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John Burke (1843-1900)

The meeting of Emir Mohammad Yaqub Khan and Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari before the Treaty of Gandamak May 1879

RCIN 2501404

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This photograph is from an album recording the progress of the Peshawar Valley Field Force in 1878-9, during the second Afghan War. In May 1879, Yakub Khan, the ruler of Afghanistan, signed the Treaty of Gandamak with Major Louis Cavagnari, the British army's political agent. Cavagnari was knighted for his role in securing a treaty which granted territories and control of foreign policy to the British in return for peace. The village of Gandamak was selected because it had been the location of the infamous massacre in 1842 of the remnants of General Elphinstone's army, retreating from Kabul at the end of the 1st Afghan War. In September 1879, several Afghan regiments mutinied, resulting in the deaths of Cavagnari, his staff and escorts; as a result, hostilities between Afghanistan and Britain were resumed.