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During the 19th century Britain entered into three brutal wars with Afghanistan, each one saw the British trying and failing to gain control of a warlike and impenetrable territory. The first two wars (1839–42 and 1878–81) were wars of the Great Game; the British Empire's attempts to combat growing Russian influence near India's borders. The third, fought in 1919, was an Afghan-declared holy war against British India – in which over 100,000 Afghans answered the call, and raised a force that would prove too great for the British Imperial army. Each of the three wars were plagued by military disasters, lengthy sieges and costly engagements for the British, and history has proved the Afghans a formidable foe and their country unconquerable. This book reveals the history of these three Anglo-Afghan wars, the imperial power struggles that led to conflict and the torturous experiences of the men on the ground. The book concludes with a brief overview of the background to today's conflict in Afghanistan, and sketches the historical parallels.
About the Author
Gregory Fremont-Barnes holds a doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford and serves as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. A prolific author, his books include Waterloo 1815: The British Army's Day of Destiny and many others on military and naval subjects covering the 18th to the 21st centuries. Holding a particular interest in insurgency and counterinsurgency, his wider work for the UK Ministry of Defence on these subjects regularly takes him to Africa, the Middle East and South America. As an academic advisor, Dr Fremont-Barnes has accompanied many groups of British Army officers and senior NCOs in their visits to numerous battlefields of the Peninsular War, the Waterloo campaign, Normandy and the Falklands.