The First Anglo Afghan War (1838-1842): The Great Game involved Britain’s repeated attempts to impose a puppet government in Kabul. The British wanted Dost Mohammad to break all contact with the Iranians and Russians. This puppet was Shuja Shah. In 1838 Shuja Shah gained the support of the British and Maharaja Ranjit Singh for wresting power from Dost Mohammad Khan. This was the Tripartite Treaty which was signed in June 1838.

Tripartite Treaty 1838:

A tripartite treaty was signed between Ranjit Singh, Shah Shuja and Lord Auckland in June 1838. This tripartite treaty was basically to help each other in the time of need.

The terms of this treaty were as follows:

  • Shah Shuja will be reinstated on the Throne
  • Sikh armies will provide army to Shah Shuja
  • Shah Shuja will determine the Foreign Policy with the advice of the British.
  • Ranjit Singh’s claim on the right bank of Indus was recognized by Shah Shuja.
  • Shah Shuja gave up claims on Sind.
  • British would remain in the background.
  • The above hotchpotch of Shah Shuja, British and Maharaja Ranjit Singh triggered First Anglo Afghan War.

The outcome of the war was as follows:

After some resistance Dost Mohammed Khan surrendered to the British and Shuja was restored to the throne by the British on August 7, 1839. Dost Mohammad Khan was deported as a prisoner to Calcutta.But Shah Shuja was a traitor. The Afghanis took Shah Shuja as a betrayer and could not accept Shah Shuja as their ruler. So, Shuja ud-Daula, leading the Afghan awam, sent Shah Shuja to hell on April 5, 1842.

The killing of Shah Shuja also burst the balloon of the British Success, which seemed to be an extraordinary initially. The Afghanis rose in rebellion and the victims of their wrath wre the British Political Agents who were cut into pieces.

Many British soldiers were killed in adverse cold.

Thus the final outcome of this war was that a humiliating treaty was signed by the British and the British were forced to recognize Dost Mohammad as Emir of Afghanistan.

Thus, the First Anglo Afghan War was a stupe project of Lord Auckland which resulted in the death of thousands of British (Indian) soldiers and waste of Crores of Rupees.

The names of the English Commanders murdered during this period were Alexander Burns, Charles Burns, Sir William Macnaughten & General Elpinstone.

The Afghan Policy of Lord Auckland was criticized and he was replaced by Lord Ellenborough in 1842.

Lord Ellenborough was a lover of military pomp and to seek an avenge, he ruined Kabul and evacuated Afghanistan. Mohammad Akbar, son of Dost Mohammad secured local control.