perceived future danger to international security thereof.  Instead of touching upon its causes, he has spoken in detail about the symptoms of terrorism, rather on its causes. I do not intend here to say more about what the Gordon Brown has said in his speech. I will focus on, in brief, what he has not said.  

FIRST: Prime Minister Gordon Brown has conveyed as if Al-Qaeda and international terrorism was borne eight years ago, in 2001. Whereas the fact is that the father of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, (contrary to the wishes of the Afghans) was recruited as a result of an ‘initiative’ by the Inter Service Intelligence of Pakistan (ISI) at the beginning of 1980 to fight jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Bin Laden’s participation in jihad as a key organizer of the Arabs international ‘Islamic Brigade’ was welcomed by the CIA and MI6, paid by Saudi Arabia and embraced by the then Pakistan’s Martial Law Administrator, Gen. Zia ul-Haq. A man of considerable wealth himself, backed by the Royal Saudi family and close family friend and business partner of the George Bush clan, Bin Laden enriched many Pakistani generals and bureaucrats. It was he who introduced Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan (at Sharif’s request) to the Saudi Royals.   

SECOND: Terrorism in reality–and in particular ideologically and religiously based terrorism–was borne a long time ago than the last three decades. Its roots lay in Britain’s colonial history in India. It is the product of the ‘divide and rule’ policy of the East India Company (EIC). It begins by proxy in the 19th century. Working through an employee of the EIC in Bushir, Persia – a naturalised British citizen of Persian origin – Mehdi Ali Khan, Wellesley established contact with the court of Fateh Ali Shah Qajar. In a letter, Wellesley asked the Persian King to keep the Abdali King ‘Zaman-Shah in perpetual check as to preclude him from returning to India.’ Mehdi Ali Khan, ‘a born intriguer,’ had once reported to the Qajar of false account of ‘atrocities committed by Sunni Afghans to the Shiites of Lahore, to arouse the anger of and provoke Fateh Ali Shah. And ‘if Zaman-Shah was checked,’ he wrote, a ‘service will be rendered to God and man’1  

This paved the way for Britain to send a ‘mission’ in 1797, headed by Capt. J Malcolm, to Persia. According to Sir John Kaye, ‘every difficulty melted away before the British Gold.’ The outcome for Britain was spectacular success. As a result a treaty of alliance between the two sides was concluded. The Qajar undertook ‘to lay waste and desolate the Afghan dominions,’ and to do every thing ‘to ruin and humble the above-mentioned nation.’ The British Government agreed to furnish the Persian army with weapons and equipment. It did not take long for Persia to attack the Abdali kingdom’s western ‘buffer state’ of Khorasan. In a report to Lord Wellesley in October 1800, Capt. Malcolm wrote that ‘You may be assured that Zaman-Shah Abdali can do nothing in India before the setting of the rains of 1801… and by the blessing of God he will, for some years to come, be too much engaged in this quarter to think of any other.’  

In May 1838 the head of Foreign and Political department in Calcutta, William MacNaghten, visited the Sikh leader, Ranjit Sing, in Lahore. As a result, on 26 June, a tripartite ‘Treaty of Alliance and Friendship’ was signed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Shah-Shoja and Lord Auckland at Simla, ‘with the approval and agreement of the British Government’2 Under the treaty Ranjit Singh would supply the army, Britain money and advisors and Shah-Shoja – who had been living as a British pensioner in India for three decades – the puppet.    

This so called treaty was one of the most peculiar ‘piece of falsehood’ and deception. The parties to the signature were: A warlord, Ranjit Singh, who had been built up by the British and used as a cat’s-paw against the Afghan Amir; Shah-Shoja, a fugitive prisoner at the hands of and humiliated by the Sikhs; and a super-power of the time, Britain. The plan of conspiracy was thus satisfactorily hatched, the players ready, and the question now was how to set the stage on which the drama was to be acted.  

On 1st October Lord Auckland issued a statement from Simla, the summer capital of the British, in which he declared that‘…Dost Mohammad had made an unprovoked attack on Ranjit Singh … and that in concert with Persia had avowed schemes of aggrandisement and ambition injurious to the security and peace of the frontier of India … therefore the government of India saw no alternative but to remove the treacherous Dost.’3

At a stage Ranjit Sing did not commit his soldier to the enterprise. Auckland, however, thought it best that Britain alone should undertake the project. The Governor-General deluded himself that Shah-Shoja will be received with open arms by the Afghans if accompanied by ‘the invincible troops of the British Indian army.’4 

A British academic, T.A. Heathcote, – without any doubt having in mind the pretext under which Tony Blair’s government imposed a fifth war (yes a fifth war see later) on Afghanistan at the beginning of the 21st Century – wrote in his book (Published in 2003): ‘British experts on Afghanistan really believed that Shah Shuja would be welcomed by the Afghans … British influence would be used to try and settle the feuds that had disturbed the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan for years past.’   

A grand sounding military force, ‘The Indus Army’, was made ready at Firozepur in the Punjab to invade Afghanistan. As usual and as at all time those recruited to the army in the class and race ridden Britain was the poor and retched of the society. It was these who were thrown in to shed their own lives and those of their victims in the course of aggressive and unjust wars for the greedy and arrogant interests of the few.


On 25 April 1839 the invasion force entered Kandahar and the city was occupied by Gen. William Nott. General Nott, who thought of his troops as ‘one equal thousand Afghans,’ became the commander of Kandahar garrison and committed innumerable atrocities. As an example of the occupier’s colonial barbarity, ‘one political’ destroyed a village and massacred its 23 inhabitants ‘because he thought they looked insultingly at him.’ 5 

A political team to ‘advise’ the puppet Shah-Shoja was selected. MacNaghten, due to his ‘wide experience’ was appointed as envoy ‘and Minister on the part of the government of India at the court of Shah-Shuja.’ The then 33 year old Lt. Colonel Alexander Burnes became his deputy.  

News of Lord Auckland’s ‘foresight and statesmanship’ pleased every one in London. ‘Chest full’ of medals was awarded. Prime Minister, Lord Palmerstone, wrote: ‘The glorious success of Auckland in Afghanistan will cow all Asia and make every thing easy for us.’6   

The Afghan Amir, Dost Mohammad Khan, was bundled and dispatched to India for an ‘honourable’ exile. 

It was all quiet. Winter came and passed. There was no stir. However, during April 1841 the situation changed. The people in Kalat, south west of Kabul, began uprising which spread fast to Ghazni and Kandahar. William MacNaghten, having spent much time in service in India, did not recognise the gravity of the situation. Alexander Burnes dismissed the uprising as ‘tempest in a teapot.’  

Peshawar and Kabul, however, was not India. A junior officer in  the ‘Indus Army’, Lt. Eyre, was more realistic and reflected the true state of affairs. The lieutenant who kept a day to day account of the winter 1841-1842, wrote that Sir William MacNaghten ‘by his representations as to the general feelings of the peoples towards us, not only deluded himself, but misled the General [Elphinstone] in council…The unwelcome truth was soon forced upon us, that in the whole Afghan nation we could not recon on a single friend.’7  

On 2nd November 1841 the headquarters of the British army at Sherpur, was attacked. On 6 January 1842 the ‘army of the Indus’ began to pull out of Kabul. Britain’s military annals are full of the gory details. All the 16,500 evacuees – composed of 4,500 officers and men and 12,000 camp followers were killed – except a number of hostages. 

John Key, who wrote two volumes on the adventure and which were published in 1851, some ten-years after the disaster, wrote: ‘The Afghans are an unforgiving race and everywhere from Candahar to Caubul and from Caubul to Peshawar are traces of the injuries we have inflicted upon the tribes.’8 Its consequence was thus the atrocious disaster of January 1842. 

Emotions and the feeling of revenge within the British ranks were overwhelming. The plucky Lady Sale wrote that ‘Now is the time to strike … I hope that I shall live to see the British flag once more triumphant in Afghanistan…only let us first show them that we can conquer them and humble their treacherous chiefs in the dust.’  

The new Governor-General, Lord Ellenborough, who had issued instructions to the British commanders in Afghanistan to withdraw, made the withdrawal subject to the restoration of the British Army prestige. ‘The British’, T.A. Heathcote, wrote, ‘had to maintain their record of always winning the last battle.’  

An ‘Army of Retribution’ under Pollock from the east, Jalalabad, and Nott from the south, Kandahar, arrived in Kabul on 17 and 19 September. Revenge was unleashed against Kabul city and its citizens. A political officer with General Nott’s force, Henry Rawillon, wrote: ‘The cry went forth that Kabul was given up to plunder. Troops and camp followers streamed into the city, pillaging shops and applying torches to houses. Guilty and innocent alike, including the friendly Kizilbashis, saw their homes and businesses were destroyed, and large areas of Kabul were laid low.’9  

At a place where refugees from the capital had gathered, every Afghan male past puberty was killed and women were raped. In the words of a young officer ‘tears, supplications were of no avail; fierce oaths were the only answer; the musket was deliberately raised, the trigger pulled, and happy was he who fell dead … in fact we are nothing but hired assassins.’10  

Dost-Mohammad Khan returned from a three-year exile in India and began his second reign in April 1843. Britain had left behind a physically, economically and psychologically ruined Afghanistan behind. She had concluded, at least at this juncture, not to interfere. Lord Ellenborough had ‘already made it known that Britain hankered after no further imperial adventures on the west bank of the Indus and “would leave it to the Afghans themselves to create a government amidst the anarchy which is the consequences of their crimes.’11 !! [Emphasis added] 

At the end of July 1839, Britain’s ‘loyal ally’, Ranjit Singh, died. It took less than a decade for the EIC to burry his Kingdom of Punjab, too. Following a string of inter-family contests for succession, the last ‘child maharaja’, Dulip Sing, ‘knelt before the Governor-General, Lord Harding, and begged his forgiveness, which was granted.’ Escorted by the British with great pomp and fan-fare, Dulip Singh was installed as the legitimate heir on the throne of Ranjit Singh. On 30 March 1849, Dulip Singh held his last court at Lahore, at which he signed away all claims to the rule of the Punjab. A proclamation by Dalhousie, annexing the Punjab, was then read out. ‘The Koh-i-Noor diamond was swiftly retrieved and presented to Queen Victoria, in the possession of whose successors it remains.’12 

Thus Britain swallowed the Punjab. 

With the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh – a major actor in the regional drama – and the demise of the Sikh state the EIC moved in to Peshawar and other areas in eastern Afghanistan to the west bank of the Indus River. Britain forward advance by proxy to reach Central Asia was now replaced by direct action. In order to move in directly in to the Afghan territories, the British advanced guard in the guise of Fakirs (holy-men), doctors and etc., had already been busy preparing the ground since 1842. In 1849 they had presence in Peshawar, Hazara, Kohat, Bannu and the Dirajat. And have been advancing step-by-step ‘through local chiefs … To all appearances the British rule was welcomed. My old friends, the chiefs of the Eusofzye country’, said George Lawrence … came in to tender their allegiance, expressing their great joy at the annexation of the Punjab to the British territory.’13 According to Olaf Caroe, ‘The arrival of the British in Peshawar in 1849 … was hailed with enthusiasm as a deliverance from the hated Sikhashahi [Sikh-Dom]’14  

The British army embarked upon subjugating the people through engaging in ‘Afghan hunting’, and carried out scores of ‘punitive expeditions’ against what Britain called the ‘shameless cruel savage’ Afghans. Charles Miller, in his book  ‘Khyber’, (1977), wrote that there ‘still stands an ancient tree in Bannu, its single remaining limb is deeply scarred by the rope marks of the unaccountable hangings that Nicolson ordered in his kangaroo courts. He had thousands of lesser offenders flogged senseless.’15  

In June 1863 Amir Dost Mohammad Khan died after twenty year of frustrated rule. He had left behind a sea of trouble to his young son, Sher-Ali Khan. A war of succession ensued. Britain ‘played a double role,’ backing Sher-Ali Khan’s younger brother against him, thus there were two parallel powers in Kabul for some time. The Indian Viceroy at the time, John Lawrence, an appointee of the Liberal government, watched with keen interest. The Liberals firmly believed that Indus was the natural border of India from where it could be best defended.  The most firm supporter of this school, John Lawrence (Indian viceroy, 1864) who, up to the end, adhered to the opinion that in order to defend India Britain’s best bid was to win the hearts of the Afghan nation. He believed that the British position in the sub-continent would be far stronger if it ‘acknowledged traditional Afghan claims and pulled her own north-west boundary into the east bank of the Indus.’16 [Emphasis added] “I do not believe,” Lawrence said, “we shall have any difficulties or complications with the Afghans if we only leave them alone. The greater the enmity between the two parties in Kabul, the less likely are they to meddle with us.’17  

John Lawrence was succeeded by Lord Mayo. The Afghan Amir Sher-Ali Khan had developed cordial personal relations with the new Viceroy. Following a meeting with Lord Mayo in Ambala on 27 March 1869, the Amir wrote him a letter in which he stated: ‘if it pleases God, as long as I am alive, or as long as my government exists, the foundation of friendship and good-will between his and the powerful British government will not be weakened.’18 

  However, this personal friendship and unwarranted warmth between the two came to an abrupt end with the assassination of Lord Mayo in 1872. He was replaced by Lord Northbrook. The Russians, who in 1842 were beyond the Aral Sea some one thousand miles away from Central Asia, were now at the Oxus.  

In order to counter the ‘Russian threat’ to India, two schools of thought had developed in Britain: Namely those who advocated the ‘forward policy’, and those who believed in practising ‘masterly inactivity.’ The adherents of the first school prescribed to, by hook or by crook, the continuation of gradual penetration into eastern Afghanistan’s provinces to ‘advance to Hindu Kush or even the Oxus itself.’ And the other, which was more cautious and did not want the repetition of the 1842 disaster, supported a closed door policy with Kabul.19  

In 1869, however, a five year long conference began between London and St. Petersburg in order to settle issues related to the Central Asian territories between the two advancing imperial powers. By January 1873 an agreement was reached between William Gladstone’s government and the Tsarist Russia under which Afghanistan remained ‘outside the Russian and inside the British sphere of influence.’20 

In February 1874 Gladstone’s Liberal government was replaced by the Conservative Disraeli under whose clutches the edifice of ‘Closed Border Policy’ crushed and the ‘Forward Policy’ prevailed. The ‘hawks’ had won. The Secretary of State for India, Lord Salisbury, instructed the Governor-General of India, Lord Northbrook, to open talks with Amir Sher-Ali Khan on establishing British missions in Kabul and Herat. Northbrook was opposed to the scheme and resigned. In his letter of resignation, Northbrook wrote to Lord Salisbury: ‘The Amir’s rule, if not universally popular, was strong and … unchallenged. The Amir in his foreign policy had hitherto complied with British wishes and he showed no desire to seek the friendship of the Russians. But the thing he dreaded most of all was any possible interference in his internal affairs, which would be signalled by the arrival of a British Resident. “We deprecate, as involving serious danger to the peace of Afghanistan and to the interests of the British Empire in India, the execution under present circumstances, of the instructions in your Lordship’s dispatch.’21   

Lord Edward-Bulwer-Lytton was appointed the Viceroy of India. Within a short time of his arrival, he had embarked upon planning ‘not only the annexation of Afghanistan but…an attack on Russia in Central Asia with a force of twenty thousand men.’ The prospect of war with Russia’, he wrote to Salisbury, the Secretary of State for India, in September 1876, immensely excites me, but so far as India is concerned, does not alarm me. ‘We are twice as strong as Russia in this part of the world,’ Lytton noted, should war be declared, a British force should be sent to Central Asia. The Khanates could be raised against Russia ‘and put a sea of fire between us.’ In fact so far as India is concerned, no event would be more fortunate than a war with Russia next spring.’  

Thus Lytton was spoiling for war. He wrote a letter to the Afghan Amir informing him of the dispatch of Lewis Pelly to Kabul to discuss ‘topics of mutual interest’ with the Afghan government. The British delegation was already on its way, Lytton told him in the letter. The ‘topics of mutual interest’ were to establish a British resident at his court, who would advise him on internal and external affairs and thus discourage him from unpopular oppressive acts at home, or ill-considered aggressive acts abroad.’22 (Emphasis added)  

What in fact the British intention was to station its military forces at the heart of the Hendu Kosh; bring Kandahar, Herat and Balkh under Britain’s direct influence; split Shinwar and Mohmand from Nangarhar province; severe Peshin and Sibi from Kandahar and annex them to ‘British Sistan’ and obtain control over the strategic Khyber, Kurram and Bolan passes. Lord Lytton did not believe in Afghanistan to be a ‘buffer’ state.  Afghanistan should be ‘either with Britain or Russia’, he argued, ‘otherwise it should be wiped out of the map and divided between the two imperial powers.’[Emphasis added] Sher-Ali Khan pleaded that the Russians had also been exerting pressure on him to allow the Tsar’s envoys in Afghanistan. He passed on a letter from General Kaufman, the Tsar’s military commander of Central Asia, to the Viceroy. Competing with Britain, the Tsarist authorities too wanted to ‘replace Islamic barbarism’ by European civilisation. All the same, Lytton could not be bent. However, Sher-Ali did not allow the British delegation to go to Kabul. This ‘disgraceful act’ angered the Viceroy. ‘Intolerant of opposition,’ Lord Lytton characterised the Afghan leader as ‘a savage with a touch of insanity,’23  

Advising his Minister in Kabul, Ata Mohammad, the Viceroy in an ultimatum outlined: ‘Afghanistan should not have contact with foreign countries, in particular with Russia without informing the British…Kabul should accept English representatives in Kabul, Herat…British nationals should be allowed freely to come and go through Afghanistan and Kabul should accept responsibility for their security. British missions should be allowed in Afghanistan from time to time. If the Amir accepts these conditions, he could send a representative to Peshawar otherwise there is no need for further contacts.’ The British government, Lytton added...will take and reach an agreement with the Russians to wipe out Afghanistan from the map of the world…’24[Emphasis added]  

Thus Lytton had made up his mind; the pretext was there and was ready to engage in his forthcoming adventure. Britain was bent on accomplishing her well-defined objective, the extent of which was the Oxus as the ‘ultimate boundary, and Balkh, Maymana and Herat for its main posts’ for the empire’s security.25 He was assured of his power by an officer on his personnel staff, Col, George Pomeroy Colley, who believed that with the development of new technology in weaponry and the conduct of war, ‘a single British regiment,…armed with breech loaders and plentifully supplied with ammunition, should be able to march at will through the length and breadth of Afghanistan..’26


In a letter dated 12 October 1878 addressed to Leyton, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Lord Cranbrook wrote that ‘henceforth Afghanistan cannot remain to exist as a whole.’  On 21 November British troops attacked Afghanistan on three fronts. ‘The die is cast,’ Lytton informed London in a telegram. In reply Cranbrook wrote to the Viceroy that ‘Your great work has begun – God give you a good deliverance.’    

In the face of the British invasion, Amir-Sher Ali left Kabul for Mazar-e Sharif to proceed to Russian Turkestan to ask the Tsar Alexander II for assistance. His attempt was in vain and died on 21 February 1879.  

Mohammad Yaqub, the Amir’s son, was left behind to face one of the critical phases in Afghanistan’s history. The British favourite new Amir, Yaqub Khan, was summoned by the invading forces. He arrived on 8 May 1879 at Gandomak, ‘where the men of the 44th Foot died after the 1842 retreat from Kabul,’ and began ‘negotiations’ with Luis Cavagnari. As a result one of the most notorious agreements in Afghanistan’s history and which, henceforth, was imposed on every British paid servant Afghan puppet Amir in the course of the 19th and that of the beginning of the 20th century. Lytton’s dream of creating a ‘scientific frontier’ for India seemed to have come true. Congratulations, celebration and awards followed. Regiments were awarded battle honours; soldiers were decorated and generals got their full chests of medals. Cavagnari won knighthood and was appointed Britain’s Minister to Kabul. Sir Louis Cavagnari arrived in Kabul with great pomp to take his post. The date was 24 July 1879.  

He was confident and devoted. Replying to a statement made by John Lawrence in England that Cavagnari and his staff…will be murdered – every one of them.., Sir Louis said: ‘if my death sets the Red Line on the Hindu Kush, I do not care.’  

All was quiet. In a telegram to Simla on 2 September 1879, Cavagnari wrote: ‘All well.’ On the 3rd it was not. The British residency in lower Bala-Hesar of Kabul was surrounded by a unit of Afghan soldiers. Cavagnari, along with members of the British mission in Kabul was killed. The residency was set ablaze. In a telegram to Simla, Yaqub Khan wrote to the Viceroy that ‘I have lost my friend the envoy…and also my kingdom.’ 27   

Lytton’s reaction was immediate. General Roberts, whose army was close to Kabul, was instructed to advance on the capital. On 6 October 1879 Roberts moved in with a massive force. Afghanistan was destined to be dealt with the force of arms and … ‘undisputed supremacy of British power from Indus to Oxus.., was to be established. In his instructions to Roberts, Lytton advised that it was immaterial if innocent people were the victims. That could not be helped.., he had instructed, “every Afghan brought to death I shall regard as one scoundrel the less in a nest of scoundrelism.”’ 28 General Roberts did just that. In rebuffing some reports in London’s press which wrote about the style and scale of ‘atrocities’ committed by British forces, Roberts stated ‘I am afraid I shall hang them, notwithstanding all the rubbish the “Spectator” and the “Statesman” write.’  

Yaqub Khan abdicated. On 13 Oct. a ‘victory’ parade was held by Roberts in Kabul. Now ‘I am really king of Kabul,’ wrote General Roberts to his wife in London. However, he was not to be ‘King of Kabul’ for long. On the morning of 23 December a huge fire was lit on the Asmayi Mountain to the south-west of the city that could be seen from far off distances. This signalled the first sign of declaration of a general attack on the British forces at Sherpur. In January 1880 Roberts announced that the British were withdrawing from Afghanistan and would recognize any one who took control of the country.  

On 8 April 1880 the Conservative government was replace by the Liberals. Lord Ripon was appointed the new Viceroy of India by William Gladstone. The Viceroy, who arrived in Simla on 8 June, was instructed to find a way out of Afghanistan’s ‘quagmire’ before the arrival of the winter. It was Amir Abdul-Rahman Khan ‘the Iron Amir’ who provided such ‘a way out’ for the British. The new Amir accepted to conduct his foreign relations through the colonial authorities, and was installed in Kabul. And after avenging the British Army defeat of July 17, 1897, Britain left Afghanistan in August 1889.

Relations between the Amir and Britain, too, deteriorated. He played a cat and mouse game with the British throughout his reign. Sir Mortimer Durand considered him a ‘stubborn and unreliable ally’. 

Leaving Abdul-Rahman behind to overcome internal opposition, the British resorted to every means to subdue the Afghan tribes. There were scores of raids against the colonial authority. In response ‘punitive expeditions’ were launched; collective punishments rendered; entire villages were destroyed to keep ‘the tribals busy.’ They killed hundreds of thousands of Afghans and deprived millions of a peaceful life. But they never succeeded in subjugating them.  

The one policy in which, Britain was remarkably successful, however, was the use of the religious sentiments of their opponents as a tool of ‘divide and rule.’ In 1892 the authorities had found it very difficult to go to and open access to Kurram Valley, south west of Peshawar. The majority of the population of this valley was Turis [Shiite]. Through kindling the religious sentiments between the Sunnis and Shiites, the British received the following ‘petition’:

   O English gentlemen! We appeal to you in God’s name. By the Durranis [Afghan rulers] we have been ruined and reduced to the last extremes of distress. They plunder us without restrain. With sighs and tears we appeal to you to free us from these oppressors … Durrani rule we loathe. For British rule we yearn … Kurram is a well favoured and fertile country. Move but a step forward and you will free us from the burden … If you refuse aid to us, rest assured that at the last great day of judgement we will seize the skirts of your garments and accurse you of this injustice before God himself! A tall man with a silk turban will deliver this our petition. Treat him kindly.29 

Well, the ‘tall man’ was treated kindly. The British moved in, in style! The religious fire between the Shiite and Sunni communities in the region that they had started in 1892 still continues ablaze. Any merchant of death, at any time, can blow it into flames which consume every one and every thing around it.  

The turn of the century was accompanied with some fresh elements in British policy in India. Britain had realised the fact that the Afghan nation can not be subjugated by force. The new Indian Viceroy, Lord Curzon, thought it best to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghans. For this he moved the invisible and non-extent line of Britain’s sphere of influence to its visible and natural location, east of the Indus River at Margala Heights. British armies were withdrawn, Afghanistan’s territorial integrity was restored, and the Afghanland was no longer subject to British laws and regulations. The country from Indus to Oxus remained under British sphere of influence, exercised from Delhi.  

‘The Iron Amir’, who had cobbled together west Afghanistan with an iron hand, had died. At the end of the great intra-Western civilization madness, called the ‘Great War’ of 1914 (which was fought not for safeguarding our “cherished values”, but for cherishing greed), the Ottoman Empire was wiped out. And by drawing those lines in the sand, Britain’s hold on the Arab world was guaranteed.  

In Afghanistan, a young Afghan, Abdul Ghafar Khan, appeared on the stage. Still a ten-ager, Abdul Ghafar (as he signs himself) had concluded that the true path to salvation for his people from oppression was through education. He formed an Afghan Jirga, toured the length and breath of the country and began in earnest to set up schools. This was contrary to the agenda of the colonial authorities, whose political agents were busy keeping the tribes poor and uneducated. On 21 December 1921, he was jailed under Article 40 of the FRC. Shackles in his feet and heavy chains around his neck, Abdul Ghafar Khan had to grind 40 Sers of maze every day. Following three years for this ‘sedition’ behind the jail bars, he was released in 1924 and resumed his struggle for his education drive. The chief-commissioner of Peshawar, Sir John Maffey, reacted violently. Abdul Ghafar Khan wrote in his biography that when I ‘pleaded with the rulers that education was no crime … the rejoinder was:  

“But if you are allowed to organize the Pathans for social reform, what guarantee is there that this organization will not be used against the Government and its interest? … You must apologize and give a security that you will not do it again … This is not service, but rebellion.” 30  

Some 89 years later, Britain had hinted at reconsidering this policy. In his speech of 4th September 2009, Prime Minister Brown talked about ‘ work on education in Afghanistan – together with the increasing focus on education in Pakistan.’ What happens in reality, we’ll have to wait and see. 

In 1929 Abdul Ghafar Khan founded the Khudaii Khedmatgar (Servants of God) organisation. Its philosophy was non-violence; its charter was ‘I shall never use violence, I shall not retaliate or take revenge …’ and its aim was to work for the social improvement of the Afghan nation. His movement for social reform was dubbed the ‘Red Shirts’ by the authorities which, after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, saw every thing “red’ and thus even more dangerous to the security of India as well as to Islam. Speaking on the subject, Abdul Ghafar Khan – who was honoured by the Afghans with the title of Fakhr-e Afghan, Bacha Khan – stated:  

‘The best way to face the Russians danger is to grant us our right to become masters of our own land. We Pakhtuns are a large community, stretching from the Amu (Oxus) to the middle of the Punjab, and no one can dominate us. If one thinks of waging war against us, we are willing to sacrifice everything for the protection of our country.31 

Britain, however, had been engaged in developing a different strategy. The Indian Congress’s demand for ‘Quit India’ was becoming more and more vocal. In order to safeguard its future ‘strategic interests’ in the region, Britain then had been saddling Mohammad Ali Jinnah for looking after colonial interests in the absence of direct British rule. The leader of the Muslim League, Mr Jinnah, was being ‘built’ to be the sole representative of all Muslims in India.  There had already been the necessary tools in existence in order to facilitate such a project. In line with the policy of divide and rule, the people of India were divided into different ‘casts’ in 1909 to vote separately. Under Chelmsford-Minto ‘reforms’, the Muslims voted for Muslims, the Hindus for Hindus.  

In 1921 the religiously based ‘Two-Nation’ theory was proposed by a Punjabi, Sir Mohammed Shafi and developed by the Viceroy of India, Lord Reading. In a dispatch to London, the Viceroy boasts of his personal ‘greatest attention’ to the scheme. He wrote: ‘I have just sent you a telegram which will show you how near we have been to a complete break between the Muslims and the Hindus. I have been giving the greatest attention to this possibility, and I had the greatest assistance from Shafi in my council, who is a highly respected Mohammedan.’  

In 1943 Lord Archibald Wavell, was appointed the new Viceroy of India. In the course of 1941-42, his predecessor, Lord Linlithgow, had been the key player in blowing up Mr Jinnah to be the ‘sole spokesman’ of Indian Muslims.  

Following the Second World War it was not possible for a weakened Britain to continue its direct rule over India. It was now the duty of Field Marshall Wavell to continue with and realise the project at hand. Lord Wavell succeeded in crafting Jinnah to the extent through which he could implement his plan for the continuation of Britain’s imperial rule in the region. This was only possible to divide India. Through the leader of the Muslim League, Lord Wavell – as instructed by Winston Churchill to ‘keep a bit of India’ – was maturing his project. This ‘bit of India’ was to be retained as Britain’s ‘base for defensive and offensive action against the USSR in any future dispensation in the subcontinent.’  

Concerns about the viability of the proposed Pakistan for such a base due to its meagre resources and the lack of ‘strategic depth’ were expressed in a report by Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck. This view, however, was in variance with what Lord Wavell had in mind. He was quick in rejecting the report:  

‘His Excellency the Viceroy said he did not feel that there were final grounds for rejecting the possibility that we might remain in North-East and North-West India [the proposed Pakistan] for an indefinite period. He was not entirely in agreement with the commander-in-chief that Pakistan as part the Empire receiving British support would be strategically incapable of being defended and of no military advantage to the Empire. [Emphasis added] ‘The Shadow of the Great Game’, p. 220  

It was for gaining such a ‘strategic depth’ that Britain and the Pakistani establishment in the 1980s in the guise of anti-Soviet jihad killed two million Afghans, deprived three generations of every means of life, maimed and traumatised several millions of them, and raised to the ground their homes and huts. 

Field Marshal Alanbrooke, a supporter of the partition plan told Atlee on 12 April 1946 that ‘Pakistan … was in fact militarily unsound but as chaos would probably take place in India if this scheme, which was a political one [italics added] was not put into effect.32 

The play was hatched. A stage was needed to be played on. 

The stage on which the game was destined to be played followed soon. In order to secure ‘a bit of India’ for Winston Churchill, Mr. Jinnah, on 27 July 1946, announced ‘Direct Action Day’ stating that ‘Today we have forged a pistol and are in a position to use it.’ On 13th August a proclamation– (from which Osama Bin Laden could have had copied his various Fetwas) – for the ‘Direct Action Day’ was issued the text of which was ‘forwarded to London and New Delhi from the governor’s office.’ The ‘last paragraph’ of the proclamation declared:  

‘It was Ramadan that the Quran was revealed. It was in Ramadan that the permission for jehad was granted by Allah. It was in Ramadan that the battle of Badr, the first open conflict between Islam and heathenism, was fought and won by 313 Muslims (against 900 in A.D. 634) and again it was Ramadan that 10,000 Muslims under the holy prophet conquered Mecca (in A.D. 630) and established the kingdom of Heaven and commonwealth of Islam in Arabia. The Muslim league is fortunate that it is starting its action in this holy month.’33 (Compare with Bin Laden’s Fetwas) On 16th of August 1946 the ‘Direct Action Day’ came. As a result 5,000 people were killed and more than 20,000 injured.  

On March 12 1947 the new Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, arrived in Delhi. He was entrusted with the critical task of implementing Wavell-Jinnah plan with the utmost secrecy needed. Mountbatten was instructed to ‘… Fix responsibility for the division of India squarely on Indian shoulders…’ 34 

The Viceroy played his part brilliantly. He told Ismay, who was a member of his delegation, that to any Indian leader that I me, ‘I…off with my usual lecture on a strong union of India…I was determined’, he emphasized ‘that so far as possible the decision whether to have partition or not should rest on the shoulders of the Indian people themselves and that the accusation against Britain having divided the country should thus be avoided.’35  

Every scenario was thus fixed. On problem, however, was still to overcome. This was concerning the real target and the most important part of the whole scheme: the land of the Afghans, where the Khudaii Khedmatgars were in control and Bacha Khan’s elder brother, Dr Khan, was heading the government. They had won every election since 1937.  

‘So long as the Khan brothers ruled the Frontier,’ Olaf Caroe wrote, ‘Jinnah could not claim leadership of Muslim India, and it was impossible even for a moth-eaten Pakistan to emerge.’ Caroe papers IORL, MSS Eur F 203/1 

Sir Olaf Caroe, the Governor of the NWFP, volunteered to find a solution to this problem. With unparalleled wide experience in the province, Caroe was a real choice. However, in order to make the plan hitch-free and its success certain just in case Caroe failed, Caroe-Jinnah     

‘…asked Iskander Mirza to resign from the Government of India and return to the tribal territories he knew so well. There he was to start a jihad (Holy War) … Jinnah’s request stunned Iskander Mirza … He knew that if the tribes were persuaded to rise in revolt, there would be considerable bloodshed … Yet … he could not refuse Jinnah … so he told Jinnah that money would be needed to undertake this immense task, particularly if it involved inciting the tribesmen in Waziristan, Tirah and moh[m]and country… When asked how much, Iskander Mirza estimated one crore of Rupees (equivalent to Rs 50 crore at the end off the twentieth century)… Iskander Mirza was given Rs 20,000 for immediate expenses and told that the Nawab of Bhopal would provide the rest. As for cover, he would be told of it at the right time.’36  

Pakistan was created. Iskandar Mirza was not needed. On the 16th August 1947, a day after the 15th August celebration, the unprecedented tragedy of religious violence of the century began. Neighbor turned against neighbor, a thousand years of common history ‘disintegrated’ with the ‘acid’ of ‘are you from Pakistan or India.’ Kamila Shamsie, ‘burnt shadows’, p. 105.  

‘In and around Amritsar bands of armed Sikhs killed every Muslim they could find, while in and Lahore, Muslim gangs – many of them ‘police’ – sharpened their knives and emptied their guns at Hindus and Sikhs. Entire train-loads of refugees were gutted and turned into rolling coffins, funeral fires on wheels, food for bloated vultures who darkened the skies over Punjab.” … Hundreds of thousands of people died in the ethnic cleansing that followed the imposition of the new border Sir Cyril drew between India and Pakistan. Karl Meyer, ‘The Dust of Empire”, p95; and Robert Makey, www  

Although the British departed in 1947 … Both the political and administrative structures and the hierarchy of personnel with all associated functions and values remained intact.’ Dr Akbar S Ahmad, ‘Religion and politics in the Muslim Society’, p.35 

‘The partition of India in 1947 was the only way to contain intractable religious difference as the sub-continent moved towards independence – or so the official story goes. But this new history reveals previously overlooked links between British strategic interests – in the oil wells of the Middle East and maintaining access to its Indian Ocean territories – and partition… Sarila, former ADC to Mountbatten, has drawn on top-secret documentary evidence throwing new light on Gandhi, Jinnah, Mountbatten, Churchill, Atlee, Wavel and Nehro amongst others. This radical reassessment of a key moment in British colonial history is important in itself, but also offers reason to believe that the roots of Islamic terrorism sweeping the world today may lie in the partition of India.’  

Thus Britain’s politicians, who feverishly argue that Britain invaded Afghanistan because it was the “incubator of al-Qaeda.’ The truth, as proved by evidence, was that the “incubator” for al-Qaeda’s ideas had been manufactured more than three centuries ago in the factories of the British colonialism. And the ‘incubator’ of the actual al-Qaeda of the 21st Century – and the eggs of terrorism hatched in – has been Britain’s ‘military base’ – the Punjabi establishment.  

The new copy mini-establishment of the ‘Brown Sahibs’, under the watch of Governor Cunningham, unleashed its cut-throats against the Khudai Khedmatgars and the entire Afghan nation. Thousands of Khdaii Khedmatgars were slaughtered with the slogan and sword of Islam. Their property and livelihood were confiscated. Bacha Khan was imprisoned. He remained 15 years in chains behind the bars during the first 18 years of Jinnah’s Pakistan. He had spent 18 years in the ‘British Raj’ prisons. Half of a century of this true man of God was wasted inside jails or in exile.  

General Zia’s jihad of the 1980s; the imposition of a minority apartheid regime on Kabul in 1992 by Britain and Pakistan; Nawaz Sarif and General Musharraf’s intention towards the Afghan nation; the 2001 invasion and the 2009 drone attacks and ‘punitive expeditions’ by ‘Pak-Army’ against Afghans in Swat, Buner and Waziristan – have all been part and parcel of the same policy, and have proved without any shadow of doubt that Britain seeks the survival of its ‘military base’, Pakistan, in the destruction of the Afghan nation. And the Afghan nation can no longer bear the sufferings to which they have been subjected for the last two centuries.  

The final word here as on all and every occasion followed by the Afghan nation is that of the true champion of humanity, Fakhr-e Afghan, Bacha Khan. He says: “Thousands of people were murdered by the ancient tyrants. And as a result of British and Pakistani authorities, lakhs of Pakhtuns who could have been a strong nation in Asia and served the cause of humanity, have been divided and  devastated, gradually erased from the map of the world and wiped out. My crusade today is against this injustice. What crimes have the gentle Pakhtuns committed that they should be erased from the pages of history, deprived of their land and through serfdom pushed to their doom! “I want to knit the divided tribes of the Pakhtuns, spread out from Baluchistan to Chitral, into one community, one brotherhood, so that they can share their sorrows and sufferings and can play a vital role in serving humanity. We have been painted black in the eyes of the world by aliens. The doors are shut upon us, none is allowed to reach us, and we have been presented as a collection of uncivilized, wild tribes… During all these dark and evil days for centuries, spreading from the Mogul reign to British rule and Pakistani regime, these helpless people have been subjected to tyranny… They seldom enjoy a long spell of peaceful coexistence … for centuries they have known no peace. They have been repeatedly ravaged by bombardment, war and massacre. Their territory is a war zone, a training ground for imperialist powers. They have no schools or hospitals. Like untended, wild daisies, they bloom and fade away in mountain ridges. All the necessities of life are denied to them … I wonder what the pathetic world expects of them! The world should have lavished love and sympathy on these handsome, healthy youthful girls and boys; instead man-eaters have been let loose on them and injury has been added to insult. I long to save the gentle, brave, proud, patriotic and chivalrous Pakhtuns from the tyranny of aliens and create for them a free world, where they can grow in peace, comfort and happiness. “I want to kiss the earth heaped on the ruins of their homes devastated by brutal people. With my own hands I want to wash their blood-stained cloths. I want to sweep their lanes and humble mud huts. Before the eyes of the world I want them to stand on their legs with head erect, and then want to throw this challenge: ‘Show me another decent, gentle and cultured race like them!’  

The only way for the ‘regional stability’ is to allow every historical nation under the occupation of the Punjabi establishment – the Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baluch and Sindhis – to become masters of their own lands and of their own  destiny. Otherwise expecting stability and peace will be no more than self-deception. 

ايمان مبارزه ده. د ايمان خاوندان تر پايه جنګېږي. وسلې ته ضرورت نه لري.  فخر افغان، باچا خان. زرملوال 

يا ربه توفيق!