The ropeway transit system at Landi Kotal, 1919 (c)
Photograph by Randolph Bezzant Holmes (1888-1973), 3rd Afghan War, 1919 (c).
Landi Kotal was a British post at the western mouth of the Khyber Pass. In May 1919 it witnessed one of the first engagements of the 3rd Afghan War (1919) when the water supply to the post from nearby Bagh was cut and several labourers working for the British were killed by armed tribesmen under the command of Zar Shah, a notorious raider who claimed to be acting on the orders of the Afghan Commander-in-Chief. The Afghan regular army then advanced across the frontier in support. Following this, the British garrison at Landi Kotal was expanded to brigade-size and on 11 May they captured Bagh, restoring the water supply and driving the enemy back across the border in the process.
Supplies for the troops at Landi Kotal had to pass through the Khyber by mule, bullock, camel and motor vehicle. In addition, a ropeway system for transporting supplies in carriers was built. As it was impossible to guard the entire line much of the material transported on the ropeway was stolen by the local Afridi tribesmen.
From an album of 43 photographs, 1920 (c)-1925. Compiled by Major G A Clarke, 12th Pioneers (The Kelat-i-Ghilzie Regiment).
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection