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  • James Houser

Unknown Soldiers Podcast Episode #34, "Return to the Graveyard of Empires," Maps, Images and Sources

Welcome back to Unknown Soldiers Podcast Season 2! Sometimes a good map is a big aid in this podcast, though I do try to describe the geography as best I can. And of course what did these folks look like? And what sources did I use for this episode? Fear not, here they are! Here is Afghanistan's position between the Russian Empire and British India, c. 1880.

Here is a closer look at the Afghan-India frontier, where the main battles took place.

Kabul to Kandahar:

Major British commanders, left to right: - Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India;

- General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts (lookit those whiskers!), British commander in most battles of Second Anglo-Afghan War - Brigadier General George Burrows, British commander at Maiwand

Major Afghan leaders, left to right:

- Sher Ali Khan, Emir of Afghanistan 1863-1879

- Ayub Khan, his son, claimant to the throne and Afghan commander at Maiwand & Kandahar

- Abdurrahman Khan, Emir 1880-1901, the "Iron Emir"

Malala of Maiwand, depiction by Arsalan Khan at his artstation here:

Last Stand of the Eleven at Maiwand by C.A. Tomkins. See Bobbie at their feet (although most depictions show Bobbie with the Last Eleven, it doesn't seem he was at that particular scene)


Barfield, Thomas. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Dalrymple, William. Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan. London: Bloomsbury, 2012.

Ewans, Martin. Afghanistan: A Short History of its People and Politics. New York: Harper Perennial, 2002.

Farwell, Byron. Queen Victoria's Little Wars. London: Allen Lane, 1973.

Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. The Anglo-Afghan Wars, 1839-1919. Oxford: Osprey, 2009.

Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia. London: John Murray, 1990.

Johnson, Robert. The Afghan Way of War: How and Why They Fight. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Roberts, Sir Frederick. Forty-one Years in India. London: Macmillan, 1897.

Robson, Brian. The Road to Kabul: The Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1878-1881. London: Spellmount, 2008.

Tanner, Stephen. Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2002.

As a side note, I had to assemble the Malala of Maiwand story pretty much completely from bits and pieces scattered throughout message boards, Pashtun Facebook and a very undeveloped Wikipedia page, along with some confirmation from a couple other areas. That story is super sketch...but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was too important to exclude. Mea culpa if any of it is wrong or incomplete.

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