Afghanistan Foreign and Domestic Policy

By | December 16, 2021

From 1920 onwards the Afghānistān forged relations with the Eastern and European states, to find balance and security outside the British protection.

In March 1920 Yūsuf Kemāl concluded the Turkishafgh ā no treaty in Moscow, ratified in Kābul in October 1922: the parties recognized the full freedom and independence of all oriental peoples, the Afghan government recognized Turkey’s leading position in the Islamic world ; if a European power attacked one side, the other undertook to intervene. Each undertook not to enter into agreements with a third power in contention with the other, or treaties that could harm the other. Turkey sent civilian and military teachers to Afghānistān.

The Russian treatyafgh ā no dates back to February 1921: the parties undertook not to conclude agreements with other states that were harmful to one of the contracting parties, Russian consulates were established in Herat, Maimanah, Mazār-i Sherīf, Qandahār, Afghan consulates in Russia. Goods bound for Afghānistān had free transit through Russia; Afghānistān recognized the independence of the eastern nations, and in particular of Khīvā and Bukhārā, the border territories belonging to it over the last century will be returned to it, according to the will of the populations, following special agreements between the parties (this part of the treaty has not yet taken effect). Russia helped Afghānistān with an annual subsidy of up to one million gold rubles, with the construction of the Kushk-Herāt-Qandahār-Kābul telegraph line, and made technicians and specialists available to him. In 1926 a new tact was concluded between the two states to complement the previous one.

Only in November 1921, after laborious negotiations, there was the final AngloAFGH ā no: there was reaffirmed the Afghan independence, the borders remained unchanged, with a slight adjustment to the benefit of Afghanistan, the two governments pledged themselves to receive Communion the operations they intended to carry out on the border to maintain order. In addition to the privilege of importing arms through India, Afghānistān obtained the exemption for goods in transit.

The first Afgh ā noPersian treaty dates back to September 1923: it regulated the position of Afghan subjects in Persia and Persians in Afghānistān; the parties undertook not to help a third state at war with either of them.

In 1921 the emir granted the constitution and assumed the title of king (p ā dish ā h). In the same year, an Afghan mission went to Russia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, the United States, England and Belgium, to communicate the assumption to the throne of Amān Ullāh and Afghan independence. It concluded various agreements for the exchange of diplomatic and commercial representatives and for the sending of European technicians to Afghānistān and of Afghan students to Europe. The first was the one with Italy.

The British and Italian legations in Kābul were founded in 1921, the French and German ones in 1923. Italy sent in 1921 the mission made up of about 50 engineers, doctors and architects, almost all repatriated after the Piperno accident (in 1925). Our industrialists were in Afghānistān for the trade in sheep casings and silk, in 1922 a mining mission chaired by the engineer Ferrari explored northern Afghānistān, in 1924 Italy sent a health mission, and it is announced (1928) a new shipment of technicians.

Germany has sent to Afghānistān the university mission organizing the Amānī school, officers who have set up the aviation school with Junker devices, and a medical mission, which has founded two hospitals in the capital. France sent the university mission organizing the Amāniyyeh school and the archaeological mission. England hasn’t sent anyone; he welcomed young Afghans to Peshāwar as telegraph students and built the Kābul-Peshāwar telegraph line.

Afghānistān had two difficult moments with England: in 1923 on the occasion of the British note to Russia on Bolshevik propaganda in the East (which led to the abolition of the Soviet consulates near the Indian border) and in the summer of 1924, when, following disturbances on the border, Afghāni belonging to independent tribes, guilty of having murdered and kidnapped English on the border, fled to Afghānistān. The British minister in Kābul demanded their surrender and ended up presenting an ultimatum. The situation was serious, the king came out of it by sending the guilty to Turkestān.

The reforms introduced by the new sovereign met with opposition in the misoneist religious circles and among the most fanatical tribes. In the spring of 1924, in the regions of Khōst, Qandahār, Ghaznī, Gelālābād, a revolt broke out, fomented by the mull ā, against the restrictive laws of polygamy, women’s education, civil courts replaced by those of the q ā ḍ ī, conscription and census. The army, sent against the rebels, was unable to tame them: the king had to promise the revocation of most of the reforms, and the situation became complicated with the arrival of a pretender to the Afghan throne from India (from which it seems that aid was sent to the rebels). In the autumn the king, with the help of Shiite tribes, was victorious, the rebels were severely punished and the reforms restored.

The relations of the Afghānistān with Russia have been consistently good: it has made an important contribution of men and equipment to the Afghan aviation, and has sent engineers for the construction of important roads in N. Only in the summer of 1925 there was the incident of the Russian occupation of an island on Amu Dary5, resolved amicably.

Afghānistān’s relations with Italy were disturbed in the summer of 1925 by the episode of the engineer Dario Piperno, executed in Kābul for killing an Afghan soldier, after having already paid the blood price to the dead man’s family, according to the Muslim law. Afghānistān accepted the reparations imposed by the Italian government.

After the Khōst revolt, the internal situation in Afghanistan remained calm, allowing the king, in December 1927, to begin his first journey outside Afghānistān. This trip, which he defined as an educational trip, also had the purpose of perfecting the diplomatic and commercial relations concluded in the past, and to forge new ones. Accompanied by the queen, Amān Ullāh visited Egypt, Italy, France, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Persia, welcomed everywhere with great cordiality, and he was repatriated in June 1928. Of the treaties he concluded on this occasion, only those with Turkey and Persia are known. The treaty of friendship and turkish securityAFGH ā no (May 1928) commits the parties to refrain from political, military or economic agreements directed against one of the two nations; in case of hostile acts of a third state against one of the two, the other will endeavor to avoid conflict, and both will study the situation together to safeguard their interests. Turkey will send scientific, legal and cultural experts to Afghānistān. The subjects of the two countries will have the treatment of the most favored nation, as regards residence and trade. The treaty is valid for ten years. The Afghan ā noPersian friendship and guarantee treaty (November 1927) is valid for six years. The two states each undertake to defend their neutrality if it were violated by one country at war with the other.

The propaganda of the misoneists against the innovating king during his trip to Europe revived when he, returned, began to apply more daring reforms (abolition of the female veil, extension of the firm, law raising the age of marriage, imposition of European clothes, sending female students to Turkey, limiting polygamy, etc.). Other causes of discontent, excessive government spending, heavy taxes and misery, largely due to the corruption of officials.

On 2 October 1928 there were violent demonstrations in Kābul; the revolt broke out in mid-November, when the Shinwārī tribe (which the Khūgiānī joined in December) refused to pay taxes. On December 14, rioters, led by tal Bačah-i Saqqā (“the son of the waterman”), began the occupation of the suburbs of Kābul. As the struggle around the capital continued, with various events, Amān Ullāh, at the beginning of January, revoked most of the reforms, and offered to set up a senate composed of religious and tribal chiefs, which would be responsible for the ratification of the laws. Too late: it seems that the king’s troops, in arrears with the money, did not support him. On January 14, he abdicated in favor of his half-brother ‛Ināyat Ullāh, who in turn retired on the 17th before Bačah-i Saqqā. For Afghanistan public policy, please check

The latter, having become the Emir Habīb Ullāh Ghāzī, remained in the Kābul region, with a reactionary program, while Amān Ullah, having fled to Qandahār, withdrew his abdication and, supported by the populations of Herāt and Qandahār, aspired to reconquest. Minor suitors were reported elsewhere. This situation, not new in Afghānistān, is still (February 1929) unclear; it is impossible to predict its developments and recognize which foreign influences have intervened (see amān ullāh, bačah – i saqqā ‘, kābul, qandahār).

Afghanistan Foreign and Domestic Policy