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Tuesday, 11.02.2010, 09:50pm (GMT+1)
Annihilation of 17,500 British Empire's Army on Jalalabad Highway
دانگریزامپراطوری 17،500 لشکرتباهی د جلال آباد پرلوی لارباندی
The Evacuation of Kabul by the British - (6 January 1842)
After two months and four days of fighting, finally, the British Army was forced to evacuate Kabul. Even at the time of departure, they didn’t stop their deceitful habits and contrary to their agreement, gave the Afghans cannons that were not operative, and kept more cannons with themselves than what was agreed upon.
When leaving their Garrison in Kabul, the British Army had 2,000 load carrying camels and provisions enough for 6 days. They were distributed in divisions (parts or groups): The Vanguard part, Main part, and the Tailing part which left from the front and rear gates of the Garrison one after the other. The departure started at 9:30 a.m. and continued until sunset. The women were in the Vanguard Division while the Treasury was in Main (Centre) Division. The last Forces of the British were able to leave the Garrison at sunset while the Warriors were taking the Garrison and this sinister memento was put to fire. The Rearguard of the British Army was travelling in the light of this great fire. The women of Kabul were watching this fire from top of their houses, which was reflecting golden pillars over the silvery snow on the ground and were rejoicing this National Victory.
The British Army stopped for the night around Bagrami while the Forces of General Sale were making preparations for battle in Jalalabad. Reports were being continuously received in the British Army regarding the arrangements for the dispatch of British reinforcing Forces to Jalalabad from Peshawar. The Council of National Leaders knew if the Forces of General Elphinstone join the Forces of General Sale in Jalalabad; the issue of the defense of Afghanistan will take too long. In such a case, the Forces of Pollock from Peshawar and the Forces of Nott from Kandahar will pour in Kabul and a new battle will start. Therefore, the National Council authorized Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan and Mohammad Shah Khan Ghilzai not to let the Army of Elphinstone join the Forces of Jalalabad with Arms and Ammunitions. Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan tried to convince Elphinstone to persuade Sale to return to Peshawar in accordance with the Mutual Treaty prior to his own arrival in Jalalabad. But, this was not accomplished. Therefore, the Sardar wanted to take the Artillery and the Arms of the Elphinstone Army prior to its arrival to Jalalabad. It is evident that General Elphinstone wasn’t agreeing to such a thing. Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan also tried to have some of the high-ranking British Officers as hostage with him from Elphinstone’s Army for the final negotiations with the British. But, this request of him couldn’t be achieved without fighting. Therefore, Afghan guerrilla fights and night raids started and the British Army was seriously defending.
Concealment of Truth by British & Western Writers about the Defeat of the British
This is wrong and contrary to reality that some people have tried to hide this defeat of the British Army by creating excuses such as cold weather, lack of provision, the old age and weakness of the British Army Commander-in-Chief, etc. Neither the British nor their Forces were residents of Central Africa who had not experienced the cold weather in their lives. Kabul-Jalalabad Highway was neither the North Pole. This 7 days’ highway was partly having a pleasant and moderate weather similar to the winter in India. The other half of it has snow and is wintry. But this coldness wasn’t colder than Great Britain. Like the British Army, the Afghan Warriors were also walking in the open air and fighting. The British had Arms, Artillery, Military Discipline, and had the superiority over the Afghan Warriors, and the Afghans were only fighting with rifles and swords. Therefore, this battle of Jalalabad Highway wasn’t only a physical and materialistic fight, but also a morale battle. And, the Afghans defeated the Enemy in both. It is contrary to reality that in their explanations of this battle, some writers have tried to show as if Wazir Akbar Khan, Mohammad Shah Khan Ghilzai, and all the other National Leaders had no connection with this battle. They have wrongfully tried to show as if the Afghan Leaders were unable to prevent or control the National Afghan Warriors. Wazir Akbar Khan and his friends were regarding the destruction of the Enemy’s Army their duty in order to save their country from foreign invasion. Besides, Mohammad Shah Khan himself was the Leader of the Ghilzai Warriors who was organizing most of the National Forces. All the Afghan Warriors were obeying their commands most heartily and sincerely.
Therefore, during one week, the army of the enemy was losing its Artillery, Arms, Soldiers, and Officers day-by-day and night-by-night until the entire 17,500 Army of the British was annihilated. Only one wounded and wearily but alive survivor reached Jalalabad to report the historical destruction of the British Army to General Sale.
When the British Army reached “Se Baba”, the British Surgeon, Duff, cut his blood vessel and committed suicide because of the fright of this battle.
On 11 January, the British Army Commander-in-Chief, Elphinstone, proposed his surrender to Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan, and Mohammad Shah brought him to the Afghan Camp during the night. This Camp was under the sky and in open air, and the following Afghan Leaders were sitting around the fire:
· Wazir Akbar Khan
· Abdul Ghias Khan
· Abdul Hakim Khan
· And others
In a corner, a small tent was erected. The Afghan Leaders stood and manly received the General and his companion, Johnson. They didn’t disarm them from their swords. They gave their own tent to these guests for their comfort and rest.
In fact, during the battle which took place between the two Asian and European countries, one was the British Empire which was a too young Western Country depending on business, arms, and the Colonial Morality with anger and pride. The other was an Ancient Asian Country that hadn’t lost its Eastern Noble and Generous Genuineness of Morality and demonstrated and proved it during the First British-Afghan War.
The Afghans protected their British Prisoners with kindness and honour and had brotherly and safe custody of the Enemy’s women with utmost honour and respect. A small girl of Anderson was left on the ground after her parents had fled from the battle in Khurd Kabul. The Ghilzai Warriors took this infant in their arms and brought her to Kabul and put her in the residence of Nawab Mohammad Zaman Khan that had taken the form of a guesthouse for the enemy refugees. Nawab kept this child in his harem for several months as his own child until she was safely returned to her parents. The writings of the British themselves such as Mackenzie, Lawrence, Lady Sale and others are confirming more clearly this greatness of morality and character of the people of Afghanistan.
Total Annihilation of British Army on Kabul/Jalalabad Highway
However, the British Army after evacuating Kabul on 6 January 1842, stopped at Bagrami, 5 miles to the east of Kabul City. The Afghan Warriors took from them the extra cannons which they were carrying with them and which was contrary to the 11 December 1841 Treaty. On 7 January, the second stop was Butkhak. Since General Sale hadn’t yet evacuated Jalalabad in accordance with the Treaty, Sardar Mohammad Akbar took another 6 British Officers from General Elphinstone as hostage in Butkhak. On 8 January, the Forces of the enemy went to Khurd Kabul and lost 2,000 persons in battles. The fighting continued along the 5 miles long valley of Khurd Kabul and the British lost 3,000 persons in these battles. They named the Khurd Kabul Valley,
“Cemetery for Elphinstone’s Army”,
On 9 January, while having still 10,000 soldiers, Elphinstone had discussions with Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan, and also wrote to General Sale to evacuate Jalalabad immediately. In return, Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan took all the British women, children, and married men of the British Army and put them under his protection and sent them to the back of the Army. The British Army moved and up to 5 miles from Khurd Kabul continued their battles with the Afghan Warriors (the stop at Khak-i-Jabaar) and suffered losses. On 10-11 January between the road of Tizeen and Jagdalak, a distance of 22 miles, the losses of the British Army were greater. But, according to the instructions of the British Government, General Sale made Jalalabad City his fortification and sacrificed the Forces of Kabul. When General Elphinstone noticed this, he himself and two other high ranking Officers surrendered to Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan same way as Amir Dost Mohammad surrendered to Macnaghten. On 12 January, the rest of the British Army crossed the Pass of Jagdalak towards the Camp of General Sale. On 13 January, only one person, Dr. Brydon, was left to go and see General Sale and tell him the story about the British Army in Kabul while he himself had three wounds on him.
Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan left the besieged Britons in Jalalabad under siege and he himself went to Laghman together with the British prisoners of women, men, and children totalling 44 persons including the wives of General Sale and Macnaghten and 7 British Officers. Mohammad Shah Khan provided provisions and protected them for more than 4 months in his Castle in Badeyabad. It was at this time that MacGregor from Jalalabad wrote to Mohammad Shah Khan if he will release the British prisoners; he will pay him Rs. 200,000. Mohammad Shah Khan wrote in reply of this Englishman who regarded money as the Solution for all difficulties and problems even against honour, and said,
“I like your letter. But, my friend, you should know that “Breach of Trust” is neither allowed in your religion nor in my religion”.
Young English Woman “Wade” Falling in Love With a Tall and Brave Afghan
It was during this captivity when an English young woman “Wade” was fascinated by a brave and tall Afghan man and fell in love with him. That is, in spite of prejudice and inculcated training, once again the human hidden spirit showed up with brightness. As is customary, the 51 years old wife of General Sale called this young woman “perverted woman”.
With the help of Syed Mohammad Janfishan Paghmani, the Forces of General Sale had been able to reach Jalalabad on 12 November 1841 by giving casualties in battle with the Ghilzais on Kabul-Jalalabad Highway and Bakhtyar Mujahid. He had forced the inhabitants to go out of the City and started building fortifications and gathering provisions. But, after being informed about the battles of Kabul, Sale got harassed and had been disappointed reaching India in one piece. In the hope of reinforcements from India, he persisted taking refuge in a sanctuary.
Five thousands National Warriors had the British Armies in their siege, and this siege took a long time because the strong Artillery of the enemy was defending the City while the Mujahideen had no cannons. The National Warriors also closed the Khyber Pass road. General Pollock was still in Punjab gathering Forces.
The Governor and Military Officer of Peshawar sent a Force of 5,000 British and Sikh soldiers with 4 cannons under the command of Colonel Wild in January 1842 to open the Khyber Pass road and save the Forces of General Sale. These Forces had passed Jamrud and had reached Ali Masjid where they were faced with the attack of the Afridi Afghan Tribes. Colonel Wild was wounded and his Army left 120 dead on the battleground and all escaped towards Peshawar. From here on, the sanctuary of Sale became more difficult. Only Toora Baz Mohmand could secretly bring financial aid and correspondence of the British to Sale. Soon, the British also lost this facility because Ahmad Khan Mir Awkhoar arrived in Khyber from Laghman and the people gathered around him. Tora Baz was forced to escape, and his place was given again to Saadat Khan Lalpuri. Khyber was also under the supervision of the Mujahideen. The people of Afridi and Mohmand became united to fight against the British.
As soon as Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan and Mohammad Shah Khan were free from making arrangements for provisions and safety of the British Prisoners in Laghman in January, with 15,000 Infantry and 5,000 Cavalry Warriors came to Jalalabad and started the fights on the siege. On 3 main attacks that were made on the City fortifications, the enemy suffered losing men as well as suffering financial damage and was breathing in wait for the arrival of reinforcing forces from Peshawar. As soon as the National Forces received reports that Army is being mobilized in Peshawar, Sardar Sultan Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Shah Khan were sent to the mouth of Khyber.
General Sale’s Bribery of Rs. 100,000 to Payenda Khan Kakari to Shoot Wazir Akbar Khan
Wazir Akbar Khan sent a message to General Sale within the City by one of the British Prisoners saying that if the enemy will surrender; he guarantees to throw the British Forces alive on the other side of Khyber. But, General Sale who was seeing the scene of the Kabul Forces with his imaginative eyes, had no courage for such an action. Therefore, he used his English deceit and enamoured Payenda Kakari, the servant of Sardar Akbar Khan, by promising to give him Rs. 100,000 if he shoot (kill) the Sardar.
On the day when Akbar Khan was examining the fortifications of the City and was trying to locate its weak places from far away, Payenda shot him from behind. But, Sardar didn’t die and was wounded. Armed guards arrived and arrested Payenda who confessed that the British had persuaded him with money to do this. Although Akbar Khan pardoned him but the National Warriors killed him. As is the custom of the British, they spread propaganda as if Shah Shuja had ordered Payenda to do this while Shah Shuja was busy to protect his own poor body in Balahisar (i.e. Citadel) of Kabul.
In Laghman also the swords of General Elphinstone and Brigadier Shelton were taken from them to remedy the handling over of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan’s sword to Macnaghten. The other prisoners were also disarmed. The number of their guards was also doubled because the prisoners were caught having communications with General Sale.
In March, pressure was increased on the British Forces in Jalalabad City and thousands of Warriors poured in Jalalabad. The Afghan Camp was fortified one kilometre away from the Kabuli Gate of Jalalabad City, and quickly the “Tappai Chilam” (i.e. Chilam Hill) was captured in order to bombard the City. In order to demolish the City Military Towers, the digging of tunneling (burrowing) started. The exit and inlet ways of the City were so closed that there was no hope remained to receive money or provisions. Therefore, the fall of the City was nearing. The last assignment that General Pollock had from the previous Governor General was that if he can and it might be possible; to only bring General Sale alive to Peshawar. That was all.
It was in this same month that a grand gathering of the people took place in Kabul. Naeb Aminullah Khan and Mir Haji proclaimed Jihad (Holy War) against the British and were making arrangements to demolish and annihilate the British Army in Afghanistan once and for all. The Representatives of the people met the Shah in Balahisar and said,
“If you are an Afghan and a Muslim; you should join the National Army, and as the King of the Country move together and lead the Army to Jalalabad to expel the enemy. Otherwise, the people of Afghanistan will no longer recognize the Shah as Superior Authority. An Afghan or a Muslim can cancel his Religious Oath or Allegiance by the Judgment of Religious Scholars. Therefore, in that case, prior to Jihad in Jalalabad against the British, the Jihad will start first here in Kabul against the Shah”.
Shah Shuja Agreed To Join Warriors & Expel the British
This is how Shah Shuja agreed to get ready to move to Jalalabad and asked for a few days to make preparations for departure. The National Leaders hoisted black flags at their Camps at Siasang and thousands of people gathered under these flags and were waiting for the day of Shah’s departure. These National Leaders included the following:
· Naeb Aminullah Khan
· Mir Haji
· And others
In Ghazni, there was no other sign except the British prisoners. Sardar Shams-ul-Din Khan was ready together with thousands of Mujahideen to fight if the British Forces moved from Kandahar. After giving 8,000 dead casualties, the British Kandahar Forces were only surviving under the shadow of Prince Timur’s Flag and were still being attacked by various National Groups. In a recent attack that took place by the Mujahideen, they took away 3,000 load carrying camels from the enemy and let no other chance for the movement of the enemy to anywhere. In this way, the remainder of the 54,000 Army of the British Empire in Afghanistan was under destruction and General Sale and General Nott in Jalalabad and Kandahar were frightened of their destruction. They did not have the opportunity to retreat and for their survival they were awaiting the arrival of British reinforcements. Instead, the British Government that had been defeated in the battleground took refuge to diplomacy because the prestige of the British Empire had unbelievably been damaged in Europe. Its mastership and gentlemanly character had also become unstable in its colonized India, and had been threatened by the National uprisings there, too. Lord Auckland had also dismounted from his pride donkey, (an Afghan saying).
From one side, Auckland published a statement regarding termination and elimination of the Forces in Afghanistan, and said,
“The disorder in Afghanistan gave us another opportunity to prove the power of England and the bravery of India”.
From the other side, Auckland wrote his final advice and recommendation to the Army Commander-in-Chief of India on 15 March 1842, and said,
“From the beginning of Kabul occupation, disorder existed in the country. From 1841, this disorder was intensified in Kabul and Kandahar. This revolution that caused regrettable events and finally was the cause for the destruction and slaughtering of the Britons, is such a reproachful event in the history of India (i.e. history of British Colonialism) that has no other example. All these events originate from the general hostilities of the people of Afghanistan who united against us, and this war took a National and Religious form to itself. These events should bring us to this inevitable conclusion that if we again invade Afghanistan; this country will become the cause for our weakness while being a strong western country. Therefore, the British Forward Policy in Afghanistan should completely be rejected and annihilated”.
Because of the War in Afghanistan, Auckland himself was removed from office and the British Cabinet became unstable because thousands of Indian and British families in England and in India were busy with mourning for the deaths of their family members in Afghanistan. The Indian Company was also disturbed because the British Army in Afghanistan lost Pounds 20,000,000 and 50,000 camels from the account of the Company (according to East India Company Report). This Military Expedition and Invasion had been carried out even without the knowledge of the British People or the approval of the Parliament and had directly and secretly implemented by the Government in London. Now, the indigent Indian people were forced to pay for all these extravagant expenses by accepting extra unaffordable taxes while prior to this War, Afghanistan hadn’t done any harm to India or the British.
British Approach to the Imprisoned Amir Dost Mohammad Khan to Intercede
However, Auckland tried to use diplomacy and approached the imprisoned Amir Dost Mohammad Khan in order to protect the honour and reputation of the British that had already been lost. But, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan wasn’t in Calcutta and was in the mountains of Mansuri. Therefore, Calcutta concentrated on summoning him. Around the end of February, the new Indian Governor General, Lord Ellenborough arrived in Calcutta and urgently summoned Amir Dost Mohammad Khan from Mansuri to Calcutta and opened discussions with him.
Renewed Obstructions by Amir Dost Mohammad Khan to Save British Prestige
In March 1842, Dost Mohammad Khan arrived in Calcutta. This was concurrent to the time that the National Great Army was being mobilized in Kabul and the repeated Jahad was being proclaimed against the remainder British Forces in Afghanistan and Shah Shuja had also announced his participation with the National Army. General Nott in Kandahar and General Sale in Jalalabad were alarmed and had lost their hopes returning alive to India. The annihilation of British Army between Kabul-Jalalabad had made the British Government in India tremble, and the British Forces in India regarded the entering into Afghanistan as entering a cemetery. General Pollock in Peshawar was only silencing the people of India by threatening them with the British might. He was making a show to send Forces to Afghanistan to take revenge while he himself and his army were regarding the mouth of Khyber as the mouth of dragon and didn’t have the courage to take one step forward.
At such a time, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan had been harassed by the heat in India and had tasted the bitterness of imprisonment and was intentionally kept ignorant of all the political and military progress in Afghanistan. All of a sudden, he was faced with Ellenborough. Contrary to his expectations, the Amir found the Indian Governor as soft as wax and as kind as a brother. The Lord said to the Amir,
“The British Government is ready to return its Forces from Afghanistan to India and send you to Afghanistan to ascend to the Throne. The British Government from now on will not be an enemy but your friend. What do you think about this policy of the British?"
Of course, this proposal from an old enemy was surprising. Therefore, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan thanked him. At this time, Ellenborough put a small “Condition” forward that had a tremendous value for the British and was a great loss to Afghanistan. The condition was:
“Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan is the Leader of the Afghan Forces against the British Forces. The Amir could order his son to leave Jalalabad with his Forces and go to Tashqurghan behind the Hindu Kush. He should also disperse all the Afghan Army Leaders in order that the British Army from Kandahar, Peshawar, and Jalalabad reach Kabul once without the interference of the Afghan People to protect the prestige of the British Empire and take the British Prisoners and would leave Afghanistan without any fighting. In return, the Amir can return to Afghanistan from India with 150 of his family members and can ascend to the Throne of Afghanistan”.
Amir Dost Mohammad Khan, who never had leaned his back on the strength of his Nation, lowered his back under the backbreaking heavy load of the weak enemy’s requests. The People of Afghanistan had already imposed on the British by the force of sword and their Treaty of 11 December 1841 that Amir Dost Mohammad Khan and his family should be returned to Afghanistan and had now 300 British Prisoners in their hands. The enemy had left about 10,000 dead of his Forces on the battleground and at present several thousands of the enemy soldiers were trapped and besieged by the Afghan Nation. Amir Dost Mohammad Khan accepted this condition of Ellenborough unconditionally without any counter claim. He sent Wazir Akbar Khan a letter with his special token (spectacles and the snuffbox) as he had done the same thing against Sardar Mohammad Afzal Khan during the Parwan Battle and while the British Forces were being defeated.
Ellenborough easily had benefited from the class interests of Afghanistan and compensated the great British political and military defeat in the eyes of Europe and Asian Countries by such an Agreement with Amir Dost Mohammad Khan. Since he found the soil soft and to the honour of the shovel holder, he calmly trapped so tightly the Amir in his British slavery friendship that until he was alive; he wasn’t able to get out of the trap.
After that, the British tried to make several discussions between Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan and General Sale, (through the British Prisoners such as Pottinger, Mackenzie, etc.). They could convince Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan through letters and messages of his father while Mohammad Akbar Khan, Mohammad Shah Khan, and Sultan Ahmad Khan weren’t agreeing to such a thing. The Leaders in Kabul were unaware of such a case/issue.
Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan and his friends were saying that the British Forces would be allowed to return to India from Jalalabad and Kandahar without any harm provided that the Forces from Peshawar would not move. They added that as soon as Amir Dost Mohammad arrives in Peshawar, the British Prisoners would be released. When the British saw the situation as such, they put a new threat forward and on behalf of Ellenborough told Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan,
“If the Sardar refuses to accept this peaceful compromise which prevents further bloodshed and includes the evacuation from Afghanistan and the possession of the Afghanistan Crown and Throne by Amir Dost Mohammad Khan; in such a case, the way for peaceful settlement will completely be closed. Amir Dost Mohammad Khan with all the women of his family including the wife of Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan will be exiled to London. At such a time, the British Government cannot guarantee to observe the instructions of Muslim Regulations in their case, and there is no such means for such instructions”.
Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan could feel the weight of Amir’s Contract with the British and the damages that were focussed towards the prestige of Afghanistan. Whether he wanted it or not, the religion sentiments and the duty of son towards the father were forcing him to accept the instructions of his father.
Therefore, he decided to take away the pressure of the Victorious Nation from the defeated Forces of the Enemy and to let the way open for the arrival of their new Forces. He only wanted to delay the release of the perjury guilty Enemy Prisoners until the arrival of Dost Mohammad Khan and his family in Afghanistan. Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan couldn’t easily implement the orders of his father because it was against the wishes of the Afghan People. They were the People who had destroyed the powerful Enemy with their swords even before the departure of Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan from Bukhara and had also besieged the British and forced them to a settlement in writing (Treaty of 11 December 1841).
Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan could gradually persuade the various National Leaders to agree with his new idea and also calm down the general public and make them agreeable in the light of the trust that they have in their Leaders. The contemporary historian of Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan explains this case as follows:
“The coming of the British Army to Kabul for the second time, the burning of buildings, and the Covered Market of Kabul (Char Satai Kabul) was done with the agreement of Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan. The capture of the Castle in Ghazni, and taking the Somnath Gate to India, and the release of their Prisoners, was also done with the agreement of Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan.
After the approach of the besieged Britishers in Jalalabad to Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan and also the receipt of the letter of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan to the Wazir, Mohammad Akbar Khan made agreement with the British Leaders and he himself moved to Kabul. He made the British Leaders in Jalalabad understand that if he openly made agreements with the British Leaders and released their Prisoners and left Kabul and Ghazni in their hands, several disturbances and seditious activities will take place, the settlement and repelling of which will be difficult. First of all, these same Warriors of Kabul will not spare and withhold killing him. Secondly, they will kill British Prisoners without hesitance and none of the British will return alive”. (From the book of ‘Nawa-i-Maarik’ author: Mirza Atta Mohammad, published in Kabul in 1331 Shamsi, page 177).
After receiving his father’s letter in March, Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan was busy discussing with Mohammad Shah Khan, Sardar Sultan Ahmad Khan, and other Leaders of the National Army who were in Nangarhar, Laghman, and Khyber. During this time, General Sale was under siege, and General Pollock wasn’t able to come farther than Khyber.
As soon as the agreement of the Sardar was practically announced in the month of April, together with the National Army, the Sardar made a manoeuvre of fighting and withdrawing (retreating). This withdrawing took place from the left side of his fortifications in the West Side of Jalalabad in the first ten days of April. Then, he went to Laghman. In the same manner, Sardar Sultan Ahmad Khan also withdrew from the mouth of Khyber to Laghman. At this time, Ellenborough gave the order to General Pollock and his 9,000 soldiers to go forward to Jalalabad, and General Sale for the first time peeped out of the Castle window in Jalalabad. However, Pollock and Sale didn’t move from Jalalabad until another four months (April to August) and were waiting the events in Kabul. During this time, the fright from the previous battles had nailed down so tightly the British that they couldn’t ignore the watch on themselves and their troops for a moment.
Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan sent the British Prisoners to Kabul from Laghman in this same month of April by Mohammad Shah Khan. During this trip of the British Prisoners to Kabul, General Elphinstone died on 22 April. The Afghans sent his body to General Sale. After the departure of the British Prisoners, Sardar Akbar Khan also left Jalalabad. He then returned to Kabul.
In this way, 35,000 Mujahids from Jalalabad and 40,000 Ghilzaee Warriors went away from Kabul-Jalalabad Highway and left the Highway open and clear for the return of the British Army to Kabul.
What Happened in Kabul?
When thousands of armed men gathered in Siasang of Kabul and hoisted the flags of Jahad to wipe out the British Forces, Shah Shuja got out of Balahisar on 4 April 1842. He joined the National Army to lead them in the morning to Jalalabad for the annihilation of the British. During the night, the Shah secretly went to Balahisar and after finishing his personal affair, at dawn, on 5 April moved again towards the Encampment of the National Army in a palanquin. But, Sardar Shuja-ul-Dawla Khan s/o Nawab Mohammad Zaman Khan together with Noor Mohammad Khan and Shah Aghasi Dilawar Khan and 60 other companions came out of ambush and killed Shah Shuja by rifle fire and swords. This news quickly spread in Kabul, and Mir Haji, the famous Great Spiritual Leader, shouted in the gathering of the people,
“The Great Lord (Shah) joined the small one (Macnaghten)”.
Instead of marching the Army to Jalalabad, Nawab Zaman Khan immediately came from Siasang Encampment to Kabul and proclaimed himself King. Naeb Aminullah Khan, who was considering only Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan well suited to the Kingdom, didn’t accept the proclamation of Nawab Mohammad Zaman Khan. For the time being and also for the sake of keeping peace and order, he proclaimed Fateh Jang as the King in Balahisar. Of course, Nawab Mohammad Zaman Khan rejected it and took arm. Mir Haji, who was strongly opposing the family of Shah Shuja, took the side of the Nawab, and the fighting began between the two groups.
Evacuation of Afghan Warriors from Highways and Allowing the British Enter Kabul Peacefully
Therefore, the National Army in Siasang instead of going to expel the foreigners came to Kabul and the Civil War began. At this time, both Naeb Aminullah Khan and Nawab Mohammad Zaman Khan requested that Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan should come. Sardar Mohammad Akbar Khan was still in Nangarhar discussing with the British. After withdrawing from fighting according to the order of his father, he arrived near Kabul on 4 May and wrote a letter to Naeb Aminullah Khan and addressed him “father”. As soon as the Sardar came to Kabul, Naeb Aminullah Khan presented his plan for temporary Kingdom proclamation of Fateh Jang and following this; he left the Balahisar City and the Wazirdom (Prime Ministry) of Afghanistan to the Sardar. He also gave him his daughter in marriage. But, Mohammad Zaman Khan continued his resistance until he was defeated on 21 June and was disarmed. After that, the Wazir and Naeb, imprisoned Fateh Jang who was looking forward to the British, and the command of the Government was in the hands of Wazir Akbar Khan. Wazir Akbar Khan discussed with the National Leaders in Kabul, and honestly presented the order and the future plan of Amir Dost Mohammad with them. When these Leaders were assured that as soon as the British Forces arrive in Kabul, they would get out of Afghanistan and Amir Dost Mohammad Khan will arrive, they agreed with the Plan of Wazir Akbar Khan. He was trusted by all. They resolved that at the time of British arrival, they would evacuate all the cities of Kabul and Ghazni. They informed all the Warriors on the Highways of Jalalabad and Ghazni and also all the Warriors on the Highways of Jalalabad and Kandahar of their Resolution regarding the British so that they will not attack the British. If the enemy breached their promise; with a general attack, they should be annihilated so that even one person of them should not survive.
Through Bakhtyar Khan, Wazir Akbar Khan contacted General Pollock in Jalalabad in July 1842 and talked to him about the exchange of prisoners from both sides and the evacuation of Afghanistan and asked for a written document from him in this respect. Since Pollock was a military man and hadn’t seen the defeat, he couldn’t see or understand the situation (clearly). Wazir Akbar Khan wrote to Lord Ellenborough that he couldn’t deal with such a crazy and ignorant man but with Ellenborough himself.
In August, Sardar Sultan Ahmad Khan was assigned to go to Ghazni and to talk to the Leaders and Mujahideen and Sardar Shams-ul-Din Khan, the Governor of Ghazni. He informed them of the new Treaty of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan with the British and the guarantee of the British to evacuate Afghanistan and the transfer of British Prisoners to Kabul. This plan was implemented and Sardar Shams-ul-Din Khan convinced the Leaders of Mujahideen and the Voluntary Warriors to evacuate the City and leave the Highway open for the passage of the British Forces. Following this, the City of Ghazni was evacuated and the British Prisoners were sent to Kabul and Sardar Sultan Ahmad Khan and Sardar Shams-ul-Din Khan returned to Kabul. Until this time, the 35,000 Forces of the National Warriors had also evacuated Kabul City. Wazir Akbar Khan sent the British Prisoners who were totalling 300 persons from Laghman, Ghazni, and Kabul to Bamyan with secret instructions. Saleh Mohammad Khan made arrangements for their stay in Bamyan on September the third.
On 9 August, General Nott and Timur from Kandahar, and on 20 August Pollock and Sale from Jalalabad moved towards Kabul. Nott handed over Kandahar to Safdar Jang instead of his brother Timur while Safdar Jang earlier had fought on the side of the National Mujahideen against the British. As soon as Pollock and Sale arrived in Gandumak, they stopped there until Nott gets close to Kabul so that both Fronts enter Kabul together. The imprisoned Fateh had been able to escape Kabul on 1 September at the time of evacuation of the National Army from there and had joined the Army of Pollock in Gandumak on 7 September.
From Kandahar City to Ghazni, Muqur, and Ghazni, General Nott was continuously announcing to the public, saying,
“The British Government has signed a Friendship Treaty with Amir Dost Mohammad Khan and we are now returning to India without fight through Kabul”.
In this way, he reached Ghazni on 28 August without any fight and found the City of Ghazni completely without any defender.