150-Year-Old Rifles Belonging to British Soldiers Were Discovered in a House in Kandahar

Ahmad Shah Shadab

Local officials in Kandahar say twenty-five weapons from the reign of Amir Shir Ali Khan were found in a house in Kandahar. These guns, known as “Jaghuri”, belonged to British soldiers who had taken part in the Battle of Maiwand. Some of these guns can fire three times and some seven times. Kandahar Museum officials confirm that the rifles were handed over to the provincial office of the Ministry of Information and Culture for safekeeping.

Sources in the office of Information and Culture in Kandahar said that the rifles belonging to the British soldiers were found by the Taliban in the first district of Kandahar. However, there is no precise information on how these weapons were found. Officials in Kandahar state that the weapons have already been handed over to the museum and that further investigations will be carried out into who found the weapons and why they have not yet been handed over to the government.

The director of the Museum office in Kandahar says he has researched the history of these weapons. According to him, Jaghori weapons were abandoned by British soldiers in Kandahar about 150 years ago. The number of these rifles reaches 25 caliber and is now kept in the Kandahar Museum.

Archaeologists, meanwhile, believe that these artifacts should be properly protected. Kandahar archaeologist Mohammad Ghous Siraj welcomes the transfer of the weapons to the Kandahar Museum but says monuments should be preserved properly. He added that these rifles were most likely leftover from the historic battle of Maiwand.

The battle of Maiwand was led by Ayub Khan, in which the British troops were severely defeated. According to historians, the Battle of Maiwand was historic, mainly because a woman named Malala Maiwandi played an important role in it. The Afghans gained independence by defeating British troops.

Mohammad Ghous Siraj stated that if further research is done, it is possible to find many ancient artifacts like this. He added that former Soviet soldiers also used such rifles, which may remain in some parts of the country.

The British Daily Mail reported in late 2018 that some remnants of the Maiwand war had been looted by US troops. The newspaper quoted officials as saying that evidence of looting had been provided to the United States by the Department of Defense at the time. According to the British Ministry of Defense, in 2009, American forces looted some of these 18th-century artifacts from Kandahar.

The Daily Mail reported that the bodies of British soldiers killed by Afghans during the battle of Maiwand had been buried without seizing their weapons and property. However, after digging the graves, American forces took their weapons and property with them in violation of international law. The issue arose when some of these rifles were sold on online websites.

About eight months ago, officials in Kandahar said that by keeping 800 artifacts in the museum, many people are interested to visit them. If there were more of these works, people would have been more interested in visiting. Before the fall of Najibullah’s government, 6,000 artifacts were kept in the Museum of Kandahar, but after the Taliban took control of the city at the time, most of these artifacts were smuggled abroad. In recent days, news of some Afghan antiquities smuggled abroad was published, which raised concerns about the looting of the country’s antiquities.

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