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The Bangash (Pashto: بنګش‎), (Urdu: بنگش‎) are one of the largest and perhaps the most powerful and influential Karlani Pashtun tribe of the border area of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. Of Pashtun descent, they became thoroughly merged with the Karlani Pashtuns and settled into the Kurram Valley in the fifteenth century and with their current locations established in the eighteenth century They inhabit the Kurram Valley as well as FATA and Thall Doaba Hangu, Kohat and Orakzai Agency and Khyber Agency in northwestern Pakistan.[1] On the other side of the Durand Line border in neighboring Afghanistan, a larger number of Bangash are scattered in the northeastern section of the Paktia and Paktika Province.[2] "The Bangash tribe derived its name from the hilly area, north of the Sulaiman mountains, from Bannu to the Safed Koh, in between the Indus, and the Kurram river.".[3] A limited number of descendants of the Bangash tribe are also present in Farrukhabad, Jammu & Kashmir in northern India, Faridabad, India, and Sialkot and Muzaffarabad, Pakistan.[citation needed]

History of the name Bangash[edit]

The name Bangash is derived from Persian.Namely Bun-kush. Bun meaning "Root" and kush meaning "To rip off".Ever since the origin of the tribe it was believed that during battle the tribesmen of Bangash would not rest until they had ripped the enemy tribe off their roots.Hence the title 'Bangash' or 'Root Destroyer'.


The Bangash are said to have originally lived in the Gardez region of modern day Afghanistan, where they were still living as of the Ghaznavids period (975 to 1187).[1] Later on, they came into conflict with the Ghilzais, and were ousted from their homeland eastwards across the Paywar Pass to the upper Kurram Basin, located on the eastern slopes of the Spin Ghar range. The Bangash allied with the Khattaks who were also moving to the same area and pushed the Orakzai of the area southeastwards. In the 16th century, the whole habitat of the Bangash was called Bangash District and was ruled by the Khan of Hangu who were the chiefs of Bangash tribe. However, in the 18th century, the Bangash ceded most of the upper Kurram Basin to the Turi tribe, though the Bangash sill occupy some villages there, in particular in the Shalozan area near the Pakistan–Afghanistan border.[1] This incorporation, which is never clearly formulated in terms of filiation or even of adoption, may have originated in a military alliance between the Bangaṧ and Ḵaṭak (q.v.) in the 9th/15th century."[1]

The Mughal Emperor Babur mentioned a population of approximately 5,600 Bangash located in the Kurram agency, which was formerly divided into Bangash-i-Bala and Bangash Payan, "Upper and Lower Bangash", and lists Bangash as one of the fourteen provinces then dependent on Kabul. Babur wished to conquer these provinces, but was unable to conquer the territory bounded on the north by the Spin Ghar down as far as Bannu, where Bangash, Turis, and Wazirs live, as is clear from his comments: "Bangash is another tuman [of Kabul]. The area round about is full of highway robbers such as the Khogyani, Khirilchi, Turi and Landar. Since it is isolated they do not pay the desired revenue. As greater tasks such as the conquest of Kandahar, Balkh, Badakhshan and Hindustan occupied me, there has been no opportunity to subjugate the Bangash".[4] However, in 1505 Babur raided and plundered the district of the Bangash.[3]

They inhabited the Miranzai valley (Hangu), the Kohat defile in the North-West Frontier Province (1901–1955), and the valley of Kurram river in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Kohat Gazetteer of 1883-84 records

"The Orakzai tribes are said to have been converted by the Tirah Syeds about the beginning of the present century. The Bangash of Samizai were probably converted a little earlier."[5]

The three main divisions of the Bangash clan are the Miranzai, Baizais and Samilzai.

Bangash in Afghanistan[edit]

The Bangash Tribe are Found in Primarily In Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni and Khost Provinces in Afghanistan. and From The Majority Of The Population in Gardez and Zurmat The Main Cities Of Paktia Province.


Main article: Baizai

The Baizai are a sub-tribe of the Bangash. . The name "Baizai" originated from that of a tribal chieftain of the Bangash, Behzad Khan-son of Amirzai chief Daulat Khan-a tribal chieftain and feudal lord. Behzad Khan is said to have been married to a daughter of Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Amir of Afghanistan. The Baizai Bangash inhabit most of rural Kohat and parts of the city limits where most government installations, institutions and commercial centers have been built on their lands. Originally the Bazai Bangash (also known as Behzadi being the direct descendedants of Behzad Khan) established their village in Kohat at the location of the present fort constructed by the British to secure the area. All Baizais are Sunni Muslims. They are further divided into clans or khels. Izzat Khel also known as Dolat Khel is one of khels.


Main article: Miranzai

The Miranzai occupy a vast territory in Hangu known as the Miranzai Valley.Hangu valley was controlled mostly by Orakzai and to some extent by khattaks before the Bangash came. Bangash pushed the orakzai's towards nearby mountains and the khattaks towards the other side and took the control of the valley, in much the same fashion the Baizais of Kohat did so. Miranzai Bangash include both Shias and Sunnis. The Miranzai are the descendants of Miran,one of the grandchildren of Ismail, the progenitor of the Bangash tribe.[citation needed]Bangash of Miranzai are known for their bravery.the ruler families of Miranzai is Haji Khel and Mardu Khel ther are grandchildren of Miran (Raees e Bangash).During Darveza Niazi's attack on Hangu,The Khan of Hangu was pushed towards "Kasha" a place in the Samana mountain range.The Miranzai Bangash struck and took back control of Hangu.Darveza was killed in the battle and the influence of the Khan was restored. In the recent period of Talibanization,Bangash of Miranzai valley,especially of Hangu city have given a very hard time to Taliban fighters.In 2009 Taliban launched a huge attack on Hangu city bringing their fighters from Waziristan, Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber agency and the battle continued for four days.The Bangash succeeded in protecting every inch of their land.


The Bangash tribe speaks a harder variant of Pashto similar to that of the Qandahari but slightly differing in some lexicographical and phonetic features.[citation needed].
Some Bangash in Badakhshan area speak the Persian language as their mother tongue.[citation needed]


The Bangash are all Muslims. They are sub-divided by sects as Sunni and Shia Muslims. The Shias are concentrated around upper Kurram and Hangu and Kohat, while the Sunnis are mostly concentrated around Lower Kurram and Tall area of Hangu.[6] Bangash's from both sects lived in relative harmony with each other before the Gen. Zia Ul Haq era in the 1980s when he, then president of Pakistan, promoted sectarianism and armed the Sunni mujahideens. Though sect does play a significant role in their lives, a Bangash, whether Shia or Sunni would fight to his last for the sanctity of his clan.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Balland, Daniel. Encyclopaedia Iranica. BANGAṦ. Originally Published: December 15, 1988. "BANGAṦ - one of the least-known Pashtun tribes in the Solaymān range, Pakistan, and one of the few that are not named after eponymous ancestors."
  2. ^ A record of the expeditions undertaken against the north-west frontier tribes: Compiled from the military and political despatches, Lieut.-Colonel McGregor's gazetteer, and other official sources. By William Henry Paget.
  3. ^ a b Gommans, Jos J. L. (1995). The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire. BRILL. p. 171. ISBN 9-0041-0109-8. Retrieved 2012-07-04. 
  4. ^ "The Garden of the Eight Paradises", Stephen Frederic Dale, pg. 304
  5. ^ Gazetteer of the Kohat District 1883-84 published by Sang e meel publications Pakistan page 69
  6. ^ Dawn. "Army ends operation in Central Kurram".