At the turn of the century, news of the death of Afghan Emir Abdul Rahman made headlines around the world. It was said that his death could have very unpleasant consequences for both Russia and England, and consequently for world politics.
Kabul – Russia – Kabul.
Everything flows, but nothing changes. The issue of the crisis in Afghanistan has become important once again, especially for Russia. England is no longer the same, and the successor – the United States – is far from the current rulers of Afghanistan.
After Sher Ali Khan’s accession to the throne in 1864, Abdul Rahman joined the armies of his father Afzal Khan and uncle Azeem Khan in the fight against his second uncle, the powerful Amir Sher Ali. He conquered Kabul in 1866, where his father established himself.
After the death of his father in 1867 and the expulsion of Azeem Khan, he fled to Bukhara, but received no special sympathy from the Amir of Bukhara and returned to Balkh, continuing the war against Sher Ali. After a complete defeat at Ghazni, he fled to the Indian border, but soon reached Mashhad via Persia, Khiva and further, via Bukhara, he came to General Abramov from Samarkand.
During the 1880s, Abdurrahman, as a result of the palace’s conspiracies, became a pitiful fugitive and took refuge in Tashkent, then part of the Russian Empire.
Like the current Afghan fugitives, Amir humbly asked for guns, money and more, and the Russian press was writing at the time.
After a long ordeal, the deposed king was awarded a pension by the Russian government and disappeared from the political arena for ten years. Russian pensions do not keep foreigners in Russia. In 1880, after the British conquest of the Afghans, Abdul Rahman returned to Kabul, where he again became a declared emir, despite the consent of London.
And yet, in his autobiography, he evoked fond memories of his time in Russia (1870 to 1880) and expressed sympathy for the Russian authorities.
Who said the East is hard?
However, “a few months after his accession to the throne, he forgot about Russian hospitality and developed a fondness for English gold,” the Moscow Press wrote.
It gets worse and worse. A few years later, Russia, a former friend of the Russian Tsar and the Emir of Afghanistan, invaded Russia on the advice of the British. He was defeated by the Corps, led by General Alexander Kumarov, near the Kushka River.
By the end of his days, Amir had “dreamed of war with Russia,” journalists wrote. Objectively, however, those “dreams” were coming from London:
“India’s integrity is what shakes the British, and their frustrating imagination paints a picture of the outcome of the Russian campaign in the Ganges.”
Historians consider Amir Abdul Rahman to be the greatest ruler of Afghanistan. With remarkable intelligence and energy, he did a lot for his country. He had united and arranged peace and order in it, at least for a while, as he thought.
And as a good politician, he understood the complex position of Afghanistan between the two monsters, Russia and Britain. Kabul’s complete independence was a mirage. He was heavily indebted to Russia, where he hosted during his years in exile, but at the same time had a close relationship with the British who helped him financially. Abdel-Rahman treated Moscow and London with equal distrust. Still, he sympathized with Russia.