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Durrani[pronunciation?] (Pashto: دراني) or Abdali[pronunciation?] (Pashto: ابدالی) is the name of a prominent Sarbani Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali, which may derive from the more ancient Ebodalo (Bactrian: ηβοδαλο / "Hephthalites"). The word Abdal is also the plural form of the Arabic word Abdul, which means slave or follower. They have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durrani is estimated to be roughly 16% of the population of Afghanistan or 5 million individuals. Durrani are found throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan; although large concentrations are found in southern Afghanistan, they are also found to a lesser extent in east, west and central Afghanistan. Many Durranis are found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. The Durrani Pashtuns of the Afghan capital Kabul are usually bilingual in Pashto and Dari Persian. The ruling Sadozai and Barakzai dynasties of Afghanistan were originally from the Durrani. Former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzi is one of the most well known Durrani.
They were known in the past as Abdalis, from approximately the 7th century until the mid-18th century when Ahmad Shah Durrani was chosen as the new Emir and the Durrani Empire was established. One of Ahmad Shah's first acts as Emir was to adopt the title padshah durr-i durran ('King, "pearl of the age"). He united the Pashtun tribes following a loya jirga in western Kandahar and changed his own name from Ahmad Shah Abdali to Ahmad Shah Durrani. Since that period, the kings of Afghanistan have been of Durrani extraction.
The Durranis were the most divided Pashtun tribe (مهمبن) during the rule of the Ghilji, with some having openly opposed them. The Durrani are the politically dominant Pashtun group in Afghanistan, as the former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is of the Durrani sub-group known as the Popalzai and has close ties to the last king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, another member of the Durrani tribe Mohammadzai/Barakzai.
According to Hayat Khan's history of Afghanistan from their progenitor Bor Tarin, otherwise known as Abdal, are descended their two main divisions the Zirak and the Panjpai. The term Abdal, however, gradually superseded that of Bor Tareen and came into special prominence when Ahmad Shah Abdali Sadozai/Popalzai commonly known as Durrani, began his career of conquest. The Achakzais are, in strictness, a branch of the Barakzai, but Ahmad Shah, Durrani himself an Abdal/Bor Tarin/Tareen, fearing the growing numbers of the Barakzai, separated them from the parent stock. Since then, their organization has remained distinct. It is still used, though sparingly, for the Achakzai, who have become localised in Toba and are regarded as a separate political unit from the rest of the Tarin/Tareens.
Branches or subtribes
The Musahiban also branch from Durrani. Sadozai Abdali tribe is the tribe Ahmad Shah Abdali was from. The Durrani Tareen tribe is divided into two branches Panjpai and Zirak. Durrani tribes of the Zirak branch include Popalzai, Alikozai, Barakzai, Badozai, and Achakzai.
The literacy rate of the Durrani is the highest among all the Pashtun tribes and they are also considered the most liberal of the Pashtun tribes. The Durranis continue to live close to other people of Afghanistan and culturally overlap in many ways with the Tajiks whom they often share more cultural and socio-economic traits in comparison to the more tribal Pashtuns such as the Ghilji, which is the other major Pashtun tribe.
- Encyclopædia Britannica, Durrani
- Ethnologue 14 report for language code:PBU
- Treaty of Kalat between Balochistan and Afghanistan in 1758
- The Afghans (2002) By Willem Vogelsang. Page 229.
- Life of the Amîr Dost Mohammed Khan, of Kabul: with his political ..., by Mohan Lal, Volume 1. Page 1-3.