Wednesday, February 06, 2013

William Dalrymple on Afghanistan's first quagmire for the West: 1839-1842

The historian and author of "Return of a King" describes the hasty British takeover of Afghanistan in the 19th century, and the bloody defeat that soon followed

A review in The Daily Telegraph says: "In April 1839 Britain invaded Afghanistan for the first time. When the British Army left in 1842, after first suffering and then avenging its worst military disaster of the 19th century, a contemporary wrote that it was 'a war begun for no wise purpose… Not one benefit, political or military, has been acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated.'”