blind Path Khan was led to the place of execution : round him the
Durani chiefs took their stand. To each chief a certain stroke had
been assigned, swords were drawn, .and in a moment the victim fell
beneath their blows ; nothing could disturb his splendid fortitude,
and except the creed of Islam, and verses of the Koran relating to a
martyr's death, not a sound is said to have escaped his lips. After-
wards some reverent hands gathered up his mangled remains; they were
put into a sack and carried away, and decently interred at Ghazni.
Dost Muhammad Khan with two thousand regulars, four thousand
tribal levies and two field pieces took up a position at Chauki Ar-
ghandi, covering the approach to Kabul. Kamran on arrival at Maidan,
two marches from the capital, heard that his enemy had strengthened
a naturally strong position with field works, and retracing his steps he
moved by Aobak into the district of Chaharasia, compelling his enemy
to take up a fresh position at Hindkai. The next day a partial action
was fought, which terminated greatly in favour of Kamran. As the issue
was very doubtful a council of war assembled in Dost Muhammad's
tent, and it was decided to resort to the time-honoured ruse of sending
130 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
concocted letters into the enemy's camp, to sug-g-est the idea of there
being traitors in his army. The blind Ata Muhammad, son of the late
Mukhtar-ud-Daulah, a known adherent of the Sadozais, was a prisoner
in Dost Muhammad's hands, and he was compelled, on pain of instant
death, to indite the letters, which were sent by the Barakzai Chief by a
trusty messenger who was carefully instructed to allow himself to be
captured. The documents were seized and carried to Prince Kamran
and were regarded by him as genuine. Knowing- that he was detested,
he dared not disregard them. He at once ordered the horses of the
Royal stables to be prepared for a journey, and without bidding his
chiefs farewell, he, with his father, and their personal followers, under
cover of darkness, left the camp and fled towards the south. The next
morning his chiefs were dismayed to find that their Sovereign had
abandoned a half-won victory, and they followed on his footsteps.
At Shashgau, where Mahmud's party had been compelled to rest,
he was overtaken by the remains of his army, and learned that he
had been deceived. With heavy hearts the fugitives continued their
course, hoping at Kandahar to be able to rally their men, and to
collect fresh troops. At Kalat-i-Ghilzai, 147 miles further on, they
heard that Kandahar had fallen. As soon as Kamran was out of the
way, Purdil Khan had appeared before the place and blockaded it.
The Governor refused to surrender until the result of Ihe battle at
Kabul was known, and both parties waited to hear what would
happen. On the report of the flight of Mahmud from Kabul, Kandahar
was delivered to the Barakzais.
The fugitives turned aside and entered the Derawat country where
they lingered till Kohandil Khan, Barakzai, was reported to be on the
march in their direction, with Malik Kasim, son of Haji Prince Firuzdin
in his camp. Mahmud thereupon retired to Herat, where he was
allowed to maintain a degree of authority by the Barakzai Chiefs.
In the same year, the branch of the Sadozais who had governed Mul-
tan for about thirty years were deprived of their government by Ranjit
Sing, and the aged chieftain Muzaffar Khan died, sword in hand, on the
day in which the citadel of Multan was stormed by the Sikh fanatics.'
Thus came to an end the Sadozai Dynasty. The Barakzai Chiefs at
first made use of princelets of that family as puppets to conciliate any
adherents they might still possess, but very soon they were able to
dispense with this pretence, and as none of the princelets were men
of character or ability, they were allowed to sink into obscurity in
their own country, or they drifted away to Ludhiana.
^ 2nd June 181S. Cunning-hani's Hist, of the Sikhs.
The Muhammadzai Amir of Kabul. Dost Muhammad Barakzai,
AND Restoration of Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk.
HAVING disposed of Shah Mahmud and Prince Kamran, the
Barakzai brethren became masters of Afghanistan. When
Muhammad Azim Khan arrived in Peshawar, he found just
the right person for his purpose in Prince Ayub, one of
Shah Zaman's sons, who was content to surrender his rights into the
Sardar's hands, provided he was assured of the title of King and
enough for his pleasures. He was immediately made King, while
Azim Khan assumed the position of his Vazier. As he was the
eldest surviving brother of Fateh Khan, the other brothers acknow-
ledged Azim Khan's authority as the head of the family. Dost
Muhammad^ in Kabul had set up his own puppet — Prince Sultan AH
Sadozai — but he was soon put aside ; and when Azim Khan reached
Kabul, Shah Ayub was advised to sanction his kinsman's execution,
and he proved duly amenable.
Ranjit Singh took advantage of the condition of affairs in
Afghanistan to invade Peshawar, but on this occasion he was content
to garrison Khairabad, on the right bank of the Indus, and opposite
Attock, so as to allow of his crossing the river whenever he wished to
do so without opposition. Kashmir also was too strong a temptation
to be withstood. On the 5th July a Sikh xArmy scaled the Passes, and
annexed the valley, and Nawab Jabbar Khan retired to Peshawar.
Ruijit Sing continued to nibble at the outskirts of Afghanistan, and
a few months later, Dera Ghazi Khan was attached, and in 182 1 Dera
Ismail Khan became a part of the Sikh Chief's dominions. In 1822
Yar Muhammad, another of the Barakzai brethren and Governor of
■^ As a boy he was employed in sweeping the famous Shrine of Mihtar Lam in
the Lam^han district. At the age of 14 ; he is said to have been taken up by his
brother Fateh Khan who employed him regularly afterwards.
132 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
Peshawar, considered it advisable to propitiate the Sikh Ruler with
the gift of some valuable horses.
In the meantime, Muhammad Azim Khan, the Vazier, carried his
puppet, Ayub, to Kandahar, and thence to Shikarpur, where Shuja-
ul-Mulk had collected 5,000 horsemen, some infantry, and ten guns.
The Amirs of Sind were anxious for him to leave Shikarpur, and
when Azim Khan was marching from Kandahar, the forces of Sind
threatened the fugitives' communications with India. Shuja disbanded
his troops and retired to Ludhiana. Having removed this source of
danger, for Shuja had been for over a year in Shikarpur, raising
troops, and had been a rallying point for all who were ill-disposed
towards the Barakzais, Azim Khan turned his attention to Peshawar
and the Sikhs : he marched in person to that place. Ranjit Singh
crossed the Indus on the the 13th, and on the 14th March 182 1 he
defeated the Barakzai chieftain in a pitched battle at Naushahro.
Peshawar was sacked, and the country up to the Khyber Pass was
overrun ; but the Sikh ruler was willing to allow Yar Muhammad to
retain the government of the place as his tributary. Azim Khan
retired towards Kabul after this defeat, but on the road he fell ill, and
died at Lataband.
The value of the estate left by the late Vazier was estimated at
three crores of rupees (;^3,ooo,ooo sterling at that period). The
division of this property became an additional source of trouble. The
son of the deceased chief, named Habib-ullah Khan, was at once recog-
nised as chief of the clan. In the turmoil that prevailed no one paid
any attention to Shah Ayub, and he, finding his position to be an
impossible one, wisely made his way to Lahore. Ranjit pensioned
him till his death. The quarrels between the Barakzais grew to
such a pitch that the distracted inhabitants of Kabul threatened to kill
both Dost Muhammad and Purdil Khan, the leaders of the two
parties who were wrangling over the estate of the late Vazier.
Finally it was agreed that the whole of the property left by Azim Khan
should be retained by the brothers Purdil and Sherdil Khans, and
used to defray the cost of meeting foreign invasions. By the terms
of this compact, these Sardars secured nine-tenths of the lands and
revenues of Kandahar. The widow of the late Vazier was brought to-
agree to this arrangement, it was believed, by being told that, if she
withheld her consent her only son, Habib-ullah, would be blown fromi
The other brothers held unequal shares of territory somewhat in the
following proportions. Jabbar Khan was given the Ghilzai country ;
SAIAD AHMAD SHAH. I33
Sultan and Yar Muhammad held Sukar, Lohg-ar, and one-half of
Kabul. The other half of Kabul, with the Kohistan, and the Koh
Daman, fell to the lot of Dost Muhammad. Jalalabad went to
Zaman Khan, a nephew, and Ghazni was assigned to Muhammad
Khan, own brother of Dost Muhammad. In about two years' time, the
latter appropriated the Ghilzai country, and the other share of Kabul.
Habib-ullah, who was a most unsatisfactory person, was turned out of
Kabul by his uncle, and joined Yar Muhammad in Peshawar, who
g"ave him an yearly allowance of 50,000 rupees (1824).
Neither Mahmud nor Kamran were in a position to intervene, and
the only other enemies likely to prove troublesome were Ranjit Singh,
and Shah Shuja. The English, with whom Dost Muhammad was
fated to come into intimate contact, at this period were regarded
by him, by his brother who governed Peshawar — and before the
annexation of Kashmir by the Sikhs — by Jabbar Khan, in the light of
possible allies against the encroachments of Ranjit Singh. The death
of Mahmud in Herat in 1828, removed one source of danger.
In 1829 Yar Muhammad was defeated and mortally wounded by
the famous Ahmad Shah. This person is said to have been a member
of a Saiad family in Bareilly (United Provinces). He commenced life
as a follower of the notorious free lance and robber, Amir Khan ; but
when the latter settled down respectably as the Nawab of Tonk,
Ahmad Shah adopted a religious life, and attained great distinction as
a preacher. He left Delhi in 1826, and at the head of several hundreds
of followers, he passed through Sind to Kandahar, where he was
coolly received by the Barakzai Sardars. He then continued through
the Ghilzai country, and eventually in the year 1827, he crossed the
Kabul river into Panjtar in the Yusufzai country. The head of the
Panjtar family welcomed the arrival of the Saiad, as his following- of
Ghazis formed a very useful reinforcement to the fighting men of that
Although Saiad Ahmad Shah had defeated Yar Muhammad, he
was unable to seize Peshawar, owing to the presence of Sikh troops
under Sher Sing- and General Ventura. In 1830, this religious teacher
was defeated by the Sikhs on the left bank of the Indus, and forced
to recross it. He succeeded in gaining- possession of Peshawar, which
he handed back to Sultan Muhammad Khan Barakzai, on whom he
imposed a tribute. In May 1831 Ahmed Shah was surprised and
killed at Balakot by the Sikh troops. His popularity with the Yusut-
zais had declined before this happened, as he was accused of marrying
all the eligible heiresses in the country to his needy followers, and
134 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
also on account of his lofty pretensions. His deputies were expelled
after his death, the Ghazis were dispersed by the tribesmen, and his
family was driven to find an asylum with his old master, the Nawab
After the death of Yar Muhammad, the wretched creature Habib-
ullah removed from Peshawar to Jalalabad, where his cousin Zaman
Khan gave him a home. Here, the former fell in love with one of the
ladies of his cousin's harem, and in order to satisfy his ill-regulated
passions, he attempted to remove Zaman by poison. He was turned
out of Afghan Territory, and he went oflF in a great rage, vowing he
would join Shah Shuja. By the time he had reached Dera Ismail
Khan, he became utterly insane, and signalized himself by murdering
several of his slave-girls. He either died, or was put away soon after.
In 1832 Sir Alexander Burnes passed through Kabul on his well
known journey to Bokhara. His writings and those of his native
assistant, the Kashmiri Mohan Lall, have thrown considerable light
on the affairs of Afghanistan. Long before this, towards the end of
the i8th century, the adventurous Englishman Forster, had travelled
overland, through Afghanistan, on his way to Europe from Hindustan.
In 1826 Mr. Stirling of the Bengal Civil Service had spent some time
in Afghanistan. In 1827 Masson drew attention to the antiquities he
had discovered in Afghanistan. In 1828 Mr, Fraser, a Bengal Civilian,
travelled in that country. He was followed in 1829 by the adventur-
ous American Dr. Harlan. Dr. Wolff, attracted by the traditions
of the Afghans, visited Kabul on his enterprising journey undertaken
with the object of preaching Christianity to the Jews of Bokhara. He
was disgusted with the Afghans, whose Jewish origin he appears
to have scouted as a fabrication.
In 1833 Shah Shuja made his best planned independent attack on
the supremacy of the Barakzais. He used his asylum in Ludhiana
as a base of operations. On the 17th of February he left that place,
and having come to an understanding with Ranjit Sing, the latter
advanced him a lakh of rupees. The Amirs of Sind had promised
their aid ; but when Shuja entered Sind they withdrew from their
promises, Shuja, who had placed his head-quarters outside the town
of Shikarpore, sent troops to seize Bhakkar, a romantic stronghold
on an island in the Indus ; and on the 9th January 1834, the Sind
1 A remnant of his followers, however, clung to the hills and they were soon
after reinforced by Wahabi zealots from Bengal, Behar, and the United Provinces.
Patna in Behar was the place of origin of these zealots and their doctrines.
These formed settlements, first at Sitana, and then at Malka, in the Buner country.
They assumed the name of Mujahidin or the Holy Warriors — a title which indicates
very sufficiently their attitude towards the Indian Government later on.
SHAH SHUJA INVADES AFGHANISTAN, I35
troops were defeated with heavy loss about twelve miles from Rohri,
the town on the left bank of the river and opposite Bhakkar. The
Amirs paid 5 lakhs of rupees (;;^5o,ooo), which was a welcome addition
to Shuja's resources ; for he had several disciplined battalions, the
mainstay of his army, composed of Rohillas and other Hindustanis.
These were 6,000 strong and commanded by a Scotsman, Campbell,'
once an officer in the East India Company's Army, and afterwards in
the Sikh Army. The pay of Shah Shuja's troops amounted to about
a lakh a month.
The Barakzais offered no opposition to his advance, but shut
themselves up in the City of Kandahar, and asked Dost Muham-
mad to help them. Putting aside his quarrel with his brothers, the
latter responded to their appeal. At the end of two months, Shah
Shuja gave a reluctant consent to an attempt to take the place by
storm. The attack was unsuccessful, and he lost his best men in the
assault. Dost Muhammad also was at hand, advancing rapidly to
the succour of the beleagured town. Shah Shuja abandoned his
good position, for another not so good among the gardens of Abbas-
abad, to the west of Kandahar, which gave him an uninterrupted line
of retreat towards the west. Here he was attacked by the combined
forces of Kabul and Kandahar. The result of two days hard fighting
was favourable to the Shah, and quarrels had broken out among the
allied forces ; but in the hour of victory Campbell was severely wounded,
one of his guns burst and killed several men, and exploded a maga-
zine. A panic seized his Hindustani troops, which nothing could
allay (2nd June 1834) ; his men broke, and the Shah fled to Lash on
the shore of the Lake of Seistan. He disdained the proposal to seize
Herat and to deprive his nephew of the Province ; and he made his
way across the desert to Kalat, where he found a temporary shelter
with Mehrab Khan, and then through Jesalmir^ on his way to
Ludhiana. Campbell was taken prisoner by Dost Muhammad and
took service with him. The title of Sher Muhammad, and the follow-
ing robes of an Afghan noble, concealed the identity of this gallant
adventurer. He commanded the Afghan troops in Balkh and the
districts beyond the Hindu-Kush, and is believed to have died in
1856-7 — a Muhammadan.
The loss of Peshawar, which was taken on the 6th May 1834, ^7
the Sikhs under the celebrated Hari Sing, was followed by a tender of
■^ According to some, he was of mixed parentage.
^ Lieut. Boileau of the Bengal Engineers met Shah Shuja on the 2nd March
1835 at Koilath near Jesalmir.
136 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
friendship made by Dost Muhammad to the Indian Government ; but
the victory he won in July over Shah Shuja restored his confidence.
On the nth of May 1835, ^^ ^^s obliged to retire from the presence of
a Sikh Army with the loss of two guns, and on the 30th May 1837, the
Afghan troops under his eldest son, Muhammad Akbar, failed in their
attempt on Jamrud, and were enticed into the open country and
defeated with the loss of many guns. The gallant Hari Sing lost his
life on this occasion, but the Afghans were unable to take advantage
of this good fortune, and were forced to retire up the Khyber Pass.
Prince Kamran had become master of Herat after his father died
in 1828 ; and in the same year a pestilence (either plague or cholera),
was raging throughout Afghanistan, and the V^azier Ata Muhammad
died of it — it had made its appearance in Herat. The Prince appointed
his late minister's nephew, Yar Muhammad, to the vacant office.
Early in 1832 the Shah of Persia, Fateh Ali, appointed his Heir-
apparent to the government of Khurassan ; and Abbas Mirza deputed
his eldest son to lead the expedition against Herat. Prince Kamran
sent Yar Muhammad to Meshed to interview the Prince Governor,
and the latter placed the Vazier in arrest, and tortured him ; in order
to force him to agree to the surrender of Herat. Yar Muhammad,
however, showed great fortitude under his sufferings, and Abbas Mirza
having become dangerously ill, released the captive and recalled his
son from Herat to his bed-side. In 1836 Kamran intervened in the
affairs of Seistan on behalf of Malik Jalaludin. In 1837 he marched
against Kandahar, but the Vazier was opposed to his scheme of
meddling with the Barakzais, and after obtaining some trifling suc-
cesses, the Prince retired ; but he was allowed to amuse himself with
laying siege to Lash and Juwein in Seistan, until he was recalled to
Herat by the news of the advance of a Persian Army, led by the Shah in
person. The siege of the city was commenced on the 15th Novem-
The treaty of Turkomanchai' (signed on the 21st February 1828)
introduced a new factor into the politics of the Middle, East, and
Central Asia, which has influenced British relations with Afghanistan
until recently. In 1835 Dost Muhammad sent a representative to the
Court of Teheran, at a time when the successes of Ranjit Sing rank-
led in his mind. The invasion of Herat by the Persians was regarded
with suspicion by the British Government, and when the demands
of the British Representative at Teheran, to induce the Shah to re-
^ Between Russia and Persia concluded the war between these countries,
which was so disastrous to the latter.
SIEGE OF HERAT BV THE PERSIANS. 137
linquish the siege, had no efifect, on the 19th of June 1838, Indian
troops under Colonel Sheriff were landed on the island of Karak in the
Persian Gulf. The action thus taken was eflfectual. The Shah also
had been unable to capture Herat, and the absence of discipline in
his army had wasted the supplies of food in the country round the
scene of operations. The faithful Colonel Semineau, a French Officer
of Engineers, and an old soldier of the Empire, found his advice and
efforts neglected by the vacillating- Shah, who was swayed by an un-
principled Minister, and the incompetent Persian Commanders regard-
ed him with jealousy, and active dislike, which neutralized his efforts.
Eldred Pottinger, a British Officer, who had been travelling in disguise,
and was in Herat, had been detained and impressed into the service
of the Vazier and constrained to advise him. On the 9th of September
1838, the siege was raised, and the Shah retreated from Herat, having
reduced the country to a condition of utter destitution. In the
Persian Camp was Colonel Blaremburg, a Russian Engineer, and a
member of the Mission, which had been despatched under Count
Simonich.' The latter remained in Teheran. The Dragoman of the
Mission, and Captain Vitkevich, also belonging to it, were present with
the Persians. The last was a fluent linguist, and an active officer, and
he continued to make himself very busy in Afghanistan,
In the month of March 1836, Lord Auckland relieved Lord
William Bentinck as Governor-General in India. Dost Muhammad
addressed a letter of welcome and congratulation to the new Governor-
General, and was informed, in reply, that it was not the practice of the
British Government to meddle in the affairs of other independent
States. But in September 1837, Sir Alexander (at that time Captain)
Burnes was sent on a professedly commercial mission to Dost Muham-
mad, which, however, was in reality a journey of political discovery.
He was accompanied by Doctor Lord and Lieutenant Leech of the
Bombay Engineers. From Kabul the last was despatched to Kandahar
on a similar journey of discovery, also under a commercial disguise.
The Ruler of Kabul appears not to have made a secret of his
dealings with Persia and the Russians, to which he professed British
neglect of his overtures had driven him in despair. The situation was
complicated by the appearance in Kabul of the energetic Captain
Vitkevich% who posed as the envoy of Russia ; he had been, it was
^ A Dalmatian, taken prisoner while serving in the French Army, on the
retreat from Moscow, he entered the Russian service. He arrived in Teheran in
February 1833 as Minister to the Shah—Markham's History of Persia.
'■' Both Simonich and Vitkevich were disavowed by Prince Nesselrode. The
former was superseded by Count Meden in 1839 ; and Vitkevich committed suicide.
— Markham's History of Persia.
138 THE KINGDOM OF AFGHANISTAN.
said, at the time, encourag-ing the Barakzai Sardars of Kandahar
to streng-then their alliance with Persia. Burnes appears to have
been strongly in favour of attaching- Dost Muhammad to the British
by strengthening- his hands ag-ainst foreig-n and domestic enemies.
Calcutta and Simla, however, are a long- way from Kabul', and in those
days of dak posts, he may have been unable to keep step nith altera-
tions in ideas and policy which had taken place. In his eagerness to
detach the Chief of Kandahar from their Persian alliance, he exceeded
his instructions, and made them definite promises of aid, and for this
he was reprimanded, and he left Kabul thoroughly discredited in
August 1838. It was finally decided to support Shah Shuja by force
of arms, and on the ist of October 1838, the Governor-General issued
his proclamation declaring the object of the Expedition to Afghanistan
and war was declared.
On the loth of December 1838, the army of the Indus marched
from Ferozepore and arrived at the town of Rohri on its banks, on the
24th of January 1839. The strength of the current, the depth, and the
steady rise of the water, rendered the bridging of the river a very
difficult task; but it was successfully carried out by Captain Thomson
of the Bengal Engineers, and the troops crossed to the right bank on
the 4th of February. The bridge of boats was swept away very soon
after Shah Shuja forded the Indus seven miles up stream of Rohri,
and his contingent of 6,000 men with its baggage, and animals,
took seven days to cross. The Bombay Army under Sir John Keane
had landed at Vikkar, at the mouth of the Indus, and was on its march
to join the Bengal troops. The junction was effected at Kandahar.
On the 8th of May Shah Shuja was installed as sovereign in
Kandahar ; the Barakzai Chiefs having fled, on the advance of the
troops, towards Persia. The attitude of the Durani Chiefs and the
people was not all that could be desired, or had been expected.
While the Army halted in Kandahar, Captain D'Arcy Todd was de-
spatched to Herat on a mission to Prince Kamran, He carried with
him treasure intended for the restoration of the defences of that place
which had suffered greatly in the siege.
The move on Kabul was next made by Sir John Keane, and he
was accompanied by the Shah. Dost Muhammad had provisioned