On the 92nd anniversary of Afghan independence, a daring attack by five Afghan insurgents on the British embassy in Kabul left a lasting reminder of the determination of the populace to stay free of foreign interference in their affairs. Britain had no interest in Afghanistan in and of itself, but they needed to keep a buffer zone between their colonies in India and southeast Asia and aggressive Russia to the north. Afghanistan as such became a pawn in the “Great Game” between the empires. Britain would ultimately fight three wars with the locals before allowing Afghanistan self-rule.
On this day, August 19, in 1919, at the conclusion of the third Anglo-Afghan war, Afghanistan was granted independence. The war was initiated by Afghanistan, with the invasion of British colonial territories in India.
Although Afghanistan knew they would have no chance of throwing the British from India completely, they did inflict heavy casualties during the war, making a stronger bargaining position during the peace negotiations. Both sides got what they wanted: self-rule for Afghanistan in exchange for a promise to Britain to keep from fomenting trouble in India. The Afghan promise was mostly held, except for the tribes in Waziristan, who armed themselves to the teeth and continued a campaign of violent resistance to British at the North-West Frontier.