Tragedy in Afghanistan 1842

6 Feb

The present conflict in Afghanistan is one of the many conflicts that have plagued Afghanistan for hundreds of years. Here is just one of them.
During the early part of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1883 trouble arose on the borders of India. The British army had entered Afghanistan to restore an Afghan prince to his throne from which he had been driven by a rival. The British Army achieved this task after some heavy fighting especially at the town of Ghuznee, which the Afghans thought it to be impregnable. It was taken after a few hours of fighting. The British soon put down all the resistance. A strong British force remained at Kabul for the protection of the prince.
Towards the end of 1841 a great misfortune happened to this British force. On the 22nd November the inhabitants of Kabul rose up in rebellion and were joined by tribesmen from all parts of the country. All supplies etc. were cut off and the position became very serious. General Elphinstone getting on in years was in command and he was not up to the situation and responsibilities. He decided to leave Afghanistan with his army of 4500 men and some 12000 camp followers. The movement began on the 6th January 1842. As one can imagine the weather was extremely cold with snow very deep on the ground and ravines through which the force had to travel. Not only to contend with the weather. The area was swarming with the enemy and was being attacked from all sides. Numbed with cold the passage blocked by fallen horses and overturned carts, the British soldiers fought to the last man. Of the 17000 who set out from Kabul only one man a Dr. Brydon made it back to Jelalabad in safety. All the rest barring about 100 men and women, who had been taken prisoner, had died by the sword or the cold weather. Quite unbelievable but true.
Sir Robert Sale was in command of a brigade in the area between Kabul and Jelalabad when the news reached him of the massacre. It wasn’t long before his force was attacked but they fought their way down to Jelalabad. Although he was far away from support the prospect was gloomy. The walls of the town were in ruins, but defend it they did. After a few months they took the action to the enemy and attacked them whenever they approached and taking in their cattle. As the siege came into its fifth month the garrison boldly marched out attacking the besieging army in their camp completely routed them and capturing all their cannons. Shortly afterwards, General Pollock with a relieving army, fought his way up the Khyber Pass and reached Jelalabad.
With absolute confidence the united forces marched onto Kabul annihilating any opposition who ventured against them. On reaching Kabul, the great bazaar was burnt as a punishment to the town for the part the inhabitants taken in the massacre. The British force then marched back to India.
Britain is only a small nation, but in this small nation we breed men of steel. Not only just then also in this present day

Alan

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One Response to “Tragedy in Afghanistan 1842”

  1. Joe Gent February 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    WEll said Alan a very interesting time in the history of the British army very brave men . today are troops are out there again I wish them all the best and a safe return home.true heroes. Joe

    Like

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