historical advice

We can deduce that this photographic postcard of the Khyber Pass was taken at some time after 1923, on the evidence of the Annual Report of The Christian and Missionary Alliance of Chicago, Illinois (1922-23), which reads: “The heroism of our pioneer missionaries shames and stirs us.  How dare we forget those who are invading Moslem strongholds at the peril of their lives!  Can we pray for our paltry needs and forget the missionary who never leaves his home on the frontier of Arabia without giving his wife a farewell kiss, for they both know that, in all probability, some day he will not return?  Can we turn away from the secret place of prayer without thinking of those brave young men who are determined to carry the light into a land at the entrance to which is a placard which reads: “It is absolutely forbidden to cross over this border into Afghan territory”?

The borders of Afghanistan were closed following the 1919 War of Independence (aka the Third Anglo-Afghan War). And here are four other views…

(Randolph Holmes, photographer, Peshawar)

(Mela Ram and Sons, Peshawar)

The photographer of the image above is unknown. The photograph below published by Ram Chand comes later.

Equally, the 1934 press photograph credited to “Wide World Photos” shows the border from the other direction, at the “limit of British India”. The survey markers proliferate over time.

The text accompanying this photograph reads: “There is no mistaking the frontier in the Khyber Pass, the border of British India and Afghanistan. A barrier, armed guards and notices greet the traveller who have to comply with passport regulations. The Frontiers is an area where there are constant tribal disturbances and a constant watch has to be kept to ensure that no undesirable characters cross the frontier in either direction.”


#1 WN on 11.30.11 at 4:03 pm

This is not the route between Mashad and Herat or between Peshawar and Jalabad, so it must be one of the northern or northwestern frontiers. Any ideas?

#2 Nigel on 11.30.11 at 4:10 pm

Unless there were several such (identical) signs at different border crossings, the evidence of this and other photographs (search Google images) taken in the 20s and 30s identifies the location as the start of the Khyber Pass.

#3 Ali J on 06.23.13 at 5:38 am

This is the border crossing at Torkham, Khyber Pass. This signboard existed for many years

#4 Khyber Pass border signs « Railways of Afghanistan on 07.07.14 at 4:01 am

[…] of Khyber Pass border signs through the years. Although a railway alignment seems to have been cleared from the short-lived Landi Khana station […]

Leave a Comment