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      1941: Afghanistan

Nazi Domination.

The long Anglo-Russian-German contest for influence in Afghanistan reached a climax in 1941. After more than five years of intensive German penetration, Nazis had obtained key positions in leading industries, acted as government advisers, and constructed public works. A German-Afghan company, for example, had been granted a national monopoly for mineral prospecting. Walter Rodenstein, formerly of the Reichsbank, served as financial adviser in the industrial department of the National Bank of Afghanistan. In connection with this office, he interviewed most of the important foreigners entering the country and approved all technicians hired by the Afghan government even though they were to work in factories supported by British capital. In February, H. Scholler came to Afghanistan as German Minister to replace Gunther Thommas, who moved his base of operations to Iran, despite the public announcement that he was going back to Germany. Similarly, Afghanistan was used as a debarkation center for many other Nazi agents going to different parts of the Middle East. The Germans took advantage of the old dispute over the Indian-Afghanistan border by offering the Afghans Baluchistan and the Indus frontier. By going to war against the Soviet Union, however, the Germans sacrificed their best routes for sending machinery to Afghanistan through Russia and lost prestige when they were unable to continue construction work in fulfilment of their contracts.

Cooperation with Britain.

Afghanistan, strategic link between Russia and India, was the only gap in Britain's control of the 2,000-mile political and military frontier across Southwestern Asia. In considering the possibility of closer military cooperation with the Soviet Union, the British realized that the Nazis in Afghanistan were a serious danger. Kuibyshev (Samara), designated as the new seat of the Russian government, is served by a railroad which connects with branches running to Termez and Kushk on the Afghan frontier. Although Afghanistan has neither railroads nor navigable rivers, engineers have stated that it would be possible to build a railway across the country from Quetta, India, to Herat and thence across the mountain range to the Russian railway terminus at Kushk. When the Russo-German war cut off most of the supplies reaching the country from Russia. Afghanistan became dependent on India for iron, cement, ammunition, sugar and silk.

During the first part of October, it was reported that the British and Soviet governments had delivered notes to the Afghan government, similar to those sent to Iran in June, requesting the deportation of German and Italian nationals. On Oct. 19 the Kabul radio announced that Afghanistan had accepted a British offer for safe transit of German and Italian nationals through India. After the National Parliament had endorsed the government's decision to deport Germans and Italians, the respective legations were informed, and they agreed to accept the proffered passage through India. A Reuter's dispatch from New Delhi. India, on Nov. 2 stated that 206 German and Italian deportees had reached Peshawar from Afghanistan and would proceed to their native countries. The official German news agency, D.N.B., announced on Dec. 6 that 180 German nationals ousted from Afghanistan had arrived in Vienna.