General view of Kadm villages and Pass left of Jumrood.
Photographer: Burke, John
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by John Burke in 1878, with a general view of the villages and the Khyber Pass to the left of Jamrud, now in Pakistan. John Burke accompanied the Peshawar Valley Field Force, one of three British Anglo-Indian army columns deployed in the Second Afghan War (1878-80), despite being rejected for the role of official photographer. He financed his trip by advance sales of his photographs 'illustrating the advance from Attock to Jellalabad'. Coming to India as apothecary with the Royal Engineers, Burke turned professional photographer, in partnership at first with William Baker. Travelling widely in India, they were the main rivals to the better-known Bourne and Shepherd. Burke's two-year Afghan expedition produced an important visual document of the region where strategies of the Great Game were played out.
With the spread of Russia's sphere of influence in Central Asia, British foreign policy in the 19th century was motivated by fears of their Indian Empire being vulnerable to Russian moves southwards. The Anglo-Russian rivalry in Asia, termed the Great Game, precipitated the Second Afghan War. The British were trying to establish a permanent mission at Kabul which the Amir Sher Ali, trying to keep a balance between the Russians and British, would not permit. The arrival of a Russian diplomatic mission in Kabul in 1878 increased British suspicions of Russian influence and ultimately led to them invading Afghanistan.
The historic Khyber Pass connects Kabul in Afghanistan with Peshawar in Pakistan. Jamrud is at the entrance of the Khyber, about 17kms from the city of Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province. The British, having defeated the Sikhs in 1849, controlled Peshawar and established it as their frontier headquarters. From Jamrud, the Peshawar Valley Field Force, commanded by Lt. General Samuel Browne, advanced, their aim to take the Pass and proceed to Jalalabad.