By Angelo Rasanayagam
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Additional info for Afghanistan: A Modern History
He then began to launch a series of internal reforms. But his first impulse was nationalistic. Urged on by Tarzi and his leading army generals, and with the support of tribal leaders, Amanullah declared war on the British. In this less,known Third Anglo-Afghan War of May 1919, known to the Afghans as their War of Independence, three Afghan columns marched against British India. One, led by General Nadir Khan, the future ruler, advanced beyond the Durand Line into Parachinar and Thal in the Kurram Tribal Agency of the North West Frontier Province of British India.
He insisted on a new treaty that would acknowledge also his royal and sovereign status as ruler of Afghanistan 'and its dependencies' - the last phrase being a hint that he did not consider the Durand Line as an international frontier. The new agreement was signed in 1905. 11e arrears of the subsidy, amounting to £40,000, were also paid. Curzon resigned as viceroy later that year, to the applause of Afghan and Indian nationalists, as well as liberals in London. Habibullah visited India in 1907 as a guest of the new viceroy, the liberal Lord Minto, and was received with due pomp and ceremony; indeed he was taken on the obligatory tiger shoot arranged by the British Raj for visiting dignitaries.
In the end, a characteristic Afghan solution was found: the non-diplomatic personnel of all the belligerent nations were expelled. When Shah Mahmud became prime minister in 1946, one of his first acts was to release political prisoners. There were other modest attempts to liberalize the regime, leading to the election in 1949 of a parliament in which 26 AFGHANISTAN: A MODERN HISTOKY some 40 per cent of the 120 members were educated, reform-minded Afghans who took their parliamentary duties seriously.