European Cemetery


This cemetery was built in 1879 by the British army for the dead of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The cemetery contains around 150 graves. Most are from members of Kabul’s international community from before the war. Only a few of the original British Army headstones remain, now mounted in the south wall. They have been joined by newer memorial stones added by the British, Canadian, German and Italian ISAF contingents. The cemetery’s most famous resident is Aurel Stein, the acclaimed Silk Road archaeologist of the early 20th century. Stein spent much of his career obsessed by Alexander’s campaigns in the east, but his British citizenship meant that the Afghan authorities always refused him permission to dig in the country. In 1943 he got the go-ahead at the age of 82, only to catch the flu and die a few days after arriving in Kabul. His grave is marked with a large cross and frequently a wreath. More recently, the cemetery saw the burial of the French aid worker Bettina Goislard, murdered in Ghazni in 2003. The cemetery has been maintained since the 1980s by Rahimullah, supported by a small stipend from the British Embassy. His story of meeting a disapproving Mullah Omar (the Taliban had a guesthouse next door) is worth the hearing, and always popular with journalists.