Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Afridi (Pashtun))

Group of Afridi fighters in the town of Jamrud in 1878
Related ethnic groups
Khattaks · Orakzais · Wazirs · Bannuzais
and other Karlani Pashtun tribes

The Afrīdī (Pashto: اپريدی Aprīdai, plur. اپريدي Aprīdī; Urdu: آفریدی) are an ethnically Afghan Pashtun tribe present day tribal areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

The Afridis are most dominant in the Spin Ghar range west of Peshawar in Tribal areas of modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, covering most of the Khyber Pass and Maidan in Tirah.[1] which is their Native Tribal Territory.

Etymology and origins[edit]


Herodotus, in his Histories, mentions an Indian tribe[2] named Aparytai (Ἀπαρύται) inhabiting the Achaemenid satrapy of Arachosia.[3] Thomas Holdich and Olaf Caroe have linked them with the Afridi tribe:[4][5][6][7]

The Sattagydae, Gandarii, Dadicae, and Aparytae (Ἀπαρύται) paid together a hundred and seventy talents; this was the seventh province

— Herodotus, The Histories, Book III, Chapter 91, Section 4


Aurel Stein described Afridis with lighter and fair features, similar to their Dardic neighbours, in contrast to the Afghans living on the other side of the Khyber Pass, whom he described as darker and swarthier.[8] This supports the Dardic origins of Afridis.[9]


Resistance against the Mughals[edit]

The Afridis and their allies Khalils were first mentioned in the memoirs of Mughal Emperor Babar as violent tribes in need of subduing.[10] 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.[11]

Over the course of Mughal rule, Emperors Akbar and Jahangir both dispatched punitive expeditions to suppress the Afridis, with little success.[9]

Under the leadership of Darya Khan Afridi, they engaged in protracted warfare against the Mughal army in the 1670s.[12] 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.[13] The emperor sent his Rajput general Rai Tulsidas with reinforcements into the mountains to suffocate the revolt and liberate the mountain.[13][14] Allegedly, only five Mughal soldiers made it out of the battle alive and the rest of the Mughals were brutally slaughtered.[15][16][17]

British Raj[edit]

During the First, Second, and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars, Afridis fought against the British; these skirmishes comprised some of the fiercest fighting of the Anglo-Afghan Wars.[18] Ajab Khan Afridi was a well-known independence activist against the British Raj.

The British colonial administration regarded the Pashtun Afridi tribesmen as "martial tribe" under the martial races theory.[19] Different Afridi clans also cooperated with the British in exchange for subsidies, and some even served with the Khyber Rifles, an auxiliary force of the British Indian Army.[19][20]

First Kashmir War[edit]

Shortly after the Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, Afridi tribesmen were among the ranks of the Pashtun militias that invaded the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1947, sparking the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 and the ongoing Kashmir conflict.[21] Today, Afridis make use of their dominant positions along the Durand Line in areas of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province by controlling transport and various businesses, including trade in armaments, munitions and goods.[22] Beside commercial activities, the Afridis also occupy substantial representation among Pakistan Armed Forces and paramilitary forces such as Khyber Rifles.


The Afridi Tribe is subclassified into eight sub-tribes (Ḵels), which reflect the different ethnic groups which joined to make the Afrīdīs:[23][24]

  • Kūkī Ḵēl
  • Kambar Ḵēl
  • Zakkā/Zəḵā Ḵēl
  • Kamar/Kamraʾī Ḵēl
  • Malek-dīn Ḵēl
  • Sepāh
  • Akā Ḵēl
  • Ādam Ḵēl


Afridis follow the Sunni sect of Islam. Their conversion to Islam is attributed to Sultan (Emperor) Mahmud of Ghazni by Denzil Ibbetson[25] and Haroon Rashid.[26]

List of notable Afridis[edit]

Shahid Afridi in 2017

In Sports[edit]






  1. ^ Ramachandran (26 January 2023). Red Jihad: Islamic Communism in India 1920-1950. Indus Scrolls Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-93-90981-33-5.
  2. ^ Rashid, Haroon (2002). History of the Pathans: The Sarabani Pathans. Haroon Rashid. p. 10.
  3. ^ "The History of Herodotus Chapter 3, Verse 91; Written 440 B.C.E, Translated by G. C. Macaulay". sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Herodotus, The Histories, Book 3, chapter 91, section 4". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  5. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan (2007). History of Pakistan: Pakistan through ages. Sang-e Meel Publications. p. 77. ISBN 978-969-35-2020-0.
  6. ^ Holdich, Thomas (12 March 2019). The Gates of India, Being an Historical Narrative. Creative Media Partners, LLC. pp. 28, 31. ISBN 978-0-530-94119-6.
  7. ^ Caroe, Olaf (1957). The Pathans, 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957. Oxford University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-19-577221-0.
  8. ^ Stewart, J. (2007). The Savage Border: The Story of the North-West Frontier. History Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7524-9607-8. For Aurel Stein's views regarding relation of Afridis with Dardic people, see Stein, Aurel (1925). "Notes on Tirahi. The Speakers of Tirahi". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (3): 399–404. ISSN 0035-869X. JSTOR 25220760.
  9. ^ a b "AFRĪDĪ". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  10. ^ A. S. Beveridge, Babor-nama London, 1922 [repr. 1969], p. 412
  11. ^ History of Khyber Agency: Gateway to the Subcontinent Archived 13 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Office of the Political Agent, Khyber Agency
  12. ^ Momand, Ahmad Gul. The Bare Language of Khoshal's Poetry. Nangarhar University. p. 13.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b Richards, John F. (1996), "Imperial expansion under Aurangzeb 1658–1869. Testing the limits of the empire: the Northwest.", The Mughal Empire, New Cambridge history of India: The Mughals and their contemporaries, vol. 5 (illustrated, reprint ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 170–171, ISBN 978-0-521-56603-2
  14. ^ Khyber Agency[usurped] Khyber.org, 3 July 2005
  15. ^ Geoffrey Powell; J. S. W. Powell (1983), Famous regiments (illustrated ed.), Secker & Warburg, p. 69, ISBN 978-0-436-37910-9
  16. ^ Robert E. L. Masters; Eduard Lea (1963). Perverse crimes in history: evolving concepts of sadism, lust-murder, and necrophilia from ancient to modern times. Julian Press. p. 211. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  17. ^ Robert E. L. Masters; Eduard Lea (1963). Sex crimes in history: evolving concepts of sadism, lust-murder, and necrophilia, from ancient to modern times. Julian Press. p. 211. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  18. ^ L. Thomas, Beyond Khyber Pass, London, n.d. (ca. 1925)
  19. ^ a b Clarke, Alexander (30 October 2020). Tribals, Battles & Darings: The Genesis of the Modern Destroyer. Seaforth Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-5267-7291-6.
  20. ^ Stewart, Dr Jules (22 June 2006). The Khyber Rifles: From the British Raj to Al Qaeda. The History Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-7524-9558-3.
  21. ^ M.K. Teng (2001) Kashmir: The Bitter Truth Archived 26 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Kashmir Information Network
  22. ^ Afridi demographics in Pakistan and Afghanistan[usurped] 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.
  23. ^ Nirvan, Kiran (20 May 2019). 21 Kesaris: The Untold Story of the Battle of Saragarhi. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 978-93-89000-41-2.
  24. ^ "AFRĪDĪ". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  25. ^ Denzil Ibbetson, Edward MacLagan, H. A. Rose "A Glossary of The Tribes & Castes of The Punjab & North-West Frontier Province", 1911 AD, Page 217, Vol. III, Published by Asian Educational Services
  26. ^ History of the Pathans by Haroon Rashid Published by Haroon Rashid, 2002 Item notes: v. 1 Page 45 Original from the University of Michigan
  27. ^ M. Fahim Jemadar Mir Mast Khan Afridi: An Unsung Afridi Pashtun Hero Who Refused to Fight against Ottoman Army and Deserted the British Raj (2020) Pakistan Info
  28. ^ History of Pashtuns - Pashtunistan & Malik Wali Kuki Khel
  29. ^ Pakistan Old Memories (2022) Leader of the Kuki Khel Afridis
  30. ^ "Eighteen Years in the Khyber, 1879-1898 — Viewer — World Digital Library".
  31. ^ "Review of Eighteen Years in the Khyber, 1879–1898 by Col. Sir Robert Warburton"

External links[edit]