18 JANUARY 1879, Page 1

The unintelligible point in the situation on the North-West frontier

is the collapse, for the moment at any rate, of all fight- ing-power in Afghanistan. If the influence of the Barukzye family had perished, the known facts would be explicable, for it would be clear that Shere Ali's army reforms had failed, that his people had punished him for the failure, and that he and his clan had alike lost their authority. That would produce anarchy and an incapacity of resistance for a time. But all the evidence shows that although resistance has been suspended, Yakoob Khan, the natural head of the Barukzyes after Shere Ali, is undisputed master of Cabul ; that he has offered no terms, and that no one of the smallest eminence has come in. Moreover, the hill tribes are still entirely unconvinced that they have in future to accept orders from the Viceroy. The whole business looks as if the Barukzyes were dismayed by the attack of the huge Southern Empire, were hoping for assistance from some quarter, whether Tashkend, or Teheran, or their own western tribes, and would only decide on submission or war a outrance after they had become certain that their allies would fail them. We have a painful impression that, despite the new moderation of Government—which is, we suspect, real—we are not out of this scrape yet ; but no one who knows Afghan history will attempt even to think out a prediction.