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Monday, August 27, 2007

The First Anglo-Afghan War

To justify his plan, Auckland ordered a manifesto issued on October 1, 1838, at Simla that set forth the reasons for British intervention in Afghanistan. The Simla Manifesto stated that the welfare of India required that the British have on their western frontier a trustworthy ally. The British pretense that their troops were merely supporting the tiny force of Shuja in retaking what was once his throne fooled no one. Although the Simla Manifesto asserted that British troops would be withdrawn as soon as Shuja was installed in Kabul, Shuja's rule depended entirely on British arms to suppress rebellion and on British funds to pay tribal chiefs for their support. Like other interventions in modern times, the British denied that they were invading Afghanistan but claimed they were merely supporting its legitimate government (Shuja) "against foreign interference and factious opposition."

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