26 OCTOBER 1878, Page 1

The cost of this needless Afghan war will be very

great. Ex- penditure in war depends mainly upon the time consumed, and it is difficult to see how the conquest is to be completed in leas than two years. The army of invasion will be on a war-footing for six months before it enters the Passes, eicept perhaps the Bolan, and nothing being ready, the expenses must be already great. It will take a season to besiege and capture Candahar, Ghuznee, Cabul and Jellalabad, defended as they will be by fanatics strung to the highest point ; and another to pacify the immense outlying territory into which the beaten Afghan soldiery will retreat, during all which time the Army will remain in the field, and supplies will either be drawn from India or purchased at famine rates on the spot. We do not levy requisitions. Wars in India are cheaper, no doubt, in some ways than in Europe ; but still, pay is doubled and carriage is costly, and we should err if we put down the cost at less than a million a month before invasion, and a million and a half a month after it. The whole affair may, therefore, cost us twenty-four millions; while a protracted resistance, maintained by retreating Sirdars, might bring the total to a sum much beyond that figure. That is an addition to the dead-weight on Indian finance of at least a million or a half a year, or precisely the sum demanded for the reserve fund against famines.