Monday, 12 August 2019

Kohistani Tajiks

Kohistani Tajik, Kabul, 1827-1843. Painting by Imam Bakhsh Lahori.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Maiwand and Malalai - Afghanistan's lady liberty destroy the British army on 27 July 1880

By Farrukh Husain

Professor M H Hassan travelled to Pakistan to meet with Colonel Effendi a descendant of the Victor of Maiwand, Sirdar Mohammed Ayub Khan. The Colonel provided the good Professor with a book by his uncle, Sirdar M A K Effendi who was the eldest son of the Victor of Maiwand. The dear Professor then wrote his book entitled ‘A Political and Diplomatic History of Afghanistan, 1863-1901’ and benefitted from the section in Effendi’s book relating to the battle of Maiwand.

Effendi’s book is entitled Royals and Royal Mendicant (circa 1948) based on family archives this extremely rare book is a biographical account of the hero of Maiwand and was published by Lion Press Lahore probably in 1948. When I first spoke with Professor Hassan in relation to my own book on Afghan history, entitled “Afghanistan in the Age of Empires’ the Professor very generously offered to send me the Effendi book should I wish to write on the second Anglo-Afghan war. However I followed the Professor’s sound advice to stick to writing on the first Anglo-Afghan war and thoroughly read Lady Sale’s book. I write this account of Maiwand as a tribute to the brave and generous character of Professor Mohammed Hassan Kakar.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Portrait of heavily-armed tribesman, North-Western Frontier or Afghanistan, circa 1850-60, watercolours on paper

Portrait of heavily-armed tribesman, North-Western Frontier or Afghanistan, circa 1850-60, watercolours on paper.


Mosque of the Mullah Said Akbar Akakhel (also known as Dadar Mullah) at Bagh, Tirah, blown up by General Hart. From 'The Graphic' , December, 1897.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

A little history of how English dress made its way into Afghanistan

By Nafees Ur Rehman

(Superficial) Reforms that costed King Aman Ullah his kingdom!

In 1928, members of Loya Jirgah turned up in their Afghan dress for the Grand Assembly with the king. They were “issued black suits, ties and felt hats with orders to wear them from now on.”

Before and After photos!

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Its a local myth that Ahmad Shah Abdali conducted census of Wazir and Mahsud tribes

Its a local myth that Ahmad Shah Abdali conducted census of Wazir and Mahsud tribes. They were not part of his empire so number of their fighting men did not need to be estimated. Moreover Mahsuds had not yet branched off from the parent tribe of Wazirs in 18th century and were referred to as Wazirs as late as 1897. So its odd that in 1760 Mahsuds would be recognized as a distinct tribe and were censused separately from Wazirs.

Akbar S. Ahmed writes, "Two population indexes, rather than actual figures, are part of Waziristan demographic mythology and are said to date back to Ahmed Shah Abdali, the founder of the Durrani dynasty in Kabul in the eighteenth century. It is not clear whether the numbers refer to the entire population, the males, or the warriors, but probably they include only the male fighting population. It is also not clear to what exact dates in history the numbers refer. The Wazirs suggest that they encompass a broad period in the late eighteenth century, whereas the Mahsuds say that their figures refer to the late nineteenth century. Both tribes have a tendency to quote these figures as current and contemporary." ["Religion and Politics in Muslim Society: Order and Conflict in Pakistan", Akbar S. Ahmed, pp.17-18]

Pashtun fighters of Waziristan (most probably khassadars) pose with their weapons, 1919 (c).

British commanders speak with tribesmen of Waziristan following the end of the conflict of 1919-1920.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Khassadars of Waziristan

British Soldiers with Khassadars of North Waziristan, at Chitral , circa 1940