Afghanistan Imperialism Essay

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The rivalry between Britain and Russia led to the British imperialism of Afghanistan, which not only caused many short-term effects such as internal challenges and wars, but also begun the eternal hatred of foreign occupation in Afghanistan. Imperialism is defined as, “the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies” (Dictionary.com). Technically speaking, the events in Afghanistan fit this definition. However, in most cases, imperialism is due to a desire to obtain raw materials. This was not relevant to Afghanistan because Afghanistan did not contain any desirable goods. Because of this, the Imperialism of Afghanistan was an unusual situation. Imperialism in Afghanistan occurred during the time period known as the “Great Game”. The Great Game refers to the conflicts between the British and Russian empires. Both empires were expanding at a rapid pace as they successfully conquered many different lands (Afghan Wars). The expansion of these two empires did not pose a problem to either of the empires until their spheres of influence collided in Afghanistan. This introduced the beginning of European rule in Afghanistan, and the beginning of Imperialism. Although the British and the Russians were both equally involved in the Great Game, imperialism in Afghanistan was mainly due to the British. The British did not show any interest in Afghanistan until 1809 when they signed a treaty with Shujah Shah (Mullah, Marx, and Mujahid). However, the Great Game did not officially begin until the reign of Dost Mohammad. In the early 1830’s, the British were concerned that the Afghan empire was too weak. The British were convinced that this would lead to Russian involvement. To prevent this, the British attempted to reappoint Shujah Shah to the throne (Afghanistan). They thought
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