|Afridi: Pashto , Urdu|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Khattaks · Orakzais · Wazirs · Mehsuds|
and other Karlani Pashtun tribes
The Afrīdī (Pashto: اپريدی Aprīdai, plur. اپريدي Aprīdī; Urdu: آفریدی) is a Pashtun tribe present in Pakistan, with substantial numbers in Afghanistan. The Afridis are most dominant in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, inhabiting about 100p mi² (8000 km²) of rough hilly area in the Zarlash eastern Spin Ghar range west of Peshawar, covering most of Khyber Agency, FR Peshawar and FR Kohat. Their territory includes the Khyber Pass and Maidan in Tirah. Afridi migrants are also found in India, mostly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Afridis are historically known for the strategic location they inhabit and their belligerence against outside forces; battling the Mughal dynasty's armies throughout Mughal rule. The later clashes against British expeditions comprised the most savage fighting of the Anglo-Afghan Wars.
After the creation of Pakistan, Afridi tribesmen also helped attack Jammu and Kashmir for Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1947. Today, Afridis make use of their dominant social position in FATA and areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by controlling transport and various businesses, including trade in arms, munitions, and other goods.
The Afridi are Pashtuns, part of the Karlani tribal confederacy, who fought both against and with the British in Afghanistan during all three Anglo-Afghan wars. The British frequently classified the peoples that they conquered with fixed personality or “racial” traits and regarded the Pashtun Afridi tribesmen as “warlike” peoples and one of the Martial Race. Different Afridi clans cooperated with the British forces in exchange for subsidies, and some even served with the Khyber Rifles, an auxiliary force of the British Indian Army.
Afridis speak the Afridi Pashto.
Etymology and origins
According to Pashtun folklore, the Afridi tribe traces its origin back to the eponymous ancestor of all Pashtuns, Qais Abdur Rashid, through his youngest son, Karlan. Thus, the Afridi tribe are one of the Karlani tribe.
A tribe of ancient Pashtuns
Theory of Afridi descent from Israelites
The Afridis and other Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan have also been alleged to be the descendants of the lost Jewish tribes such as the Efraim. However, DNA and other research towards validating such claims has been inconclusive.
The Afridi Tribe is sub classified into eight sub tribes listed below.
- Kuki Khel
- Malik din Khel
- Qambar Khel
- Kamar Khel
- Zakha Khel
- Aka Khel
- Adam Khel
All Afridi clans have their own areas in the Tirah Valley, and most of them extend down into the Khyber Pass over which they have always exercised the right of toll. The Malikdin Khel live in the centre of the Tirah and hold Bagh, the traditional meeting place of Afridi jirgas or assemblies. The Aka Khel are scattered in the hills south of Jamrud. All of this area is included in the Khyber Agency. The Adam Khel live in the hills between Peshawar and Kohat. The Burki live in Kanigoram Valley, Waziristan and Peshawar. Their preserve is the Kohat Pass in which several of the most important Afridi gun factories are located.
Resistance against the Mughals
The Afridis and their allies Khalils were first mentioned in the memoirs of Mughal Emperor Babar as violent tribes in need of subduing. The Afridi tribes controlled the Khyber Pass, which has served as a corridor connecting the Indian subcontinent with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Its strategic value was not lost on the Mughals to whom the Afridis were implacably hostile.
The Afridis once destroyed two large Mughal armies of Emperor Aurangzeb: in 1672, in a surprise attack between Peshawar and Kabul, and in the winter of 1673, in an ambush in the mountain passes. The emperor himself had to lead an army into the mountains to suffocate the revolt and liberate the mountain passes and even then, another large army was "badly mauled" in Bajaur.
Resistance against the British
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The British connection with the Adam Khel Afridis commenced immediately after the annexation of the Peshawar and Kohat districts. Following the example of all the previous rulers, the British agreed to pay the tribe a subsidy to protect the pass. However, in 1850, 100p Afridis attacked a body of British sappers engaged in making a road, killing 12 and wounding 6. It was supposed that they disliked the construction of a road. An expedition of 3200 British troops was despatched, which traversed the country and punished them.
When the Afridis of the Kohat Pass resisted, the Jowaki Afridis offered the use of their route instead; but they turned out more aggressive than the others, and in 1853, a force of 1700 British traversed their country and destroyed their stronghold at Bori.
In 1854, the Aka Khels Afridis, not finding themselves admitted to a share of the allowances of the Kohat Pass, commenced a series of raids on the Peshawar border and attacked a British camp. An expedition of 1500 troops entered the country and inflicted severe punishment on the tribe, who made their submission and paid a fine.
In 1877, the British government proposed to reduce the Jowaki allowance for guarding the Kohat Pass, and the tribesmen showed their resentment of this by cutting the telegraph wire and raiding into British territory. A force of 1500 troops penetrated their country in three columns in the Jowaki Expedition and did considerable damage by way of punishment. However, the attitude of the Jowakis continued the same, and their raids into British territory went on. A much stronger force, therefore, of 7400 British troops, divided into three columns, in 1877 and 1878, destroyed their principal villages and occupied their country for some time, until the tribe submitted and accepted government terms. The Kohat Pass was afterwards practically undisturbed.
At the time of the British advance into Afghanistan in 1878, during the Second Afghan War, the Zakka Khel opposed the British advance and attacked their outposts. A force of 2500 British troops traversed their country, and the tribesmen made their submission. The Afridis of the Khyber Pass continued to cause the British trouble during the progress of the Second Afghan War so another force of 3750 British troops traversed their country, and after suffering some loss the tribesmen made their submission.
In 1897, Afridis suddenly rose, captured all the posts in the Khyber held by their own countrymen and attacked the forts on the Samana Range near the city of Peshawar. The Tirah Expedition of the British forces followed, and negotiations for peace were then begun with the Afridis, who, under the threat of another expedition into Tirah in spring 1898, at length agreed to pay the fines and surrender the rifles demanded.
In February 1908, the restiveness of the Zakka Khel again made a British expedition necessary, but the campaign was speedily ended.
Meat is an important part of their diet, which they often eat in the form of kabab (minced meat fried in oil), lamb curry, chicken curry or goat curry. The hotels in Peshawar Namak Mandi Bazar represent the traditional food of Afridis, especially lamb karahi. In vegetarian cuisine, traditional Indian ingredients such as bindi (okra), rajma (kidney beans), dal (lentils) and sag (spinach) are notably eaten.
List of notable Afridis
- Javed Afridi, owner of PSL team Peshawar Zalmi and owner of Haier Pakistan
- Khatir Afridi, Pashtun poet
- Malik Mehrun Nisa Afridi, twice member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from Pakistan Peoples Party
- Riaz Afridi, former cricketer for the Pakistan Cricket Team
- Shaheen Afridi, Pakistani cricketer
- Shahid Afridi, Pakistani cricketer and former national captain, former world record-holder for the fastest century in One Day International cricket; still holds the record for the most sixes hit in ODI cricket history
- Sher Ali Afridi, former policeman from Peshawar who assassinated Lord Mayo, the Viceroy of British India, in 1872
- Umar Gul, of the Malak Din Khel; cricketer; highest wicket taker in the 2007 T20 world cup and played a vital role in Pakistan's 2009 T20 world cup success
- Afridi demographics in Pakistan and Afghanistan The excessive figure sometimes mentioned in Afghanistan reflects in a particular way the Afghan claim to Pashtunistan and actually represents an estimate of the whole of the Afridi tribe on both sides of the frontier.
- Afridi demographics in FATA and FR Kohat
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- Yuvraj Singh vs Shahid Afridi | Who's The Greatest?
- Helen Ellis (July 2009) The Assassination of Lord Mayo: The 'First' Jihad? Australian National University
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Afridi.|