Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Thursday, February 20, 2014
Amir of Afghanistan was Assassinated - 1919
On February 20, 1919, Habibullah Khan, the leader of
Afghanistan who struggled to keep his country neutral in World War I was
assassinated. Habibullah had succeeded his father, Abd-ar-Rahman, as amir in
1901 and immediately began to bring much-needed reforms and modernization to
his country. Located between British-held India and Russia,
Afghanistan had in the past clashed repeatedly with its neighbors, including
two Afghan Wars against Anglo-Indian forces during the 19th century.
Many within Afghanistan saw these conflicts as part of the fundamental and
necessary defense of Muslims against the encroachments of Christians. Though
the British and Russian governments signed a convention in 1907 pledging
respect for the territorial integrity of Afghanistan, many Afghans, including
Habibullah felt insecure between such powerful neighbors and resented the lack
of Afghan representation at the creation of the convention and the effective
control Britain still exercised over the country's foreign affairs due to its
active involvement in the region.
Convinced, however, that the continued improvement and
modernization of Afghanistan depended on economic assistance from powerful
Western countries like Britain, Habibullah maintained his country's neutrality
after the outbreak of World War I, despite pressure from Turkish and other
Islamic leaders urging Afghanistan to enter the war against the Allies. By
maintaining his country's neutrality and Afghanistan's anti-war policy,
Habibullah enraged many of his young anti-British countrymen who viewed World
War I as a holy war. Many Afghans felt particularly strongly that Habibullah
failed to capitalize on the weakness of Russia, which was overtaken by the
Bolsheviks in November 1917, by uniting the Muslim peoples of Central Asia and
liberating them from non-Muslim rule.
Barely a year after Turkey's defeat at the hands of the
Allies and the end of the war in November 1918, Habibullah's opponents, angry
at what they saw as his betrayal of Muslim interests in favor of pandering to
Britain, plotted and carried out his assassination. Habibullah had not declared
a successor and after his death, his brother, Nasrullah Khan, held the throne
for six days before being deposed by the Afghan nobility in favor of
Habibullah's third son, Amanullah Khan. Determined to extract Afghanistan
completely from Britain's influence, Amanullah declared war on Great Britain in
May 1919, beginning what became known as the Third Afghan War. The British,
preoccupied by India's burgeoning independence movement, negotiated a peace
treaty with Afghanistan the following August at Rawalpindi, recognizing
Afghanistan's status as a sovereign and independent state.
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for www.crimemagazine.comand is the author of numerous books that
include Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California,
1849-1949. The book can be purchased at Amazon through the following link: