Akbar Khan

Akbar Khan

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Amir Akbar Khan is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

. He was active in the First Anglo-Afghan War
First Anglo-Afghan War
The First Anglo-Afghan War was fought between British India and Afghanistan from 1839 to 1842. It was one of the first major conflicts during the Great Game, the 19th century competition for power and influence in Central Asia between the United Kingdom and Russia, and also marked one of the worst...

, which lasted from 1839 to 1842. He is prominent for his leadership of the national party in Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 from 1841 to 1842, and his pursuit of the retreating British army from Kabul to Gandamak
-Description:The village is located between Kabul and Peshawar, from Jalalabad on the old road to Kabul. On the retreat from Kabul of General Elphinstone's army in 1842, a hill near Gandamak was the scene of the Battle of Gandamak, the massacre of the last survivors of the force: twenty officers...

 near Jalalabad
Jalalabad , formerly called Adinapour, as documented by the 7th century Hsüan-tsang, is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul River and Kunar River near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately of highway with...

 in 1842. In 1837 in the battle of Jamrud he killed sikh general Hari Singh Nalwa whilst trying to get back the city of Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 for the Afghans from the invading Sikh army.

Early life

Amir Akbar Khan was born in the year 1816 as Mohammad Akbar Khan, as the son of Amir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan between 1826 and 1863. He first ruled from 1826 to 1839 and then from 1843 to 1863. He was the 11th son of Sardar Pāyendah Khan who was killed by Zaman Shah Durrani in 1799...

 of Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and to his fifth wife Mirmon Khadija Popalzai
Popalzai or Popalzay are Durrani Pashtuns.-Origin:According to Hyat Khan's history of Afghanistan, from their progenitor Bor Tareen, otherwise known as Abdal, are descended two main divisions: the Zirak and the Panjpai...

. Amir Dost Mohammad Khan had totally 25 wives, 38 sons (including Amir Akbar Khan) and 28 daughters.

Adult life

He led a revolt in Kabul against the British India
Company rule in India
Company rule in India refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent...

n mission of William McNaughten
William Hay Macnaghten
Sir William Hay Macnaghten, 1st Baronet was a British civil servant in India, who played a major part in the First Anglo-Afghan War....

, Alexander Burnes
Alexander Burnes
Captain Sir Alexander Burnes was a Scottish traveller and explorer who took part in The Great Game. He was nicknamed Bokhara Burnes for his role in establishing contact with and exploring Bukhara, which made his name.-Early life:He was born in Montrose, Scotland, to the son of the local provost,...

 and their garrison of 4,500 men. In November 1841, he besieged Major-General William Elphinstone's force in Kabul. Elphinstone accepted a safe-conduct for his force and about 12,000 associated workers to flee to India; they were ambushed and massacred
Massacre of Elphinstone's Army
The Massacre of Elphinstone's Army was the destruction by Afghan forces, led by Akbar Khan, the son of Dost Mohammad Khan, of a combined British and Indian force of the British East India Company, led by Major General William Elphinstone, in January 1842....

. It was claimed in at least one set of British war memoirs that, during the retreat, Akbar Khan could be heard alternately commanding his men, in Persian language
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 to desist from, and in Pashto language
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

 to continue, firing.

Historians think it unlikely that Akbar Khan wished for the total annihilation of the British force. An astute man politically, he would have been aware that allowing the British to extricate themselves from Afghanistan would give him the time to consolidate his control of the diverse hill tribes; whereas a massacre of 16,500 people, of which only about a quarter were a fighting force, would not be tolerated back in London and would result in another, larger army sent to exact retribution. This was in fact what happened the following year.

Many believe that Akbar Khan was poisoned by his father, Dost Mohammed, who feared his ambitions.

In fiction

The historical figure of Akbar Khan plays a major role in George MacDonald Fraser
George MacDonald Fraser
George MacDonald Fraser, OBE was an English-born author of Scottish descent, who wrote both historical novels and non-fiction books, as well as several screenplays.-Early life and military career:...

's novel Flashman
Flashman (novel)
Flashman is a 1969 novel by George MacDonald Fraser. It is the first of the Flashman novels.-Plot introduction:Presented within the frame of the supposedly discovered historical Flashman Papers, this book describes the bully Flashman from Tom Brown's Schooldays...

No factual reference base for killing of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, however the Peshwar Gazzette of 1897 clearly shows that gulab singh Hindu dogra, forgave the tax owed by yar Mohamed barukzai which sardar hari singh had originally come to collect, it is also written by a kin of the dogras that hari singh stood in the way of dogra ruling dream so while during chase of the retreating armies of Kabul he was shot in the back fact by gulab singh's man, another fact the Afghans in the siege were repulsed and unsuccessful.

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