Afghanistan Early History Part II

By | December 16, 2021

Under the successors of Maḥmūd the Ghaznavid empire lost the Khorāsān and the western territories by Ṭoghrul Beg (1039); weakened by the struggles with the Selgiucids, he was finally overthrown (1186) by his own sovereign vassals of Ghōr, an indigenous dynasty of Tāgīk origin. The Ghōrids reconquered upper India and transported the capital to Delhi (1206). Shortly after the Afghānistān fell into the hands of the king of Khwārizm (current Khīvā), then of the Mongols who held it until 1251 and made it the basis of his conquest of India. The tāgīk dynasty of the Kart, vassal of the Mongols, which in its greatest splendor reigned over the Sīstān, Herāt, Ghōr, the Zamīndāwar and the Zābulistān (Tarnak valley) belongs to the period between Cinghiz Khān and Tamerlane. Tamerlane overthrew it and destroyed Herat (1383).

Herāt was then the capital of Tamerlane’s successors, who had the Khorāsān, the Sīstān and Ghōr almost until the advent of Bāber, and in this period it became an important cultural center. Meanwhile, Kābul was semi-independent under various sovereigns of Tamerlane’s family, while the Mongol dynasty of the Arghūn, effectively independent, reigned in Qandahār, while the Uzbek state of the Shaibānīs reigned in N. From 1541 to 1526 the Afghan dynasty of Lōdī reigned in Delhi. For Afghanistan history, please check

The Mongols. – Bāber, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, took Kābul in 1505, which was his capital. After the conquest of India it was part of the Delhi empire, while Herāt and Sīstān touched Persia, and Qandahār, disputed between the two states, changed hands several times, until it was taken from the Mughals from Persia in 1648.

In the century XVI began the expansion of the Afghāni, who began to descend from their mountainous locations to occupy the plains of Qandahār and Zamīndāwar, the valleys of Tarnak and Arghandāb. Remained relatively immune from invasions, they took the place of the Tāgīk, who had sustained the clash of the Mongols, and stood up to the governors of Kābul, which nevertheless remained with the Mughals until 1738; Qandahār belonged to Persia until 1708, when the Ghilzā’ī tribe rebelled against the governor, and its leader Mīr Wais became ruler of the city.

While the Ghilzā’ī ascended, the Abdālī tribe took possession of the province of Herāt, and remained there until the time of Nādir Shāh, new ruler of Persia, who in 1737-38 recaptured Qandahār from the Ghilzā’īs and took Kābul from the Mughal. Nādir Shāh broke the power of the Ghilzā’īs, but he showed himself to be conciliatory with the other Afghan tribes, relying especially on the Abdālīs.

I Durr ā n ī. – When Nādir Shāh died (1747), the leader of the Abdālīs, Aḥmed Khān, of the Saddōzā’ī tribe, proclaimed himself king in Qandahār and took possession of all the eastern part of the state of Nādir, up to the Indus, to which he then added Herāt and part of the Khorāsān. He took on the epithet of Durri Durr ā n (pearl of pearls), and the tribe of Abdālī changed his name to that of Durrānī, which it still bears today.

Aḥmed Shāh was the founder of the Afghan national state, and his tribe is still sovereign. The regime was feudal: the great tribes remained independent under their leaders, who received from the sovereign appannas corresponding to the militias provided. The offices were reserved for the Durrānī, and generally hereditary. Aḥmed Shāh ruled assisted by a council of nine tribal chiefs, and his every act was inspired by national sentiment. He conquered Kashmīr and most of Pangiāb, invaded India several times, defeating the Mahrāṭhās in Pānīpat (1761) and constantly waging war with the Sikhs. He died in 1773 and was succeeded by his son Tīmūr Shāh, who transported the capital from Qandahār to Kābul and excellently administered the state, without however consolidating or extending his father’s conquests. The provinces rebelled against him, and he lost Sind and Balkh.

Five of his sons, Maḥmūd, Zamān, Shugiāḥ al-Mulk, ‛Alī and Ayyūb then began a chaotic period of struggle that lasted over twenty years, reigning alternately, they and their children. In this disorder, the leaders of the Bārakzā’ī tribe, inherited viziers of the dynasty, now supported one and now the other sovereign, acquiring great authority.

Maḥmūd prevailed over his brothers in 1809, and reigned softly until 11818, with the support of his great minister Fatḥ Khān, head of the Bārakzā’ī, and his brothers. When Kāmrān, son of Maḥmūd, out of political jealousy and private revenge, he disgraced and killed Fatḥ Khān, his brother, Dōst Muḥammad, attacked Maḥmūd and took Kābul from him. The king and his son took refuge in Herat, while the seventeen brothers of Dōst Muḥammad shared the rest of the country.

The B ā rakz ā ‘ ī dynasty. – Dōst Muḥammad ended up imposing himself with arms and compromises on his brothers (1826), abandoning them Qandahār, and became the obeyed and well-liked leader of a small but compact Afghan state, which included the provinces of Kābul, Qandahār, Gelālābād and Ghaznī; Turkestān was de facto independent from the death of Tīmūr, Pangiāb was conquered by the Sikhs from 1818 to 1834.

Afghanistan Early History Part II