Ahmad Shah Durrani (Ahmad Shah Baba)

By admin, 8 April, 2024

Ahmad Shah Durrani was born in 1720 A.D. to Mohammad Zaman Khan Abdali and his wife, Zarghona Alakozai. His grandfathers were Doulath Khan and Sarmasth Khan from the Abdali tribe, one of the two ruling tribes of Kandahar, the other one is Ghiljai. His birth place is believed to be Herat. Many Durranis migrated there from Kandahar.

Ahmad Shah began climbing to power in 1745 A.D. and established the modern Afghanistan kingdom. He ruled over cities in Iran, Pakistan, India and Russian Turkistan for about 26 years. Those were exciting years of politics, wars, and conquering. He died in 1771 A.D. at the age of 51.

Ahmad Shah is buried in Kandahar from where his family and tribe originated. Before rising to power, Shah Hussien Hotaki of the Ghilzi tribe was ruling the country.

Ahmad Shah and his brother, Zulfakar Khan, were jailed by Shah Hussien in Kandahar in 1738 A.D./l 149 A.H. At this time, Nader Afshar of Persia moved against Afghan King Hotaki, with the help of other rival tribes. The Abdali Persians seized Kandahar after two years of struggle. He ended the Afghan government of the Hotaki's dynasty. Soon Persian Nader freed Ahmad Shah and his brother, Zulfakar Khan, from jail. Nader had plans for the two brothers hoping they would be instrumental in the future military advances of

Iranians in Afghanistan. Nader's admiration continued to grow for the talented Afghan brothers. He-bestowed gifts and special favours on them. In a short time Ahmad Shah was promoted to the rank of general and became head of an Afghan Abdali regiment serving in Nader's army. Ahmad Shah was all this time with the Persian Nader, almost six years under his direct supervision and close company. Historians state that one time Nader personally told Ahmad Shah, ..."that after me you will make a great ruler."

Some historians report that Nader Afshar caused numerous killings, a bloodshed, and ruined the culture and resources of Afghanistan to such a degree that no one could forget these cruel actions. The only benefit Ahmad Shah gained from Nader Afshar was his military training and administrative experience.

According to Iranian historian Jehan Kushayi Naderi, Nader Afshar became mentally ill because of his cruel activities and bloodshed. With the stress and confusion he could not trust anyone around him. He became crueller and started killing his generals and/or chiefs of his tribes (Afsharis and Kizilbashis).People around him were troubled by his fearful state of mind.

Finally, Nader Buelli, his brother, along with the aid of many others plotted a coupe against him. The plan succeeded and Nader Afshar was murdered at night when Afghan Ahmad Shah was not around. His body was found at dawn in the Army Courtyard in Fatheh Abad near Mashhad. Thus, the powerful emperorship of Persia was ended.

As soon as Ahmad Shah found the report he safeguarded Nader's family and children, so nobody would harm or disgrace any member ofthe Royal family. In appreciation of this valued service and honesty, Nader's wife offered Ahmad Shah the famous and most significant Kohi Noor (meaning "mountain of light") Diamond which is now in the possession of the British Royal family.

Immediately, Ahmad Shah and his soldiers retreated to Kandahar, his homeland. He contacted all the tribes to foster national unity and to choose a head of the state as soon as possible. After hard campaigning against rivals he called for the formation of the traditional Afghan National Loya Jirgah (Grand National Assembly). For nine days serious discussions were held among the candidates in the Argah. Ahmad Shah kept silent by not campaigning for himself At last Sabir Shah, a religious chief, came out ofhis sanctuary and stood before those in the Jirgah and said: He found no one worthy for leadership except Ahmah Shah. He is the most trustworthy and talented for the job. He had Sabir's blessing for the nomination because only his shoulders could carry this responsibility. The leaders agreed unanimously. Ahmad Shah emerged supreme, gaining the king title of Dur-i-Durran (Pearl of Pearls).

In 1747 A.D./I 160 A.H., a true nation consisting of all the clans was established for the first time and was called Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah's tribal title Abdali was changed to the Durrani and was named Baba, Father of the Nation. His political fortune rose and rose. He extended his power to India in the East, to Iran in the West and toward the North to the Axes River. Since his youth, Ahmad Shah desired a permanent, independent, united and strong Afghanistan that would be prepared for national progress and not disturbed by its neighbours.

In 1748 A.D., Ahmad Shah Baba entrusted his nephew, M. Loqman Khan, in Kandahar. He and General Sardar Jehan Khan travelled to Ghazni, Kabul, Jalal Abad and Peshawar.

These cities fell to his rule without resistance. Govemor Naser Khan, who was ruling in these areas, escaped to Lahore, India- He had proclaimed himselfin the region since Nader Afshar was murdered in Iran.

Ahmad Shah encouraged the residents of Peshawar to join the consolidation of the Afghan Empire and assist their brothers in conquering India where Muslim brothers were being suppressed by the Maghul rulers. The wise invitation was jointly accepted by those people. Ahmah Shah extended his trip to Lahore. Crossing the Indus he seized Attak and its surrounding areas. The governor of Punjab, Shah Nawaz Khan fled toward Delhi but was followed by Ahmad Shah. Ile Afghan ruler faced the 1,000,000 armies of Maghul led by General Mir Menu at Manpur on the Siltig River. The severe fight resulted in heavy losses on both sides. Finally, Ahmad Shah accepted the peace proposed by the Delhi rider. He retreated to Kandahar to strengthen his army. There he jailed his untrustworthy nephew who claimed independence in the absence of the king.

In 1162 A.H., Ahmad Shah made a second trip with his fresh army to meet Mir Manu in Punjab. This time the Governor of Punjab chose not to fight. He submitted to Afghan power asking for peace. He accepted payment of Rs. 140,000 in cash and was to send annually specified taxes to Kandahar, Afghanistan. To save his kingdom the Maghul king in Delhi ceded all territories west of the Indus River to the Afghan emperor. On his return Alunad Shah reappointed Mir Menu as Governor of Punjab.

Arriving home in Kandahar, Ahmad Shah discovered another plot against him. This time Noor Mohammad Khan Solaiman Khil, one of the unsuccessful candidates of Shir Surklfs s Loya Jirgah had claimed leadership over Kandahar.

Noor Mohammad along with a few of his assistants such as Kado Khan, Mohabat, Osman and others were deposed and killed.

On his way from Punjab to Kandahar, Ahmad Shah was asked by the local leaders to accept the leadership of the Pashtuns tribes at Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, and Brahui of Kalat. These areas were thus joined with Afghan territories.

In 1163 A.H., Ahmad Shah moved with 25,000 soldiers to free Herat from the Persian rule. Here Amir Alam Khan, a local Arab, was governing the city for Shah Rukh, ruler of Khurasan. Herat was reinforced and supported by Persians against the Afghan take over. After nine months of siege, Ahmad Shah directly engaged in a bitter and bloody battle until the city fell into Afghan hands. Amir Alain Khan escaped to

Mashhad. Ahmad Shah appointed Darwish Ali Khan Hazara as the governor of Herat. The Afghan king then proceeded to Mashhad, the capital of Shah Rukh, who was now helped by Amir Alam Khan, in controlling his territory. Ahmad Shah defeated both ofthem. The latter was killed in the fight outside the city. Ahmad Shah pardoned Shah Rukh because of his recent blindness and his strong youth's impression. He was also reappointed as the ruler of Mashhad. The Afghan king then reappointed as the ruler of Mashhad. The Afghan king then proceeded to Nishapur but retreated to Kandahar because of the severe winter and to strengthen his army.

On his way back to Herat, Ahmad Shah delegated his Chief Minister, Shah Walikhan, with an armed force of 10,000 to regain and organize Northern Afghanistan. Shah Walikhan successfully accomplished the mission. He attached all cities to the new kingdom ofAhmad Shah, further unifying Afghanistan.

The north included Marva, Maimana, Andkhuoi, Shiberghan, Bulkh, Tashkurghan, Aibak, Bamiyan, Hazarajath, Kunduz, Kataghan, Badakhshan, Khanabad and Asterabad. New administrators and controllers were installed to work forAhmad Shah. The Afghan king also left General Sardar Jehan Khan in Herat with 5,000 soldiers to discourage any uprising by Persian forces in the occupied areas of Herat.

Early in 1751 A.D./ 164 A.H., Ahmad Shah rode to Nishapur for the second time attacking the city with heavy artillery. The shots were fired from a 500-pound cannon. The shots scared the people of Nishapur who submitted to Ahmad Shah easily.

On returning to his home Ahmad Shah had to show his force again to Shah Rukh who had forgotten his pardoning favors. In this show of force Shah Rukh was defeated. Ahmad Shah again exercised his generosity by reappointing the blind Shah Rukh as ruler of Khurasan. The only agreement was that Khurasan would be consolidated and considered part of the Afghan kingdom.

While Ahmad Shah was busy fighting in Persia.and consolidating Northern Afghanistan, Mir Menu used the opportunity to negotiate, with Moghul in Delhi, support against the Afghans. Then he refused to pay taxes to the Afghan ruler in Kandahar. For this reason and for the third time Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded India in 1751 A.D./I 165 A.H. The attack was carried out with great strength and Mir Manu was defeated with great losses. Because of Ahmad ShaWs victories, the Indian government in Delhi feared his strength. However, Ahmad Shah did not continue invading due to the summer heat. Instead he sent an Afghan mission to integrate Kashmir into the Afghan empire.

In 1753 A.D./I 167 A.H., Mir Menu died. He was replaced by his three-year-old son. In fact, his mother, Moghlani Begum, controlled the administration and politics. She was strong willed and sexually promiscuous. Her lack of character and wisdom fostered civil disorder, power seeking and anarchy. She strengthened her ties with the Delhi government by marrying her daughter to Waziruldin, a powerful chief minister in Delhi. She broke ties with the Afghan government and ignored her husband's commitment to the Afghans. For the fourth time Ahmad Shah invaded India. He captured Lahore and entered into Delhi in 1757 A.D./I 170 A.H As usual Ahmad Shah allowed the Moghul Emperor Alamgir H (installed in 1754 A. D. ) to remain in power. In return he accepted the Afghan government in Kashmir, Purjah, and Sindh. Ahmad Shah sent another army to fight and subdue strong Mahrattas and Jets. His army reached as far as Agra with success. He also appointed his son, Timur Shah, to rule over Lahore and its surrounding territories.

During this trip Ahmad Shah also arranged to marry a daughter of Alamgir 11 to his son, Timur Shah. The Indian emperor gave Timur Shah the City of Sirhind as a wedding gift (dowry). Ahmad Shah left Delhi satisfied with the successes and pleasure of India. Being bored, homesick, and not able to tolerate the summer heat and cholera in Delhi, Ahmad Shah Baba returned to his home in Kandahar. At this time he wrote a poem illustrating his love and devotion to his country:

Bloody chests are full of land-love-affair Youths sacrifice heads, and call it only fair.
Relief comes to me when I come to you Anxiety snakes in my heart when I am far from-you.
No matter the increase in lands I capture It's the beauty of your gardens I'll never forget.
Discard I the magnificent throne of Delhi When I remember the summits of Afghan mountains.
The legacy of Hamid and Farid times returns When I run victorious all around.
Ahmad Shah will not forget your legacy Even if he conquers the world in whole.
If the universe comes into either hand I'll prefer your bare and naked deserts.

Timur Shah didn't rule Punjab or the cities in Northern India. The Sikhs launched a revolt in Amritsar. It was toppled by the great Afghan General Sardar Jahan Khan. Then the Mahrattas and Hindus under Raghunath Rao fought agamst the Afghans in Lahore in April 1758 A.D./I 171 A.H..The Afghans got out and waited for another chance. Adina Beg stayed as Governor of Lahore.

At this time, Nasir Khan of Brahui-Baluch in Kalat, disobeyed and broke his loyalty to Ahmad Shah, probably due to Persian or Moguls provocation. Ahmad Shah met Nasir Khan for the second time. He used diplomacy rather than power in handling the Baluch ruler. Ahmad Shah authorized Nasir Khan to keep the local ruling and was asked in return to support the Afghans in their wars, and also to not take sides with the Afghan enemies. The diplomacy worked as Nasir Khan delightfully agreed and did swear loyalty to Ahmad Shah Durrani.

Forthe fifth time, Ahmad Shah invaded India, October 1756 A.D., recapturing Punjab. He fought Mahrattas in many areas. His most famous and courageous battle was noted at Panipat, January 14, 1761 A.D./I 174 A.H., where Mahratta, Hindu and Sikh forces were destroyed. Again Delhi was conquered at the traditional Pampat Battleground by the hands of Ahmad Shah Durrani. Historians believe this serious Afghan victory in Panipat opened the door for Britain!s future occupation of India.

Ahmad Shah Durrani helped Shah Alam II, son of Alanigir 11, to stabilize and rule India after he left the country for his own land. Ahmad Shah even sent Royal Orders (Farmans) to most Indian provinces and to British Robert Cline in Calcutta to recognize the rightful government under Alam Il. The Farmans received positive responses. Ahmad Shah Durrani left Delhi for Kandahar in the spring of 1761 A.D./I 174 A.H For the sixth time, in February 1762 A.D./I 175 A.H., Ahmad Shah made his excursion to India for the purpose of putting Sikhs under control. It took two Years for the residents to take Punjab and reestablish their own government. Ahmad Shah Durrani learned the news of the Sikhs' freedom. He came to India for the seventh time in October 1764 A,D./I 178 A.H., and recaptured Lahore. After sometime, the Sikhs started guerilla style attacks against the Afghan army when the caravans were returning home to Kandahar. Ahmad Shah Durrani for the eighth time returned to India to subdue the Sikhs in 1766-67 A.D./1180-81A.H. He occupied Lahore easily. This time he pressed the City of Amritsar destroying places and subjucated the people. At this time Britain backed Indians in Bengal. Because of summer heat and some problems at home, Ahmad Shah decided to return to Kandahar and delay activities in India.

In 1769 A.D./I 183 A.H., Ahmad Shah Durrani rode to India for the final two tries of preventing Sikh revolts and uprisings. This time he did not succeed due to his illness. He suddenly developed cancer of the face which forced him to look for his recovery. Some have called the malady an uIcer. None-the-less, it deformed his nose; the great man wore an artificial silver nose. The rumor of his bad health spread around the empire and people began to turn against him. In the East, the Sikhs weakened the Afghan empire with the usual uprisings. In the North, instability reigned in some cities. They roclaimed freedom. The Amir of Bukhara claimed some other regions. Ahmad Shah reached Bukhara but preferred not to fight against his Moslem brothers to avoid killings. The Amir of Bukhara accepted the terms of peace that the Amu Darya(River) will be recognized as a boundary dividing the land ofAhmad Shah and Bukhara. The Amir of Bukhara (Murad Beg) in consideration of good faith presented to Ahmad Shah Durrani the highest and most religious Kherka-i-Mubarak, the clock wore by the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Excited and delighted Ahmad Shah Durrani brought the Kherka-i- Mubarak to Kandahar with special honor and ceremonies. To house the grandiose gift, the king constructed an artistic building near the Royal Court. It is adjacent to a huge beautifid mosque. The mosque and Kherka-i-Mubarak both still exist in splendor- Every day, large numbers of people go there to pray. 'Me Persians in Mashhad forgot the glory of the Afghan empire. Nasrullah Mirza, son of Shah Rukh, with the assistance of Zards in Shiraz and the Kurds claimed independence. Ahmad Shah Durrani with his iron fist moved to Khurasan in 1769/70 A.D./I 183 A-H..Mashhad was besieged. This could be counted as the final victorious triumph of the Afghan ruler. Ahmad Shah Durrani was always kind to blind Shah Rukh. So, Shah Rukh was again reappointed as ruler of Khurasan. To prove his loyalty in return of this favor Shah Rukh, gave his daughter in marriage to Timore Shah, the second son of Ahmad Shah Durrani. As Ahmad Shah Durrani's final days of life were soon approaching, he designated Timore Shah Durrani as his heir.

Then the Emperor went to the Sulaiman Mountains near the east of Kandahar waiting in peace and agony. The cancer or ulcer increased in the upper part of his nose so much so that his words were not understood. In his final days, he had to be fed. Peace came upon him in October 1772 A.D./I 186 A.H. in Kandahar where he is buried in a prestigious mausoleum.