A respond to Avesta Aria in regard to creation of Afghanistan
By: Ajmal Maqsudi
As usual I follow the events online on Ariaye.com since the articles here provide vital information about the pulse of events predominantly outside Afghanistan and sometimes even inside our beloved country. The contribution is mostly from our power deprived former communist officials who now have started to work for the criminal progenitor of all evil in recent Afghan history – the infamous Shorai Nezar. This is an entirely different scoop that I might revisit in the future. Now let’s concentrate on the contribution from a young writer.
It is like breeze of fresh air to see that our country’s youth is part-taking in academic activities and sharing their achievements regardless of quality with their compatriots. In that spirit I see it as my duty to correct the mislead youth when they produce fallacies, attempting to rewrite history and disseminating destructive propaganda spread like dung. This type of ideas have their conception among the youth of Afghan Diaspora during tea-zipping gatherings with their narrow-minded kinsmen relatives. It pains me to see a talent wasted in the sewage of tribalism, racism and pure ethno-fascism. Ms. Aria seems to be the latest victim of such atrocity.
I am certain that Ms. Aria is a talented young woman who is trying to establish a name for herself and in some sense she might even be attempting to polish her English. However it is deeply disturbing and utterly unfortunate to see that she has started her non-existent writing career with manure. The odor of this ill-thought production repunges the most insensitive noses. For this particular reason I took it upon me to correct the numerous factual mistakes and erroneous conclusions based on these “facts” in her yet only contribution known to me.
As Ms. Aria has subdivided her article in different timelines, I choose to continue with the same subdivision and comment under those topics in order to avoid mix-up since there are so many mistakes. At the same time it will make it easier for Ms. Aria to look them up as well and visit independent literature and sources on the topic to verify facts instead of having a delusional ex-communist reborn Shorai Nezari as her sole source of information. It needs to be pointed out that from now on I am going to address Ms. Aria directly in my writings in or to facilitate the absorption of information as well as making subjected some light constructive critique for her own improvement both as a future brilliant writer and political activist since it is vital that our youth does not become the prey of ethic conflicts and animosities.
Mir Ways Hotaki (1709-1738)
This part is full of factual fallacies as well as suffering greatly from lack of facts which are crucial for understanding the conflict between Mirwais Khan Hotak and the Safavid Empire. We start with the names and dates. The name of Mirwais Khan Hotak is misspelled and his tribal denomination is often written as Hotak. The connotation Hotaki is referred to his dynasty. His reign was not from 1709-1738 as you have stated. He established the Hotaki dynasty in Kandahar in 1709 and he died in 1715 which makes his reign 6 years and not almost 29 years that you stated. The aforementioned date is correct for the entire Hotaki dynasty. You need to keep that apart from Mirwais Khan’s reign. Furthermore it is entitled to be elucidated that Mirwais Khan Hotak and his successors did manage to deliver a mortal blow to the Safavid Empire of Persia from which they never recovered and the son of Mirwais Khan Hotak – Mir Mahmud Hotak – became Shah Mahmud Hotak on the throne of Isfahan in Persia.
In this chapter you miserably failed to mention that Mirwais Khan Hotak’s uprising was due to the religious oppression of the fanatic Shiite Safavid Empire which tried to forcefully convert Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan to Shiite Islam since the Shiite Empire did not allow religious freedom. The same attitude towards Sunnis is still prevailing in Iran. Even today there is not a single Sunni mosque in Tehran due to the opposition of Shiite fanatics. I would urge you to (re)visit the history books and independent literature to get your facts straight in this area. Mirwais Khan Hotak never rose against Persia due to his own personal political ambitions but to save himself and his countrymen from religious oppression and humiliation. Therefore he was subjected to oppression and coercion by Safavid officials. He was taken as a prisoner to Persia where he suffered immensely but due to his pious character, he was permitted to perform Hajj in Mecca and Medina, where he obtained the Fatwa from religious leaders to rise against oppression of Shiite fanatics. His quest for freedom for his compatriots earned him the title Nika – grandfather. And he rightfully deserves that honorary title.
Another factual mistake. Nader Shah Afshar was not a Safavid king. His real name was Nader Quli Beg and he was the son of a shepherd or coat-maker, who died when Nader was very young. His mother was taken as a slave. He grew up without his parents under the patronage of Afsharid chieftains. From early on he was a military genius which later on served him well in his conquest for power and his attacks on India. Now you might have some idea that Nader Shah Afshar did not yield from Safavid dynasty but he established a completely new dynasty in Persia known as the Afsharid dynasty.
Ahmad Shah Durrani (1747-1772)
“Policy of Pan-Pashtunism”? Where did you invent this fact? Ahmad Shah Durrani might have been a Pashtun. But he was a scholar, a poet and a religiously pious man with profound religious knowledge. He regularly held Majlis-e-Ulema or the Assembly of the Learned, where he discussed matters of the state such as civic law, science and poetry at his court. In these meetings the lingua franca was Persian. He himself was an accomplished poet both in Persian and Pashto. In fact the administrative language of his empire was Persian and almost all of his bureaucrats were Persians and Qizilbash Turks from Persia. His special force which was very close to him personally, consisted of Tajiks, Qazilbashes, Hazaras and Pashtuns. Some of his finest commanders were Hazaras. Ahmad Shah was beyond the pity politics of ethnicity and linguistics. He was a just and God fearing emperor. To class him as ethno-centrist ruler with ethnic ambitions, would mean that you are limiting a sea into a jug. And that my dear Ms. Aria is not possible. Just because you see him from your own ethno-fascist and ethno-centrist perspective, shows only the level of projection in your own statement. (If you do not know what projection is, look it up in context of psychology. It might give you an idea about why you represent the ethno-fascist and Pashtunophobic stance.)
Now that it has been established that Ahmad Shah Durrani did not suffer from an ethnicity inferiority complex to pursue ethnic policies, it is true that Ahmad Shah Durrani had problems in subduing some areas of his empire. This fact is entirely related to his style of governance. Whenever Ahmad Shah would capture an area, he would reinstall the previous ruler as a governor paying taxes and tribute to the Durrani Empire. Unfortunately some of these newly installed governors, would rise against him whenever he was busy elsewhere. However it is vital to note that most of these problems were not arising in the northern Afghanistan as you have tried to state it but rather a serious problem in southern part of his empire i.e. Punjab, Mekran and Kashmir.
Let’s focus on the issue of the Marathas, third battle of Panipat, the issue of Indian Army and expansion of East India Company in Bengal. This section is very huge and it can definitely not be concluded in such a small scoop. But I will try my best to show how wrong you have been on this issue. The Maratha confederacy gained power and territory as the Mughal empire was on decline due to internal succession issues and lack of competent leaders. The Marathas took advantage of this power vacuum and started to expand their territory significantly which even included the newly acquired Afghan provinces of Multan, Kashmir and Punjab. Lahore was ransacked. And the Marathas advanced towards Attock. Just across the river, it is Peshawar. Ahmad Shah Durrani had no choice but to defend his subjects since the Marathas were very cruel and they taxed non-Marathas heavily. Muslims were suffering immensely due to Marathi oppression. This Maratha policy lead to alienation of Jats and Rajputs, who sided with Ahmad Shah Durrani at the battle of Paniput in 1761. The outcome of the battle left Ahmad Shah victorious and checked the expansion of Maratha. As far the Maratha military power is concerned it was badly defeated however this event did not mark the end of Maratha power, which lasted until 1818 and that more than half a century after the battle of Panipat. It is crucial to point out that the Maratha did not have a regular army and they were not the sole power players in India. Along side Marathas there were several other sub-continental major powers such as the Nezam of Heydarabad, Nawab of Bengal, the Mughal Empire and the Kingdom of Mysore as well as the westerners such as the French, the Portuguese and the English Empires involved in India. At the same time it is very vital to address that the Maratha Army was not a united army and it was definitely not an Indian army in the modern national sense that you are so pathetically trying to pass it as. It was a feudally raised army from the Maratha confederacy seeking a Maratha supremacy and oppressing other Indian ethnicities and religious groups which have already been mentioned.
As far as Bengal and the East Indian Company is concerned, it captured Bengal from the last Nawab of Bengal – Mirza Muhammad Siraj-u-daulah in 1757. Now if you look at the date of third battle of Panipat you will easily discover that it was in 1761 which is 4 years after the fall of Bengal. This fact makes your conclusion that Ahmad Shah Durrani somehow caused the fall of Bengal, a totally preposterous and laughable claim. Once again I urge you to revisit your faulty sources on these issues. It is a shame that you have not done your homework and have closed your eyes and put forward conclusions that are based on fallacies. I understand that due to your inherited or acquired hatred and racism concerning Pashtuns, you are willing to smear any sort of injustice done in the whole of South Asia on Pashtuns. Even if you have your narrow-minded perspective and ill-thought strategy, be at least smart enough to check your sources, dates and chronology of the events, before coming to a conclusion. It is evident that you are doing this to find some sort of dirt on Afghans and deprive them of their national accomplishments and their proud glorious moments in the history. We have been proud of Ahmad Shah Baba’s success in battle of Panipat, we are still very proud and in the future I am certain that will keep this tradition alive regardless of what you produce.
Sikhs were not created in 18th century during the reign of Ahmad Shah Durrani as you claim. The founder of this religion was Guru Nanak Dev who was born in 15th century which is three centuries ahead of the conquests of Ahmad Shah Baba in India. They were always involved in battles with the Mughal Empire. However they gained momentum towards the end of 18th century and in 1799 they captured Lahore from Shah Zaman the grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani. I suppose I don’t have to point out that even in this simple fact you were also wrong.
As far as the issue of Afghan conquest of Ahmad Shah Durrani on India is concerned, there are several facts that you are forgetting to mention before tarnishing the good name of Ahmad Shah Durrani. His conquests in India were not triggered by greed and blood thirst. He did not want to seize India for himself of his successors. He did not proclaim himself or his son the Emperor of India. He actually re-established the authority of the declining Mughal Empire which thanks to Ahmad Shah Durrani survived more than one century after his invasion of India. Ahmad Shah’s conquest were triggered by cries and appeals of Indian Muslim scholars who saw it as the duty of a Muslim Sovereign to rescue his brothers and sisters in faith from misery of Maratha oppression. He was invited by Shah Walliullah Dehlvi to embark on this rescue mission. As the mission was completed he returned to Afghanistan. You need to penetrate the issue more deeply and profoundly before accusing Ahmad Shah Durrani of pure booty raids on India.
As long the issue of immigrants is concerned, it looks like you have newly been awarded the status of immigrant in United Kingdom, which is why you are expressing your gratitude and turning a blind eye to the atrocities and theft the British Empire perpetuated on Americas, India, Africa and the Middle East. The riches that you see in every British museums – put on display – are stolen from these nations. Have you forgotten the massacres, genocides and oppression the British Empire committed? Judging from the rest of your ignorance and mis-informed status it is highly possible that you are living in a complete darkness or you could be deliberately and deceitfully distorting the truth. That remains an open issue, which leaves room for speculations. However I believe that you are simply ignorant or brought up by ignorant and racist parents.
In UK you have gone through a process of asylum and immigration before getting the most sought after British visa. However Afghanistan opened its gates from the end of 19th century during the turmoil of Russian invasion of the Central Asian Khanates. The border was closed in 1926 and until that date 1 million people had been displaced from Central Asia. Only in 1926 there were 489000 refugees living in northern Afghanistan. If you need more information about the topic, please buy a copy of Long Years of Exile by Audrey C Shalinsky – a Harvard professor and expert on issue of Central Asian refugees in Afghanistan. Everyone of them were granted citizenship and lived peacefully among Afghans. Not even your beloved British Empire received that many refugees at that time. The descendants of those refugees have now been multiplied and they constitute the majority of population of northern Afghanistan. Furthermore it is needed to recognize the recent contribution of Afghanistan to people were in need of protection from 1970s onward. Tens of thousands of Tajiks from neighboring Tajikistan settled in Afghanistan after the fall of Soviet Union and they continued their political struggle from Northern Afghanistan. Several thousands of Irani refugees who were politically oppressed in Iran, settled in Herat. Don’t forget the Balochi refugees who ran away from Pakistani Punjabi oppression and the Pakistani Pashtun refugees who came to Afghanistan recently from the wrath of Pakistan Taliban and Pakistani Army bombing in FATA (federally administered tribal areas). Just because you are completely oblivious of these facts, does not mean that they never happened. Once again I remind you to not criticize or jump to erroneous conclusions without knowing all the facts.
Finally I would like to elucidate that the impression of Durrani Empire and Ahmad Shah versus the British Raj on India. These two cannot be compared since the Afghans did not control and maintain a long term presence in India. They were there for a short while to assist their brethrens in faith during the oppression of Marathas. Thereafter Durrani Empire left India and Afghanistan had its own issues to deal with. Meanwhile British Raj had several centuries to leave a more permanent impression on India. For this particular reason and lack of understanding from the historical events and their duration, makes your comparison null and void. If you need a list of accomplishments by Afghans or Pashtuns in India, you need to revisit the history of Lodhi and Suri Pashtuns in India and in particular the significantly modern and impressive reforms of Sher Shah Suri. These reforms were adopted by Jalaludin Mohammad Akbar – the Mughul emperor – which constituted the base for a stable and enduring rule. He is still very admired in India for his accomplishments and his GT Road (Great Trunk Road) from Bengal to Peshawar is still in use. So my dear Ms Aria, don’t be an ethno-centrist and ignorant fool to believe whatever you have heard from your fascist elders and kinsmen because such conclusions are the product of an inferior and delusional minds. They might earn you a few cheap points in these malicious circles. However the cost is too high, the purpose is at best obscure if not completely destructive and divisive and your hard work does not gain any academic or political value. You are young and ambitious so get your own sources and learn history objectively without ulterior motives of pathological influence of the malicious figures around you. And please do not use history as a tool in degrading and disrespecting the national heroes of Afghanistan because your knowledge is so limited that even a child could turn your arguments around and use it as a bat against you. Your defeat is self-inflected and therefore it comes so easy.
Timur Shah (1772-1793)
In this section you so eloquently put the fact that Timur Shah needed the support of the Tajiks and Qizilbashes for his reign since they were powerful and influential in the government. This is a very odd statement coming from you since you have already build your case arguing that Ahmad Shah Durrani oppressed Tajiks and other minorities since he wanted a Pan-Pashtun nationalist state. Were minorities oppressed and influential and powerful at the same time? What is the reason for this contradiction? Did you forget what you previously wrote? Are you confused? Or the text has been written in a schizophrenic state without knowing exactly what has been argued earlier? The capital was indeed shifted to Kabul and it was not to please any Tajiks or Qizilbashes. There are several reasons behind this shift. And the alienation of Pashtun tribes by Timur Shah happened before the capital shift and not due to the shift. And the reason for alienation was the execution of some tribal leaders in Kandahar who had sided with Timur Shah’s brother in bid for the throne of the Durrani Empire. Other circumstances in favor of Kabul were its strategic position and the fact that it is easily defended since it is naturally fortified by mountains, it is closer to Peshawar which was Timur Shah’s winter capital and the weather in Kabul during summer is much more pleasant than Kandahar.
After the death of Timur Shah there was a contest for succession of the vast empire and some palace intrigues did play a role in it. However it was more than just palace intrigues. The country was torn apart and thrown into a period of civil war. This was not due to the tribalism which is the new favorite expression of your ex-communist Parchamis and now turned Shorai Nezari servants. If you are attempting drag the name of Afghans in dirt with such pathetic attempts and ill-thought strategies, then you are bound to fail miserably as you have been doing so far. Sons of Timur Shah were no angels and they were ruthless, blood thirsty and incompetent arrogant rulers except Zaman Shah. Their stubbornness and insensitivity to the international scene and the geopolitical status of Afghanistan as a buffer between two major global powers such as the Russian Czar and the British India, finally sealed their fate and they squandered the empire. Their whole attitude was the result of the royal court which was dominated by Tajiks and Qizilbash. They were product of your culture. None of these princes spoke Pashto or grew up among Pashtuns, who are loyal, honest and tolerant. Their whole culture is built around the authority of the elders. The selfishness of the Durrani princes was contrary to the culture of the tribes where the tribe comes before the personal interests. And it was the self-interest and self-centered mentality of the Durrani princes which ignited the civil war. If you had done your homework accurately, you would come to the conclusion that the tribal system had no say in the succession of the princes or their upbringing in royal court. This was the product of your culture and they were instructed and advised by your kinsmen to destroy Afghanistan. Tribalism played no part in it and as I have stated it has become a word of haute couture among Shorai Nezaris but it has gone out of fashion in the contemporary Afghanistan. despite it is still nourished in the Diaspora among ignorant pseudo-intellectuals.
As far the loss of Kashmir, Multan and Peshawar is concerned, that did not happen in 1795 as you state. This happened long after the demise of Timur Shah, who himself lost Kashmir and Punjab to Marathas when he was a young princes and he was the governor of Kashmir. Ahmad Shah Durrani retook those provinces. The permanent loss of those provinces came much later. This will become clear in the following section. No surprise here. You got it wrong again! Why am I not surprised?
Dost Mohammad (1819-1863)
The date here seems a bit skewed since Dost Mohammad Khan did not become Emir of Afghanistan until 1926. The whole process of Dost Mohammad Khan becoming the Emir started in 1818 when his elder brother Fateh Khan Barakzai was assassinated by Shah Mahmud Durrani – the grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani. Fateh Khan’s brothers and the whole Barakzai arm of Durrani Pashtuns revolted against Shah Mahmud. At that time Dost Mohammad was the governor of Ghazni and almost ten of his remaining brothers were governors of different Afghan provinces. In 1926 Dost Mohammad managed to add Kabul to his acquisitions. His latest acquisition and the level of influence that he exerted on his brothers, made him de facto ruler of Afghanistan. Despite that fact he did not call himself Emir or Shah since he did not want to provoke his brothers, who might also intend to be the contenders of the throne. In 1928 when the first Anglo-Afghan war was eminent, he proclaimed the religious title of Emir (which is not a royal title as you stated in your text) and not the royal title of Shah to meet the British threat. This was also a wise move, which de-dramatized his accession on the throne of Kabul. This background elucidates that you got the chronology, the titles and the reason behind his accession on the throne of Kabul wrong. In 1819 Dost Mohammad Khan was a simple governor of Ghazni. How can you put him on the throne of Kabul en call him the Emir of Afghanistan?
Let’s move to the first Anglo-Afghan war. At the time of first Anglo-Afghan war there was no direct border between British India and Afghanistan since the Sikh Empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was in between. In 1834 Shah Shujah – the dethroned grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani – attempted with the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to retake Afghanistan. Dost Mohammad Khan defeated Shah Shujah in Kandahar, however he was unable to attend to the attack of Sikhs in east and they captured Peshawar. After that Peshawar was never recaptured and it did not happen in 1795 as you stated earlier. Just outside Peshawar on the way to Khayber Pass you have the small town of Jamrud. When Sikhs headed for Jalalabad, they were defeated there by Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan – the son of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan. However he did not pursue the Sikhs to capitalize on his victory and instead he sent a letter to Lord Auckland in British India to help him in dealing with the Sikhs. At this moment Lord Auckland saw his chance to curb the threat from Czar of Russia who was expanding his dominion significantly in Central Asia and the Russian Empire’s sphere of influence had reached dangerously close to northern shore of Amu Darya. As Afghanistan was left in a power vacuum due to civil war and absence of strong centralized state, the British Raj knew that these circumstances posed a serious threat to them in India. British Raj knew that this rout via Afghanistan had previously been deployed several times in invasion of India. Thus having a puppet ruler in Afghanistan would perfectly counter that threat. For this purpose Dost Mohammad khan was reached and when Lord Auckland’s proposal was refused by Dost Mohammad Khan, the negotiations between Dost Mohammad Khan and the Russians started. Lord Auckland moved to plan B and started negotiating with Shah Shujah to become their puppet in Afghanistan with autonomy but strong British hold of the foreign affairs of Afghanistan in the same fashion as the rest of the Indian principalities and kingdoms. In 1838 the war started…….
TO BE CONTINUED…..
September 2nd 2010, Sweden