Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/686

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Afghánistán is a country of Asia lying between parallels 30° and 38° 20' of north latitude, and 60° 30' and 74° 30' of east longitude. On the north-east, the boundary follows a line running generally westward from a fixed point near one of the peaks of the Sarikol Range to Lake Victoria, thence along the line of that branch of the Oxus which issues from the lake, and so to Khamiab. From Khamiab, the line runs in a south-westerly direction to Zulfikar, on the river Hari-Rúd, and thence south to Kuh Malik-i-Siyah, a conspicuous peak south-west of the Helmand river. Here the boundary turns round and runs generally eastwardly to the Kwája Amran range. The eastern and southern boundaries of Afghánistán long remained uncertain, but the basis of a delimitation was settled, in 1893, at a conference between the Amír, Abdur Rahmán, and Sir Mortimer Durand, and the boundary agreed upon, with the exception of the Khaibar-Asmar section, has since been demarcated. The Amír agreed that Chitral, Bajaur, Swat and Chilas should be included within the British sphere of political influence, while he himself was to retain Asmar and the Kunar valley above it, as far as Chanak, and the tract of Birmal, In the subsequent demarcation, Kafiristán was included within the countries under Afghán control, and has since been garrisoned by the Amír's troops. The Amír has withdrawn his pretensions over Wazíristán. The extreme breadth of Afghánistán from north to south is about 500 miles; its length from the Herát frontier to the Kháibar Pass, about 600 miles; the area is about 215,400 square miles. The surrounding countries are, on the north, the Central Asian States, under the influence of Russia; on the west, Persia; on the south, the British Political Agency of Balúchistán; and on the east, the mountain tribes scattered along the north-western frontier of India, and included within the sphere of British influence.

Abdur Rahmán Khán, G.C.B., G.C.S.I., the reigning Amír, is son of Afzul Khán, and grandson of Dost Muhammad Khán. He was recognized as Amír by the British Government in July 1880, after the events following on the massacre of Sir L. Cavagnari.

The origin of the Afgháns is involved in obscurity. The Pathán dynasties of Delhi form part of Indian history. The whole of Afghánistán was conquered by Timúr. Kábul remaining in the hands of his descendants, and Kandahár being added to it by Sultán Bábar in 1522. For the next two centuries Kábul was held by the Mughal Emperors of Delhi, and Herát by Persia, while Kandahár repeatedly changed hands between the two. Nadír Sháh, the Persian, held the Afghán provinces till his assassination in 1747, after which the different provinces were formed into a single empire under Ahmad Sháh, Duráni, including the Punjab and Kashmír on the east, and extending to the Oxus on the north. The restoration of Sháh Shujá by the British forces under Sir John Keane in 1838 led to continued insurrections against the new ruler, culminating in the terrible revolt of 1841. In 1878 war was declared by England, and her troops eventually captured Kábul. Sher Alí fled and died in Afghán Túrkistán, his son Yákúb Khán being acknowledged as Amír, while a British envoy and escort was installed in the citadel of Kábul. On September 3, 1879, a serious riot developed into a massacre of the envoy and his followers, and a fresh invasion of the country took place. In 1880 the British forces were withdrawn from the Kháibar and the Kúram, and from Kandahár to Quetta. Abdur Rahmán has since successfully maintained his position.

The government of Afghánistán is monarchical under one hereditary prince, whose power varies with his own character and fortune. The