Emirate of Afghanistan

The Emirate of Afghanistan (Pashto: د افغانستان امارت, romanized: Da Afghānistān Amārat; Dari: امارت افغانستان, romanized: Amārat-i Afghānistān) 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 Mohammed Khan, the founder of the Barakzai dynasty in Kabul, prevailed.

Emirate of Afghanistan
  • د افغانستان امارت (Pashto)
    Da Afghānistān Amārat
  • امارت افغانستان (Dari)
    Amārat-i Afghānistān
Afghanistan before the 1893 Durand Line Agreement
Afghanistan before the 1893 Durand Line Agreement
StatusBritish protected state (1879–1919)[1]
Official languagesPashto, Dari
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, Hindusim, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Baháʼí Faith, Christianity, others)
GovernmentUnitary Absolute emirate
• 1823–1826 (first)
Sultan Mohammad Khan
• 1919–1926 (last)
Amanullah Khan
LegislatureLoya Jirga
Historical era19th century
• Established
14 March 1823
• Disestablished
9 June 1926
CurrencyAfghan rupee
ISO 3166 codeAF
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Durrani Empire
Emirate of Herat
Maimana Khanate
Kingdom of Afghanistan
Today part ofAfghanistan

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 the 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[2] and Dost Mohammad being reinstalled to the throne.[2] However, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1880), the British and Afghans signed the Treaty of Gandamak, which allowed the British to take the Afghan territories within modern day Pakistan and took control of Afghanistan's foreign affairs on the condition of a subsidy paid to the Afghans and a full British military withdrawal. 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 Mohammed Khan, which led to the First Anglo-Afghan War, fought between 1839 and 1842.[3] During the war, Britain occupied the country, in an effort to prevent Afghanistan from coming under Russian control and curb Russian expansion. The war ended with a temporary victory for the United Kingdom, which, however, had to withdraw so that Dost Muhammad came to power again.[4]

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.[5] 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 the Durand Line, which is still straight through the settlement area of the Pashtuns runs and about a third of Afghanistan to British India annexing.[6]

Afghan warriors, 1922

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.[7]

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.[8][9][10][11] 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.[12] Amanullah Khan began the reformation of the country and was crowned 1926 Padshah (king) of Afghanistan and founded the Kingdom of Afghanistan.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ https://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/iais/downloads/Onley_Raj_Reconsidered.pdf
  2. ^ a b Kohn, George Childs (2013). Dictionary of Wars. Revised Edition. London/New York: Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 9781135954949.
  3. ^ Shultz, Richard H.; Dew, Andrea J. (22 August 2006). Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231503426.
  4. ^ Baxter, Craig (2001). "The First Anglo–Afghan War". In Federal Research Division, Library of Congress (ed.). Afghanistan: A Country Study. Baton Rouge, LA: Claitor's Pub. Division. ISBN 1-57980-744-5. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  5. ^ Dupree: Amir Sher Ali Khan Archived 30 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Smith, Cynthia (August 2004). "A Selection of Historical Maps of Afghanistan – The Durand Line". United States: Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  7. ^ Islam and Politics in Afghanistan, Olesen, page 101
  8. ^ Dijk, Ruud van; Gray, William Glenn; Savranskaya, Svetlana; Suri, Jeremi; Zhai, Qiang (13 May 2013). Encyclopedia of the Cold War. Routledge. ISBN 9781135923105.
  9. ^ Adamec, Ludwig W. (1 January 2012). Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810878150.
  10. ^ Pazhvāk, ʻabd al-Raḥmān (1959). Aryana, ancient Afghanistan.
  11. ^ Jawed, Mohammed Nasir (1 January 1996). Year Book of the Muslim World. Medialine. ISBN 9788186420003.
  12. ^ Barthorp 2002, pp. 27 & 64
  13. ^ "Afghanistan". World Statesmen. Retrieved 9 November 2015.

Further readingEdit

  • Clements, Frank. Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio, 2003), (online).

Coordinates: 33°56′N 66°11′E / 33.933°N 66.183°E / 33.933; 66.183