On October 1st, 1842 Lord Edward Law Ellenborough (1790-1871) issued a special proclamation from Simla, four years to the day after Lord Auckland had declared a war on Afghanistan.
The Government of India directed its army to pass the Indus in order to expel from Affghanistan a chief believed to be hostile to British interest, and to replace upon his throne a Sovereign represented to be friendly to those interests, and popular with his former subjects.
In 1838, Lord Auckland had decided that a regime change was needed in Kabul – Dost Muhammad was to be replaced by the friendlier Shah Shuja. The British had kept 10,000 or more troops in Kabul to secure the new ruler. However, the uprising of 1841 in Kabul resulted in the mass killing of British troops and their families ending the first Anglo-Afghan War in infamy.
Ellenborough’s forces had gone to avenge that defeat. Ghazni, Jalalabad and Kabul were scorched to the ground. Having done that, Lord Ellenborough saw no reason for the British to continue to stay around what precious little was left to stay around for:
The Governor-general will leave it to the Affghans themselves to create a government amidst the anarchy which is the consequence of their crimes.
The anarchy which is the consequence of their crimes, indeed. It should be noted that he was installing the very tribes to power whose crimes he had come to avenge. Be that as it may, in his estimation, the mountains of northwest and the rivers of Punjab and Indus would be both a barrier to the “barbarous tribes of Affghanistan” and a “limit nature appears to have assigned to [British] empire”.
But, only a few months later, in February 1843, Ellenborough endorsed the extension of the Company’s natural empire over the princely state of Sindh – a crucial frontier region bordering Punjab, Afghanistan and Persia – based largely on the fears that the Mirs of Talpur were colluding with the Shah of Afghanistan against the British. This was followed by the Anglo-Sikh wars of 1845 and the annexation of Punjab. This left only the princely states of Kalat and Swat between the Afghanistan and the British.
Any and all resemblance to current events is pretty intentional.