Mohammed Nadir Shah: Wikis


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Mohammed Nadir Shah
محمد نادر شاه
King of the God granted Kingdom of Afghanistan and its dependencies[1]
Mohammed Nadir Shah.jpg
Reign October 17, 1929 - November 8, 1933
Born April 9, 1883
Birthplace Dehra Dun, India
Died November 8, 1933 (aged 50)
Place of death Kabul, Afghanistan
Predecessor Habibullah Ghazi
Successor Mohammed Zahir Shah
Consort Mah Parwar Begum
Royal House Barakzai
Father Mohammed Yusuf Khan
Mother Sharaf Sultana Hukumat Begum

Mohammed Nadir Shah (Pashto: محمد نادر شاه - born Mohammed Nadir; April 9, 1883 - November 8, 1933), was king of the Kingdom of Afghanistan from October 15, 1929 until his assassination in 1933. He and his son Mohammed Zahir Shah, who succeeded him, are sometimes referred to as the Musahiban.


Origins and rise to power

Mohammed Nadir Khan was born in Dastgerd[10] into the Qereqlu clan of the Afshars, a semi-nomadic tribe in Afghanistan,, on April 9, 1883 to Muhammad Yusuf Khan and his first wife Sharaf Sultana. His paternal grandfather was Yahya Khan and his great grandfather was Sultan Muhammad Khan Telai, the brother of Dost Mohammed Khan, who accepted the Sikh dominance in Peshawar. Thus he was a member of the Musahiban branch of the family.[2]

Mohammed Nadir first set foot in Afghanistan at the age of 18 when his grandfather Mohammed Yahya was authorized to return to Afghanistan from exile by the British and Abdurrahman.[3]

Nadir Khan became a military general in Amanullah Khan's monarchy after the British planned it for him so he could suppress it to enhance his reputation. When the Anglo-Afghan war started in 1919, Nadir volunteered to lead the National Army to the south and to fight the enemy. When Nadir crossed the border, the British left every single fort on the other side of the Durand Line so Nadir could capture them. This made Nadir Minister of War after the war. Amanullah Khan became suspicious about Nadir’s incantations and Amanullah Khan understood his schemes and considered his staying unnecessary in Kabul. Nadir was appointed as the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Paris, and his brother Hashim was sent to Moscow as the cultural attaché. Both of the brothers considered the mentioned appointments as exile. Thus, after those appointments they strengthened their relations with the British. Eventually, Nadir before leaving Kabul met in person with the British Ambassador, Humphreys, at his office. During the mentioned meeting, which is written in the declassified document of the British, Nadir promised to follow whatever role would be given to him by the British. After this, Nadir, in Paris, proposed numerous plans to the British, to topple Amanullah Khan's government and the King of Afghanistan.[4]

Shortly after a rebellion by Pashtun tribesmen and forces of Habibullah Kalakani began against the monarchy, Mohammad Nadir was exiled due to disagreements with King Amanullah. After the overthrow of Amanullah Khan's monarchy by Habibullah Kalakani, Mohammed Nadir returned to India and acquired military support from the British. He returned to Afghanistan with his British supported armies and took most of Afghanistan from Habibullah Kalakani. By October 13 of 1929, Mohammad Nadir Khan captured Kabul and subsequently sacked the city.[5] Nadir Shah then asked for a truce with Habibullah Kalakani and asked him to join him so that they could discuss the political upheavals and come to a resolution [6]. Kalakani accepted Mohammed Nadir's truce and went to Nadir's meeting accompanied by Nadir's religious envoy [6]. Upon his arrival Habibullah Kalakani was shot and hanged. Mohammad Nadir Khan then declared himself King, or Shah, of Afghanistan on October 16, 1929.


Mohammed Nadir Shah quickly abolished most of Amanullah Khan's reforms, but despite his efforts to rebuild an army that had just been engaged in suppressing a rebellion, the forces remained weak while the religious and tribal leaders grew strong. In 1930, there were uprisings by the Pashtun Shinwari tribes of the south and as well as by Tajiks of Kabul province and north of Kabul. The same year, a Soviet force crossed the border in pursuit of an Uzbek leader whose forces had been harassing the Soviets from his sanctuary in Afghanistan. He was driven back to the Soviet side by the Afghan army in April 1930, and by the end of 1931 most uprisings had been subdued.

Nadir Shah named a ten-member cabinet, consisting mostly of members of his family, and in September 1930 he called into session a loya jirga of 286 which confirmed his accession to the throne. In 1931 the King promulgated a new constitution. Despite its appearance as a constitutional monarchy, the document officially instituted a Royal oligarchy, and popular participation was merely an illusion.

Although Nadir Shah placated religious factions with a constitutional emphasis on orthodox denominational principles, he also took steps to modernize Afghanistan in material ways, although far less obtrusively than Amanullah. He improved road construction, especially the Great North Road through the Hindu Kush, methods of communication, and helped establish Afghanistan's first university in 1931; however, this university (Kabul University) didn't admit any students until 1932.[7] He forged commercial links with the same foreign powers that Amanullah had established diplomatic relations with in the 1920s, and, under the leadership of several prominent entrepreneurs, he initiated a banking system and long-range economic planning. Although his efforts to improve the army did not bear fruit immediately, by the time of his death in 1933 Nadir Shah had created a 40,000-strong force from almost no national army at all.

He waged a large scale campaign under British influence against the non-Pashtun ethnic living in Afghanistan in attempt to continue the Pashtunization plan of his predecessor Abdur Rahman Khan. During his reign thousands of Afghan intellectuals were either imprisoned or killed. Many fled abroad, especially to the Soviet Union. The already-in-crisis press was heavily censored and power was distributed among his own relatives and family members.

During his reign, Nadir Shah had to suppress attempts to reinstate Amanullah Khan to the throne. His strategy in suppressing his opposition was to set ethnic groups against each other, mainly Pashtuns versus Tajiks. This led to the destruction of the Shamali plains north of Kabul.[8]


On November 8, 1933 while distributing awards to high-school graduates at Bala-e-sar, the King was shot dead by a teenager named Abdul Khaliq Hazara. The assassination plot was hatched by himself and his friends. He was working as a servant to the Charkhi Family and due to the cruelty of King Nadir Khan and Massacre of Hazaras during Abdur Rahman Rule, he was always waiting for a revenge from the cruel King. He then planned the assassination of the King and finally found the chance at a ceremony of high-school graduates in Bala-e-Sar. After the assassination, Abdul Khaliq Hazara was apprehended with his all of his friends and family members.[9] Abdul Khaliq Hazara, his father and uncle were hanged, but according to somes account he never got at stage of hanging, his tortured body was cut into pieces. His cousins, aunts and even distant relatives were killed and most of the females were held in prison. There is one account that a female relative was pregnant and gave birth at the prison. The baby apparently grew up at the prison and later released; she was mentally ill which she eventually died.


Muhammad Nader Shah was criticised by many Afghan historians as an agent of Britain in Afghanistan.[10] During his regime hundred of thousands of innocent people were killed in Afghanistan. His family held the highest positions during his reign. His brother Sardar Hashim was Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Sardar Mahmud was Defence Minister of Afghanistan. And most of his Ministers were from his tribe called Mohammadzai. Despite the criticism, most Afghans agree that his handling of northern revolts was especially effective in that it stamped the dominance of the Pashtun tribe over the other minority tribes living in Afghanistan.[6]

References and footnotes

  1. ^ Royal Ark
  2. ^ Saikal, Amin ; Farhadi, Ravan and Nourzhanov, Kirill (2006) Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival I.B.Tauris, London, p. 46, ISBN 1-84511-316-0
  3. ^ Schinasi, May (April 7, 2008). "MOḤAMMAD NĀDER SHAH". Encyclopædia Iranica (Online Edition ed.). United States: Columbia University.  
  4. ^ How did Nadir accede the throne?
  5. ^ Balland, D.. "AFGHĀNISTĀN". in Ehsan Yarshater. Encyclopædia Iranica (Online Edition ed.). United States: Columbia University. Retrieved 2008.  
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ Kabul University web page: History History
  8. ^ Clements, Frank (2003). Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia. Oxford. ISBN 1851094024. OCLC 59357716.  
  9. ^ Dupree, Louis: "Afghanistan", page 474. Princeton University Press, 1973
  10. ^

External links

Mohammed Nadir Shah
Born: 10 April 1880 Died: 08 November 1933
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Habibullah Ghazi
Emir of Afghanistan
King of Afghanistan
1929 – 1933
Succeeded by
Mohammed Zahir Shah


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