On 6 January 1842, a British army under the command of General William Elphinstone began a retreat from the Afghan city of Kabul. Within a week the infamous “Massacre of Elphinstone’s Army” would be complete, and out of the entire British force only William Brydon would stagger on his dying horse to safety at Jalalabad. In a scenario that feels somewhat familiar, the British had been present in Afghanistan since at least 1838. Mainly, they vied with Russia for control of the region and for influence over the Afghani rulers. The British gained the upper hand and decided to establish military...

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