Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ahmad Shah Bābā احمد شاه بابا

Ahmad Shah Durrani احمد شاه درانی (born in 1722 either in Herat or Multan; died in 1773, Kandahar), also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī احمد شاه ابدالي was the founder of the Durrani Afghan Empire is regarded by many to be the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan when he united the land in 1747.

Born as Ahmad Khan, Ahmad Shah rose quickly to become a commander of four thousand Abdali (later known as Durrani) Pashtoon soldiers following his enlistment in the military of the Afsharid kingdom. In June 1747 following the death of Nader Shah Afshar of Persia, Ahmad Shah became the the Emir of Khorasan. Able to mobilise the Pashtoon tribes and allies, he pushed east towards the Mughal and the Maratha Empire of India as well as west towards the disintegrating Afsharid Empire of Persia and north toward the Khanate of Bukhara.

Within a few years he had conquered all of today's Afghanistan and much of northeastern Iran. After a failed attempt to gain the Panjab in 1748, Ahmad Shah returned two years later and displaced Mir Mannu, the Mughal-heir apparent and governor of Panjab. His incursions into India roused the oppostion of the Sikhs and the Maratha rulers on several occasions leading to the defeat of the Marathas eight times, including the major victory at the 1761 Battle of Panipat which was fought north of Delhi.

Western advances of the Sikhs, better organised and disciplined in opposition led to Ahmad Shah returning to Panjab in 1764 and 1767 to defend Lahore, but the threat of internal strife and mutiny of his troops over pay, meant that on his retreat, Lahore was eventually taken followed by the Sikh advance further into Panjab. Ahmad Shah focused his efforts on retaining hold of Peshawar and the country west of Attock. Even today, for Afghans who oppose the British laid Durrand Line, these areas would still be included in a "Greater Afghanistan".  

Ahmad Shah's mausoleum is located in Kandahar, Afghanistan, adjacent to the famous Mosque of the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH in the center of the city. Today he referred to as Ahmad Shah Bābā, احمد شاه بابا,  the Father of Afghanistan and the man who united the Pashtoons into one country.

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