The Citadel at Herat

Herat lay between the lands of the Shah of Persia and Dost Mohammed. The British were concerned that if it fell into the hands of the Shah, Russian influence would spread towards British India. A Persian army, advised by a Russian officer, besieged the City. A young British subaltern, Lieutenant Eldred Pottinger, helped the local ruler defend the city and in doing so helped prevent Russian influence spreading into the region. Unfortunately, given the slow means of communication in the 1830s, diplomatic and military wheels had already started turning to displace the neighbouring Dost Mohammed who himself had entertained the Russians. Given the Persian failure at Herat, there was no imperative to forestall the Russians, but Lord Auckland had already committed himself to the fateful course of action.

First Afghan War | Afghan War Images

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by Stephen Luscombe