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On 2 November 1841, Akbar Khan proclaimed a general revolt and the citizens of Kabul quickly followed suit. They stormed the house of Sir Alexander Burnes, one of the senior British political officers, and murdered him and his staff. Both Elphinstone and Macnaghten were caught by surprise. By now the East India Company only had 4,500 men in and around Kabul, of which 690 were Europeans.
The 1842 Kabul Retreat (or Massacre of Elphinstone's Army) took place during the First Anglo-Afghan War. Following an uprising in Kabul, Major General Sir William Elphinstone negotiated an agreement with Akbar Khan, one of the sons of King Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan, by which his army was to withdraw to the British garrison at Jalalabad, more than 90 miles (140 km) away. As the army and its numerous dependents and camp-followers began its march, it came under attack from Afghan tribesmen. Many of the column died of exposure, frostbite or starvation or were killed during the fighting.
The Afghans launched numerous attacks against the column as it made slow progress through the winter snows of the Hindu Kush. In total the British army lost 4,500 troops, along with 12,000 mainly Indian camp-followers. The final stand was made just outside a village called Gandamak on 13 January.