Contents: Preface. 1. Westward Ho: the great game. 2. The foreign office perspective. 3. The Afghan arena: men on the spot. 4. Defining frontiers. 5. The first move. 6. The second move. 7. Checkmate or stalemate. 8. Afghanistan today: an overview. Bibliography. Index.
"After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the US, Afghanistan and the great game have been focused as the centrepiece of international attention. Commentators have been somewhat episodic in their treatment of issues in the present-day Afghanistan and the renewal of great game. Suhash Chakravarty has sought to present struggle against the Taliban barbarism in the context of the evolution of the Afghan polity and nation in the 20 century with a view to locating the significant diacritical marks in the ethnic and social struggles in Afghanistan.
This is supported by a case study of imperial expansion in the late nineteenth century centred on Anglo-Afghan relations. Dealing with the crucial period from 1869 to 1880, the work begins by examining the British attempts to come to a negotiated settlement with the Russian government regarding the states and frontiers of Afghanistan and ends with an analysis of the shifts in policy and power that led to Lord Lytton’s futile military adventure. A rich range of original material drawn from public archives as well as from family papers has been sifted in order to achieve what must be a comprehensive study made so far on the subject." (jacket)