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Durrani Empire

Durrani Empire

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The Durrani Empire was a Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 dynasty centered in Afghanistan
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 included northeastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, the Kashmir region, the modern state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and northwestern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It was established at Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 in 1747 by Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

, an Afghan military commander under Nader Shah of Persia
Nader Shah
Nāder Shāh Afshār ruled as Shah of Iran and was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty. Because of his military genius, some historians have described him as the Napoleon of Persia or the Second Alexander...

 and chief of the Abdali
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

 tribe. After the death of Ahmad Shah in about 1773, the Emirship
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

 was passed onto his children followed by grandchildren and its capital was shifted to Kabul
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...

. Ahmad Shah and his descendants were from the Sadozai
Sadozai (Pastun tribe)
Sadozai meaning "kings" are the direct lineage of Ahmad Shah Abdali. All the notable Sadozai Durrani Afghan kings and rulers belonedg to the Sadozai tribe....

 line of the Abdalis (later called Durrani
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

s), making them the second Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 rulers of Kandahar, after the Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

 Hotakis.

With the support of tribal leaders, Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

 extended Afghan control from Meshed to Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 and Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, from the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 to the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

. Next to the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the Durrani was the greatest Muslim Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century. The Durrani Empire is considered the foundation of the current state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 of Afghanistan, with Ahmad Shah Durrani being credited as "Father
Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of their country, state or nation...

" of Afghanistan. Even before the death of Nader Shah of Persia in 1747, tribes around the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 region had been growing stronger and were beginning to take advantage of the waning power of their distant rulers.

Reign of Ahmad Shah Durrani (1747-1772)


Nader Shah's Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

 Afsharid
Afsharid dynasty
The Afsharids were members of an Iranian dynasty of Turkmen origin from Khorasan who ruled Persia in the 18th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. During Nader's reign,...

 rule ended in June 1747 after being murdered by his Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 soldiers. In October of 1747, when the chiefs of the Afghans met at a loya jirga
Loya jirga
A loya jirga is a type of jirga regarded as "grand assembly," a phrase in the Pashto language meaning "grand council." A loya jirga is a mass meeting usually prepared for major events such as choosing a new king, adopting a constitution, or discussing important national political or emergency...

 (grand council) in Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 to select a new ruler for the Abdali confederation, the young 25-year-old Ahmad Shah Abdali
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani , also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān, was the founder of the Durrani Empire in 1747 and is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan.Ahmad Khan enlisted as a young soldier in the military of the Afsharid kingdom and quickly rose...

 was chosen. Despite being younger than other claimants, Abdali had several overriding factors in his favor:
  • He was a direct descendant of Asadullah Khan, patriarch of the Sadozai
    Sadozai (Pastun tribe)
    Sadozai meaning "kings" are the direct lineage of Ahmad Shah Abdali. All the notable Sadozai Durrani Afghan kings and rulers belonedg to the Sadozai tribe....

     clan, the most prominent tribe amongst the Pashtun people
    Pashtun people
    Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

     at the time;
  • He was unquestionably a charismatic leader and seasoned warrior who had at his disposal a trained, mobile force of 4,000 loyal cavalrymen;
  • Not least, he possessed a substantial part of Nadir Shah's treasury.


One of Abdali's first acts as chief was to adopt the title Padshah durr-i durrān ('King
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

, "pearl of the age" or "pearl of pearls"). The name may have been suggested, as some claim, from Abdali's dream, or as others claim, from the pearl earrings worn by the royal guard of Nadir Shah. The Abdali Pashtuns were known thereafter as the Durrani
Durrani
Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

, and the name of the Abdali confederation was changed to Durrani.

Early victories



Ahmad Shah began his rule by capturing Ghazni
Ghazni
For the Province of Ghazni see Ghazni ProvinceGhazni is a city in central-east Afghanistan with a population of about 141,000 people...

 from the Ghilzai
Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

s, and then wresting Kabul
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 the local ruler. In 1749, the Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 ruler was induced to cede Sindh, the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 and the important trans Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

 to Ahmad Shah in order to save his capital from Afghan attack. Having thus gained substantial territories to the east without a fight, Ahmad Shah turned westward to take possession of Herat
Herat Province
Herat is one the 34 provinces of Afghanistan; together with Badghis, Farah, and Ghor provinces, it makes up the South-western region of the country...

, which was ruled by Nader Shah's grandson, Shah Rukh of Persia
Shah Rukh of Persia
Shahrukh Shah Afshar, also spelled Shahrokh was a king of the Afsharid dynasty and a contemporary of the Zand kings. He reigned until 1796....

. Herat fell to Ahmad after almost a year of siege and bloody conflict, as did Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

 (in present-day Iran). Ahmad Shah next sent an army to subdue the areas north of the Hindu Kush mountains. In short order, the powerful army brought under its control the Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

, Uzbek
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

, Tajik and Hazaras tribes of northern Afghanistan. Ahmad invaded the remnants of the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 a third time, and then a fourth, consolidating control over the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 and Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 regions. Then, early in 1757, he sacked Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, but permitted the Mughal dynasty to remain in nominal control of the city as long as the ruler acknowledged Ahmad Shah's suzerainty over Punjab, Sindh, and Kashmir. Leaving his second son Timur Shah to safeguard his interests, Ahmad Shah left India to return to Afghanistan.

East Turkistan and the Uyghurs


Sympathizing with the plight of the Uyghurs, whose lands were conquered by the Qing dynasty, Ahmad Shah attempted to rally neighboring Muslim nations to check Qing expansion. Ahmad Shah halted trade with Qing China and dispatched troops to Kokand
Kokand
Kokand is a city in Fergana Province in eastern Uzbekistan, at the southwestern edge of the Fergana Valley. It has a population of 192,500 . Kokand is 228 km southeast of Tashkent, 115 km west of Andijan, and 88 km west of Fergana...

. However, with his campaigns in India exhausting the state treasury, and with his troops stretched thin throughout Central Asia, Ahmad Shah lacked sufficient resources to check the advance of Qing forces. In an effort to alleviate the situation in East Turkistan, Ahmad Shah sent envoys to Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, but the talks did not yield favorable results for the Uyghurs.

Third Battle of Panipat



The Mughal power in northern India had been declining since the reign of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
Abul Muzaffar Muhy-ud-Din Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir , more commonly known as Aurangzeb or by his chosen imperial title Alamgir , was the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, whose reign lasted from 1658 until his death in 1707.Badshah Aurangzeb, having ruled most of the Indian subcontinent for nearly...

, who died in 1707; In 1751-52, Ahamdiya treaty was signed between the Marathas
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

 and Mughals, when Balaji Bajirao was the Peshwa
Peshwa
A Peshwa is the titular equivalent of a modern Prime Minister. Emporer Shivaji created the Peshwa designation in order to more effectively delegate administrative duties during the growth of the Maratha Empire. Prior to 1749, Peshwas held office for 8-9 years and controlled the Maratha army...

. Through this treaty, the Marathas controlled virtually the whole of India from their capital at Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

 and Mughal rule was restricted only to Delhi (the Mughals remained the nominal heads of Delhi). Marathas were now straining to expand their area of control towards the Northwest of India. Ahmad Shah sacked the Mughal capital and withdrew with the booty he coveted. To counter the Afghans, Peshwa Balaji Bajirao sent Raghunathrao
Raghunathrao
Raghunathrao was Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy from 1773 to 1774. He was instrumental in the downfall of the Peshwa clan.-Early life:Raghunathrao, also known as "Raghoba" and "Ragho Bharari," was the younger brother of Nanasaheb Peshwa. His father was Peshwa Bajirao I & mother was Kashibai....

. He succeeded in ousting Timur Shah and his court from India and brought Lahore, Multan, Kashmir and other subahs on the Indian side of Attock under Maratha rule. Thus, upon his return to Kandahar in 1757, Ahmad was forced to return to India and face the formidable attacks of the Maratha Confederacy.

Ahmad Shah declared a jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 (or Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic holy war) against the Maratha
Maratha
The Maratha are an Indian caste, predominantly in the state of Maharashtra. The term Marāthā has three related usages: within the Marathi speaking region it describes the dominant Maratha caste; outside Maharashtra it can refer to the entire regional population of Marathi-speaking people;...

s, and warriors from various Pashtun tribes, as well as other tribes such as the Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

, Tajiks, and Nawabs in India, answered his call. Early skirmishes were followed by victory for the Afghans against the smaller Maratha garrisons in Northwest India and by 1759 Ahmad and his army had reached Lahore and were poised to confront the Marathas. By 1760, the Maratha groups had coalesced into a big enough army under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau. Once again, Panipat
Panipat
Panipat بَنِبَت is an ancient and historic city in Panipat district, Haryana state, India. It is 90 km north from Delhi and 169 km south of Chandigarh on NH-1. The three battles fought at the city were turning points in Indian history. The city is famous in India by the name of "City of...

 was the scene of a confrontation between two warring contenders for control of northern India. The Third Battle of Panipat
Third battle of Panipat
The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat , about 60 miles north of Delhi between a northern expeditionary force of the Maratha Confederacy and a coalition of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali with 2 Indian Muslim allies—the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab, and the...

 (January 1761), fought between largely Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and largely Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 armies was waged along a twelve-kilometer front. Despite decisively defeating the Marathas, what might have been Ahmad Shah's peaceful control of his domains was disrupted by other challenges.

Decline



The victory at Panipat was the high point of Ahmad Shah's—and Afghan—power. His Durrani empire was one of the largest Islamic empires in the world at that time. However, even prior to his death, the empire began to unravel. In 1762, Ahmad Shah crossed the passes from Afghanistan for the sixth time to subdue the Sikhs. He assaulted Lahore and, after taking their holy city of Amritsar
Amritsar
Amritsar is a city in the northern part of India and is the administrative headquarters of Amritsar district in the state of Punjab, India. The 2001 Indian census reported the population of the city to be over 1,500,000, with that of the entire district numbering 3,695,077...

, massacred thousands of Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 inhabitants, destroying their revered Golden Temple
Harmandir Sahib
The Harmandir Sahib also Darbar Sahib , also referred to as the Golden Temple, is a prominent Sikh gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab . Construction of the gurdwara was begun by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, and completed by his successor, Guru Arjan Dev...

. Within two years, the Sikhs rebelled again and rebuilt their holy city of Amritsar. Ahmad Shah tried several more times to subjugate the Sikhs permanently, but failed.

Ahmad Shah also faced other rebellions in the north, and eventually he and the Uzbek Emir of Bukhara
Emirate of Bukhara
The Emirate of Bukhara was a Central Asian state that existed from 1785 to 1920. It occupied the land between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, known formerly as Transoxiana. Its core territory was the land along the lower Zarafshan River, and its urban centres were the ancient cities of...

 agreed that the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 would mark the division of their lands. Ahmad Shah retired to his home in the mountains east of Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, where he died on (April 14, 1773). He had succeeded to a remarkable degree in balancing tribal alliances and hostilities, and in directing tribal energies away from rebellion. He earned recognition as Ahmad Shah Baba, or "Father
Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of their country, state or nation...

" of Afghanistan.

The main cause of the decline of the Durrani Empire was relentless efforts of the Sikhs. After suffering at the hands of the Afghans the Sikhs reunited, and as more and more Hindus converted to Sikhism, their army increased and they were able to re-capture Amritsar (1802), Ludhiana (1806), Multan, Kashmir, Laddakh, Peshawar, the Khyber Pass and Lahore. By the time Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire died, the Sikhs had taken almost all of Pakistan and Kashmir from the Afghans. Dost Mohammad of the Afghans put up much resistance, even defeating Ranjit Singh in Kandahar, but that did not stop the Sikhs from capturing Peshawar. Dost Mohammad and the Afghans were defeated in 1814, giving the Sikhs control of the strategically important Khyber Pass.

The last Sikh-Afghan battle was fought in 1837. The construction of Fort Jamrud next to Afghanistan made the Durrani rulers feel that Kabul was insecure, so Dost Muhammad and Akbar Khan led an attack on that fort. This failed however, and the Sikhs not only saved Fort Jamrud but also captured the Khyber Pass, which connects Pakistan and Afghanistan. The death of Hari Singh was the only solace for the Afghans. After this, the death of Ranjit Singh and the Sikh-Anglo war stopped the Sikh Empire from growing any further.

Forming a nation


By the time of Ahmad Shah's ascendancy, the Pashtuns included many groups whose origins were obscure; it is commonly believed they descended from ancient Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 tribes, some, such as the Ghilzai, believe they may have intermingled with Turks
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

, and some believe to be descendents of the Israelites that might have settled in the Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 areas. The Durranis are Persianized in culture due to their contacts with the nearby Persians. What they had in common was their education and love of Islam. To the east, the Waziris
Wazir (tribe)
Wazirs or Waziris are a Pashtun tribe settled in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies of Pakistan as well in the urban cities of Tank, F.R Bannu,i.e Domel and adjacent villages, Karachi and Lahore. Across the border, they can also be found in Paktia, Khost and Paktika provinces of...

 and their close relatives, the Mahsud
Mahsud
Mahsud is a Pashtun tribe in South Waziristan, a tribal region in Pakistan. Mahsud are considered to be one of the bravest and toughest Pashtun Tribes. The Mahsud tribe lives in the centre of South Waziristan valley, surrounded on three sides by the Darwesh Waziris, and being shut off by the...

s, had lived in the hills of the central Sulaiman Mountains
Sulaiman Mountains
The Sulaiman Mountains are a major geological feature of southeastern Afghanistan and northern Balochistan province of Pakistan. In Pakistan, it forms the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau where the Indus River separates it from the Asian Subcontient...

 since the 14th century. By the end of the 16th century, when the final Turkish-Mongol invasions occurred, tribes such as the Shinwaris, Yusufzais
Yousafzai
The Yūsufzai is one of the largest Pashtun tribes...

 and Mohmand
Mohmand
The Mohmand are a clan of Sarban Pashtuns, living primarily in the FATA & Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan & northeastern Afghanistan.- Demographics :...

s had moved from the upper Kabul River
Kabul River
Kabul River , the classical Cophes , is a 700 km long river that starts in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and ends in the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and is separated from the watershed of the Helmand by the Unai Pass...

 valley into the valleys and plains west, north, and northeast of Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

. The Afridis had long been established in the hills and mountain ranges south of the Khyber Pass
Khyber Pass
The Khyber Pass, is a mountain pass linking Pakistan and Afghanistan.The Pass was an integral part of the ancient Silk Road. It is mentioned in the Bible as the "Pesh Habor," and it is one of the oldest known passes in the world....

. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Durranis had blanketed the area west and north of Kandahar and were to be found as far east as Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, Baluchistan
Baluchistan (Chief Commissioners Province)
The Chief Commissioner's Province of Baluchistan was a province of British India located in the northern parts of the modern Balochistan province.- History :...

.

Other Durrani rulers (1772-1826)


Ahmad Shah's successors governed so ineptly during a period of profound unrest that within fifty years of his death, the Durrani empire per se was at an end, and Afghanistan
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...

 was embroiled in civil war. Much of the territory conquered by Ahmad Shah fell to others in this half century. By 1818, the Sadozai
Sadozai (Pastun tribe)
Sadozai meaning "kings" are the direct lineage of Ahmad Shah Abdali. All the notable Sadozai Durrani Afghan kings and rulers belonedg to the Sadozai tribe....

 rulers who succeeded Ahmad Shah controlled little more than Kabul
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...

 and the surrounding territory within a 160-kilometer radius. They not only lost the outlying territories but also alienated other tribes and lineages among the Durrani Pashtuns.

Timur Shah (1772-1793)


Ahmad Shah was succeeded by his son, Timur Shah, who had been deputed to administer his fathers conquests in northern India, but had been driven out by the Marathas. Upon Ahmad Shah's death, the Durrani chieftains only reluctantly accepted Timur's accession. Most of his reign was spent fighting a civil war and resisting rebellion; Timur was even forced to move his capital from Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 to Kabul
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...

 due to insurgency. Timur Shah proved an ineffectual ruler, during whose reign the Durrani empire began to crumble. He is notable for having had 24 sons, several of whom became rulers of the Durrani territories. Timur died in 1793, and was then succeeded by his fifth son Zaman Shah

Zaman Shah (1793-1801)


After the death of Timur Shah, three of his sons, the governors of Kandahar, Herat and Kabul, contended for the succession. Zaman Shah, governor of Kabul, held the field by virtue of being in control of the capital, and became shah at the age of twenty-three. Many of his half-brothers were imprisoned on their arrival in the capital for the purpose, ironically, of electing a new shah. The quarrels among Timur's descendants that threw Afghanistan into turmoil also provided the pretext for the intervention of outside forces.

The efforts of the Sadozai heirs of Timur to impose a true monarchy on the truculent Pashtun tribes, and their efforts to rule absolutely and without the advice of the other major Pashtun tribal leaders, were ultimately unsuccessful. The Sikhs became particularly troublesome, and after several unsuccessful efforts to subdue them, Zaman Shah made the mistake of appointing a forceful young Sikh chief, Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.-Early life:...

, as his governor in the Punjab. This "one-eyed" warrior would later become an implacable enemy of Pashtun rulers in Afghanistan.

Zaman's downfall was triggered by his attempts to consolidate power. Although it had been through the support of the Barakzai chief, Painda Khan Barakzai, that he had come to the throne, Zaman soon began to remove prominent Barakzai leaders from positions of power and replace them with men of his own lineage, the Sadozai. This upset the delicate balance of Durrani tribal politics that Ahmad Shah had established and may have prompted Painda Khan and other Durrani chiefs to plot against the shah. Painda Khan and the chiefs of the Nurzai and the Alizai Durrani clans were executed, as was the chief of the Qizilbash clan. Painda Khan's son fled to Iran and pledged the substantial support of his Barakzai followers to a rival claimant to the throne, Zaman's older brother, Mahmud Shah
Mahmud Shah Durrani
Mahmud Shah Durrani was born Prince and ruler of the Durrani Empire between 1801 and 1803, and again between 1809 and 1818...

. The clans of the chiefs Zaman had executed joined forces with the rebels, and they took Kandahar without bloodshed.

Mahmud Shah (first reign, 1801-1803)



Zeman Shah's overthrow in 1801 was not the end of civil strife in Afghanistan, but the beginning of even greater violence. Mahmud Shah's
Mahmud Shah Durrani
Mahmud Shah Durrani was born Prince and ruler of the Durrani Empire between 1801 and 1803, and again between 1809 and 1818...

 first reign lasted for only two years before he was replaced by Shuja Shah
Shuja Shah Durrani
Shuja Shah Durrani was ruler of the Durrani Empire from 1803 to 1809. He then ruled from 1839 until his death in 1842. Shuja Shah was of the Sadozai line of the Abdali group of Pashtuns...

.

Shuja Shah (1803-1809)



Yet another of Timur Shah's sons, Shuja Shah (or Shah Shuja), ruled for only six years. On June 7, 1809, Shuja Shah signed a treaty with the British
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, which included a clause stating that he would oppose the passage of foreign troops through his territories. This agreement, the first Afghan pact with a Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an power, stipulated joint action in case of Franco
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

-Persian aggression against Afghan or British dominions. Only a few weeks after signing the agreement, Shuja was deposed by his predecessor, Mahmud. Much later, he was reinstated by the British, ruling during 1839-1842. Two of his sons also ruled for a brief period in 1842.

Mahmud Shah (second reign, 1809-1818)


Mahmud's second reign lasted nine years. Mahmud alienated the Barakzai, especially Fateh Khan, the son of Painda Khan, who was eventually seized and blinded. Revenge would later be sought and obtained by Fateh Khan's youngest brother, 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...

.

Sultan Ali Shah (1818-1819)



Ali Shah was another son of Timur Shah
Timur Shah Durrani
Timur Shah Durrani , was the second ruler of the Durrani Empire from October 16, 1772, until his death in 1793. An ethnic Pashtun, he was the second and eldest son of Ahmad Shah Durrani.- Early life :...

. He seized power for a brief period in 1818-19.

Ayub Shah (1819-1823?)


Ayub Shah was another son of Timur Shah, who deposed Sultan Ali Shah. He was himself later deposed, and presumably killed in 1823. The loss of Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 during his reign opened a new chapter in South Asian history.

See also

  • History of Afghanistan
    History of Afghanistan
    The written history of Afghanistan can be traced back to the Achaemenid Empire ca. 500 BCE, although evidence indicates that an advanced degree of urbanized culture has existed in the land since between 3000 and 2000 BCE. Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived to Afghanistan in 330 BCE...

  • History of Pakistan
    History of Pakistan
    The 1st known inhabitants of the modern-day Pakistan region are believed to have been the Soanian , who settled in the Soan Valley and Riwat almost 2 million years ago. Over the next several thousand years, the region would develop into various civilizations like Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley...

  • History of Iran
    History of Iran
    The history of Iran has been intertwined with the history of a larger historical region, comprising the area from the Danube River in the west to the Indus River and Jaxartes in the east and from the Caucasus, Caspian Sea, and Aral Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and Egypt...

  • List of Sunni Muslim dynasties

External links