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Friday, 25 May 2012

Afghanistan episode 3 or 4

President Hollande made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today to defend the early withdrawal of French troops from the country. But who wrote the following lines, and when?

“The geographical position of Afghanistan, and the peculiar character of the people, invest the country with a political importance that can scarcely be over-estimated in the affairs of Central Asia… The Afghans are a brave, hardy, and independent race… With them, war is an excitement and relief from the monotonous occupation of industrial pursuits. The Afghans are divided into clans, over which the various chiefs exercise a sort of feudal supremacy… The conquest of Afghanistan seemed accomplished, and a considerable portion of the troops was sent back. But the Afghans were no ways content to be ruled by the Feringhee Kaffirs (European infidels), and insurrection followed on insurrection in every part of the country. The Anglo-Indian troops had to be constantly on the move… Then the negotiations began… All the artillery and ammunition, except 6 six-pounders and 3 mountain guns, were to remain. All Afghanistan was to be evacuated… Thus ended the attempt of the British to set up a prince of their own making in Afghanistan.”

Answer: Friedrich Engels in 1858, writing about the 1838-1842 war.

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