Afghan–Sikh wars

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The Afghan–Sikh wars were a series of wars between the Afghan invaders of India, the Durrani Empire, and the Sikh Empire. The conflict had its origins stemming from the days of the Sukerchakia Misl.

Prior to this war, a Sikh holocaust happened, which was the Sikh holocaust of 1762, which was the mass killing of Sikhs by the Durrani Empire, due to their leader Ahmad Shah Durrani. Also, the martyrdom of Baba Deep Singh led to these events. In 1757, Ahmad Shah Durrani came to loot India for a fourth time,[1] but he was so harassed by the bands of Sikh fighters, so he blew up the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib. Baba Deep Singh Ji, then set out to Harmandir Sahib, with a body of Sikhs, approximating to about 5000. Wielding his double edged sword, he fought. According to tradition, his head had been cut off and he wielded his head in one hand and his sword in the other, he wouldn't die until he hadn't returned control of Harmandir Sahib to the Sikhs [2]

Battle of Attock[edit]

This war started with the Battle of Attock, also known as the Battle of Chuch or the Battle of Haidru, this was the first significant Sikh victory over the Durrani Empire. In the aftermath of this battle, Sikhs had seized the control of Attock District from the Durranis. After his defeat at Attock, Fateh Khan, the vizier of Kabul, fought off an attempt by Ali Shah, the ruler of Persia, and his son Ali Mirza to capture the Durrani province of Herat, which left their newly captured province of Kashmir open to attack.[3]

Battle of Multan[edit]

The Battle of Multan was the 2nd battle in the Afghan–Sikh wars, which the Sikhs had also won. This started in March 1818 and ended 2 June 1818.[4] This battle ended the Durrani influence in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, and led to Sikhs holding the city of Peshawar.

Battle of Shopian[edit]

The Battle of Shopian was different from the first two battles, due to it taking place in the Kashmir region, more specifically Shopian. This was the 3rd battle in the Afghan–Sikh wars and the 3rd Sikh victory. This battle included the 1819 Kashmir expedition, which led to Kashmir being annexed to the Sikh Empire.[5] After taking Srinagar, the Sikh army faced no major opposition in conquering Kashmir. The Sikh Empire had controlled all of Kashmir.[6]

Battle of Nowshera[edit]

The Battle of Nowshera wasn't fought by the Durranis, but by a Pashtun force with support of the Durranis. This was the 4th battle in the Afghan–Sikh wars and 4th Sikh victory.[7] After this, the Sikhs again came in possession of Peshawar, along with the whole Khyber Pass. With this victory, Maharaja Ranjit Singh planned to eventually push further west and take the Afghan capital of Kabul itself.

Battle of Jamrud[edit]

The Battle of Jamrud was the 5th and foremost battle within the Afghan–Sikh wars, and also the 5th Sikh victory. The Afghans had been losing their long held territories to Sikhs over the preceding years due to internal conflicts, and had seen their once mighty empire shrink with the loss of the Punjab region, Multan, Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The loss of Peshawar was the most personal as the inhabitants of the region were fellow Afghans and the city was the second capital of Afghanistan, so the Afghans set to reclaim it.[8] As a result of this battle, Jamrud and the Khyber pass became the western limits of Sikh influence.


  1. ^ Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Volume I: 1469-1839, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1978, pp. 144-45.
  2. ^ Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Volume I: 1469-1839, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1978, p. 145; K.S. Thapar, “Baba Dip Singh”, The Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Volume I, Patiala, Punjabi University, 1995, p. 588.
  3. ^ Cunningham 1918, p. 152
  4. ^ Jaques 2006, p. 81
  5. ^ Chopra 1928, p. 26
  6. ^ Chopra 1928, p. 26
  7. ^ Ganda Singh (1986) Maharaja Ranjit Singh: First Death Centenary Memorial. Nirmal Publishers
  8. ^ The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Land Warfare: An Illustrated World View, by Byron Farwell Published by W.W. Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-04770-9, ISBN 978-0-393-04770-7.