chapter  4
21 Pages

The Tribal belt and the defence of British India

The North-West Frontier during World War I
WithSalman Bangash

The government was faced with a number of challenges in the Tribal belt, most importantly the activities and propaganda of the Central Powers, especially Germany and the Ottoman Empire. The Tribal belt incorporated and encompassed all the key passes which connect Afghanistan with British India. All, even the most unreachable and inaccessible, were considered to be potential 'gateways' of immense strategic importance. The maintenance of peace in the Tribal belt became difficult and problematic during the war due to the presence of different groups from both India and abroad as the area provided both a sanctuary and a base of operations. The British had to contend with a variety of groups entrenched in the Tribal areas. They were lucky to have had an experienced Chief-Commissioner in the shape of George Roos-Keppel. He managed the whole situation on the North-West Frontier Province in general, and the Tribal areas in particular, with great success and with minimal damage.