The History of Afghanistan (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations)

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He defeated the Rohillas and Afghan garrisons in Punjab and 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. Ahmad Shah declared a jihad or Islamic holy war against the Marathas , and warriors from various Afghan tribes joined his army, including the Baloch people under the command of Khan of Kalat Mir Nasir I of Kalat.

Suba Khan Tanoli Zabardast Khan was selected as army chief of all military forces. Early skirmishes were followed by victory for the Afghans against the much larger Maratha garrisons in Northwest India and by Ahmad Shah and his army had reached Lahore and were poised to confront the Marathas. Ahmad Shah Durrani was famous for winning wars much larger than his army.


By , the Maratha groups had coalesced into a big enough army under the command of Sadashivrao Bhau. Once again, Panipat was the scene of a confrontation between two warring contenders for control of northern India. The Third Battle of Panipat 14 January , fought between largely Muslim and largely Hindu 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 many challenges.

As far as losses are concerned, Afghans too suffered heavily in the Third Battle of Panipat. This weakened his grasp over Punjab which fell to the rising Sikh misls. There were rebellions in the north in the region of Bukhara.

Durrani Empire - Wikipedia

The victory at Panipat was the high point of Ahmad Shah's—and Afghan—power. However, even prior to his death, the empire began to unravel. In , Ahmad Shah crossed the passes from Afghanistan for the sixth time to subdue the Sikhs. From this time and on, the domination and control of the Empire began to loosen, and by the time of Durrani's death he had completely lost Punjab to the Sikhs, as well as earlier losses of northern territories to the Uzbeks, necessitating a compromise with them.

He assaulted Lahore and, after taking their holy city of Amritsar , massacred thousands of Sikh inhabitants, destroying their revered Golden Temple. Ahmad Shah tried several more times to subjugate the Sikhs permanently, but failed. Ahmad Shah retired to his home in the mountains east of Kandahar, where he died on April 14, Afghanistan portal.

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 was embroiled in civil war. Much of the territory conquered by Ahmad Shah fell to others in this half century. By , the Sadozai rulers who succeeded Ahmad Shah controlled little more than Kabul and the surrounding territory within a kilometer radius.

They not only lost the outlying territories but also alienated other tribes and lineages among the Durrani Pashtuns. Ahmad Shah was succeeded by his son, Timur Shah, who had been deputed to administer his father's 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.

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  5. Most of his reign was spent fighting a civil war and resisting rebellion; Timur was even forced to move his capital from Kandahar to Kabul due to the 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 and was then succeeded by his fifth son Zaman Shah.

    Article excerpt

    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 through Afghanistan into turmoil also provided the pretext for the interventions 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 started to rise under the command of Sikh chief, Ranjit Singh , who succeeded in wresting power from Zaman's forces.

    The History of Afghanistan

    Later when Zaman was blinded by his brother, Ranjit Singh who gave him asylum in Punjab. 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 younger brother, Mahmud Shah. The clans of the chiefs Zaman had executed joined forces with the rebels, and they took Kandahar without bloodshed.

    Zeman Shah's overthrow in was not the end of civil strife in Afghanistan, but the beginning of even greater violence. Mahmud Shah's first reign lasted for only two years before he was replaced by Shuja Shah. On June 7, , Shuja Shah signed a treaty with the British , 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 European power, stipulated joint action in case of Franco -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 — Two of his sons also ruled for a brief period in 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. Ali Shah was another son of Timur Shah. He seized power for a brief period in — He was himself later deposed, and presumably killed in The loss of Kashmir during his reign opened a new chapter in South Asian history.

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