March past [Kabul].
Photographer: Burke, John
Medium: Photographic print
In the 19th century the British, eager to defend the Indian Empire from Russian territorial ambitions, were involved in campaigns in Afghanistan and the North West Frontier Province (Pakistan). This photograph showing British forces near Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, was taken by John Burke during the Second Afghan War (1878-80). It is from an album full of images taken during the occupation of Kabul in the later phase of the war from October 1879.
Burke travelled widely in the sub-continent but is best known as a significant photographer of Afghanistan. In his two-year expedition he worked steadily in the hostile environment, recording the military events, the topography and the people of the region in which the strategies of the Great Game (concerning the Anglo-Russian territorial rivalry) were played out. Burke also photographed a number of the darbars or meetings that took place between the British leaders and Afghan chiefs which led to the uneasy peace treaties characteristic of the campaign.