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Afghanistan: Sources in the India Office Records

A wealth of archival resources can be found in the India Office Records for the study of the modern history of Afghanistan. They document the Anglo-Afghan relationship from the contacts made by the agency of the East India Company in the early 17th century, to the administration of the British Legation in Kabul in the mid-20th century. This Guide outlines a general framework of the India Office Records, India Office Private Papers, and the publications of primary sources corresponding to major historical events.

Sources in the India Office Records

Reference material


A Ko-i-Staun chief, with armed retainers. By J. Rattray, 2nd Grenadiers, Bengal Army, 1847. ©The British Library Board [P2082]

Sources in the India Office Records

Finding aid published by IDC:

British Intelligence Files on Asia and Middle East, c.1880-1950

Online catalogues

Other sources

Apart from the archival material described above, collections of Afghan literary and artistic materials are held in the Persian Section and Prints & Drawings Section of the British Library. Other relevant material in the British Library may be found in: Manuscripts Collections, Official Publications & Social Sciences Services, Science Technology & Business Collections. Rare stamps may be found in Philatelic Collections. Some of the western-language newspapers from Asia may be consulted at  British Library Newspapers, although most titles from South Asia are available on microfilm in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room.

Archival sources on Afghanistan beyond the administration of the India Office may be found in other institutions in the United Kingdom, e.g.

Other online resources:

Further information

The India Office Records may be consulted in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room where the services and facilities of the Reading Room are available to researchers.


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