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Waziristan Revolt—(1919-1920): In the rugged and remote region of Waziristan on British India's northwest border with Afghanistan, mountain tribes of indepedent-minded Muslim fighters gave the British Army a difficult time for decades. The Northwest Frontier is now part of Pakistan, which is fighting its own war against Waziri tribesmen in the early 21st Century

The Waziristan Revolt of 1919-1920 was sparked by the Afghan invasion of British India in 1919. Though the British quickly defeated the Afghans, the Waziri tribesmen gave the colonial forces a very difficult fight. Many of the Waziri men were veterans of the British-led and controlled Indian Army (India and Pakistan were combined at this time as part of the British Empire), and used modern military tactics and modern Lee Enfield rifles against the British and Indian forces sent into Waziristan.

One aspect of this conflict is the effective use of air power against the Waziri fighters. This is similar to Royal Air Force tactics in suppressing the Arab Revolt in Iraq in 1920 and 1921.

British Armoured Vehicles in Waziristan 1919

British Armoured Vehicles in Waziristan 1919 (from National Army Museum )



British Empire (British and Indian forces):

2,286 killed & wounded


Waziri Tribal Forces:

Unknown, though likely in the thousands


PREDECESSOR: (Related conflicts and events that occurred before)

Waziristan Revolt (1894-1895)

Waziristan Revolt (1901-1902)

Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919)

Mahsud Revolt (1919-1920)


CONCURRENT: (Related conflicts occurring at the same time)

The Great Iraqi Revolution--known in Iraq as Ath Thawra al Iraqiyya al Kubra and by the British as the Arab Revolt of 1920. (1920-1921)


SUCCESSOR: (Related conflicts that occur later)

Waziristan Revolt (1921-1924)

Waziristan Revolt (1925)

Waziristan War (2004-Present)



Operations in Waziristan 1919-1920--Short description of the conflict.

Masud Insurrection in Waziristan 1919--From Onwar.com

No. 31 Squadron RAF --Wikipedia article on a British Royal Air Force unit which served in (over?) Waziristan.

Waziristan-The Past Overview of Pakistan's (and by extension the world's) newest trouble spot.--detailed look at Waziristan's people, geography and history as related to the current conflict.

Army in India and Frontier Warfare 1914-1918--Article on British forces and tactics in fighting on the North West Frontier.

London Gazette Archive--Read an article from 1921 describing a battle in which an Indian Sepoy won the Victoria Cross.

Sepoy Ishar Singh--Article on the Sepoy who won the Victoria Cross in Waziristan in 1921.

Taliban Advances; Pakistan in Mortal Danger--posted April 22, 2009


 Books on the Waziristan Revolt:

Phillips, Charles, and Alan Axelrod.Encyclopedia of Wars. 1st ed. New York: Facts on File, 2004.

Army Headquarters Compiled by General Staff. Operations in Waziristan 1919-1920. London: Naval and Military Press, 2003


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