The manuscript of the following brief account of the races of Afghanistan was written at Kabul, for the most part, after the duties of the day were over, and at odd intervals of leisure from official business, with the view to its transmission to England for publication; but falling ill as it drew to a close, and being obliged on that account to leave Kabul for India on sick leave, my purpose could not be carried out.
And now, on arrival in India, finding myself unable to revise the text, or enlarge it, as I should wish to do, by the introduction of much useful and interesting matter which is available, I have thought it advisable to bring the work to the notice of the public without further delay, rather than indefinitely postpone its appearance to an uncertain future. And likewise, fully sensible as I am of the incompleteness of the work and its shortcomings, still, as events are progress-ing with rapid strides in the country with whose peoples it deals, and it is of importance that the subject should be early brought to the notice of the thinking public, I have deemed it preferable to let the book go forth in its incompleteness, in the hope that it may direct attention and further enquiry and research into the national peculiarities of the several races treated of; since I believe that, for the peace and security of our Indian Empire, they must, ere very long, be enrolled among the list of its various subjects; and this, by the force of impelling and unavoidable circumstances. For, to know the history, interests, and aspirations of a people, is half the battle gained in converting them to loyal, contented, and peaceable subjects, to willing participators and active protectors of the welfare of the Empire towards which, from position and self-interest, they naturally gravitate.
H. W. B.
Lahore; 29th January, 1880.