List of heads of state of Afghanistan

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This article lists the heads of state of Afghanistan since the foundation of the first Afghan state, the Hotak Empire, in 1709.

The Hotak Empire was formed after a successful uprising led by Mirwais Hotak and other Afghan tribal chiefs from Kandahar against Mughal and Persian rule.[1][2][3]

After a long series of wars, the Hotak Empire was eventually replaced by the Durrani Afghan Empire that was founded by Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747.[4][5]

After the collapse of the Durrani Empire in 1823, the Barakzai dynasty founded the Emirate of Afghanistan, transformed it into the Kingdom of Afghanistan in 1926, and ruled the country until the last King Mohammed Zahir Shah was deposed in the 1973 coup d'état, led by his first cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan. Despite being part of the Barakzai dynasty, Daoud Khan departed from tradition and did not proclaim himself Shah, instead abolished the monarchy and established the Republic of Afghanistan, with himself as President.[6][7] The Republic lasted until the Saur Revolution in 1978.

Since 1978, Afghanistan has been in a state of continuous internal conflict and foreign interventions.

The former president Hamid Karzai became the first ever democratically elected head of state of Afghanistan on 7 December 2004. The current president is Ashraf Ghani, since 29 September 2014.

List of heads of state[edit]

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Monarchs[edit]

Name Portrait Lifespan Reign Dynasty
Reign start Reign end Duration
Hotak Empire (1709–1738)
Mirwais Hotak MIRWAIS HOTAK.png 1673–1715 1709 1715 5–6 years Hotak
Emir
Abdul Aziz Hotak No image.svg Died 1717 1715 1717 1–2 years Hotak
Emir; Brother of Mirwais Hotak
Mahmud Hotak SHAH-MAHMUD-HOTAK.jpg 1697–1725 1717 22 April 1725 7–8 years Hotak
Emir; Son of Mirwais Hotak
Ashraf Hotak Ashraf Shah Hotaki 1725-1729.jpg Died 1730 22 April 1725 1730 4–5 years Hotak
Emir; Nephew of Mirwais Hotak
Hussain Hotak Shah-Husain-Hotak.jpg Died 1738 1730 24 March 1738 7–8 years Hotak
Emir; Son of Mirwais Hotak
Afsharid Empire (1738–1747)
Nader Shah Nader Shah Afshar (cropped).jpg 1688–1747 24 March 1738 19 June 1747 9 years, 78 days Afsharid
Emir
Durrani Empire (1747–1823)
Ahmad Shah Durrani Portrait of Ahmad Shah Durrani.jpg 1722–1772 October 1747 16 October 1772 25 years, 15 days Durrani
Emir
Timur Shah Durrani Temur-Shah.jpg 1748–1793 16 October 1772 18 May 1793 20 years, 214 days Durrani
Emir; Son of Ahmad Shah Durrani
Zaman Shah Durrani Shah-Zaman-Khan.jpg 1770–1844 18 May 1793 25 July 1801 8 years, 68 days Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; Deposed
Mahmud Shah Durrani Mahmud Shah Durrani.jpg 1769–1829 25 July 1801 13 July 1803 1 year, 353 days Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; First Reign; Deposed
Shah Shujah Durrani Shah-Shuja-ul-Mulk.png 1785–1842 13 July 1803 3 May 1809 5 years, 294 days Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; First Reign; Deposed
Mahmud Shah Durrani Mahmud Shah Durrani.jpg 1769–1829 3 May 1809 1818 8–9 years Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; Second Reign; Deposed
Ali Shah Durrani No image.svg 1818 1819 0–1 years Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; Deposed
Ayub Shah Durrani No image.svg Died 1837 1819 1823 3–4 years Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; Deposed
Emirate of Afghanistan (1823–1926)
Dost Mohammad Khan Dost Mohammad Khan, of Caubal, Emir of Afghanistan.jpg 1793–1863 1823 2 August 1839 15–16 years Barakzai
Emir; Son of Sardar Payenda Khan; First Reign; Exiled
Shah Shujah Durrani Shah-Shuja-ul-Mulk.png 1785–1842 7 August 1839 5 April 1842 2 years, 241 days Durrani
Emir; Son of Timur Shah Durrani; Second Reign; Assassinated following the 1842 retreat from Kabul
Wazir Akbar Khan Prince Akbar Khan.jpg 1816–1845 5 April 1842 1845 2–3 years Barakzai
Emir; Son of Dost Mohammad Khan
Dost Mohammad Khan Dost Mohammad Khan, of Caubal, Emir of Afghanistan.jpg 1793–1863 1845 9 June 1863 17–18 years Barakzai
Emir; Son of Sardar Payenda Khan; Second Reign
Sher Ali Khan Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan in 1869.jpg 1825–1879 9 June 1863 1865 1–2 years Barakzai
Emir; Son of Dost Mohammad Khan; First Reign; Deposed
Mohammad Afzal Khan Amir-Muhammad-Afzal-Khan.jpg 1811–1867 1865 7 October 1867 1–2 years Barakzai
Emir; Son of Dost Mohammad Khan
Mohammad Azam Khan Amir-Muhamad-Azam-Khan.jpg Died 1868 7 October 1867 21 February 1868 137 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Dost Mohammad Khan
Sher Ali Khan Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan in 1869.jpg 1825–1879 7 October 1868 21 February 1879 10 years, 137 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Dost Mohammad Khan; Second Reign
Mohammad Yaqub Khan Yaqub Khan.jpg 1849–1923 21 February 1879 12 October 1879 233 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Sher Ali Khan
Ayub Khan MohammadAyoubKhan.jpg 1857–1914 12 October 1879 31 May 1880 232 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Sher Ali Khan; Deposed
Abdur Rahman Khan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan-cropped.jpg 1840/1844–1901 31 May 1880 1 October 1901 21 years, 123 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Mohammad Afzal Khan
Habibullah Khan Habibullah.jpg 1872–1919 1 October 1901 20 February 1919 17 years, 142 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Abdur Rahman Khan; Assassinated
Nasrullah Khan Nasrullah Khan.png 1874–1920 21 February 1919 28 February 1919 7 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Abdur Rahman Khan; Deposed
Amanullah Khan King Amanullah Khan.jpg 1892–1960 28 February 1919 9 June 1926 7 years, 101 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Habibullah Khan
Kingdom of Afghanistan (1926–1973)
Amanullah Khan King Amanullah Khan.jpg 1892–1960 9 June 1926 14 January 1929 2 years, 219 days Barakzai
King; Son of Habibullah Khan; Deposed
Inayatullah Khan King Inayatullah Khan of Afghanistan.jpg 1888–1946 14 January 1929 17 January 1929 3 days Barakzai
King; Son of Habibullah Khan; Abdicated
Emirate of Afghanistan (1929)
Habibullāh Kalakāni Habibullah Kalakani of Afghanistan.jpg 1891–1929 17 January 1929 [note 1] 13 October 1929 269 days Non-Dynastic
King and Emir [note 2]; Contested the throne during the 1928–29 civil war; Deposed and executed
Ali Ahmad Khan Ali Ahmad Khan Luynab.png 1883–1929 17 January 1929 9 February 1929 23 days Non-Dynastic
King; Rose in opposition to Kalakāni during the 1928–29 civil war; Captured and executed
Amanullah Khan King Amanullah Khan.jpg 1892–1960 March 1929 23 May 1929 83 days Barakzai
King, Returned to Afghanistan to contest the throne during the 1928–29 civil war; Eventually retreated back into British India.
Kingdom of Afghanistan (1926–1973)
Mohammed Nadir Shah Nadir Khan of Afghanistan.jpg 1883–1933 15 October 1929 8 November 1933 4 years, 24 days Barakzai
King; Grandnephew of Dost Mohammed Khan; Assassinated by Abdul Khaliq Hazara
Mohammed Zahir Shah King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan in 1963.jpg 1914–2007 8 November 1933 17 July 1973 39 years, 251 days Barakzai
King; Son of Mohammed Nadir Shah; Deposed

Local monarchs[edit]

Some rulers tried to take advantage of internal conflicts in Afghanistan to claim the throne. However, their rule was limited only to certain areas.

Name Lifespan Reign Dynasty
Reign start Reign end Duration
Jehandad Khan Died 1914 May 1912 c. 1 month Non-dynastic
Emir; Ruled only in Khost during the 1912 rebellion.
Abd-al Karim 1897–1927 July 1924 30 January 1925 213 days Barakzai
Emir; Son of Mohammad Yaqub Khan, rule limited to the Southern Province during the 1924–1925 rebellion.
Salemai Unknown c. 1944 c. 1946 c. 2 years Non-dynastic
King; rule limited to the Eastern Province during the 1944–47 tribal revolts.

Non-monarchs[edit]

Name Portrait Lifespan Term of office Political party
Took office Left office Time in office
Republic of Afghanistan (1973–1978)
Mohammed Daoud Khan Mohammed Daoud Khan.jpg 1909–1978 17 July 1973 28 April 1978 4 years, 285 days Independent
(until 1976)
National Revolutionary Party
President; Member of the Barakzai dynasty (first cousin of Mohammed Zahir Shah); Assassinated
Democratic (Communist) Republic of Afghanistan (1978–1992)
Colonel
Abdul Qadir
Abdul Qader Saur.png 1944–2014 28 April 1978 30 April 1978 2 days People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Military Revolutionary Council
Nur Muhammad Taraki Nur Taraki.jpg 1917–1979 30 April 1978 14 September 1979 1 year, 137 days People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Assassinated
Hafizullah Amin Hafizullah Amin.jpg 1929–1979 14 September 1979 27 December 1979 104 days People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Assassinated
Babrak Karmal Babrak Karmal.png 1929–1996 27 December 1979 24 November 1986 6 years, 332 days People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Dismissed
Haji Mohammad Chamkani No image.svg 1947–2012 24 November 1986 30 September 1987 310 days Independent
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Appointed as part of National Reconciliation process
Mohammad Najibullah Mohammad Najibullah 1986.jpg 1947–1996 30 September 1987 16 April 1992 4 years, 199 days People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
(until 1990)
Homeland Party
President (Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council until 30 November 1987); Resigned
Abdul Rahim Hatif No image.svg 1926–2013 16 April 1992 28 April 1992 12 days Homeland Party
Acting President; Deposed
Islamic State of Afghanistan (1992–2002)
Sibghatullah Mojaddedi Mojaddedi in September 2014.jpg 1925–2019 28 April 1992 28 June 1992 61 days National Liberation Front
Acting President; Resigned
Burhanuddin Rabbani Burhanuddin Rabbani Cropped DVIDS.jpg 1940–2011 28 June 1992 22 December 2001 9 years, 167 days Jamiat-e Islami
President; Between 1996 and 2001, the Islamic State remained the internationally recognized government, despite only controlling about 10% of Afghan territory
Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai 2004-06-14.jpg 1957– 22 December 2001 13 July 2002 203 days Independent
Acting President
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1996–2001)
Mullah
Mohammed Omar
No image.svg 1960–2013 27 September 1996 13 November 2001 5 years, 47 days Taliban
Head of the Supreme Council; Emir and Commander of the Faithful; The Islamic Emirate never attained widespread international recognition, despite controlling about 90% of Afghan territory; Deposed
Mullah
Mohammad Rabbani
No image.svg 1955–2001 27 September 1996 13 April 2001 4 years, 198 days Taliban
Deputy Head of the Supreme Council; Prime Minister; Deputy leader of the Taliban; Died in office
Maulavi
Abdul Kabir
No image.svg 1958/1963– 16 April 2001 13 November 2001 211 days Taliban
Acting Deputy Head of the Supreme Council; Acting Prime Minister; Deposed
Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (2002–2004)
Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai 2004-06-14.jpg 1957– 13 July 2002 7 December 2004 2 years, 147 days Independent
Transitional President
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2004–present)
Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai 2004-06-14.jpg 1957– 7 December 2004 29 September 2014 9 years, 296 days Independent
President; First democratically elected head of state
Ashraf Ghani Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai July 2014 (cropped).jpg 1949– 29 September 2014 Incumbent 5 years, 243 days Independent
President; First peaceful transfer of power

Standards of heads of state[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Most sources list 17 January 1929, the day that Kalakani captured Kabul, as the date that his reign began.[8][9] However, he had been formally claiming the title of emir since 14 December 1928.[10]
  2. ^ Kalakani referred to himself as both "King"[11] and "Emir".[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "An Outline Of The History Of Persia During The Last Two Centuries (A.D. 1722-1922)". Edward Granville Browne. London: Packard Humanities Institute. p. 29. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  2. ^ Otfinoski, Steven (2004). Afghanistan. Infobase Publishing. p. 7. ISBN 0-8160-5056-2. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  3. ^ Malleson, George Bruce (1878). History of Afghanistan, from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878. London: Elibron.com. p. 227. ISBN 1-4021-7278-8. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  4. ^ "Afghanistan". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2010-10-23. Ahmad Shah DURRANI unified the Pashtun tribes and founded Afghanistan in 1747.
  5. ^ "Last Afghan empire". Louis Dupree, Nancy Hatch Dupree and others. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Version. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  6. ^ "Afghan King Overthrown; A Republic Is Proclaimed". The New York Times. July 18, 1973. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  7. ^ Barfield, Thomas (March 25, 2012). Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics). Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691154411.
  8. ^ Qassem, Dr Ahmad Shayeq (2013-03-28). Afghanistan's Political Stability: A Dream Unrealised. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 175. ISBN 9781409499428.
  9. ^ Wazir, Azmatullah Khan (2002). The immediate solution of Afghan crisis. A.K. Wazir. p. 8.
  10. ^ Muḥammad, Fayz̤; McChesney, R. D. (1999). Kabul under siege: Fayz Muhammad's account of the 1929 Uprising. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 9781558761544.
  11. ^ "ExecutedToday.com » 1929: Habibullah Kalakani, Tajik bandit-king". 1 November 2016. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  12. ^ Muḥammad, Fayz̤; Hazārah, Fayz̤ Muḥammad Kātib; Muḥammad, Faiḍ (1999). Kabul Under Siege: Fayz Muhammad's Account of the 1929 Uprising. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-55876-155-1.

External links[edit]