Dost Mohammad Khan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dost Mohammad Khan
دوست محمد خان
Amir al-Mu'minin
Dost Mohammad Khan, of Caubal, Emir of Afghanistan.jpg
Emir of Afghanistan
Reign1823 – 2 August 1839
1845 – 9 June 1863
PredecessorAyub Shah Durrani
SuccessorWazir Akbar Khan
Born23 December 1793
Kandahar, Durrani Empire (present-day Afghanistan
Died9 June 1863 (aged 69)
Herat, Emirate of Afghanistan
Shrine of Khwaja Abd Allah (Gazur Gah), Herat, Afghanistan[1]
Spouse25 wives[citation needed]
Issue27 sons and 25 daughters at the time of his death[2]
Amir Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai
DynastyBarakzai dynasty
FatherSardar Payinda Khan Muhammadzai (Sarfraz Khan)
MotherZainab Begum[3]
ReligionSunni Islam

Emir Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai (Pashto/Dari: دوست محمد خان بارکزی; December 23, 1793 – June 9, 1863), nicknamed the Amir-i Kabir,[4][5] was the founder of the Barakzai dynasty and one of the prominent rulers of Afghanistan during the First Anglo-Afghan War.[6] With the decline of the Durrani dynasty, he became the Emir of Afghanistan in 1823.[7] He was the 11th son of Payendah Khan, chief of the Barakzai Pashtuns, who was killed in 1799 by King Zaman Shah Durrani.[2] At the beginning of his rule, the Afghans lost their former stronghold of Peshawar Valley in March 1823 to the Sikh Khalsa Army of Ranjit Singh at the Battle of Nowshera. The Afghan forces in the battle were led by Azim Khan, half-brother of Dost Mohammad Khan.[8]

The Musahiban family started with his older brother, Sultan Mohammad Khan, nicknamed "Telai", meaning "golden", a nickname he was given because of his love of fine clothing.[9]

Background and rise to power[edit]

Dost Mohammad Khan was born to an influential family on 23 December 1793 in Kandahar, Durrani Empire.[10] His father, Payinda Khan, was chief of the Barakzai Tribe and a civil servant in the Durrani dynasty. Their family can be traced back to Abdal (the first and founder of the Abdali tribe), through Hajji Jamal Khan, Yousef, Yaru, Mohammad, Omar Khan, Khisar Khan, Ismail, Nek, Daru, Saifal, and Barak. Abdal had Four sons, Popal, Barak, Achak, and Alako.[11] Dost Mohmmad Khan's mother belonged to the Qizilbash group.[12][13][14][15]

His elder brother, the chief of the Barakzai, Fateh Khan, took an important part in raising Mahmud Shah Durrani to the sovereignty of Afghanistan in 1800 and in restoring him to the throne in 1809. Dost Mohammad accompanied his elder brother and then Prime Minister of Kabul Wazir Fateh Khan to the Battle of Attock against the invading Sikhs. Mahmud Shah repaid Fateh Khan's services by having him assassinated in 1818, thus incurring the enmity of his tribe. After a bloody conflict, Mahmud Shah was deprived of all his possessions but Herat, the rest of his dominions being divided among Fateh Khan's brothers. Of these, Dost Mohammad received Ghazni, to which in 1826 he added Kabul, the richest of the Afghan provinces.[16]

From the commencement of his reign he found himself involved in disputes with Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of the Punjab region, who used the dethroned Sadozai prince, Shah Shujah Durrani, as his instrument. In 1834 Shah Shujah made a last attempt to recover his kingdom. He was defeated by Dost Mohammad Khan under the walls of Kandahar, but Ranjit Singh seized the opportunity to annex Peshawar. Dost Mohammad sent his son Akbar Khan to defeat the Sikhs at the Battle of Jamrud in 1837.[10] His failure in recapturing the Jamrud Fort became the Afghan Emir's worst concern.[17]

European influence in Afghanistan[edit]

At the intersection of British, Russian and, to a lesser degree, French imperial interests, political maneuvering was necessary. Rejecting overtures from Russia, he endeavoured to form an alliance with Great Britain, and welcomed Alexander Burnes to Kabul in 1837. Burnes, however, was unable to prevail on the governor-general, Lord Auckland, to respond to the emir's advances. Dost Mohammad was enjoined to abandon the attempt to recover Peshawar, and to place his foreign policy under British guidance. He replied by renewing his relations with Russia, and in 1838 Lord Auckland set the British troops in motion against him.[17] To enable such an action, the British manufactured the evidence needed to justify the overthrow of the Afghan ruler.[18]


In 1835, Dost Mohammad Khan, the youngest and the most energetic of the Barakzai brothers, who had supplanted the Durrani dynasty and become Emir (lord, chief or king) of Kabul in 1825, advanced up to Khaibar Pass threatening to recover Peshawar. In 1836 Hari Singh Nalva, the Sikh general who along with Prince Nau Nihal Singh was guarding that frontier, built a chain of forts, including one at Jamrud at the eastern end of the Khyber Pass to defend the pass. Dost Muhammad erected a fort at `Ali Masjid at the other end. In the beginning of 1837, as Prince Nau Nihal Singh returned to Lahore to get married and the Maharaja and his court got busy with preparations for the wedding.[19]

Dost Muhammad Khan sent a 25,000 strong force, including a large number of local irregulars and equipped with 18 heavy guns, to invest Jam rud. The Sikh garrison there had only 600 men and a few light artillery pieces. The Afghans besieged the fort and cut off its water supply, while a detachment was sent to the neighbouring Sikh fort of Shabqadar to prevent any help from that direction. Mahan Singh Mirpuri, the garrison commander of Jamrud, kept the invaders at bay for four days and managed meanwhile to send a desperate appeal for help to Hari Singh Nalva at Peshawar. Nalva rose from his sick bed and rushed to Jamrud.[20]

In the final battle fought on 30 April 1837, the Afghans were driven off, but Hari Singh Nalva was mortally wounded. In 1838, with the help and agreement of the Sikh monarch who joined the Tripartite Treaty with British viceroy Lord Auckland, restored Shah Shojāʿ to the Afghan throne in Kabul on August 1839.[21][22] Dost Muhammad Khan was exiled to Mussoorie in November 1839, but was restored to his former position after the murder of Shah Shuja` in April 1842. He thereafter maintained cordial relations with the Lahore Darbar.

Second reign[edit]

He was then set at liberty, in consequence of the resolve of the British government to abandon the attempt to intervene in the internal politics of Afghanistan. On his return from British India, Dost Mohammad was received in triumph at Kabul, and set himself to re-establish his authority on a firm basis. From 1846 he renewed his policy of hostility to the British and allied himself with the Sikhs. However, after the defeat of his allies at Gujrat on 21 February 1849, he abandoned his designs and led his troops back into Afghanistan. In 1850 he conquered Balkh,[23] and in 1854 he acquired control over the southern Afghan tribes by the capture of Kandahar.

On 30 March 1855, Dost Mohammad reversed his former policy by concluding an offensive and defensive alliance with the British government, signed by Sir Henry Lawrence, Chief Commissioner of the Punjab, first proposed by Herbert Edwardes.[24] In 1857 he declared war on Persia in conjunction with the British, and in July a treaty was concluded by which the province of Herat was placed under a Barakzai prince. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Dost Mohammad refrained from assisting the insurgents. His later years were disturbed by troubles at Herat and in Bukhara. These he composed for a time, but in 1862 a Persian army, acting in concert with Ahmad Khan, advanced against Herat. The old amir called the British to his aid, and, putting himself at the head of his warriors, drove the enemy from his frontiers. On 26 May 1863 he re-captured Herat, but on the 9th of June he died suddenly in the midst of victory, after playing a great role in the history of South and Central Asia for forty years. He named as his successor his son, Sher Ali Khan.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dalrymple, W. (2013). The Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan. Borzoi book. Bloomsbury. p. 478. ISBN 978-1-4088-1830-5. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b Tarzi, Amin H. "DŌSTMOḤAMMAD KHAN". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University.
  3. ^ "DŌST MOḤAMMAD KHAN". Iranonline. 15 December 1995. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  4. ^ McChesney, Robert; Khorrami, Mohammad Mehdi (19 December 2012). The History of Afghanistan (6 vol. set): Fayż Muḥammad Kātib Hazārah’s Sirāj al-tawārīkh. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-23498-7.
  5. ^ Yusuf, Mohamed (1988). A History of Afghanistan, from 1793 A.D. to 1865 A.D. New York University. ISBN 1466222417.
  6. ^ Encyclopædia BritannicaDost Mohammad Khan, "ruler of Afghanistan (1823–63) and founder of the Barakzay dynasty, who maintained Afghan independence during a time when the nation was a focus of political struggles between Great Britain and Russia..."
  7. ^ "Anglo-afghan wars", Encyclopaedia Iranica
  8. ^ Munshi.
  9. ^ Noelle, Christine (1997). State and Tribe in Nineteenth-Century Afghanistan: The Reign of Amir Dost Muhammad Khan (1826–1863). Routldege. p. 19. ISBN 978-0700706297. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  10. ^ a b Adamec, Ludwig W. (2010). The A to Z of Afghan Wars, Revolutions and Insurgencies. Scarecrow Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-8108-7624-8. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  11. ^ Life of the Amîr Dost Mohammed Khan, of Kabul: with his political ..., by Mohan Lal, Volume 1. pp. 1–3.
  12. ^ "DŌST MOḤAMMAD KHAN – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved 22 February 2021. Dōst Moḥammad Khan was raised by his Qezelbāš mother, from the Persian tribe of Sīāh Manṣūr and reportedly Pāyenda Khan’s favorite wife, though not of noble stock.
  13. ^ Tarzi, Amin H. "DŌSTMOḤAMMAD KHAN". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University.
  14. ^ The Rise of Afghanistan, p. 124 // Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. Author: Stephen Tanner. First published in 2002 by Da Capo Press; (revised edition) reprinted in 2009. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2009, 375 pages. ISBN 9780306818264
  15. ^ 5. The Rise of Afghanistan, page 126 // Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War Against the Taliban. Author: Stephen Tanner. First published in 2002 by Da Capo Press; (revised edition) reprinted in 2009. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2009, 375 pages. ISBN 9780306818264
  16. ^ Gupta, p. Topic 3 pp. 1391.
  17. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dost Mahommed Khan". Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 438.
  18. ^ Munshi, p. 104.
  19. ^ Munshi, p. 105-106.
  20. ^ Munshi, p. 78.
  21. ^ Ranjit Singh Encyclopædia Britannica, Khushwant Singh (2015)
  22. ^ Kenneth Pletcher (2010). The History of India. Britannica Educational Publishing. ISBN 9781615302017.
  23. ^ "Persia, Arabia, etc". World Digital Library. 1852. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  24. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Edwardes, Herbert Benjamin" . Dictionary of National Biography. 17. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ayub Shah Durrani
Barakzai dynasty
Emir of Afghanistan

1823 – 2 August 1839
Succeeded by
Shah Shujah Durrani
Preceded by
Akbar Khan
Barakzai dynasty
Emir of Afghanistan

1845 – 9 June 1863
Succeeded by
Sher Ali Khan