2/10/1915 Germany’s Afghan plot

Britain’s navy controls the seas. This allows the Allies to attack Germany’s overseas colonies at their leisure while making it difficult for Germany to reply in kind. German leaders had hoped that Turkey’s entry into the war on their side would even the odds by causing the world’s Muslims to wage Holy War against the Allies. However the response to the Turkish Sultan’s call for Jihad against France, Britain and Russia has been disappointing, with Muslim subjects of the Allies showing little interest in a religious revolt.

But the Germans are not giving up yet. They have sent a mission to Kabul to encourage Emir Habibullah Khan to launch an invasion of British India. The German expedition is led by Oskar von Niedermayer, an orientalist adventurer, and the diplomat Werner von Hentig, a diplomat. As well as Germans the mission also includes Turks and some exiled Indian opponents of the British.

The expedition has had a difficult journey from Constantinople to Kabul. Crossing Persia proved difficult, as British and Russian patrols on the main routes had to be avoided. This required the mission to travel through inhospitable desert regions. The expedition eventually managed to cross into Afghanistan, but by then it was much depleted. The Afghan authorities greet them cordially but onward travel to the capital is slow.

Today at last Niedermayer and Hentig reach Kabul, more than a month after they crossed the Afghan border. Again, they are warmly welcomed and assigned quarters by the Emir’s representatives, but they do not get to meet the Emir himself. Habibullah Khan’s representatives politely inform the Germans that for now he is too busy to meet them.

image source (Steven Schoenherr’s Maps of Middle East)

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