Akbar Khan

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Amir Akbar Khan
امير اکبر خان
Wazir of Afghanistan
Prince Akbar Khan.jpg
An old drawing of Amir Akbar Khan
Reign May 1842–1845
Titles Wazir, Ghazi, Prince, and General
Born 1816
Died 1845
Place of death Jalalabad, Afghanistan
Buried Blue Mosque, Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan
Royal house Barakzai dynasty
Father Dost Mohammad Khan
Mother Mirmon Khadija Popalzai
Religious beliefs Sunni Islam

Amir Akbar Khan (1816–1845; Pashto: امير اکبر خان‎), born as Mohammad Akbar Khan (Pashto: محمد اکبر خان‎) and famously known as Wazir Akbar Khan, was an Afghan prince, general, and finally wazir for about three years until his death. He was militarily active in the First Anglo-Afghan War, which lasted from 1839 to 1842. He is prominent for his leadership of the national party in Kabul from 1841 to 1842, and his massacre of the retreating British-led Indian army and their retinue from Kabul to Gandamak near Jalalabad in 1842. His fame began with the 1837 Battle of Jamrud, while attempting to re-gain Afghanistan's second capital, Peshawar from the Sikh army of Punjab.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Akbar was born as Mohammad Akbar Khan in 1816 to Amir Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan and Mirmon Khadija Popalzai. Amir Dost Mohammad Khan had 2 wives, 8 sons (including Amir Akbar Khan) and 2 daughters.[3]

Adult life[edit]

Further information: First Anglo-Afghan War

In 1836 Dost Mohammad's Muslim forces, under the command of his son Akbar Khan, fought the Sikhs at the Battle of Jamrud, fifteen kilometers west of present-day Peshawar.[1] Dost Mohammad Khan did not follow up this triumph by retaking Peshawar, however, but instead contacted Lord Auckland, the new British governor general in India, for help in dealing with the Sikhs. With this letter, Dost Mohammad formally set the stage for British intervention in Afghanistan. At the heart of the Great Game lay the willingness of Britain and Russia to subdue, subvert, or subjugate the small independent states that lay between them.[2]

Akbar Khan led a revolt in Kabul against the British Indian mission of William McNaughten, Alexander Burnes and their garrison of 4,500 men. In November 1841, he besieged Major-General William Elphinstone's force in Kabul.

Elphinstone accepted a safe-conduct for his British force and about 12,000 Indian camp followers to Peshawar; they were ambushed and annihilated in January 1842. It was claimed in at least one set of British war memoirs that, during the retreat, Akbar Khan could be heard alternately commanding his men, in Persian to desist from, and in Pashto to continue, firing.[4]

Historians think it unlikely that Akbar Khan wished for the total annihilation of the British-led Indian force.[citation needed] An astute man politically, he would have been aware that allowing the British-led Indians to extricate themselves from Afghanistan would give him the time to consolidate his control of the diverse hill tribes; whereas a massacre of 16,500 people, of which only about a quarter were a fighting force, would not be tolerated back in London and would result in another, larger army sent to exact retribution.[citation needed] This was in fact what happened the following year.

In May 1842, Akbar Khan captured Bala Hissar in Kabul and became the new wazir of Afghanistan under emir Fath Jang Khan.[1] He ruled until his death in 1845. Some[who?] believe that Akbar Khan was poisoned by his father, Dost Mohammed Khan, who feared his ambitions.[5]

In fiction[edit]

The historical figure Akbar Khan plays a major role in George MacDonald Fraser's novel Flashman.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Adamec, Ludwig W. (2011). Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan. Scarecrow Press. p. xxi. ISBN 0-8108-7957-3. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  2. ^ a b "THE GREAT GAME". Library of Congress Country Studies. 1997. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  3. ^ Christopher Buyers. "Afghanistan, The Barakzai dynasty, genealogy". The Royal Ark. Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  4. ^ Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game. Oxford University Press, (1990), p263-264, ISBN 0-19-282799-5. 
  5. ^ "Biography: Mohammad Akbar Khan". Afghanistan Online. 2001. Retrieved 5 December 2006. 

External links[edit]