The Battle of Ghuznee

The Battle of Ghuznee took place in city of Ghazni in central Afghanistan on July 23, 1839 during the First Anglo-Afghan War.

By the 1830s the British Indian Empire stretched to the border of the Sikh Kingdom of the Punjab in the North West. The British increasingly considered their responsibilities extended over the whole of the Indian sub-continent, even though many of the Indian states retained their independence. There was little to fear from these kingdoms. What did cause alarm was the threat from the Russian Empire. Tsarist expansion down the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, south towards Persia and Western Afghanistan, and to the North of the Himalayas created a concern that became an obsession, the perceived British/Russian rivalry known during the 19th Century as “The Great Game”.

In 1838 a joint Persian/Russian force laid siege to Herat, the important north western Afghan city. The British Viceroy in India, Lord Auckland, and his advisers planned an invasion of Afghanistan to combat the siege of Heart and to place an Ameer favourable to Britain on the throne in Kabul, the Afghan capital, in place of the existing incumbent, Dost Mohammed. The candidate to be made Ameer was Shah Shujah, then languishing in the Sikh capital Lahore on an East India Company pension.