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Afghanistan 1919-1928: Sources in the India Office Records

Chronology 1919-1929

The Bala Hissar, Kabul

The Bala Hissar, Kabul. By John Burke, 1879. ©The British Library Board [Photo 430/2 (58) pt 2]



FebShahzada Nasrullah, brother of Habibullah, declares himself Amir at Jalalabad. Amanullah Khan third son of Habibullah, controls Kabul and central government, wins over the army. Army revolts against Nasrullah, imprisons him and his chief supporters, including the Musahiban family Amanullah proclaims his accession as Amir to the Government of India. Disturbances in India against the proposed repressive Rowlatt Acts
13 AprAmanullah holds a Durbar in Kabul: Nasrullah alleged to be instigator of Habibullah's assassination; imprisoned for life (dies c 1921), the actual assassin executed. Musahiban family released from prison
MayOutbreak of Third Anglo-Afghan War. British bomb Kabul and Jalalabad; both sides seek the restoration of peace
AugTreaty of Rawalpindi restores peace between the two nations and grants Afghanistan autonomy in foreign affairs; subsidy and licence to import arms not renewed
OctAn Afghan mission arrives in Moscow
 Hijrat movement of Indian Muslims into Afghanistan; welcomed at first by Amanullah (most of them later drifted back into India)
AprConference at Mussoorie between representatives of the Government of India and an Afghan
Jundelegation headed by Mahmud Tarzi, now Amanullah's father-in-law and Minister of Foreign Affairs; no agreement reached
JanBritish Mission under Sir Henry Dobbs arrives in Kabul. Afghan mission visits Europe and USA to establish diplomatic relations
26 MayTreaty between USSR and Afghanistan; diplomatic representatives exchanged
22 NovAnglo-Afghan Treaty restores 'neighbourly relations'
MarBritish Minister, Sir Francis Humphrys, arrives in Kabul (see British Representatives in Afghanistan)
SepFranco-Afghan protocol for cultural relations
 Anglo-Afghan Trade Convention. Crisis between Afghanistan and Government of India over frontier affairs and interference with tribes; British women evacuated from Kabul. Amanullah issues the Nizamnama or Fundamental Code based on modernist and reformist principles
MarBritish women return to Kabul. Outbreak of rebellion in Khost under the Lame Mullah (Pir-i-Lang)
MayAmanullah awards Sir Francis Humphrys the order of Sardar-i-Ali
JanKhost rebellion finally put down with British support. Nadir Khan of the Musahiban family, formerly responsible for tribal affairs, appointed Afghan Minister in Paris (honourable exile). Mabmud Tarzi resigns as Minister of Foreign Affairs (not accepted officially by Amanullah until 1927). Incident with the USSR over Urta Tagai Island in the River Oxus (Amu Darya)
 Treaty of Non-Aggression and Neutrality between Afghanistan and the USSR. Air service established between Tashkent and Kabul. Amanullah takes the title of Pad shah (king)
DecAmanullah embarks on a tour in Europe with Queen Souraya
JulAmanullah returns, begins a widespread programme of sweeping modernisation
NovRevolt of Shinwaris at Jalalabad. Invasion of Kabul by Bacha-i-Saqqo, a Tajik bandit from Kohistan

Amanullah abdicates in favour of his brother Inayatullah; three days later Inayatullah abdicates. British airlift of European community out of Kabul. Defeat of Amanullah by Bacha-i-Saqqo; Bacha-i-Saqqo proclaims himself Amir as Habibullah Ghazi


The most significant sources of information in the India Office Records come from the British Legation in Kabul and the Consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and as a result of the general opening-up of Afghanistan to European penetration.

[IOR:L/E] Revenue Department

L/E/7 Revenue and Statistics Departmental Papers (to 1921)
Commerce and Revenue Departmental Papers, 1921-24
Industries and Overseas Departmental Papers, 1921-24
Economic and Overseas Departmental Papers, 1924-29

[IOR:L/MIL] Military Department

L/MIL/6 Departmental Papers, 1882-1948
L/MIL/7 Military Collections, c 1850-1950
See index to collections for a number of files relating to the Third Anglo-Afghan War, Kabul Airlift, border incidents etc; also the North-West Frontier generally.
L/MIL/17/14 Military Library: Afghanistan

[IOR:L/PS] Political and Secret Department

L/PS/10 Departmental Papers: Separate (Subject) Files, 1902-30
L/PS/11 Departmental Papers: Annual Files, 1912-30
L/PS/18 'A' Series Memoranda: Afghanistan, Baluchistan, North-West Frontier, Northern Frontier, Chitral etc.L/PS/20 Political Department Library: 'B' Series: Afghanistan, Baluchistan, North-West Frontier and Kashmir (including Northern Frontier)

[IOR:L/PO] Private Office

L/PO/5/21 Afghanistan affairs, 1923-25
L/PO/5/25 Afghanistan, 1927-28
L/PO/5/30 Afghanistan, 1928-29

[IOR:P] Proceedings

India Foreign (Frontier) (to 1921 only; with the introduction of a subject file system by the Government of India Foreign and Political Department proceedings ceased to be returned to London).
India Military

[IOR:R/12] Records of the British Legation, Kabul, 1923-30

See separate catalogue.

[MSS EUR] Private Papers

Mss Eur C313

SINCLAIR (Ronald), Maj (alias Reginald Teague Jones)
Sinclair Collection: papers and photographs of Maj Ronald Sinclair (alias Reginald Teague Jones) (1889-1988), Frontier Constabulary 1914-17, Indian Army Reserve Officer 1917-22, British Consul, New York 1941-53; relating to the policing of the North-West Frontier, the British Mission to Central Asia 1917-22, and his extensive travels throughout India, Central and East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and West Indies 1926-40.
98 items, 1903 - 1980

Mss Eur C340

HOWGEGO (Reginald Mortimer), Sgt
Papers relating to the army career of Sgt Reginald Mortimer Howgego (1895-1980), British Army 1913-20, including photographs of his service in Amritsar at the time of the 1919 disturbances, the North-West Frontier and Afghanistan.
1 box, 1914 - 1920

Mss Eur D660

GRANT (Alfred Hamilton), Sir, 12th Bart
Hamilton Grant Collection: papers of Sir (Alfred) Hamilton Grant, 12th Bart (1872-1937), Indian Civil Service, Punjab 1895-1922, Foreign Secretary, Government of India 1914-19, Chief Commissioner, North-West Frontier Province 1919-21.
31 items, 1905 - 1921

Mss Eur D670

CUNNINGHAM (George), Sir
Cunningham Collection: letters, papers and reports of Sir George Cunningham (1888-1964), Indian Civil Service, Punjab and North-West Frontier Province 1911-46, Governor of NWFP 1937-46 and 1947-48.
47 items, 1903 - 1966

Mss Eur D703

SMITH (Frederick Edwin), 1st Earl of Birkenhead
Birkenhead Collection: correspondence and papers of Frederick Edwin Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead (1872-1930), as Secretary of State for India 1924-28.
47 items, 1924 - 1928

Mss Eur D998

HOPKINSON (Arthur John)
Hopkinson Collection: letters, papers and photographs of Arthur John Hopkinson (1894-1953), Indian Civil Service, United Provinces 1920-24, Indian Political Service 1924-47, including letters to his family and papers relating to his service in Kathiawar, North-West Frontier Province, and Tibet.
58 items, 1921 - 1951

Mss Eur D1218

HARVEY-KELLY (Charles Hamilton Grant Hume), Lt-Col
Papers and photographs of Maj (later Lt-Col) Charles Hamilton Grant Hume Harvey-Kelly (b 1885), Indian Army 1906-28, including accounts of his part in the Mekran Mission 1916-17, with photocopy of diary of Mission by Capt (later Maj) Duncan Gordon Cooper (b 1884), Indian Medical Service 1909-1927; account of South Persia Rifles; Harvey-Kelly's diary and report of an expedition to Afghan Turkestan (1925) while Military Attache, Kabul Legation..
12 items, 1917 - 1925

Mss Eur E264

THESIGER (Frederic John Napier), 1st Viscount Chelmsford
Chelmsford Collection: papers of Frederic John Napier Thesiger, 1st Viscount Chelmsford (1862-1933) as Viceroy of India 1916-21. Includes Afghan Series.
94 volumes, 1916 - 1921

Mss Eur E396

KIRKE (Walter Mervyn St George), General Sir
Kirke Collection: letters and papers of General Sir Walter Mervyn St George Kirke (1877-1949), British Army 1896-1940, including papers as Commandant, Bhamo Battalion, Burma Military Police 1902-11, and Deputy Chief of the General Staff, India 1926-29. Also includes papers on the strategic importance of Afghanistan and its military position in the 1920s.
41 items, 1902 - 1949

Mss Eur F163

BRUCE (Charles Edward), Lt-Col
Bruce Collection: correspondence and papers of Lt-Col Charles Edward Bruce (1876-1950), Indian Army 1896, Indian Political Service 1901-31, and of his father Richard Isaac Bruce (1840-1924), Indian Civil Service 1863-96, relating chiefly to the North-West Frontier and Baluchistan; includes papers on Afghan tribes in the early 20th century.
81 items, 1871 - 1939

Mss Eur D696

PARSONS (Arthur Edward Broadbent), Maj-Gen Sir
Parsons Collection: papers of Maj-Gen Sir Arthur Edward Broadbent Parsons (1884-1966), Indian Army 1908, Indian Political Service 1919-39, Agent to the Governor-General in Baluchistan 1936-39, Acting Governor, NWFP 1939, mainly relating to North-West Frontier tribes and Frontier policy.
7 items, 1904 - 1958