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Pedigree of King Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan. Figure shows the branching of the Abdal dynasty into the Popal (founder of the Popalzai; spelled 'Fofal' in figure), Barak (founder of the Barakzai), and Alako (founder of the Alakozai) line. (The fourth branch, Achakzai, is missing.)
History of Afghanistan principal ruling families. The figure shows the splitting of the Zirak line into the Popalzai, Alakozai, Achakzai and Barakzai branches.

Popalzai or Popalzay (Pashto: پوپلزی‎, also known as Popal) are Durrani (formerly called Abdali or Bor Tareen) Pashtuns of Afghanistan and adjacent parts of Pakistan.


According to Hyat Khan's history of the Pashtuns, from their progenitor Bor Tareen, otherwise known as Abdal, are descended two main divisions: the Zirak and the Panjpai. The term Abdal, however, gradually superseded Bor Tareen and came into special prominence when Ahmad Shah Abdali, commonly known as Durrani, began his career of conquest.

The Achakzais are strictly a branch of the Barakzai but Ahmad Shah Durrani, himself an Abdal Tareen, fearing the growing numbers of the Barakzai, separated them from the parent stock, since which time they have remained distinct.

The Popalzai are found mainly in Afghanistan, but there are thousands living in Pakistan as well, mainly in the city of Peshawar.

According to scholars and popular sources, the Popalzai clan consists of approximately 7.5 million individuals and still growing, living on almost every continent in the world. Ethnographers have classified Abdalis as peripatetic tribes. Abdal is a well known peripatetic tribe in Turkey.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]