2. Kings of Afghanistan

1747-1773: Ahmad Shah Durrani
Ahmad Shah Durrani


Ahmad Shah Durrani, or known as well as Ahmad Shah Baba, laid the foundations of Afghanistan, as a distinct nation. He consolidates and enlarges Afghanistan. He defeats the Moghuls in the west of the Indus, and he takes Herat away from the Persians. Ahmad Shah Durrani's empire extended from Central Asia to Delhi, from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. It became the greatest Muslim empire in the second half of the 18th century.
Timur Shah
Timur Shah was the second king of Afghanistan. Under his rule, the capital of Afghanistan is transferred from Kandahar to Kabul because of tribal opposition. He faces many internal revolts. His sons later claim the throne.
Zaman Shah

The Pule Kheshte MosqueThe internal revolts continue in the reign of King Zaman Shah. In 1795, Persians invade the province of Khurasan. Kabul's largest mosque was constructed in his rule. Source image: www.afghan.bit.com.au

King Shah Mahmood
The Royal Gardens of Herat was constructed in his time.

King Shah Shujah
In1805, Persian attack on Herat fails. A lot of internal fighting.
King Shah Mahmood
King Shah Mahmood returns to the throne. War with Persia, indecisive victory.
Sons of Timur Shah

Sons of Timur Shah struggle for the throne. There is civil war and anarchy. Afghans lose Sind permanently.

King Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan takes Kabul, and establishes control. Persia moves into Khurasan, and threatens Herat. Afghans defend Herat successfully. In 1836, Dost Mohammad Khan is proclaimed as Amir al-mu'minin (commander of the faithful). He was well on the road toward reunifying the whole of Afghanistan when the British, in collaboration with an ex-king (Shah Shuja), invade Afghanistan. On Dost Mohammad's death, the country enters a period of internal conflicts for about 40 years.
King Shah Shujah

After some resistance, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan surrenders to the British and is deported to India. Shah Shuja is installed as a "puppet king" by the British. It is the First Anglo-Afghan War (1832-1842), and in April 1842, Shah Shuja is killed by Afghans, who passionately continue their struggle against the British soldiers. In January 1842, out of 16,500 soldiers (and 12,000 dependents) only one survivor, of a mixed British-Indian garrison, reaches the fort in Jalalabad, on a stumbling pony.

King Dost Mohammad Khan

After the annihilation of British troops, Afghanistan becomes independent, and the exiled Amir, Dost Mohammad Khan comes back and occupies the royal throne. In 1855, Dost Mohammad Khan signs a peace treaty with India. In 1859, British take Baluchistan, and Afghanistan becomes completely landlocked.

King Shir Ali Khan

King Shir Ali Khan, Dost Mohammad Khan's son, succeeds to the throne. In 1865, Russia takes Bukhara, Tashkent, and Samarkand.

King Mohammad Afzal Khan

Mohammad Afzal occupies Kabul and proclaims himself Amir.
In October, 1867 he dies.

King Mohammad Azam Khan

Mohammad Azam succeeds to the throne. In 1868, Mohammad Azam flees to Persia. Shir Ali reasserts control (1868-1879).

King Shir Ali Khan/Loynab Shridel

King Ali Khan comes back to power. In 1873, Russia established a fixed boundary between Afghanistan and it's new territories. Russia promises to respect Afghanistan's territorial integrity. In 1878, start of second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), the British invade and the Afghans quickly put up a strong resistance.

King Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan

Shir Ali Khan dies in Mazar-i-Sharif, and Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan takes over until October 1879.
Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan gives up the following Afghan territories to the British: Kurram, Khyber, Michni, Pishin, and Sibi. Afghans lose these territories permanently.

Abdur Rahman Khan
Abdur Rahman Khan takes throne of Afghanistan as Amir. The British, shortly after the accession of the new Amir, withdraw from Afghanistan, although they retain the right to handle Afghanistan's foreign relations. He led the country in educational reforms and towards modernization. Abdur Rahman Khan dies. His son Habibullah Khan becomes the King.
Habibullah Khan

Habibullah Khan reigned from 1901 until 1919. He requested members of his family, exiled in India to return. This included a young officer Nadir Shah, a future King. Habibullah modernized the army, and for the first time Afghan officers were presented with authentic maps of the country and the pay soldiers was increased. Throughout the period of the Great War (1914-1918), Habibullah's influence was on the side of peace. A famous adviser, Amir Sher Ali Khan told him "Frendship with the Ferunghi is written on ice. It melts when the sun shines on it". The King was assassinated in a military camp at Lughman in February 1918.

King Amanullah Khan

His third son, Amanullah Khan was able to bypass his elder brothers and become King himself. The car carrying his elder brother, Hidayatullah Khan to Kabul was mysteriously marooned in a district where communications were practically non-existent. King Amanullah was involved in the third Afghan War against the British which quickly developed on three fronts, Khyber, Kandahar and Khost. A satisfactory treaty was subsequently treated with the British. In a later stage of his reign, King Amanullah started ridiculing the Ulema. His European tour cost the country three years taxes. Finally, there was a rebellion led by one Bacha Saquo that forced the King's abdication. On May 14,1929 the King and his entourage proceeded to exile in British India.

Mohamad Nadir Shah

King Mohamad Nadir Shah (1883-1933)A member of the royal family in exile in France, Nadir Shah, was requested by King Amanullah to return to his country and remove Bacha Saquo. After considerable struggles, Nadir Shah was able to rally the tribes and gain victory. He refuses to be appointed Monarch, but accepted because of the insistence of the tribal leaders. He lived to see his country regain stability and peace. One of his first orders was to prohibit bribery. He made all employees of the government swear on the Qur'an that they would neither accept bribes nor presents from the people. At the same time, he banned intoxicants both for public and private use. According to a biographer, Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, the King was "one of the finest characters ever to come out of the East".

King Muhammad Zahir Shah (still alive)

Muhammad Zahir ShahThe son, King Zahir Shah, inherits the throne. He rules until 1973. Zahir Shah's uncles serve as prime ministers and advisors until 1953. In 1940, Zahir Shah proclaims Afghanistan as neutral during WW2. In 1949, Afghanistan's Parliament denounces the Durand Treaty and refuses to recognize the Durand line as a legal boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pashtuns in Pashtunistan (Occupied Afghan Land) proclaim an independent Pashtunistan, but their proclamation goes unacknowledged by the world community. In 1953, Prince Mohammad Daoud becomes Prime Minister. In 1954, The U.S. rejects Afghanistan's request to buy military equipment to modernize the army. In 1955, Daoud turns to the Soviet Union (Russia) for military aid. In 1956, Kruschev and Bulgaria agree to help Afghanistan, militarily speaking. Afghanistan and USSR
maintain close ties. In 1961, Pakistan and Afghanistan come close to war over Pashtunistan.
1963-1964: Zahir Shah removed Daud from office, hoping to improve relations with Pakistan and limit Soviet influence. Dr. Mohammad Yusof becomes Prime Minister. In 1964, Afghanistan adopted a new constitution, from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The 1970s brought a severe drought, economic hardship, and the end of the regime. Daud overthrew the king in a coup and declared himself president. Daoud Khan abolishes the monarchy, and establishes the Republic of Afghanistan. The King sent to exile, leaves for Italy. He awaits a future role.