Afghanistan could be ‘second Kashmir’ after US pullout
By Sajad - Tue Feb 26 2013, 11:43 am
While speaking to audience during a presentation at the launch of his latest book ‘Return of a King — The Battle for Afghanistan’, William Dalrymple said, there might be another proxy war between India and Pakistan as India would arm Hamid Karzai and Pakistan would arm the Taliban.
Dalrymple’s latest book “Return of a King” uses sources never before translated into English to draw startling parallels between the First Anglo-Afghan War and today’s conflict.
Mr Dalrymple gave a chilling account of British forces’ humiliating defeat in the early 1840s during the presentation while drawing paralells between the British invasion of Afghanistan in the first half of the 19th century and the US occupation of Afghanistan in the beginning of the 21st century.
He said, that the British invasion of Afghanistan (1839-1842) was the ‘biggest catastrophe’ that the Raj ever suffered as out of the 18,000 British and East India Company troops only one survived.
“There was a sensation in 2006 that history was in a general sense repeating itself but what usually happens is the closer you get to the detail, the parallels dissolve in the face of detailed evidence. What was so weird this time is the details lead to greater parallels,” he says.
This is the third time Dalrymple has turned his eye to the complex relationship between Britain and South Asia in the 1800s. In The Last Mughal and White Mughals he mined the Muslim history of India and the Raj.
The British historian and writer gathered epic poems, letters, memoirs and even Shah Shuja’s autobiography guided to a bookseller in Kabul while on a research trip but Dalrymple says English historians have long denied the existence of indigenous sources from the period.
Shuja had been the Shah or king of Afghanistan between 1803 and 1809 until he was overthrown by his brother Mahmud. His father and grandfather had been the first rulers of the Durrani empire. However, Mohammed Dost ruled Kabul between 1826 and 1839 until he was pushed out by the British.