gling on to the end of the stage, routed the cavalry, killed the artillery
men, burnt the gun carriages and spiked the guns, which remained
there all the winter. Next spring, Sohbat Khan Popalzai was despatched
from Kabul with a force, he recovered and mounted the guns and made
use of them for several days without effect against the fort walls, which
remained entire until they were destroyed by British Sappers in the
autumn of 1839.
Sha'budin and Fath Khan for a long time were at enmity, and were
played off by the tribe against each other. The quarrel was consider-
ably increased by Sha'budin Khan's brother Mir Muhammad (long
remembered as a bold warrior), being killed by Fath Khan in the district
of Khakah. This enmity continued unabated until the death of Fath
Khan (the rival chiefs had generally two or three fights every season of
harvest). On the death of Fath Khan, Sha'budin made the usual
mourning visit to his son, Samad Khan, and the long standing quarrel
was made up. Samad Khan married a daughter of Sha'budin Khan,
giving one of his own daughters in return to Mansur Khan, grandson of
Sha'budin ; and thus the blood feud was healed.
Shuja-ul-Mulk reached the Ghilzai country shortly after this move-
ment had come to an end. He was welcomed by the clan and helped
on his way towards the south ; and he married the daughter of Fath
Khan. He passed the winter in the district in which Quetta (now)
stands, and made an abortive attempt to take Kandahar. Defeated
in his designs, Shuja-ul-Mulk retired to the Bori Valley, on the confines
of the Derajat ; and tried to dispose of a small part of his jewels in
order to raise funds. He was joined by Prince Kaisar and Madad Khan.
From the Bori Valley Shuja had been sending letters to those he
REVOLUTION IN KABUL, 121
considered his friends in Kabul to excite them against Mahmud. He
at the same time began to work his way northwards through the
mountains, with proceeds of the sale of the gems. In course of time,
he reached the Zurmat country, and he bestowed a few of his jewels
on the leading Ghilzai chiefs in order to raise men for service with him.
Meanwhile, events had been taking place which resulted in his
favour. A dissolute member of the Shiah community in Kabul had
abducted a boy belonging to a Suni family. A serious riot broke out,
the Sunis and Shiahs seized their weapons, and severe fighting
took place in Kabul on the 4th and 5th June 1803. The ranks of the
Suni faction were reinforced by the people living in the surrounding
country, and Mahmud from motives of policy, and his Vazieralso, had to
intervene on behalf of the Shiahs who were in danger of being exter-
minated. The Sunis called in Shuja who marched from the Zurmat
country to Altimur, where he was welcomed by a deputation ^ who
brought him to Kabul (13th July 1803). The Vazier Path Khan was
absent in the Hazara country collecting revenue ; and Shah Mahmud^
shut himself up in the Bala Hisar. An effort to relieve him made by
the Vazier failed, Mahumud surrendered and was imprisoned. It was
at first proposed to destroy his sight, but the pleadings of Shah Zaman
induced Shuja to forego his intention. Prince Haidar, a son of Shah
Zaman, with 6,000 armed men, recovered Kandahar, and Mahmud's
son, Prince Kamran, escaped to Farah ; and the Vazier to the Tobah,
a tract in the hills to the north of modern Quetta.
A Persian army also laid siege to Herat, but after a forty days' in-
effectual blockade, they were bought off and retired in 1807-08.
Shuja-ul-Mulk pardoned the Vazier Fath Khan who was induced
to make his submission, but he took to flight not long after.
Shuja assumed the title of Shah Shuja. One of his first acts was
the punishment of Ashik, the Shirani, who was blown from a gun in
Kabul. The Koh-i-Nur and the ruby, Fakhraj were also recovered.
Prince Kaisar, son of Shah Zaman, had been induced by Vazier
Fath Khan to revolt in Kandahar, but he was defeated.
After settling the aff"airs of Kandahar, the Shah entered Sind at
the head of a large army and recovered about 20 lakhs of rupees
in settlement of arrears of revenue. From Shikarpur the Shah
marched towards Peshavv^ar, and from that place he proceeded to
Kabul where he passed the summer. In the autumn, an expedition
was despatched to Kashmir, where the governor had proclaimed his
^ The deputation of notables was headed by the Mukhtar-ud-daulah.
^ See Appendix III.
122 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
independence. The court moved to winter quarters in Peshawar,
where the expedition returned, having proved successful, leaving a
governor in the valley. Shuja-ul-Mulk had no peace. Kandahar was
taken by Prince Kamran, and retaken by the Shah. The Vazier Fath
Khan again submitted to the Shah, and a second time fled from his
court and joined Prince Kamran. The escape of his brother Mahmud
and the other princes from the Bala Hisar produced further complica-
tions. The Chief Priest of Kabul was the moving spirit of the plot,
and one Muhammad AH, a tailor, was the instrument by which it was
carried out. This man had been employed iit the citadel, and he
became acquainted with Prince Mahmud in the course of his daily
avocations. Muhammad AH by some means succeeded in setting the
Princes free. He concealed Mahmud in his own house in the City,
while the other Princes found shelter elsewhere. After some days,
when the hue and cry had subsided, and it was comparatively safe to
travel, horses were provided by the Chief Priest, and Mahmud and his
liberator set out from Kabul. Travelling with circumspection and by
unfrequented paths, the fugitives eventually made their way to Farah,
where they found Prince Kamran and the Vazier Fath Khan Barakzai.
Prince Kaisar, who now governed Kabul, incited by the Mukhtar-
ud-daulah% rebelled and attempted to seize Peshawar, and very nearly
was successful (3rd March 1808). No sooner had this movement been
put down than news was brought that Mahmud had seized Kandahar.
Shah Shuja hastened to that city, and Mahmud and Fath Khan retired
to Farah. The Shah went on to Sind, and was on his way northwards
through the Derajat, when he heard from Bahawalpore of the advance
of the British Mission under the Hon'ble Mountstuart Elphinstone. He
hurried on to Peshawar to make preparations to receive the Mission.
As soon as Shah Shuja had reached Peshawar, loth of January, he set
to work to collect as many men as possible for a great attempt on
Kashmir where his governor had rebelled. The Shah's Vazier com-
manded the expedition.
The Mission which was despatched by Lord Minto, the Governor-
General, arrived in Peshawar on the 25th of February. It was the
beginning of official relations between the State of Afghanistan and
the British Government, and the reasons for its despatch were the same
as those which had prompted the Mission to Persia of Sir John
Malcolm. The suspected intentions of Napoleon with regard to
the middle east.
^ In revenge for not receiving the Vazierate, he was killed in battle at Doaba,
near Peshawar, where Kaisar was routed.
THE BRITISH ENVOY RECALLED. 1 23
The expedition to Kashmir was a complete failure. The Vazier
Akram Khan was very unpopular with his men, and in addition he had
offended the Chief of Muzaffarabad, and whether owing to the road
being blocked by snow, or the resentment of the Chief, the royal troops
were unable to advance and the Vazier, in fear of being seized by his
own men and delivered to the enemy, took to flight and reached Pesha-
war, where news of the reverse had arrived on the 23rd of April. Only
some 2,000 men of the whole army returned in an evil plight to that
place. To add to the Shah's perplexities news arrived that Mahmud
had taken Kabul. A general panic prevailed in Peshawar. The King
was at his wit's end to raise money, and the Vazier refused to lend or
give his master any part of the hoards he had inherited from his father
and had added to himself. Akram Khan, Bamizai, was a brave man, but
his avarice, haughty and irritable disposition had rendered him gene-
rally unpopular, and his action in denying his Sovereign pecuniary assis-
tance was inexplicable as their interests were identical. There was also
a personal animosity existing between the Vazier Fath Khan and Akram
Khan, which had determined the former to finally join Mahmud.
As it was not the policy of the British Government to take any
part in the civil war. Lord Minto recalled the Mission, which left
Peshawar on the 14th June 1809. The Royal Harem, and the Royal
Treasure, was also sent with it for safety to Rawalpindi. Shah Shuja's
efforts to raise an army proved successful, and the prestige he had
acquired by the stay at Peshawar of the Mission had put his affairs
into a highly prosperous condition. Some 14,000 men with artillery
collected under his standard.
Shah Mahmud had marched from Kandahar, and Kabul had again
been surrendered to him by the Kazzilbash tribes out of gratitude for
the efforts made on their behalf, in the struggle with the Sunis. The
governor of the city, Ahmad Khan, Nurzai, had also joined Mahmud
with the garrison. From Kabul Shah Mahmud marched towards
Jalalabad and Shah Shuja set out from Peshawar to meet him.
Treachery was rife in both camps. Alim Khan, Nurzai Sardar,
had been instrumental in gaining possession of Kandahar, but at
Kabul, owing to his attitude towards the Vazier, the latter had be-
come suspicious of the Sardar's fidelity. Notwithstanding the fact
that the Nurzai Chief was his son-in-law, Fath Khan determined
to remove him ; especially as Alim Khan was leagued with other
Durani Chiefs who might be expected to follow him if he deserted.
The Vazier recommended that this Chief should be executed ; and
when their camp was pitched on a ravine between Jagdalak and
J 24 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
Surkhpul, Alim Khan was put to death, and the locality has ever
since been known as Alim Khan Kushta, the place where Alim Khan
On Shah Shuja's side, his bag-gage master had been boug-ht by
the \^azier Fath Khan, and had promised to act in a treacherous
manner in return for a large sum of money. Madad Khan, the Sardar
of the Ishakzais, also hated Shuja's Vazier, Akram Khan, and was
only waiting for a favourable opportunity to go over to Mahmud.
After the troops had passed the Khaibar and were approaching
Jalalabad Shah Shuja's baggage master, in charge of the tents and
baggage sent in advance, instead of forming the camp at Jalalabad,
as he had been ordered, carried them to Nimla, thirty miles beyond
that place. When Shah Shuja on an August morning set out from Ali
Boghan, six miles to the east of Jalalabad, and did not find his camp at
that place he became suspicious. The commander of his advanced
troops also sent back alarming accounts of the Ishakzai Sardar's
demeanour, which proved him to be in communication with the
enemy. The Shah and his Vazier, Akram Khan, hastened on with their
troops and eventually reached Nimla. At this place, about midway
between Peshawar and Kabul, there was a famous old garden. It had
been a stage on the Royal Route from Peshawar, and inside the
garden, which was square, there were magnificent Plane trees and
Cypresses. There were four raised platforms of masonry for the
purpose of pitching tents, surrounded by great cypress trees planted
at equal intervals.'
Late in the day while the Shah's troops fatigued after their long
march were straggling into camp and putting up their tents,
they were surprised by Vazier Fath Khan at the head of a smaller
force of fresh troops. Taken at a disadvantage, notwithstanding
their greater numbers. Shah Shuja's men were completely routed.
Their Sovereign's guns, baggage, and a part of his treasury were
lost, and he was compelled to take to flight. A dramatic incident took
place during the confused struggle. Akram Khan, Shuja's Vazier,
encountered Fath Khan. The former was armed with a double
barrelled gun of a modern pattern, one of the presents made by the
Head of the Mission a few months before. The former levelled the
piece at Fath Khan and discharged both barrels ; but one of the
clansmen of the Vazier spurred his horse in front of his Chieftain and
received the bullets destined for the latter and fell dead. In the mean-
^ Shah Jahan in the 1 7th century encamped here. It was a stage on the Royal
Road from Delhi and Peshawar to Kabul, and ordered the garden to be laid
out. It still exists.
EXPEDITION TO KASHMIR. 1 25
time another man of the Barakzai clan fired his pistol point blank at
Akram Khan, who fell off his horse a corpse. The head of his Vazier
raised on a spear and displayed before his men completed the discom-
fiture of Shah Shuja. He made his way to the south, and though
he was put in possession of Kandahar four months later, he was unable
to retain it, and was forced to retire to the Punjab by the Gomal Pass.
After an interview at SahiwaP with Ranjit Singh, the Shah pro-
ceeded to Rawalpindi, where he joined his family. Here he rested for
Mahmud was now king, but his reign was devoid of much
importance. The Vazier carried on the government and Mahmud
abandoned himself to self-indulgence, and gradually resigned his
authority to his minister. In 181 1 a meeting was brought about by the
latter between Shah Mahmud and Ranjit Singh, while the Shah was
proceeding (or was being taken by the Vazier) to Sind to re-assert
Vazier Fath Khan again met Ranjit Singh, and it was arranged
that the latter was to permit the Afghans to march by the Bhimbar
route to Kashmir, and aid them in taking possession of the valley
in the name of Shah Mahmud ; in return for this assistance one-
third of the revenue was to be paid to Ranjit Singh. In the previous
year Shah Shuja had been made a prisoner by Jahandad Khan, whom
he had placed in the fort at Attock as his representative. From that
place the Shah was carried to Kashmir, where the governor, Ata
Muhammad Khan, had detained him in confinement for 12 months.
When the latter was conquered in February 1813, Vazier Fath Khan
handed Shuja over to the Sikhs, by whom he was forwarded to
Lahore. Attock w-as shortly after surrendered to the Sikhs, and Vazier
Fath Khan, aided by his brother Dost Muhammad, was defeated in
Chach, in an action fought on the 13th July 1813.
Vazier Fath Khan had left his brother Azim Khan to rule Kash-
mir, and the stipulation regarding the division of the revenue having
been disregarded, a Sikh Army invaded Kashmir, but sustained a
In Lahore, Shah Shuja, under pressure, had been constrained to
part with the Koh-i-Nur diamond to Ranjit Singh for a consideration.
He was nevertheless guarded carefully and kept a prisoner in his
quarters. In December 1814 the flight of the ladies of the Ro}al
Harem with the crown jewels to Ludhiana was successfully accom-
plished. Shortly after, the ex-Shah himself eluded the vigilance of his
^ On the Jhelum river.
126 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
guards, and slipped out of Ranjit Singh's hands. With the aid of the
Raja of Kishtwar he very nearly succeeded in an attempt on Kashmir,
but was driven back by exceptionally severe weather. After a variety
of adventures, he reached Ludhianah in i8i6, where he joined his
family and the blind Shah Zaman. The allowance of 18,000 rupees
originally assigned for the maintenance of the refugees, per annum,
was raised to 50,000 rupees after Shah Shuja arrived. His minor
and unsuccessful efforts against Shah Mahmud merit no description,
and leaving him for the present in Ludhianah, it will be useful to return
to the course of events in Afghanistan.
Fath Khan, the Vazier, was apparently very zealous in his mas-
ter's interest, but in effect he was strengthening his own influence
by providing his numerous brothers with governorships of Provinces,
and also amassing great wealth himself. It is doubtful if this wily
chieftain had ever forgiven the Sadozais for the execution of his
father, but in the indolent voluptuary Mahmud he found a useful
and most convenient stalking horse by means of which the right to
the government of the Barakzais (of which their remote ancestor
had been cozened) might be restored. Shuja's overweening conceit,
autocratic bearing, and his persistent bad luck, coupled with the vices
of Mahmud and his profligate son Kamran, were fast alienating the
last of the adherents which the Sadozais possessed. So long as
Mahmud enjoyed the means of gratifying his appetites and was not
worried, the Vazier was allowed to do as he pleased.
Prince Kamran, however, took a different view of the situation. He
can best be described as a human tiger. A debauchee of the worst
type, there ran through his disposition a strong vein of ferocity and
cruelty. On occasions, during his early manhood, he displayed deter-
mination and the courage of his race ; but in later years, after
all avenues of action had been closed to him, he became a tyrannical
ruler, and gave himself up to horrible vices.
Haji Prince Firuz-ud-din, who ruled over Herat, was suspected ot
aiming at independence, and it became necessary to take order with
him. In 1817 the Vazier set out for Herat accompanied by Shah
Mahmud and Prince Kamran. On this occasion so lavish was the
Vazier in his expenditure that, although the expedition did not last
more than six months, he is said to have disbursed ninety-six lakhs of
rupees in advances to the soldiers and in presents to chiefs in his
master's train. Such an expenditure of money alone would have ren-
dered the Afghans glad to make Fath Khan their king. Mahmud
waited at Kandahar with his son, while the Vazier went ahead to make
AFFAIRS OF HERAT.
sure of Herat. Prince Firuz-ud-din had reason also to apprehend a
serious attack on Herat by the Persians as Husen Ali Mirza, son of
Shah Fath Ali, was assembling his forces in Meshed. Firuz-ud-din
nevertheless would not admit the Vazier's troops into the city. The
latter pretended to acquiesce, but he set intrigues on foot, which
resulted in the city and the citadel also being delivered up to him as
well as the Prince himself. It was reported to the Vazier that the
Prince's treasures were concealed in the apartments of the harem ;
but the sanctity of these chambers did not save them from spoliation.
Dost Muhammad is said to have conducted this operation with very
scant ceremony and to have roughly handled Rokya Begum, the wife
of Malik Kasim (son of Firuz-ud-din), who was Shah Mahmud's daugh-
ter. Dost Muhammad was compelled to disgorge some of the plunder he
was said to have obtained. At any rate, he fell out with his brother,
and left him, having decided to join Azim Khan in Kashmir. On his
way from Herat, he met Mahmud and Kamran, and paid his respects
to them for the last time.
Meanwhile, the Persians had commenced their march on Herat,
and the Vazier, aided by his brothers Purdil Khan and Kohandil Khan,
advanced against them, and at the end of 1817, an action was fought at
Kafir Kala between the opposing forces, in which the Persians were
defeated, but in the moment of victory, Fath Khan was struck in the
face by a spent bullet and fell off his charger. This accident disheart-
ened his men who, regardless of their success, broke and fled. When
Fath Khan regained his senses, he learned that his army had dispersed.
He returned to Herat and found that Mahmud and Kamran had arrived,
and were in camp in the garden known as the Bagh-i-Zaghan : there
he repaired and paid his respects to his sovereign and the heir apparent.
The latter matured his plans to overthrow the Minister, whom he
feared, and of whose influence he was jealous. His father, Mahmud,
was won over to agree to this scheme. The Vazier was summoned to
the private apartments of the Shah, on the pretence of discussing- the
affairs of Malik Kasim, son of Haji Prince Firuz-ud-din. As soon as the
Vazier appeared, he was seized, and a red-hot needle applied to his
eyeballs destroyed his sight.' As soon as it was known that the
Vazier had been arrested, Sardars Purdil, Kohandil, and Sherdil Khans
and other brothers of Fath Khan, with their clansmen, eftected their
escape, and evading Kamran's myrmidons, they took the road to
Kandahar. They assembled at the fort of Nad Ali on the Helmand river
which the Barakzais had acquired by purchase. The father of the
^ At the instigation of Ata iVIuhammad, son of the late Mukhtar-ud-daulah.
128 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
Vazier left twenty-one sons, so there was no lack of persons to carry
on the blood feud with the Sadozais.
Sardar Azim Khan, in Kashmir, as soon as he heard of the affair,,
despatched his younger brother Dost Muhammad as his advance
guard towards Kabul, and followed him in person to Peshawar. In
the first flush of his rage he sent from Kashmir a Koran, to which he
had affixed his seal, inviting Shah Shuja to occupy the throne. Owing
to his strained relations with Ranjit Sing, the ex-King was unable to
take the direct road to Peshawar, and he was compelled to make a wide
detour by the Derajat. He overcame the Governor of Dera Ghazi
Khan and took possession of that town, where he found two field pieces.
The news of Shah Shuja's success brought several of the late Vazier's
brothers to his side, including Sardar Purdil Khan, the brother ; and
Sarbuland Khan, the son of the blinded Vazier. In the meantime, how-
ever, Sardar Muhammad Azim Khan, on arrival in Peshawar, had dis-
covered a tool more suited to his purpose in Prince Ayub (another son of
Shah Zaman). As soon as Shah Shuja appeared on the scene he wa«
attacked by the Barakzai, and after a severe conflict at the garden of Ah
Mardan Khan, the ex-King was defeated and once more a fugitive.
After hiding for two months among the hills of the Khaibar, he made
his way south to Shikarpur, where his son Prince Timur was
governor. He remained there a full year and more, and had begun
to raise troops, having made a compact with the Amirs of Sind for
help in his enterprise.
After they had worked their will on the Vazier, Shah Mahmud
and his son Kamran left Herat in charge of Prince Seif-ul-Muluk, and
taking their captive with them, they made for Kandahar with the
utmost possible speed. Kabul was held by Prince Jahangir, Kamran's
son, with Ata Muhammad Khan, son of the Mukhtar-ud-daulah
as his tutor and adviser. The latter had been deprived of the govern-
ment of Kashmir, and in consequence he was no friend of the
Sadozais. Dost Muhammad had reached Jalalabad, and the sulky
Ata Muhammad invited him to seize the capital. Although Dost
Muhammad gained the City, Prince Jahangir held the Bala Hissar,
staunchly supported by the Kazilbash tribes.' The regular garrison
of Arabs and Abyssinian guards also were loyal. Dost Muhammad
made strenuous efforts to capture the citadel. A mine was sprung
^ Ata Muhammad was seized by Dost Muhammad, his sight was destroj^ed by Pir
Muhammad, son of the Vazier.
See App. IV. Relations between the Afghans and Persians in 1816-17^
which led to the downfall of Vazier Fath Khan, Barakzai, and of the Sadozais,
DOST MUHAMMAD OCCUPIES KABUL. 1 29
under the western bastion, which, however, was not completely
wrecked, but an assault on the breach was repulsed with heavy loss.
At the end of forty days, as no help arrived, Prince Jahangir with one
of his adherents escaped from the Bala Hisar, and fled by way of
Hindkai and joined Prince Kamran in Kandahar,
In 1818 Shah Mahmud and Prince Kamran led 30,000 good
troops from that city to attempt the recovery of Kabul. As the blind
Vazier refused to further their designs, the Prince resolved to get rid
of him ; and in order to render their adherence to his father's cause
beyond a doubt, he purposed that the Durani chiefs present in the
camp should decree the Vazier's death, and also themselves execute
the sentence. At Saiadabad (47 miles from Kabul) they were
summoned to a council, presided over by Kamran, his meagre figure
rendered imposing by scarlet robes, the " vestments of wrath", signi-
ficant of death. This attire sufficiently denoted Kamran's fixed inten-
tion with regard to the blind Vazier, and also to any one in that council
who should dare to thwart him. He was not one who would
stick at trifles, and no one knew what the curtains of the council
tent may not have concealed. The assembled chiefs obsessed by the
venom of the Prince, in fear of their own lives — in dread of the searing
irons (used to destroy the sight); or the less terrible sabre of the
executioner, decreed the death of the Vazier, in accordance with the
instructions of the Prince. Orders were issued forthwith, and the