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The Battle of Jamrud was fought between the Emirate of Afghanistan and the Sikh Empire on 30 April 1837. The Sikhs were building up towards crossing the Khyber pass in order to invade Jalalabad. This led Afghan forces to confront the Sikh forces at Jamrud. The death of Sikh General Hari Singh Nalwa[2] limited the Khyber pass as the western extent of the Sikh Empire. By the time Sikh reinforcements had arrived,The garrison army was able to hold the Afghans. After the battle, Amir Dost Muhammad took up the title of "Commander of the Faithful."[3]

Battle of Jamrud
Part of the Afghan-Sikh wars
Jamrud Fort - pg 18 -The last voyage - Annie Brassey.jpg
A portrait of the Jamrud Fort
Date30 April 1837
Jamrud, modern day Khyber Agency

34°00′12″N 71°22′43″E / 34.0034°N 71.3786°E / 34.0034; 71.3786Coordinates: 34°00′12″N 71°22′43″E / 34.0034°N 71.3786°E / 34.0034; 71.3786
Result Disputed
Flag of Afghanistan (1880–1901).svg Emirate of Afghanistan Sikh Empire Flag.png Sikh Empire
Commanders and leaders
Akbar Khan
Afzal Khan
Hari Singh Nalwa   Mahan Singh Mirpuri
7,000 cavalry
2,000 matchlock
20,000 Khybers
50 pieces artillery[1]
800 Jamrud garrison
10,000 relief force/reinforcements[1]



The Battle of Jamrud was fought between the Sikhs under Maharajah Ranjit Singh and the Afghans under Emir Dost Muhammad Khan. Following the consolidation of the Sikh Empire in Punjab, Maharajah Ranjit Singh had turned the wave of invasions on Afghan-held territories. The Durrani Empire had been losing territory to the Sikh Empire over the preceding years including the Punjab region, Multan, Kashmir, Derajat, Hazara and Peshawar.

Prelude and BattleEdit

Towards the end of 1836, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa attacked and captured the small, though very strategic, fortified Misha Khel Khyberi village of Jamrud, situated on the south-side of a range of mountains at the mouth of the Khyber pass. With the conquest of Jamrud, the frontier of the Sikh Empire now bordered the frontier of Afghanistan.

In 1837, the Sikh army was in Lahore for the wedding of Sandhawalia Jat ruler Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.The Emir of Afghanistan, Dost Muhammad Khan, accompanied by five of his sons, rushed with his army to drive the Sikhs out of Peshawar. The Sikh general Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa was killed in the battle. Many eyewitnesses claimed Nalwa ordered his dead body to be hung outside the fort before he died, discouraging the Afghans from attacking, believing Nalwa was still alive.[4]

Result of the battleEdit

The result of the battle is disputed amongst historians. Some contend the failure of the Afghans to take the fort as a victory for the Sikhs.[5] Whereas, some simply state an Afghan victory,[6] while another source states an Afghan victory due to the killing of Sikh leader Hari Singh Nalwa.[7] James Norris, Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M International University, states neither side could claim victory.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Maharaja Ranjit Singh: A short life sketch, Ganda Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh: First Death Centenary Memorial, (Nirmal Publishers, 1986), 43.[1]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Frank Clements (2003), Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia, He also defeated the Sikhs at the Battle of Jamrud in 1837 and took on himself the title of "Commander of the Faithful.", p. 74, ISBN 9781851094028
  4. ^ Chief and families of Note in Punjab, Vol II, op.cit., pp. 87,89,90
  5. ^ Several scholars consider Sikhs to have been victorious:
    • Hasrat, Bikrama Jit (1977), Life and Times of Ranjit Singh: A Saga of Benevolent Despotism, V.V. Research Institute Book Agency, p. 137: "The doubtful Sikh victory at Jamrud in 1837 had made it clear to Ranjit Singh that policy of hatred and repression in the northwestern frontier so far pursued had failed in its objective."
    • Paddy, Docherty (31 July 2010), Khyber pass, Il Saggiatore, pp. 186–187, ISBN 978-88-6576-029-1
    • Ingram, Edward (1993), "India and the North-West Frontier: The First Afghan War", in A. Hamish Ion; Elizabeth Jane Errington (eds.), Great Powers and Little Wars: The Limits of Power, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 44, ISBN 978-0-275-93965-6: "The second was Peshawar, which controlled the entry to the Khyber Pass and had been seized in 1834 by Ranjit Singh from Dost Mohammed, Who tried in 1837 to get it back but lost his chance at the Battle of Jamrud."
  6. ^ Other scholars consider the Afghans to have been victorious:
  7. ^ Gurbachan Singh Nayyar, The Campaigns of General Hari Singh Nalwa, (Punjabi University, 1995), 57.
  8. ^ John, Norris; Norris, J. A. (1967), The First Afghan War 1838-1842, Cambridge University Press, p. 109, ISBN 978-0-521-05838-4: "At the battle of Jamrud neither side could honestly claim a victory, but the Sikhs suffered severely at the hands of the Afghan horsemen, and they lost one of their king's favorite generals, Hari Singh."

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