Abdur Rahman and his successor Habibullah steadfastly refused the offer of British engineers to strengthen its defences; and though the Afghans themselves have occasionally undertaken repairs, it is doubtful whether the old walls of Herat are maintained in a state of efficiency.
In 1863 Herat, which for fifty years previously had been independent of Kabul, was incorporated by Dost Mahomed Khan in the Afghan monarchy, and the Amir, Habibullah of Afghanistan, like his father Abdur Rahman before him, remained Amir of Herat and Kandahar, as well as Kabul.
His eldest son Habibullah Khan, with his brother Nasrullah Khan, was born at Samarkand.
The amir Abdur Rahman died on the 1st of October 1901; and two days later his eldest son, Habibullah, formally announced his accession to the rulership. He was recognized with acclamation by the army, by the religious bodies, by the principal tribal chiefs and by all classes of the people as their lawful sovereign; while a deputation of Indian Mahommedans was despatched to Kabul from India to convey the condolences and congratulations of the viceroy.
In the important matter of foreign relations Habibullah showed a determination to adopt the policy of his father, to whom the British government had given an assurance of aid to repel foreign aggression, on the condition that the amir should follow the advice of that government in regard to external affairs.
It was found impossible, after many interviews, to obtain from Habibullah his consent to any addition to or variation of the terms of the assurance given by the British government in 1880, with which he professed himself entirely satisfied, so that the treaty finally settled in March 1905 went no further than a formal confirmation of all engagements previously concluded with the amir's predecessor.