www.bijanomrani.com / -> Afghanistan

A selection of articles and reviews:

Charles Masson and the Siege of Kelat
A chapter describing the traveller and archaeologist Charles Masson's extraordinary heroism in the 1840 siege of Kelat.

Making Money in Afghanistan: The first western entrepreneurs 1880-1919
An introduction to the first attempts by western businessmen to make money and develop industry in Afghanistan. From a lecture given at the Royal Society of Asian Affairs, April 2012.

The Durand Line: History and problems of the Afghan/Pakistan border
The Durand line is the controversial frontier between Afghanistan andPakistan, first laid out by an Anglo-Afghan agreement in 1893. Thisarticle is a historical survey which covers firstly, the variousattempts to establish a satisfactory boundary between the settledlands of India and the mountain areas to the North; secondly, thenegotiations from which the Durand line emerged as the boundary betweenAfghanistan and Pakistan; thirdly, the status of the Tribal areasin Pakistan and the border areas more generally, and why so many ofthe obstacles to change seem to be the very elements which only changecan resolve. Published in Asian Affairs Volume 40, Issue 2, 2009,Pages 177 – 195

Rethinking the Durand Line: The Legality of the Afghan-PakistaniFrontier
Newly uncovered archival evidence suggests the Durand Line was neverintended to be an international boundary. This article examines thelegal status of the line and the consequences for Afghanistan/Pakistanpolicy-makers, concluding that serious attention should be paid toreconceptualising the frontier zone in the current crisis. Co-authoredwith Frank Ledwidge. Published in the RUSI Journal, Oct 2009, Vol. 154, No. 5

Afghanistan and the Search for Unity
Afghan kings and governments have for centuries struggled to hold Afghanistantogether. This article looks at three different approaches adopted byAfghan governments since the foundation of the state in 1747, surveyingto what extent each was successful as well as why each ultimately failed.Originally published in Asian Affairs, Volume 38, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 145 – 157.

Charles Masson of Afghanistan: Deserter, Scholar, Spy
An introduction the life of the extraordinary traveller and Afghanistanarchaeologist Charles Masson. Having defected from the British Army inIndia, he fled to Afghanistan, travelling the country and learning thelanguages. He began to work as a pioneering archaeologist, being one ofthe first to uncover the Greek and Buddhist heritage of the country; yetat the same time he was tracked down by the Indian government and blackmailedinto spying for the British in the run-up to the First Afghan war in 1838.Originally published in Asian Affairs, Volume 39, Issue 2, 2008, Pages 199 – 216.

“Will we make it to Jalalabad?” 19thcentury travels in Afghanistan
An introduction to the life and work of two Afghanistan travellers who wereintimately involved in the First Afghan War of 1838-42, Sir Alexander Burnesand Lady Florentia Sale. Originally published in Asian Affairs, Volume 37,Issue 2, 2006, Pages 161 – 174

Marching to Candahar
A review of David Loyn’s excellent book Butcher and Bolt on previous Britishinvolvement in Afghanistan. Published by Standpoint, October 2008