Perhaps this was shocking or surprising to empire builders in Kipling's era, but to this modern reader, the troubles of two idiot chancers/minor empire builders in Afghanistan seem slightly obvious. I remember it worked exceptionally well, visually, as a movie with Michael Caine.
Nor do I see much transparent chauvinism. On the contrary, it appears to be a warning to self-centred empire builders. Also, the tribe who caused them the most trouble were "British" and already knew the ridiculous symbols of empire.
It seems to go some way towards revealing how the Brits, including the narrator, adapted to a certain amount of chaos and social preservation. I've sometimes wondered if some of the energy and class-based excesses of the Victorian era owe their origins to adaptations developed in the Jewel of the Empire -- India.
Thanks to this book for the reminder regarding how damn hot India can be. Was nearly there just about now and the heat has been killing Indians by the thousand. Not much pity reserved for Peachy, though. He blithely went shooting whatever natives seemed least important at first.