The role of Hazaras during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42)

In 1842 Hazaras in the vicinity of Ghazni approached British and expressed their wish and desire that British invaders should exterminate the Pashtun race and repopulate the country (eastern Afghanistan) with Indians and Hazaras.

Henry Rawlinson in his diary (unpublished) writes: 

 “The Huzareh all visited us and did their best to supply us. They have been fighting with the Afghans in this district for a long time and they now took advantage of our presence and of our recent success over their enemies to fire all the villages which the Ghilzyes had deserted…. All their observations betrayed the most inveterate rancour against the Afghans, and they seemed to hope that we should aid in exterminating the Ghilzye population of Karabagh. The recent events at Cabool, Ghuznee served them as textbooks for inveighing against Afghan perfidy, Afghan cruelty and Afghan cowardice and they seriously asked if it was not our intention to exterminate the Afghan race and repopulate the country with Indians and Huzareh colonists.” [Source: “Afghanistan in the age of Empires: the Great Game for South and Central Asia” by Farrukh Husain, p-328.] 

Henry Rawlinson, from whose diary the above excerpt is taken, served as political agent of Kandahar in 1840-42 during the British occupation.

The Farsiwans of Kandahar and Qizilbash of Kabul also opposed Pashtun insurgents and supported British during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42). [Source: “The Revolutions of 1841-2 in Afghanistan” by M.E.Yapp]


History of Hazaras
Hazara men from villages near Ghazni, 1840 (c). Painting by James Atkinson.

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