Sunday, January 14, 2018

Early career of Haji Khan Kakar

Hajee Khan Kauker, the renowned Nusireoodoulah, by J. Atkinson, Sketches in Afghaunistan, lithographed by Louis and Charles Haghe, 1842


Taj Muhammad Khan, alias Haji Khan Kakar of Toba Kakari (hereafter Haji Khan Kakar), belonged to the Ahmadkhel section of the Targhara Kakars [1]. Though originally a person of no consequence, he rose to prominence and gained the attention of the local 'Khans' and chiefs. Later, he played a conspicuous part in the First Anglo-Afghan War. For the first time he is mentioned in 1809, when Mir Mustafa Khan Brahui, son of Mir Nasir Khan the 'Khan of Kalat', raised a contingent of 500 Afghan mercenaries and named it ‘The Afghan Horse’. He appointed Haji Khan Kakar commander of this contingent. Since he gained the favours of the local chiefs through intrigue and deceit, he is always mentioned by writers as the ‘notorious Haji Khan Kakar‘. The above-mentioned ‘Afghan Horse’ in 1810, led by Mir Mustafa Brahui and assisted by Haji Khan, raided the Pashtuns of the Ziarat and Harnai valleys where Haji Khan took active part against his own kith and kin. He destroyed the Harnai Fort and took the local Pashtun chiefs prisoner ; Mir Mustafa calls them the ‘robbers of Harnai’. With the murder of Mir Mustafa Khan in 1812 by his brother,  Haji Khan moved first to Kandahar and later to Kabul to seek his fortune in the infighting of the Barakzi Sardars. In 1822, he was in the service of Abdullah Khan Achakzai. About 1825 he left him to serve the Kandahar Sardars. The same year, with the connivance and blessings of  Purdil Khan Barakzai of Kandahar, Haji Khan Kakar, bribed by the Khajiaks, became instrumental in the murder of Habib Khan Baruzai‘, the chief of the Pannis of Sibi. On behalf of his masters in 1828, he attacked the decaying Afghan Panni Confederacy of Sibi and devastated the Afghan settlements [2]. Captain John Jacob writes:-
 “Adjoining the [Sibi] town is large and substantial fortress, which is still a place of great strength even in its present decayed condition. Both fortress and town are now wholly deserted, having been plundered and burnt by the notorious Hajee Khan Kakur in 1828, when he was governor of the province on behalf of the Candahar Chiefs. ” [1]

Discerning political acumen and leadership qualities in Dost Muhammad Khan he abandoned his masters, the Kandahar Sardars, and probably in 1830, joined Dost Muhammad Khan.


References:

1- "Notes on Afghanistan", H.G.Raverty, p-637-8
2- "Afghans of the Frontier Passes", by A.Aziz.Luni, Vol-II, p-118
3- Memoirs on Sind, Volume 1, 1855, p-127









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