Emirate of Afghanistan

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Emirate of Afghanistan
امارت افغانستان (Persian)
Amārat-i Afghānistān
Afghanistan (orthographic projection).svg
Map of the Emirate of Afghanistan in 1921 (green)
Afghanistan before the 1893 Durand Line Agreement (yellow)
Status British protected state (1879–1919) [1]
Capital Kabul
Official languages Persian
Spoken languages
Ethnic groups
Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, Persian, Aimaq, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui, Qizilbash, Pamiri, Kyrgyz, Sadat, others
Majority: Sunni Islam Minorities: Twelver Shia Islam, Ismailism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Baháʼí Faith, Christianity, others
Demonym(s) Afghan
Government Unitary absolute emirate
 1823–1826 (first)
Sultan Mohammad Khan
 1919–1926 (last)
Amanullah Khan
Legislature Loya Jirga
Historical era 19th century
24 May 1879
  Durand Line Agreement
12 November 1893
8 August 1919
 Transfromed into a kingdom
9 June 1926
Currency Afghan rupee
ISO 3166 code AF
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Herat until 1842.svg Durrani Empire
Flag of Herat until 1842.svg Herat
Blank.png Maimana Khanate
Kingdom of Afghanistan Flag of Afghanistan (1926-1928).svg
Today part of Afghanistan

The Emirate of Afghanistan [2] also referred to as the Emirate of Kabul (Until 1855) [3] Persian : امارت افغانستان, romanized: Amārat-i Afghānistān) [4] was an emirate between Central Asia and South Asia that is now today's Afghanistan and some parts of today's Pakistan (before 1893). The emirate emerged from the Durrani Empire, when Dost Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Barakzai dynasty in Kabul, prevailed.


The history of the Emirate was dominated by the 'Great Game' between the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom for supremacy in Central Asia. This period was characterized by European influence in Afghanistan. The Emirate of Afghanistan continued the Durrani Empire's war with the Sikh Empire, losing control of the former Afghan stronghold of the Valley of Peshawar at the Battle of Nowshera on 14 March 1823. This was followed in 1839 by the First Anglo-Afghan War with British forces. The war eventually resulted in victory for Afghans, with the British withdrawal [5] and Dost Mohammad being reinstalled to the throne. [5] However, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1880), the British and Afghans signed the Treaty of Gandamak, which allowed the British to assume control of the Afghan territories within modern-day Pakistan as well as of Afghanistan's foreign affairs, on the condition that a subsidy be paid to the Afghans and the British military fully withdraw. Emir Amanullah Khan signed the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 following the Third Anglo-Afghan War, gaining full Afghan independence. In 1926, Amanullah Khan reformed the country as the Kingdom of Afghanistan, becoming its first King.


Escalated a few years after the establishment of the emirate, the Russian and British interests were in conflict between Muhammad Shah of Iran and Dost Mohammad Khan, which led to the First Anglo-Afghan War, fought between 1839 and 1842. [6] During the war, Britain occupied the capital, Kabul, of the then called Emirate of Kabulistan, in an effort to prevent Afghanistan from coming under Russian control and curb Russian expansion, while also keeping Afghanistan in the British fold under a puppet leader, Shah Shuja Durrani. The war ended with Dost Mohammad Khan returning to the throne, with the British unable to subjugate the country, they forged greater ties instead, allowing Dost Mohammad Khan to move toward uniting the dis-united state of Afghanistan, which split from the Durrani Civil wars brought on by the sons of Timur Shah [7]

Upon the death of Dost Muhammad in 1863, he was succeeded by his son, Sher Ali Khan. However, three years later, his older brother Mohammad Afzal Khan overthrew him. In 1868, Mohammad Afzal Khan was himself overthrown and replaced as Emir by Sher Ali, who returned to the throne after spending few short years in exile in Russia. His return as Emir led to new conflicts with Britain. Subsequently, the British marched on 21 November 1878 into Afghanistan and Emir Sher Ali was forced to flee again to Russia, but he died in 1879 in Mazar-i-Sharif. [8] His successor, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, sought solutions for peace with Russia and gave them a greater say in Afghanistan's foreign policy. Meanwhile, he signed the Treaty of Gandamak with the British on 26 May 1879, relinquishing solely the control of Afghanistan foreign affairs to the British Empire. However, when the British envoy Sir Louis Cavagnari was killed in Kabul on 3 September 1879, the British offered to accept Abdur Rahman Khan as Emir. The British concluded a peace treaty with the Afghans in 1880, and withdrew again in 1881 from Afghanistan. The British, in 1893, forced Afghanistan to consent to a new border, termed the Durand Line, which cuts right through the historic Pashtun settlement region, leading to British India annexing roughly a third of what had been Afghanistan. [9]

After the war, Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, who struck down the country reformed and repressed numerous uprisings. After his death in 1901 his son Habibullah Khan succeeded as emir and continued reforms. Habibullah Khan sought reconciliation with the UK, where he graduated in 1905 with a peace treaty with Russia, stretching for defeat in the Russo-Japanese War had to withdraw from Afghanistan. In the First World War, Afghanistan remained, despite German and Ottoman efforts, neutral (Niedermayer–Hentig Expedition). In 1919 Habibullah Khan was assassinated by political opponents. [10]

Habibullah Khan's son Amanullah Khan was in 1919 against the rightful heir apparent Nasrullah Khan, the then Emir of Afghanistan. Shortly afterwards another war broke which lasted for three months. [11] [12] [13] [14] This war was ended with the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 after which, the Afghans were able to resume the right to conduct their own foreign affairs as a fully independent state. [15] Amanullah Khan began the reformation of the country and was crowned 1926 Padshah (king) of Afghanistan and founded the Kingdom of Afghanistan. [16]

See also

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  2. Lee, Jonathan (2019). Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present. Reaktion Books. p. 188. ISBN   9781789140101.
  3. Lee 2019, p. 317.
  4. Also known in Pashto as (د افغانستان امارت, lit. Da Afghānistān Amārat)
  5. 1 2 Kohn, George Childs (2013). Dictionary of Wars. Revised Edition. London/New York: Routledge. p. 5. ISBN   9781135954949. Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
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  8. Dupree: Amir Sher Ali Khan Archived 30 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
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  10. Islam and Politics in Afghanistan, Olesen, page 101
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  15. Barthorp 2002 , pp. 27 & 64
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Further reading

Coordinates: 34°32′24″N69°07′48″E / 34.54000°N 69.13000°E / 34.54000; 69.13000