Barakzai dynasty

The two branches of the Barakzai dynasty (Pashto: بارکزایی, "sons of Barak")[1] ruled modern day Afghanistan from 1823 to 1973 when the monarchy ended under Musahiban Mohammed Zahir Shah. The Barakzai dynasty was established by Dost Mohammad Khan after the Durrani dynasty of Ahmad Shah Durrani was removed from power.

Emblem of Afghanistan (1931-1973).svg
CountryAfghanistan Emirate of Afghanistan
Afghanistan Kingdom of Afghanistan
FounderDost Mohammad Khan
Current headAhmed Shah Khan
Final rulerMohammed Zahir Shah
TitlesEmir of Afghanistan
King of Afghanistan
Sovereign Prince of Afghanistan
Father of the Nation
Head of the House of Barakzai
Ruler of Kandahar
Chief of Lalpura
National Hero of Afghanistan

At the start of Barakzai rule in March 1823, the Afghans lost their former stronghold of Peshawar Valley to the Sikh Khalsa Army of Ranjit Singh at the Battle of Nowshera. The Afghan forces in the battle were supported by Azim Khan, half-brother of Dost Mohammad Khan. During the Barakzai era, Afghanistan saw much of its territory lost to the British in the south and east, Persia in the west, and Russia in the north. There were also many conflicts within Afghanistan, including the three major Anglo-Afghan wars and the 1928–29 civil war.

History and backgroundEdit

The Barakzai dynasty was the line of rulers in Afghanistan in the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the fall of the Durrani Empire in 1823, chaos reigned in the domains of Ahmad Shah Durrani's Afghan Empire as various sons of Timur Shah struggled for supremacy. The Afghan Empire ceased to exist as a single nation state, disintegrating for a brief time into a fragmented collection of small units. Dost Mohammad Khan gained preeminence alongside his brother, Sultan Mohammad Khan in 1823. Dost Mohammad Khan would found the Barakzai dynasty in about 1837. Thereafter, his descendants ruled in direct succession until 1929, when King Amanullah Khan abdicated and his cousin Mohammed Nadir Shah was elected king. The most prominent & powerful sub-clan of the Barakzai Pashtun tribe is the Musahiban, of which the 1823–1973 Afghanistan ruling dynasty comes.[2]


Mohammadzai are the most prominent & powerful sub-tribe of Barakzai, they belong to the branch of the Durrani confederacy, and are primarily centered around Kandahar. They can also be found in other provinces throughout Afghanistan as well across the border in the Pakistan's Balochistan Province.

Payendah Khel are descendants of Payendah Khan, head of the Mohammadzai branch of the Barakzai tribe during the reigns of Timur Shah Durrani and Zaman Shah Durrani, who became rulers of Afghanistan with the decline of the Sadduzai.

Musahiban or Telai are the descendants of Sultan Mohammad Khan "Telai", ruler of Peshawar, brother of Dost Muhammad Khan. The family of Nadir and Zahir Shah were closely related to Amanullah Khan through marriages.

List of Barakzai rulersEdit

Heads of the House of Barakzai since 1973Edit


Predigree of King Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan. Figure shows the branching of the Abdal dynasty into the Popal (founder of the Popalzai; in figure spelled 'Fofal'), Barak (founder of the Barakzai), and Alako (founder of the Alakozai) line (the fourth branch Achakzai is missing).

The principal language of the Barakzai is Pashto. Formerly, Persian was used as the language for records and correspondence; until the late nineteenth century tombstones were also inscribed in Persian.[citation needed] The language of the Barakzai tribes in Pishin, Quetta, Gulistan and Dukki (District. Loralai) is just like the language spoken in Kandahar. Those who have settled away from Pishin speak local languages (Pushto), such as Multani or Saraiki in Multan, Hindko in Hazara, Urdu in Bhopal and Sindhi in Sindh. Barakzai, a dialect of Pashto, is the language spoken by Harnai Barakzai.[3][4][5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Martin, Mike (2014). An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, 1978–2012. Oxford University Press. p. 321. ISBN 978-0199387984. Retrieved 26 July 2016. In Pushtun folklore, Barak, Alak and Popol were brothers who went their separate ways to found tribes in their own namesake with the addition of the—zai (son of) suffix, for example, Barakzai.
  2. ^ "Afghanistan". CIA. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  3. ^ Pakistan and the emergence of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan By Rizwan Hussain Page 16
  4. ^ page 64 India and Central Asia By J. N. Roy, J.N. Roy And B.B. Kumar, Astha Bharati (Organization)
  5. ^ Study of the Pathan Communities in Four States of India Archived 14 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine, (retrieved 30 January 2008)

External linksEdit