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  1939: Afghanistan 

Afghanistan's internal affairs showed little change during 1939, as progress in modernization continued. Although some headway was made in the construction of roads and establishment of factories, the work thus far has been on a relatively small scale. A project for twice-weekly airplane service to Europe was reported to be under consideration, but it has probably been abandoned because of the war. On Sept. 7, another tribal revolt began on the Indian frontier. A band of 3,000 men from Tirah entered Afghanistan, where they expected help from Afghan tribes. Three border villages were threatened before the raiders were checked by Afghan troops and were forced to withdraw under pressure from the Indian authorities. The ringleaders, who were said to have been supported by former King Amanullah, were promptly arrested. The revolt, apparently timed to coincide with the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, collapsed within a few days.The Government of King Zahir proclaimed its neutrality in the European War on Sept. 8. Afghanistan has not yet been involved in the conflict, although three of the Great Powers Germany, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain are interested in this strategically situated country. British influence has thus far been challenged only by Germany, which signed a trade treaty with the Afghan Government during the summer. Among the foreigners resident in the capital, it was reported that 125 were Germans, 12 were Russians, and only 6 were British. The British Government was said to be unconcerned about rumors of Soviet troop movements on the Afghan border. If Germany and the Soviet Union should collaborate against Great Britain in the Near East, however, Afghanistan as the northeastern gateway to India might eventually become the scene of diplomatic and even military activity.

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