Авторы: 159 А Б В Г Д Е З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я

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FRONTIER RAIDS

Few people here in England reading of raids on the North−West Frontier in India realise the full horror of

these outrages. What generally happens is that in the small hours of the morning, a wretched village is

suddenly assailed by a gang of perhaps 50, perhaps 200, well−armed raiders, who put out sentries, picket the

approaches, and conduct the operation on the most skilful lines. The houses of the wealthiest men are attacked

and looted; probably several villagers are brutally murdered−−and probably one or two unhappy youths or

women are carried off to be held up to ransom. Sometimes the raid is on a larger scale, sometimes it is little

more than an armed dacoity. But there is nearly always a tale of death and damage. Not infrequently,

however, our troops, our militia, our frontier constabulary, our armed police, or the village chigha or

hue−and−cry party are successful in repelling and destroying the raiders. Our officers are untiring in their

vigilance, and not infrequently the district officers and the officers of their civil forces are out three or four

nights a week after raiding gangs. Statistics in such matters are often misleading and generally dull, but it may

be of interest to state that from the 1st April, 1920, to the 31st March, 1921, when the tribal ebullition

consequent on the third Afghan war had begun to die down, there were in the settled districts of the

North−West Frontier Province 391 raids in which 153 British subjects were killed and 157 wounded, in which

310 British subjects were kidnapped and some L20,000 of property looted. These raids are often led by

outlaws from British territory; but each tribe is responsible for what emanates from or passes through its

limits−−and when the bill against a tribe has mounted up beyond the possibility of settlement, there is nothing

for it but punitive military operations. Hence the large number of military expeditions that have taken place on

this border within the last half century.

Now this brings us to the question so often asked by the advocates of what is called the Forward policy: "If

the tribes give so much trouble, why not go in and conquer them once and for all and occupy the country up to

the Durand line?" It sounds an attractive solution, and it has frequently been urged on paper by expert

soldiers. But the truth is that to advance our frontier only means advancing the seat of trouble, and that the

occupation of tribal territory by force is a much more formidable undertaking than it sounds. We have at this

moment before us a striking proof of the immense difficulty and expense of attempting to tame and occupy

even a comparatively small tract of tribal territory in the Waziristan operations. Those operations have been

going on for two and a half years. At the start there were ample troops, ample equipment, and no financial

stringency. The operations were conducted, if a layman may say so, with skill and determination, and our

troops fought gallantly. But what is the upshot? We managed to advance into the heart of the Mahsud country

on a single line, subjected and still subject to incessant attacks by the enemy; but we are very little nearer

effective occupation than when we started; and now financial stringency has necessitated a material alteration

in the whole programme, and we are reverting more or less to the methods whereby we have always

controlled the tribes, namely, tribal levies or khassadars belonging to the tribe itself, frontier militia or other

armed civil force, backed by troops behind.