How did Nadir accede the throne?
Originally translated by Maliha Fazel Zafar from Afghan writer and historian, Sayed Qasim Reshtia. The late Sayed Qasim Reshtia was born in 1913 as son of Sayed Habib. He was brother to former Parliament members Mir Mohammad Sidiq Farhang and Ruqia Abubakr. He served three times as Ambassador and three times as Cabinet Minister during the reign of King Zahir Shah. Mr. Reshtia died several months after writing his final book in Switzerland in March 1998.
The accession of Nadir to the throne and the fall of all the others in the struggle against Habibullah Kalakani, were not accidental. The British imperialist government planned it all. The British had taken a certain number of weak-willed people under special patronage. Among those Nadir was the desirable candidate to the throne of Afghanistan.
The plan was conceived at an early date. We can find its origin a century earlier in the days of the Peshawar Sardars such as Sultan Mohammad Khan Telai, the great grand father of Nadir. He had links with the British, and then his sons, Yahya Khan and Zikria Khan, followed the path. During the Second Anglo-Afghan War they struggled on the British side. After the above-mentioned Sardars the underhand activities continued by their sons: Sardar Mohammad Asif Khan and Sardar Mohammad Yousof Khan, private advisors to Amir Habibullah Khan, son of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. Finally Nadir and his brothers and cousins took up the task. They received training at Dehradun in India from the British and were kept there until circumstances became favourable in Kabul for their appearance. This was at the end of the reign of Amir Habibullah Khan. By that time the British became sure of the fall of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan, the IRON AMIR, and the mentioned family was sent back to Afghanistan. So it was the British who enabled the family influence the successor of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. Thus, according to the British plan, the work ran on smoothly. The beautiful daughter of Sardar Mohammad Yousof Khan was engaged to the new king. The engagement smoothened the path for the activities of all the members of that family in influencing sate affairs. Each one received a suitable position at the royal court, according to their field of training, and according to their ages.
The older Sardars, like Mohammad Asif Khan and Mohammad Yousof Khan, were appointed as special companions of the king. Sardar Mohammad Sulaiman Khan, who was a soldier in the mounted unit of the British army, received the position of military attaché; Sardar Fatih Mohammad Khan Zikria became the magistrate and Sardar Mohammad Aziz Khan was appointed as cultural attaché. Sardar Mohammad Nadir Khan who was in the British artillery was awarded the position of Brigadier at the royal guard. Sardar Mohammad Hashim Khan and Sardar Shah Wali Khan respectively got the military positions of (Sir Soru and Sir Mir Espor). Sardar Ahmad Shah Khan Asifi received the military position of Sir Mir Espor, and Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan was appointed military chief of Parwanaha.
Thus, those were the important ranks held by that trained family in the military and civil service. Until the end of the reign of Amir Habibullah Khan, they regularly received promotions. In that order Mohammad Sulaiman Khan became the governor of Herat and Sardar Shir Ahmad Khan Zikria, who also was in the British army, was appointed military attaché.
But, the one who was the focus of the British attention was Nadir. Nadir very soon secured the position of General and as then promoted to the position of General Commander. In the beginning of the First World War, The British actually prepared the plan of the Mangal rebellion in 1913. The British wanted to compel the Amir to resist the enlightened, who wanted Afghanistan to assume an anti-British posture. A revolt was engineered at Mangal and Nadir suppressed it. The revolt was staged merely for Nadir to enhance his reputation.
In the beginning of the World War, ostensibly, Afghanistan declared a policy of neutrality. The royal aides made sure the king would not act against the British policy and interests. When the war entered into its second year, a joint delegation of Turks and Germans came to Kabul. To appease public opinion, and due to presence of the representative of the Ottoman Sultan in the delegation, the Amir saw it fit and welcomed them. According to a declassified document of the British Government, the Sardars assured the agents of the British Government, Hafiz Saifullah, that they should not be concerned about the arrival of the delegation. It was only for the sake and satisfaction of the group, which favoured the country’s entrance into the war. Consequently the delegation of Turks and Germans headed by Raja Mahendra Partab, who led the Indian liberals, and its members, Von Niedermeiyer and Von Hentag who were German soldiers, and Kazem Beg the representative of the Sultan of Turk, left Kabul after six months with empty hands. Thus the foreign policy of Afghanistan until the end of the war remained as the British desired.
They deceived the Afghans with vague promise of recognizing their independence, and kept them hoping so until one year after the war. The people of Afghanistan were plagued during the war with various problems, like recession and lacking necessary imported commodities, laying of heavier taxes for strengthening the defensive capability of the country. The enlightened of Afghanistan were afraid to miss the opportunity created by the defeated a number of the great imperialist powers, the disunity and weakness of the remaining powers, including the victorious states, as well as the workers’ revolution and liberal movements in countries around Afghanistan. They started to act immediately. As a result, in a matter of a few dramatic days, the struggles of the conservative and reactionary groups were failed. The enlightened liberal group under Amanullah Khan came into power. It was the first time that the British initiative failed here in Afghanistan. The new leader not only refused to accept all the agreements earlier signed with the British, but wanted her to recognize the independence of Afghanistan. In the face of the hesitation of the British who pinned their hopes on the activities of their protégés the Afghans were compelled to resort to arms. Thus the third Anglo-Afghan War, known in Afghan history as the war of Independence, was started. The war begun by the will power and action of the people of Afghanistan, with coordination of all class to banish the shameful influence of foreigners.
People came from all sides of the country and voluntarily took part in the war of Independence. They hoisted the flag of war and moved toward the enemies’ frontier. Along with using arms, the vast and influential publicity was continued through the India frontier as well as in India. The mentioned aspects and means compelled the British government to stop her rigid policy toward Afghanistan. Before the rise of the people in the free frontier and the Indian people who were interested in Afghanistan, the British became ready to negotiate and compromise. The British army had all the facilities which the Afghans lacked, but in spite of that, the Afghans inflicted heavy losses to the enemy on all the battlegrounds of Afghanistan. Sustaining heavy losses and sacrifices, the Afghans got their independence. The British, after spending forty years at this land, under the Rawalpindi agreement of Assad 28, 1298 (August 17, 1919), officially recognized and declared Afghanistan independent.
In spite of those victories, the British imperialists were still attempting to ruin our victorious national plans. The British protégés here were activated to serve this end. One of their objectives was the return of the “Musahiban (Companion) family” to the summit of power. Although the mentioned family, during the struggle of Amanullah Khan with his opposition, sided with the opposition to Amanullah Khan, but after Amanullah Khan’s victory incredibly took the enlightened nationalists’ side. Not only were they acquitted, but their titles and privileges were also restored. However, those privileges did not suffice them, so Nadir volunteered to lead the army in one of the most sensitive battlegrounds, the Southern front. Since Amanullah was in a sensitive position at the time, therefore, he welcomed Nadir’s gesture. Nadir as well as his two brothers, Shah Wali and Shah Mahmud, were appointed by Amanullah Khan as head of the army divisions and departed for Paktia. It is worth mentioning that the main strategy of the Afghan army previously sent to the Eastern and Western (Kandahar) battle grounds, and the southern field considered by the British a secondary and defensive field because of no transportation roads and the regional problems and did not send there the new strategy. Vice-versa, in connection of disturbances at the provinces and its favour from Afghanistan, they compelled to disarm the militia of the provinces. Thus the forward military divisions at the Afghanistan boundary like Wana, Tandi, Saratochi, and Speen Wam became vacant. Instead, the Indian army, under the British officers, occupied a number of important divisions like Miran, Razmak and Fort Sundiman.
Accordingly Nadir and his brothers by provincial cooperation which formed the front power, passed through the Durand Line. Without facing any difficulty and resistance of the enemy, captured the unoccupied forts, which the British let them capture and occupy. After Nadir fulfilled the mentioned activities, the first British reinforcements under General Dyer arrived at the field. Before starting to fight, both sides in the war received orders to cease-fire. And each side, according to the instruction of their countries, drew back their forces about ten miles.
About Nadir and his brothers’ victory, the foreign authors have one opinion that concerning their title, warrior and the conqueror of Kabul, it could not be considered completely accidental. Because, without taking part in a real battle, they received the mentioned titles. Since Amanullah Khan was looking for a symbol for the remembrance of the independence war therefore, he made the mistake and instructed to build a monument in which the name of the mentioned personalities, instead of the names of the martyrs who bravely lost their lives for their land, was inscribed. On the other hand Nadir with his family always were relying on that historical error and counted all the honour and glories connected to the war to their credits. Even the “Taq-e-Zafar (Arch of Victory)”
At Paghman, and the monument of Unknown Soldier, nearly for a half century was completely forgotten. And in place of those historical monuments, the foreign quests and the ambassadors had to lay wreaths on their family cemetery as the commemorative place.
So far Amanullah Khan was not completely aware of the inauspicious purposes and selfish plans of Nadir, therefore in his return from Paktia he was appointed as the minister of war. Moreover the opportunity was given to Nadir to travel and visit all over Afghanistan as the first minister and contacted with the people. It was part of the plan of Nadir and his Masters. At the Eastern province in 1920, he gathered the people for a provincial meeting, there to the “Maliks” and “Mullahs” he presented robes of honour and arranged for them the colonial salary. A year later, he started to visit the northern province. Then from Qatarghan, he visited the boundary of Russia and built relationships with contradictories of that country. His treatment nearly spoiled the relation between the two countries. Because of Nadir’s adventurous and stubborn activities, Amanullah Khan was compelled to go there to advise them. Therefore, he himself left Kabul on horseback and went to Panjshir and passed the Khawak Pass. There he punished Nadir and told him to come back to Kabul. During the peace negotiations with the British government in Kabul, in which Nadir participated and indulged self-serving interventions under arising Afghan national interests and dignity, just to get along with the British. The British government wanted Nadir to influence the Afghans not to certify and approve the friendly agreement of cooperation with Russia; in that case the British would supply financial aid to Afghanistan. This is mentioned in the declassified documents of the British, as well as in the book Fire in Afghanistan by American writer Rhea Talley Stewart. Since Nadir resisted on the matter very seriously, therefore, Abdul Hadi Dawi called him at the meeting by the name of perfidious and treacherous, and Mahmud Tarzi interfered and settled down the dispute. The peace agreement was signed with the British as the British required and planned it before.
It was at that time that Amanullah Khan became suspicious about Nadir’s incantations. When Nadir held the position of War Minister and the General Commander of all forces of Afghanistan, the Mangal rebellion was started and he excused himself from going to Mangal. Because Nadir was aware of what was going on in the back of the scene and what was his purposes. Again in another meeting of the cabinet between Nadir and the other members an argument was started about how to face the revolt. Nadir was opposed to use of force and wanted to accept the demands of the rebels. He meant that the fundamental reforms for the state should be put aside. There Nadir remained in the minority and became compelled to resign. It was at that time that Amanullah Khan understood his schemes and considered his staying unnecessary in Kabul. So, Nadir was appointed as the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Paris and 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 rendered their relations with the British closer. 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.
In Paris, he was always in contact with he British Ambassador. According to the declassified documents of the British, Hashim Khan was also in contact with the British ambassador in Moscow and openly with him slandered Amanullah Khan. He was always saying to the Ambassador that Nadir was the suitable and best candidate for the state of Afghanistan. Moreover, he became ready to hand all the secret materials related to Afghanistan and Russia’s relations to the British government. And for preparing the copies Faqir Ahmad Panjshiri, the first secretary of the embassy, who was the real patriot, quarrelled with Hashim. Since Hashim Khan persisted to get the copies of the related correspondence, therefore, Faqir Ahmad Panjshiri became compelled to fire at him. The rumour of their quarrel reached Kabul, and as a result Hashim Khan was dismissed from his position.
Nadir, who was in charge of the running of the plan against Amanullah Khan, because of the dismissing of his brother got angry and pretended that he was sick, and resigned. Thus, the two brothers bought a villa in the south of France in a remote corner named Garas. Far from the sight of the foreigners and according to the instruction of their masters became busy to work on the plan.
Soon, Shah Wali Khan who was promoted to the rank of Vice-General Commander of the Army pretended to visit his elder brother, but defected and joined them in France. But Shah Mahmud Khan remained in Afghanistan as the centre for their contact. Shah Mahmud Khan was in an important position, Governor of Mashriqi (Eastern Provinces), and was able to prepare easily the contact with the interior provinces as well as with the free frontier people.
With British advice and with the assistance of a number of authoritative people including the Sardars and the religious figures and high ranking personnel, Nadir proposed a plan connected to the fall of the progressive regime of Amanullah Khan with the help of the imperialist organization and the local backward-looking. The mentioned proposal has been cited in the declassified document of the British government by the name of “Patyala Plot,” Patyala is a place at Dayra Ismail Khan, and the plan was authored there. The plot called for a coup d'état in Afghanistan when Amanullah Khan was leaving for his European visit. Accordingly Mohammad Wali Khan and the Party of Jadid Khiyalan (Modern Visionaries) should be captured and the power should be transferred to the followers of Nadir. Then by request Nadir should return to Afghanistan to assume authority as the king of Afghanistan. Moreover, the help of the provincial people and the cooperation of military were quiet significant in carrying out the coup d'état. Some of the provincial governors were in the group of coup d'état. Some of the provincial governors were in the coup d'état as well. The date and agenda of the Patyala meeting which was helped in presence of the prominent banished religious and other provincial personalities, especially the leaders of the nomad tribes, the names of people who colluded with them in Kabul, Jalalabad, Khost, and Kandahar with their messengers all were written in the official reports of the British agents. Moreover, in the 23rd issue of the Tarjuman-i-Sarhad (The Frontier Interpreter) dated February 1928, all their names were also documented. But it is certain that the centre of real activity was Jalalabad. The person who played a pivotal role in the plot was Shah Mahmud Khan, the High Governor of Mashriqi (Eastern Province), who was in the meantime the contact man of the plotters, Nadir and his brothers who were in southern France.
The importance of the Patyala plot was so great that in spite of the information which was received continuously by different means through the British Charge D’Affairs in Kabul, the British asked the Indian government by a telegram on February 28, that they should be informed about all the affairs of the plot, and the related correspondence should be sent to London. It was a few days before the appointed date, March 8, 1928, for the coup d'état. Very soon before the formal visit of Amanullah Khan to London, and in spite of all efforts of the forces opposed to Amanullah Khan to conceal the matter, the Afghanistan government discovered the plot.
The one who actually unfolded the secret was Abdul Aziz Khan Barakzai, Minister of War and Second Deputy for Amanullah Khan. The plot makers trusted him because of his conservative inclinations, and his loyalty to the mentioned banished clergy and let him in the secrets of the plot. They revealed more and more secret messages o him and his brother Abdul Hakim Khan, High Governor of Southern Province. As a result of Abdul Aziz Khan Barakzai, who was faithful to Amanullah Khan, and then spent of his life in the prison of Nadir. He was the one who informed Amanullah Khan about what was going on his behalf in Kabul. In reply, Amanullah Khan instructed him that before missing the time he should consult with Mohammad Wali Khan and other cabinet members to take the necessary actions to foil the plot.
During this time, Shah Mahmud Khan was busy arranging the final organization for his provincial visit and also did propaganda against Amanullah Khan and in favour of his brother, Nadir. He was dismissed by Mir Hashim Khan, Minister of Finance, was sent back to Kabul. The other personalities related to the plot, were dismissed from their positions or were detained. Moreover, Mohammad Wali Khan handed a notice to the British Charge D’Affairs to get out the mentioned clergy from the Frontier immediately. Thus, the Patyala plot failed to materialize, and Nadir’s bid to the throne failed this time.
Still, work on the basis of the plan was continued. Only its date and its process were put under review and study of the British imperialists in light of their experience and the recent developments. At the end of this article, there are detailed studies drawing on official documents and creditable sources. Before going into details, it is wise to explain the Master plan of the intelligence service.
I would like to reveal here a very novel and skilful action of Nadir to reach his goal: He met with Amanullah Khan in France, during his European visit. After complaining he expressed that a number of undesirable personalities have circled the king. If the king would remove them and grant the authority to him, he would be ready to go back to Afghanistan with his brothers. By that proposal he had in mind that he would be able to run the plan of the coup d'état. From within the country much more easily and without the fear of failure. Then he would be able to assume power in Afghanistan.
Since Amanullah Khan was informed from the events running on in Afghanistan, he did not accept the bets on Nadir’s conditions. He replied to Nadir that he and his brother like any other Afghans have the citizenship of Afghanistan. So, whenever they wanted they could go to their homeland. This was the result of their meeting.
After that unsuccessful coup d'état, the British directly handled the activities themselves and embarked upon a complicated plan with several stages, step by step. According to documents and other credible sources, the plan to depose King Amanullah Khan and to fail all the plans of Amanullah Khan were prepared ahead of time, two years earlier, by the imperialist power and the internal backward-looking.
When Amanullah Khan announced the details of his European visit, and added the name of the two countries, Turkey and Russia, on his itinerary the idea became mature in the Indian British political circles. In spite of that, the experts of Afghanistan affairs in Delhi and London were waiting hopefully to cancel his visit when he was passing from Indian transit to other than altering his intention to visit those two countries with whose policies differed with those of the British and the revolutionary regime in London. That is why Amanullah Khan was accorded a greater welcome than any other king who previously had visited Britain.
Economic and transportation assistance including building of the railway line between Peshawar and Kabul, and even to construct an arms factory were proposed to Amanullah Khan by the British government. As it is the method of the imperialist states to help with one hand and to dispose with the other, they managed the fall of Amanullah Khan’s government. British agents were instructed that in case Amanullah Khan insisted upon his plan, they should start their activities for the fall of his regime. Thus, according to the official document of Indian government, Sheikh Mahbub Ali, the eastern desk secretary at the British Embassy in Kabul, was responsible to gather the information and received for that purpose a monthly salary of six thousand Indian rupees, considerable amount in those days, to maintain contact with the backward-looking and the opposition to Amanullah Khan. He was responsible to ensure their cooperation for the coming activities.
The British Consulate in Jalalabad and Kandahar worked under Sheikh Mahbub Ali for the mentioned purpose. Nonetheless, the duty f Jahangir Khan, Consul at Jalalabad, was much more important and sensitive. Chapman and Baker’s book Wings over Kabul mentions in detail Jahangir Khan played a very important role during the revolt.
According to the test of the official reports of the British government, especially document Number F.51, 1928; a number of authoritative Afghans were contemplating to pave the ground for the future activity. One of them was Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan, the High Governor of the Eastern Province, and the other one was Sardar Mohammad Osman Khan, former Governor of Kandahar, and the third one was Sardar Faiz Mohammad Khan Zikria, Minister of Education, who were in contact with the prominent religious figures banished to Dehradun, India.
Since Amanullah Khan refused to accept the proposal of the British government not to visit Russia, the British forged the news about disturbances in Afghanistan and let Amanullah Khan become aware of the news through the press. Humphreys, who accompanied the king as his host, tried to influence the other members of the delegation like Sardar Shir Ahmad Zikria, President of the Parliament, to make the king drop Russia from his itinerary. In spite of all the efforts and struggles, Amanullah Khan did not change his mind and followed his trip according to the arranged program.
In particularly, after the visit of Amanullah Khan to Moscow and the warm and sincere welcome he received, and the agreement on air transportation between Tashkent and Kabul caused the British authorities to engineer the fall of Amanullah Khan, planned originally for a year later in time. The related personnel of the India government were authorized to follow and launch the British plan.
Although it seemed as if peacetime prevailed in Afghanistan and Mohammad Wali Khan looked after the state affairs on the behalf of Amanullah Khan, news from the Easters and Southern Frontiers revealed secret activities. One of these involved a number of known thieves and robbers at the Frontiers area who used to move between Peshawar and Parachenar. Moreover, poisonous propaganda against the king frequently was perpetuated by different sources in the country. Furthermore, photos of the king and queen dressed in European styles in receptions and functions at various countries of Europe were distributed among the people y unknown sources.
Seeing photos of Queen Soraya without the “chadari” was unacceptable and strange for conservatives and for the hypocritical religious people. British agnets such as Mullah Lang of Paktia and the brothers Sadiq and Mian Hazrat Mojadidi of Shor Bazaar. The pictures were copied from the cover of the Illustrated London News magazine’s special issue and dispatched to Afghanistan by aide of the mentioned clergy. It is worth mentioning that during Amanullah Khan’s visit, the news which were disseminated about the riots in Afghanistan to some extend were true. In spite of that Mohammad Wali Khan and his compatriots were thought to be in full control. Therefore, Amanullah Khan was assured by cable, of complete peace in the country, and they themselves adopted precautionary measures.
As noted in the declassified documents of the India government, Mohammad Wali Khan, deputy for the kingdom, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, summoned the Charge D’Affairs, B.J. Gold, of the British Embassy in Kabul on January 21, 1928 and told him, “since relations’ between the two countries are getting better now than any other time in the past and also His Majesty the King will soon visit England, so it would be necessary that you should try not to allow any erroneous action to be taken from here. You know that in India some people including the clergy who oppose the policy of the government of Afghanistan indulge in activities and propaganda, inconsistent with the friendly relations of the two countries. These are notorious people and criminals who have escaped to India. It would be wise, if you could hand them over to us, or you could keep them there under surveillance.”
In addition, Mohammad Wali Khan showed B.J. Gold, the clipping of the Indian papers, which exposed the activities of the mentioned clergy, and the facilities offered them by the personnel of the Indian government. Mohammad Wali Khan handed him a list of the names, which contained the names of Habibullah Kalakani (whom Nadir personally named as Bacha-i-Saqao), Sayed Hussain Charikari, Azam Maidani, and a number of others. The British Charge D’Affairs without losing any time passed the information to Indian government.
Accordingly the political agent of Baluchistan, Major Scott, on June 28, 1928 reported that the mentioned clergy were transferred to Lahore. Then because of the second reference of the government of Afghanistan he was sent to southern India. According to the declassified documents of the Indian government in so far the thieves and robbers were concerned, the provincial government of the Frontier was let by the central government of India to shed light on the problem. Thus, informed them about the visit of the two thieves, Habibullah Kalakani and Azam Maidani, to Peshawar. It was mentioned in the text of the telegram Number 78 dated February 17, 1928 of the provincial government of Frontier, which is preserved as document number F.68, of the Foreign Affairs at the National Archive of India, that Habibullah and Azam were imprisoned in Peshawar in January.
The sentence of their imprisonment was issued out according to article 40th of the criminal regulations for committing robbery and theft at the bazaar of Parachenar. But the court for deferment of their imprisonment asked that each one of them should pay three thousand rupees in bail. Both paid the mentioned amount through a citizen in Kurm. Nonetheless, the court did not accept that for the sentence was issued at Peshawar and the person who guaranteed should be from the same state. Thus, their cash guarantee was restored by the court and both of them sentenced each to two years of imprisonment according to article 41 of the mentioned regulations.
The British Charge D’Affairs, B.J. Gold, in Kabul let Mohammad Wali Khan know of the matter. Gold assured Wali Khan that Sayed Hussain and his comrades had left the area of the Frontier and had already returned to Afghanistan before the action of the British government.
Thus, Habibullah Kalakani and his friend Azam Maidani were in the Peshawar prison in April 1928 (Saur 1307). And the duration of their imprisonment was for three years. However, strangely, three months after the mentioned date in Asad 1307, Habibullah Kalakani was seen in Paghman busy with acts of robbery and murder.
Before explaining this, the point is worth mentioning that Habibullah Kalakani who was sentenced to three years imprisonment and the matter was communicated to the Afghanistan government. Still, after giving the information to the Afghanistan government, immediately all the files of Kalakani were closed by the provincial government and nothing was added to this file after that. But about his cell friend let us make a note of following by the Higher Commissioner of Peshawar:
“Francis Humphrey, the British Envoy in Kabul, returned to Peshawar on March 2, 1929 and told me, ‘Habibullah the Amir of Kabul asked me at a farewell meeting that if his cell friend, Azam Maidani with Mohammad Aslam and two others be free from the prison of Peshawar.’ Since their imprisonment took place because of the request of the government of Amanullah Khan, therefore, it is unreasonable to keep them in prison. Thus, because of the request of the new Amir of Kabul and the agreement of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the government of India, Dahis Beri, the mentioned robbers were freed on April 5, 1929 and were sent from the Frontier area to Afghanistan.”
It was mentioned by Habibullah, the real hero of the story, himself at various meetings in Kabul in the months of Saratan and Asad. He killed a man by the name of Abdul Qadir in Paghman for five thousand afghanis and a rifle. Moreover, he expressed with pride that he was walking in Paghman’s public garden one day where Amanullah Khan was playing ball with a few others. He wanted to shot him with the mentioned rifle but he took pity on his youth. Otherwise, he said, there and then he could accede to the throne and would become king in place of Amanullah Khan.
You could see that Habibullah Kalakani in spite of being at the prison was free and walking around the capital here and there in Summer 1928 (1307) corresponding to the time of returning of Amanullah Khan from Europe, and committing robbery and killing people. Then he spent all his time in Kohdaman and Kohistan to lead a group of robbers and thieves until his attack upon Kabul. His name and his fabulous and curious deeds once in a while were published in the home papers as well as in the foreign papers. One of his deeds was the murder of Ghulam Ghaus Khan, the Governor of Charikar, in broad daylight inside the bazaar of Charikar. Its news was published in the paper of Aman-i-Afghan with the two names Habibullah Kalakani and Sayed Hussain.
By that time Habibullah had gained enough popularity and skill to carry out the greater roles of the play, the fall of the government of Amanullah Khan and ending his reforms programmes including by the British imperialist Master plan with cooperation of the local backward-looking and followed skilfully and step by step. As said earlier the play was ready to be enacted and all the actors had occupied their roles but an expert and experienced director need to lead the cast.
For the performing of that difficult and sensitive role the famous Colonel Lawrence of Arabia who passed another examination ten years ago in Saudi Arabia and gained enough experience and international fame was seen to be the suitable candidate. At that time Lawrence was at home because he resigned when his opinions in relation to the secession of Syria and Lebanon for the assigned prince Amir Faisal, the second son of Sharif Hussain were rejected because of the insistence of the French government. Both came under the mandate of France and out of the British guardianship.
Again he was employed by his government to start his activities in another part of the globe. But his role here in Afghanistan in comparison with Arabia was just opposite to each other; there in Arabia he should stimulate the sense of nationalism between Arabs and them to arise against the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Turks. Here in Afghanistan, he should stimulate the sense of the people of Afghanistan against the regime of the king, Amanullah Khan, and enlightened monarch. Still, so far in his field of activities in both places was of the same type. His actual and main problem in Afghanistan was to know the people and their characteristics and to learn their language which required him a certain period of time. Therefore, according to the approval of Stanley Baldwin, the conservative Prime Minister of Britain in 1926, Lawrence employed by the British Royal Air Force without receiving technical education in the field.
After receiving primary training in 1927, he was transferred to India. He spent some time working as an airplane technician. As his real job was a thorough and general study of the Afghans and Afghanistan as well as to learn Pashtu and Urdu, on the other hand he was a language specialist. Therefore, during one year he became able to receive all the necessary information. As it was mentioned in Wings over Afghanistan by the Air Marshall of Britain Chapman that when Amanullah Khan was passing through India for his European visit in December 1928, Irman Shah arrived at the Frontier area and began his activities. At that time he was also the airplane technician at Miran Shah Airport in the Waziristan Province.
Both the Indian and the British governments tried to keep secret the identification and his residence and succeeded in that for about two years. During that time Irman Shah by using his rare free time used to go to the Frontier area even inside Afghanistan territory to study the land and meet certain individuals. Irman Shah continued his activities until Amanullah Khan returned after his six-month visit to the three continents. So, it was time for the British to announce the beginning of their activities.
At that time the Master plan of the British was completed, approved, and considered through the complicated channels of Indian government in Delhi and by the high authorities of the British government. Moreover, each of the actors for the play was placed in his right position and was ready to start it.
In the activities, Sir Francis Humphreys, the British Ambassador in Kabul was the main and actual contact of Colonel Lawrence. Both of them during the First World War were working at the battleground in Egypt and knew each other very well. The duo here started their activities to run the Master plan with the difference that Lawrence ran all his activities in clandestine but Humphreys worked partly in covert and sometimes overtly. So far as their authorities are concerned they were allowed as much money as required and to act without following administration procedures with any high-ranking Indian government and even at any part of the British Empire.
As I, Sayed Qasim Reshtia, myself witnessed the incidents during rebellion days, actually the declassified documents of the British government in London or Delhi which are accessible to the researchers and to the interested people shed light on each part episode by episode, the light some time shows the incidents very clearly and sometimes one could get a picture of them from the meaning of the context. In most parts the role of Lawrence and the intelligence service is quite clear and helps one to know the cause and actions of the reactionary revolution of 1307, and its main characteristics.
It is true that Habibullah Kalakani and Sayed Hussain Charikari took the oath and by the guarantee of a great local clergy became free and handed enough money and arms by the government to leave for the Mashriqi Province, but then they changed that skilfully and started toward Kabul. Suddenly on the 23rd of Qaus, 1307 they attacked Kabul. But the military students who were busy practicing around Kolola Pushta and Sharara held back their advances and did not let them march toward the Palace. Since their attack was unexpected and the capital had no preparation for it, therefore, it took several days to get them out from the city. But after a month’s struggle, they got the upper hand because a stronger leader, Sir Francis Humphreys, the British Ambassador, backed them.
As mentioned in the notes of Humphreys’ Special Secretary named Bust and Mrs. Humphreys, Habibullah Kalakani after the attack when entered Kabul directly went to the British Embassy in Kabul and introduced himself to Humphreys from behind the gate entrance and explained that his purpose was the fall of Amanullah Khan. Then they started talking in the Dari language and it was their first meeting, which followed then by detailed meetings in the future.
After than Humphreys’ policy changed completely toward the government of Afghanistan. He, without the permission of the government of Afghanistan, asked for a plane from his government to come to Kabul and fly over the British Embassy and over the city as well. That plane used to distribute the menacing flyers against the dignity and prestige of Afghans. In those flyers, Afghans were called in a sarcastic way: “O, brave and religious people of Afghanistan” then warning them “if in case a British national might receive a hurt here, the government of Britain would take revenge.” That direct address to the people of the people of Afghanistan was against international law and opposite to the independence and national domination of Afghanistan. Moreover, the British Embassy brought by plane a telegraph machine but without the permission of the government of Afghanistan, which was installed at the embassy to contact India directly, and it was against the treaty of 1921.
Still that did not suffice them, so in reply to a courteous notice of the Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan which expressed regret for some unintentional damages brought to the British Embassy during the war expressed wit harshness and far from grace that the British reaction in the matter would be reciprocal. The text of that reply which was against diplomatic relations is contained in the book Wings over Kabul.
It is quite natural that those irritating acts were intolerable for Afghans, even though because of the sensibility of the circumstances and according to the recommendations of Amanullah Khan’s advisors he refrained from direction reaction. Until two connected incidents occurred in Kabul and remained no possibility to keep silent. Therefore, the opposition between the countries became manifest. One of these incidents was the discovery of Mahmud Sami’s correspondences with the British agents and who handed them very detailed reports about the military, number of soldiers, quality and quantity of arms, the kind of arsenal and other arms equipments.
Although the relations of Mahmud Sami with the British was known earlier to the others but the king himself resisted that he was his classmate at the military school and considered him as a loyal friend. Here it is worth mentioning that the published declassified documents of the British clearly pointed out to the nightly meetings of Mahmud Sami and Sir Henry Dubs, Head of the British Delegation in Kabul. It was mentioned in the reports that of Mr. Dubs to his government that it was Mahmud Sami who persuaded Amanullah Khan to act against the opinion of Mahmud Tarzi, the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. As a result, Amanullah Khan intervened in the matter of Central Asia against the interests of the USSR. That dangerous and unessential intervention took place and ended with the slaying of Anwar Pasha in Bokhara. Again the relation between Afghanistan and USSR became friendly.
The discovery of documents and the knowing of communicator, Rahmatullah Khan, an attendant at the British Embassy who later during the reign of Habibullah Kalakani became guard of the embassy. Between both sources, Mahmud Sami and Humphreys became evident. So, Amanullah Khan disposed Mahmud Sami and kept him under house arrest.
The matter was sent to the military court and because of the occurring incidents the order about Sami was not executed. Also, at the military court other documents were presented and showed that during the days of Habibullah Kalakani’s attack Mahmud Sami pretended to have an illness and stayed home. He purposely postponed all the immediate works and the urgent orders for days. Finally, as a result of the complaint of the military heads at the battlegrounds, it became evident that by his order, the arsenal were sent to the battlegrounds one kind of arm instead of the one which was needed and caused the failure of the army and brought them heavy losses. When Habibullah Kalakani acceded the throne, Mahmud Sami became his advisor and remained in his position until the last day of his rule that could be counted for his collaboration with the British imperialists.
During the days of Kabul’s crisis, a network of British spies were discovered inside the palace whose main operators were Madam See, the tutor of the royal family, and Tasaduq Ali, the king’s driver. They informed nearly every day the British Embassy of what happened in the palace. According to declassified documents, Madam See herself wrote most of the mentioned reports. She was a Romanian emigrant and a citizen of France. It is strange that she suddenly disappeared while holding secret inquires and on the next day she appeared between children and women of the British diplomats who were leaving Kabul for England. One the same day, Tasaduq Ali was found killed inside his car.
It is very surprising that after passing three days from his murder the British Embassy handed a petition by the family of Tasaduq Ali to the Afghanistan government. Then though an official note asked from the government of Afghanistan to shed light on his death. IT should be mentioned that Tasaduq Ali was an Indian by birth but he lived in Afghanistan since the time of Amir Habibullah Khan in Kabul’s Deh Afghanan District. He was employed by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Court and he had the citizenship of Afghanistan.
A tumultuous incident was the capture of another British spy, arrested at the door of the Ministry of Defence. This took place during the attack of Habibullah Kalakani at Kabul. When searching him, letters of recommendation, identity cards, and special service passports in Pashtu and Urdu as well as considerable amounts of Indian Rupees, Kaldars, a gun and bullets were found on him and his residence.
This spy used to disguise himself as a frontiersman except that he had the green eyes and yellow hair of an Englishman. Thus, at first, it was thought that he might be Lawrence himself. Everyday he was seen opposite the entrance of the Ministry of Defence conversing with the people who had just been called up for military service. Because of his suspicious behaviour the responsible authorities captured him.
During the investigation, it was proved that he was a spy and the military Supreme Court sentenced him to death. Through his confessions the government of Afghanistan learned that Colonel Lawrence had been staying in the Shinwar region. The malicious interference of the British government clear from this evidence and it was therefore decided to publicize this news all over the world.
A strong article with all details was published in the “Aman-i-Afghan” paper, the only publication of the state of Afghanistan. Copies of the article were sent abroad to all diplomatic missions of Afghanistan, and they were instructed to try to distribute it to the foreign press. It was first published in January 5, 1929 in the Sunday Express of London under title “Colonel T.A. Lawrence, the responsible person in sedition of Afghanistan tribes against Shah Amanullah.” On the following day, most widely read newspapers of England, France, German, and Italy had published it.
After ten years’ of obscurity the name of Lawrence, who was once famous as Lawrence of Arabia, was brought back to public attention. The news caused a commotion and offered a means for the British opposition government to attack the conservative party headed by Stanley Baldwin. The press of the Soviet Union, Turkey, the Arab countries and India soon took up the matter.
According to available documents, the Russian press shed light on the role of this famous, enigmatic spy of the British Empire during his stay in Arabia and later in Afghanistan. The storm of the related publicity not only created disorder on the London and Delhi political scenes but its repercussions in Afghanistan finally made Sir Francis Humphreys ask his government to recall Lawrence from the Frontier.
By the time Colonel Lawrence had done his job, his Master plan for the fall of the regime of Amanullah Khan having reached its desired end. He was no longer needed in the Frontier area nor in India. As a result on January 22, 1929, Sir Austin Chamberlain, Britain’s Secretary of State, replied to questions concerning this agent of the Liberal Party. He announced that although Lawrence was an ordinary mechanic at the Miran Shah airport and had no connection wit the incidents in Afghanistan since his existence there caused anxiety for the British agent in Kabul, he had consequently been removed from there.
This speech was delivered at a time when Amanullah Khan had been deposed and had left for Kandahar. Furthermore, his successor Enayatullah Khan had left the country for Peshawar on a British airplane. It was Habibullah Kalakani who now took the throne of Afghanistan following the plane of Lawrence and Humphreys. Thus, the second act ended successfully and the third one, the reign of Habibullah Kalakani began.
Habibullah, as he had done during his first attack, went directly to the British Embassy to meet Sir Francis Humphreys. His supporters had taken the city and Habibullah, riding a white horse and followed by a number of horsemen stopped at the entrance of the British Embassy and asked to meet the ambassador.
According to Wings Over Kabul, a British pilot, Donaldson who was in Kabul in those days stated that the ambassador came out alone and went directly toward Habibullah Kalakani. Another person introduced, as Habibllah’s cousin knew some English and helped in interpretation. They spoke in secret for a while and then Habibullah left for Bagh-i-Balah where Enayatullah, the successor of Amanullah Khan, to persuade Kalakani to accept him as king, arranged a meeting.
The important meeting was that Habibullah who never had the idea to become king of Afghanistan and whose intention was only to depose Amanullah Khan and bring a suitable person to the throne according to the will of the people of Afghanistan. The result was he taking control abruptly on a new role. He not only refused to accept Enayatullah as the king of Afghanistan whose cousins, Abdul Ghafur Khan and Ghulam Mohammad Khan Tagaowi had cooperated with Habibullah. Furthermore, he also rejected the possible candidates Hazrat Mohammad Sadiq Mojadidi and Sardar Mohammad Osman Khan. Kalakani in this same meeting declared himself as king of Afghanistan. This sudden decision astonished even his near comrades.
The British plan was not only against Amanullah Khan but used Amanullah Khan as a pawn to reach their final goal with Amanullah and his progressive ideas as an effective means. If this had not happened, Afghanistan would not have become the scene of war and struggle for a period of nine months during which it suffered heavy losses, the economy ruined, and the country put back half a century.
But, as mentioned earlier, the British master plan once mobilized continued rapidly toward its goal with no possibility to stop it. According to the plan Habibullah Kalakani was the buffer between the accused leader, Amanullah Khan and the new desired candidate, Nadir. It was necessary to surround the new and inexperienced player with a number of seasoned and qualified men to keep an eye on his actions. The most important and trustworthy of these people was Shirjan, Minister of Court, who had the illiterate new king completely under his control.
During the reign of Amir Habibullah, Shirjan who was the companion of king, Enayatullah Khan who was originally deputy for the king, Ataulhaq Khan and Mohammad Sidiq Khan reached the highest position in short time periods. When Habibullah Kalakani came to power Shirjan was the Governor of Kohdaman, Ataulhaq was Commander of Forces, and Mohammad Sidiq Khan was the commander of the military in the southern provinces. Consequently, though Shirjan was Minister of Court, in reality he was the Prime Minister and Ataulhaq was the Foreign Minister. Mohammad Sidiq held the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Central Forces. Their youngest brother, Mohammad Karim was appointed Head of the Secret Police. Thus, this family actually ran the government until the fall of Habibullah.
They were not in league with Habibullah’s criminal deeds, on the contrary, they tried to teach them how to behave like cultured men. The above-mentioned family was not alone. A number of other people such as Mahmud Sami (whose secret activities with the British Embassy are discussed earlier), the former commander of the Central Forces, accompanied them.
Mahmud Sami besides being a Marshall was also the military advisor of Habibullah. Other men such as Sardar Shir Ahmad Zikria, Head of Inspection, and Sardar Faiz Mohammad Khan Zikria, Minister of Education during the Amani period, surrounded the throne and without having any distinctive position, their opinions and authority were felt in every aspect of government activity. IT was even more stranger that Amanullah Khan three months before his fall appointed Sardar Zikria Khan as the Prime Minister of Afghanistan. Since the entire cabinet member were aware of his secret relations with the British and knew him to be an experienced friend of the British, they refused to stay in his cabinet. Thus, he did not succeed in forming a cabinet.
Sardar Faiz Mohammad Khan Zikria, six months before the succession of Habibullah delivered a speech in Paghman’s public garden. He called Amanullah Khan the Great Amanullah. Then to please Habibullah, he presented a play called “Fall of Indulus” which was a satire on Amanullah Khan’s supposed weak personality. It was given at the Stor Palace by the students of Lycee Estiqlal.
Another comrade of Faiz Mohammad Zikria was the principal of Lycee Habibia who was then appointed Director of Education. He outwardly acted against the British but in reality was faithful to the British. For year he posed as an intellectual and liberal. During Habibullah’s reign he was the Editor of Habib-al-Islam, the only publicity organ of Habibullah.
These personalities who were the authoritative figures in the administrative, military and political organization of the government of Habibullah. Lawrence’s plan through clandestine movements was to take over all candidates to the throne.
After Habibullah acceded to the throne, the first candidate for the throne was Ali Ahmad Khan who Amanullah Khan appointed President of Administration of the Eastern Provinces during the last days of his reign. Ali Ahmad Khan who for years had hopes of becoming king after arriving in Jalalabad, instead of turning the people toward Amanullah Khan declared himself to be a future candidate for the throne. When heard that Amanullah Khan had been deposed before waiting for the situation to clear, he declared himself king and with the military forces and the provincial army behind him he immediately started for Kabul. He halted at Jagdalik and from there he sent the messengers, Malik Mohammad Shah and Malik Qais, to Habibullah to declare that he was intending to take the throne.
But Habibullah by giving the messengers bribes and attractive promises brought them over to his side and they returned to Jagdalik to sow discord at the camp of Ali Ahmad Khan. At this time, a British plane with a pilot (who later published his memoirs in Wings Over Kabul) and a mechanic apparently because of mechanical problems landed on the riverbed by Jagdalik. Both were brought to the military camp of Ali Ahmad Khan where they were interrogated. They were then escorted by the military up to the British Consulate in Jalalabad’s Charbagh District.
With the cooperation of the British consulate contact between the British authorities in Kabul and Peshawar was made and extra equipment for the plane was brought from Peshawar by another plane. The damaged planed with its two men then left for India. But, as later incidents showed, these men had landed not because of the problems of the plane but for the purpose of contacting Ali Ahmad Khan and warning him not to attack Kabul. Since Ali Ahmad Khan loved power and authority it was too late for him to change his mind. His messengers returning from Kabul started to fight and Malik Mohammad Shah who had remained on the side of Ali Ahmad Khan was killed. The provincial armies attacked his camp and Ali Ahmad Khan was compelled to leave the country and cross by foot the open frontier to Peshawar.
At Peshawar he tried to prove to the British that he was loyal to them but did not succeed. Nadir and his brothers were warmly welcomed by the British while Ali Ahmad Khan was told to leave India within three days or to return to Afghanistan at his own risk. Ali Ahmad Khan accepted to return to Afghanistan where he went to Kandahar to see Amanullah Khan, who was betrayed by his demand for the kingdom. He sought pardon for his actions against Amanullah Khan, who forgave him and before his departure appointed him Commander-in-Chief of all the Army which was scattered.
Amanullah Khan knew that with this appointment Ali Ahmad Khan could not escape his destiny. When Ali Ahmad Khan received the new that Amanullah Khan had left the border he left the battlefield and returned to Kandahar. As was expected he declared himself king for the second time. However, Habibullah’s forces under Purdil Khan, the commander of the army, did not allow him to fulfil his desire even for a few short days.
The city of Kandahar was surrounded within twenty-four hours and the people opened the doors of the city from inside. Ali Ahmad Khan who was a refugee and concealed in a private residence in the region of Tohp Dara was captured and handed over to Habibullah’s men. They brought him back to Kabul.
Habibullah knew him from the past and accused him of being a treacherous and unfaithful man. He ordered his men to parade Ali Ahmad Khan through the city of Kabul, so the people could see a traitor before he was put to death. Perhaps these were some of the unsavoury incidents, which occurred during the reign of Habibullah. No doubt these activities were aided by the old imperialists who were helped by local backward-looking against the people of Afghanistan with the aim of stopping the development of the country. The plan now enters its third and decisive stage.
Amanullah with a limited number of ministers and advisors on the 24th of Jadi reached the Kandahar’s Ahmad Shahi District. He did not contact the people but waited to see what his brother had done. Enayatullah Khan had already left Kabul for India.
The two brothers stood in front of the people on the veranda of Kandahar’s palace and Amanullah Khan addressed the people, “Now, it was up to the people to select him or his brother as the future king of Afghanistan.” Amanullah Khan realized that the people wanted him to be king and the people of Kandahar in spite of being dissatisfied with Amanullah Khan welcomed his proposal. Thus, Amanullah Khan announced his intention to take the throne. He set about with a number of advisors to plan for the future of his country.
The plan, military, rather than political to depose Habibullah and to occupy the city of Kabul was a reasonable one: Herat accepted to be the executive centre of the forces while Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif would be the centre of action. Both forces would attack Kabul under the leadership of the king himself who was stationed in Herat.
In the meantime, it was decided that Kandahar because of its location should be considered as the second strategic centre. It was also decided that for the time being, Shujal-Dawla who was Afghan Ambassador in London, the Minister of Safety, and the former administrator of Herat, should come to Herat. They were authorized to replace Mohammad Ibrahim Khan. As for the other eastern and southern provinces, the military commanders and governors were ordered to stay where they were and were not allowed to take any direct action or make any decision related to the coming preparations until Ali Ahmad Khan’s position became clear.
It was also decided that the younger of Amanullah Khan, Aminjan, with a delegation should visit the Hazarajat and seek their help when Amanullah Khan was ready to attack Kabul. The Hazarajat favoured Amanullah Khan because of his righteous treatment of them, especially the abolishment of slavery.
At the same time Ghulam Sidiq Khan Charkhi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was sent abroad to approach friendly countries and ask for their cooperation especially for arms and military equipment. He worked through the Afghan embassies as the Ambassador-at-Large of Afghanistan. Ghulam Sidiq Khan Charkhi therefore left Herat for Moscow.
According to the time and circumstances, it can be said that the plan was a comprehensive and practicable one and if it profited from previous experience, chances of its success were relatively high. But unfortunately, the British master plan neutralized any of these efforts in advance.
The first reaction of the British government towards Amanullah Khan’s announcement of his return to the throne was to publish a proclamation, which stated that Amanullah Khan’s power did not extend over the entire country. Therefore, the British government refused to recognize his rule. In Wings over Kabul, the text of the proclamation written with the help of Ambassador Humphreys states:
“On January 30, 1929, Sir Austin Chamberlain, the Foreign Minister, at the
House of Commons relied on the mentioned proclamation to reply to Mr. Thomas’ question on the non-partiality policy of the government toward Afghanistan. ‘The British government was officially informed by Amanullah Khan of his dethronement. Now in spite of his dethronement, if the people of Afghanistan wanted him to be their king that is another question and up to the people of Afghanistan, but we could not recognize him as the legal figure of Afghanistan.’”
A result of this proclamation was that the India government not only refused to all the arms and other military equipment bought by Amanullah Khan to cross the Indian borders, but it also stopped the export of petroleum to Afghanistan under the pretext that it could be considered a military arm. Offenders were severely punished. Not content with this and against all international postal regulations, they intercepted the diplomatic post from London addressed to Ghulam Sidiq Khan Charkhi. Instead they despatched it to Ataulhaq Khan, Habibullah’s Foreign Minister, so that he would be aware of Amanullah Khan’s activities in Kandahar and would be better able to plan his strategies against him.
It is surprising that all these restrictions against Amanullah Khan were imposed only at the frontier of Kandahar. But there were no restrictions at the Torkham frontier. Thus, until the end of the reign of Amir Habibullah sufficient petroleum arrived from India to cover strategic needs on land and in the air. As a result of the one-sided British boycott during Amanullah Khan’s attack on Ghazni the military plane sent to attack him unexpectedly changed its course and joined Amanullah Khan’s forces. The pilot and its mechanic, Mohammad Omar and Mir Saifullah had both been sent abroad for training and they had nationalist feelings toward Amanullah Khan.
Mir Hashim Khan, Finance Minister, persuaded them to go directly to Kandahar. They did not have enough fuel to reach Kandahar and were shot down by Habibullah’s forces. Mohammad Omar, the pilot, reached Amanullah Khan and then in his company left the country for Italy. He later returned to Afghanistan and was imprisoned by Nadir’s men.
In Fire in Afghanistan, there is mention of Ghulam Sidiq Khan, the Foreign Minister, handing a note through the British Consulate in Kandahar to the British government objecting to their one-sided position. First of all, Ghulam Sidiq Khan challenged the words of Sir Austin Chamberlain concerning the recognition of Amanullah Khan. He said that the British according to the agreement of 1921 had already recognized the government of Amanullah Khan and then they did not take it back. Therefore, a few days of internal disturbances cannot bring the cause of the non-recognition by the British government. Then Ghulam Sidiq Khan expressed his amazement on the transit ban of commodities through India. He considered it again the agreement of 1921. He added why Indian authorities at the Indian borders held the arms and other equipment bought by or donated to Amanullah Khan during his European visit? Ghulam Sidiq Khan pointed to the long time relations, which existed between Afghanistan and British and said that it was the first time that the British relied on her one-sided policy.
For in the past under such conditions and circumstances the British did not follow such one-sided policy toward other rulers of Afghanistan. Moreover, she recognized each ruler in their certain area and held relations and communications with them. For instance, between 1866-1868 when Amir Shir Ali Khan was defeated in Kabul and fled to Herat the British government recognized him as the Head of government even though in Herat and considered Amir Mohammad Afzal Khan as the Governor of Kabul.
Now, they refused to recognize the government of Amanullah Khan as the legal government of Afghanistan because he had transferred the capital from Kabul to Kandahar and communicated with the usurper of the throne in Kabul. Ghulam Sidiq Khan finally stated this British policy was against the people of Afghanistan. The British government should revise her policy toward the Afghans; otherwise, it will make deeper the hostility of the Afghans. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Britain did not accept the note and returned it in kind through her consulate in Kandahar.
The failure of Amanullah Khan was not only due to the negative position of the British government but also due to the implementation of the plan. He transferred the capital from Kandahar to Herat. This decision was a sad one for the people of Kandahar. They compelled the king to change his mind, which he finally did. This was probably a great mistake an caused his future activities to fail.
When Amanullah Khan saw how happy the people of Kandahar were at this change of mind, he became hopeful. In spite of the lack of financial resources and arms he started to raise a new army. In three months he prepared a force of 8,000 men from Kandahar, Farah, and Girishk. The volunteer groups from Kandahar city as well as from its surrounding areas were put under the leadership of Amanullah Khan and in the company of his brother, Enayatullah Khan, they started toward Kabul in the month of April. Abdul Ahad Khan, Minister of Interior, with a reconnoitring division was sent ahead to ask help of the people who were on the way to Kabul.
Without any great difficulty, the forces of Amanullah Khan reach Ghazni in late April. There they met a small opposing force that was easily taken by Amanullah Khan. An argument arose between the young educated soldiers and the old experienced soldiers about whether the army should stop at Ghazni or go to Kabul. The young soldiers wanted to continue to Kabul and the other ones wanted to stay and capture Ghazni. The old soldiers won and thus began the siege of Ghazni.
Habibullah used this opportunity to send a fresh army through Logar to Ghazni. Moreover, when a number of the Sulaimankhels who were in India at the time, received the news that Amanullah Khan had left Kabul returned to Afghanistan by way of Uruzgan. They were ordered to attack Amanullah Khan from the rear flank.
The people who themselves were present at that war believed that beside the above-mentioned reasons; a trick was used to neutralize the decisions, especially these concerning the capture of Ghazni. However, during the siege of Ghazni two unknown men were caught inside the army camp. One of them was a foreigner and the other was an Afghan. After investigations it was proved that the former had entered the country with a forged passport and some Indian rupees, the later who carried a big dagger confessed that he wanted to kill Amanullah Khan. Both spies were sentenced to death. Thus, Amanullah Khan was shadowed everywhere by British espionage operatives and his plans were neutralized.
As said earlier, Herat was of particular significances in comparison to other provinces especially during wartime. Its location was conducive to the rescuing of those who were defeated and used it as a retreat where they could muster their forces. From this point of view, the first attack to be made on the part of Amanullah Khan from Herat followed a classic pattern.
However, the British began to play the Shiite-Sunni divide. As a result, a battle ensued inside the town with a large number killed from both sides. Finally, few elders from both sects tried to end the fighting. However, the situation was so fluid that it led to a mutiny augmenting the grave dangers.
Apparently, the mutiny was caused by the despatch of troops to Kandahar. Unusually, there were two military commanders simultaneously in Herat. One of them was Mohammad Ghaus Khan, professional officer, and the other was Abdur Rahman Khan, son-in-law of local Governor Mohammad Ibrahim. The later tried to dispose Mohammad Ibrahim Ghaus Khan in favour of his son-in-law. So, he availed himself of the opportunity and sent Mohammad Ghaus Khan as the head of troops in Kandahar. His conduct led to the mutiny as this gross nepotism had disenchanted all the soldiers and officers. As a result, the undercover operatives did what they wanted.
On the other hand, Abdur Rahman Khan the new commander acted rashly against he mutinous troops. So, a soldier shot him on the spot. When Mohammad Ibrahim Khan received the news accompanied by his other son-in-law Mohammad Sidiq Amir, local Foreign Affairs Director, rushed to the barracks.
Consequently, both of them were cut into pieces and Habibullah appointed General Abdur Rahim Khan of Kohistan garrison commander. He was sent to Herat via Mazar-i-Sharif.
On reaching Maimana, he had received the news of the mutiny in Herat. Therefore, utilizing the golden opportunity he started to head towards Herat. During the same time, Shujal Dawla had returned from London and had hardly the time to strengthen his position. Moreover, Mohammad Ghaus was not able to muster and reorganize the mutinous soldiers. So, Abdur Rahman Kohistani reached the town periphery sending him an ultimatum to leave Herat within 24 hours.
When Amanullah Khan was fighting in two battles in Ghazni, Herat fell into the hands of the enemy. So, he last his final retreat where the former kings could halt to reorganize their forces and launch counter-attacks against their opponents. And it was so easily taken over by the other side.
However, on the northern front, Amanullah Khan’s loyal supporters scored a measure of success. Ghulam Nabi Khan Charkhi, a former general, and a number of young officers who had received training in Turkey, Russia, and other European countries. They led a small but well organized contingent and entered Afghanistan via Khamyak early in April. With a swift attack, he conquered Mazar-i-Sharif.
Mohammad Qasim, Habibullah’s local governor with his assistant, Khalilullah and their defeated force retreated to Maimana. Ghulam Nabi Khan entered Mazar-i-Sharif and sent a group of his men to Kabul. Since most of his troops consisted of mounted soldiers, they conquered Tashqurghan within a few days defeating Habibullah’s forces led by Sayed Hussain that marched to face the contingent via Abdane Mir Alam.
Passing through Aibak via Dandan Shikan Pass, it advanced toward Bamyan Valley. This advance coincided with the arrival in Ghazni of Amanullah Khan. Habibullah was greatly upset by the news about the setback suffered by his forces. They thought if the two forces faced each other at the mouth of Maidan Valley, Ghulam Nabi’s contingent would as mobile professional troops make a short work of Habibullah’s foolhardy warriors. Afterwards then it would be child’s play for the old pro to capture Kabul. He was briefed in details by some of his loyal officers who had rushed back to Kabul from Tashqurghan after the whole army was routed these at the hands of Ghulam Nabi Khan and his young officers.
A mentioned in British declassified documents Habibullah’s Foreign Minister alarmed by the changed of fortunes asked Sir Francis Humphreys, The British Ambassador in Kabul now in Simla, India for help. The British who anticipated this eventuality in their plan were ready to tackle it. A number of people were considered to play this role, one of them being Sayed Alim Khan, a friend and Ibrahim Beg Laqai, a colleague of former king Anwar Pasha of Bokhara, now living in exile in Kabul.
Ibrahim Beg and his followers with help of the Khalifa of Qizil Ayaq lived along Balkh’s frontiers. When Habibullah came to power, Ibrahim Beg and Sayed Alim established close relations with Habibullah cooperating with the latter to capture the then Qaterghan and Mazar-i-Sharif. Without missing the chance, Ibrahim Beg’s men became active along a vast battlefield stretching from Mazar-i-Sharif to the mouth of the Ghorband Valley. Their guerrilla attacks began to threaten Ghulam Nabi’s communication route. Since the latter had to keep this open at any cost, the division stationed at Mazar-i-Sharif was immediately despatched to meet those guerrillas. Thus, Mazar-i-Sharif was left without a military force to speak of.
According to his master’s plan, Habibullah’s defeated troops who were dispersed around Dehdadi waiting for an opportunity launched a surprise attack on Mazar-i-Sharif and captured it from Ghulam Nabi Khan. Early in the morning, a messenger hurried to convey to him the news about the impending invasion of Habibullah’s forces. He also was informed about the arrival of a large group of mullahs marching toward the town holding up a copy of the Holy Koran bearing a pledge written on its margin that they would hand over the town to Amanullah Khan.
Ghulam Nabi Khan thought something was suspicious about all this and therefore he ordered a detachment to be ready for any event. He himself went out to welcome the mullahs. It was a big gathering in which all men had put on white clothes covered their shoulders with shawls and raised white flags. They marched via Azizabad toward the government house. When they reached the entrance they put aside their shawls and took their rifles out to shoot but Ghulam Nabi’s detachment was ready to chase the deceitful raiders. Ghulam Nabi not upset by this unexpected turn of the events grabbed the rifle from his guard and fired a shot into the air. By hearing this signal, the detachment fired at the gathering and dispersed and chased down the attackers.
Although this incident was not so significant, it attracted Ghulam Nabi’s attention to the swift attack on Kabul, which was planned earlier by him. He realized that this attack was not an easy one because of the covert hands obstructing his decisions. However, he waited to hear the hopeful news from the front where his forces were divided into two groups: one proceeding via the Ghorband Valley towards Charikar and the other via Bamyan along the Hajigak Pass to join the Hazara forces led by Shahnur’s son along with Ghulam Nabi Khan who was looking after Mazar-i-Sharif. Meanwhile, he received a telegram from his brother, Ghulam Sidiq Khan, about Amanullah Khan’s departure from Afghanistan advising him to muster his forces and leave as soon as possible.
Ghulam Nabi Khan who was on the verge of victory and did not await such news consulted his advisors. Most of who advised him to leave but Ghulam Nabi Khan hesitated to listen to them. He wanted to stay and execute his plan. Then he was called by Ghulam Haider, the military division commander at Tashqurghan, who informed him about the advance of large reinforcements headed by Sayed Hussain toward Tashqurghan. For Ghulam Nabi Khan, this parcel of new was the last straw.
In spite of this, Ghulam Nabi Khan kept this news secret for three days so he could muster his forces. Although he was fired on from all sides, he was successful in evacuating his forces unscathed. Ghulam Nabi Khan, a very brave general, was the last man who crossed the Oxus River.
When Amanullah Khan’s forces were pressured from both sides, he could hardly return to Moqur. However, once there Ghulam Jilanli Khan Charkhi with the young officers trained in Turkey and two units of reinforcements arrived from Kandahar. They brought the good news of the capture of Mazar-i-Sharif by Ghulam Nabi Khan and the arrival of Shujal Dawla in Herat, which pepped Amanullah Khan’s morale.
The dispirited monarch held a military conference in which Ghulam Jilani Khan was appointed commander of the defence forces. At that meeting, it was also decided that Amanullah Khan should go back to Kandahar to muster reinforcements to strengthen his position on the battlefield. These decisions were made when the king himself resided at the Moqur Hotel.
Now, he was convinced that the only way to solve the problem was to follow the original instructions of his father-in-law, Mahmud Tarzi, to go directly to Herat. One there, he should prepare a new plan away from distractions caused by his enemy. He was quite confident that Ghulam Nabi Khan Charkhi was at Mazar-i-Sharif expecting him to capture Kabul before coming to Herat. His optimistic attitude had hardly manifested itself when the telephone rang with Abdul Aziz Khan informing him about the fall of Herat.
After a moment’s silence, Amanullah Khan asked his War Minister where the division had left Herat was. Abdul Aziz Khan replied that after receiving the news of the fall of Herat near Farah, the troops had taken prisoner Mohammad Amin Tata and other officers who were planning to return to Herat. However, General Mohammad Anwar Khan Nurzayi, the Governor and Military Commander of Farah disarmed them diplomatically.
Amanullah Khan put the receiver down and asked his servant, Lala Sayed Mir, to call Hasanjan his secretary and let him know about his immediately departure for Kandahar. He also instructed him not to let anyone except Ghulam Jilani Khan and his company is informed about this news. At the time, he made the decision that he did not realize fully well that it was not only important to himself but also to the future of Afghanistan as a whole.
Two men insistently asked him to change his mind about his decision. One was Abdul Hadi Dawi who had just arrived from Kabul to join Amanullah Khan and the other was Abdul Aziz Khan who was the War Minister. Dawi proposed that he appeal to the Durrani tribe forces and ask for their help and cooperation. He assured him that those tribal forces would undoubtedly support him and in worst-case scenario they would safely escort him to the border. However, Amanullah Khan did not accept this for was quite taken aback.
Amanullah Khan reached Qalat early in the morning and by telephone asked Ali Ahmad Khan, the Governor, to join him. Amanullah Khan met the latter at Robat Maiwand and appointed him as his deputy as well as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He ordered him to start immediately toward Qalat and command the division there. However, without entering Kandahar, he directly went toward the border. As his family and few of his ministers had joined him along the way, they crossed the border on May 25, 1929. There he introduced himself to the British frontier officer who took them to Dock Bangla. Meanwhile, the local officer at Chaman was informed about the news. The latter despatched an urgent telegram to the Indian Viceroy at Simla.
Lord Irvin who was at that time called Lord Halifax was appointed as the Foreign Minister of British during World War Two. Before the start of the crisis in Afghanistan, he received the mentioned telegram after 30 minutes. According to the declassified documents of the British government, the India regent upon getting the news for which he was waiting impatiently should that, “finally … we get rid of him.” Then he dictated a letter to his secretary: “Now you do not withhold any favour for as a refugee. And under no circumstances he could stay here and should leave India as soon as possible.”
The India government consulted with the authoritative sources in London concerning the announcement of the news of Amanullah Khan’s departure from his county. After 24 hours, in the morning of May 27, 1929 (Jauza 6, 1303), this news was reported by the news agencies and newspapers of the world. Now, we see the government’s celebration of the 6th of Jauza which corresponded with the departure day of Amanullah Khan was not an accidental matter or without an historical reason.
As later incidents showed the ecstasy and delight of the India regent was a little bit ahead time. Although Amanullah Khan left the country, Afghans remained with their arms ready to face the enemy of their homeland. The Afghans continued with their struggles on both sides of the border. As Rose Kepal, a British officer, predicted that they would not be able to extinguish the fire, which was lit by Amanullah Khan for a long time. Thus, for 20 years until they left India the British did not live in peace because of the Afghans even for a very short time.
With Amanullah Khan leaving Kandahar and through the cooperation of the internal backward-looking, the third part of the British imperialist’s master plan was successfully launched. Then it was the turn of the British imperial hero, Nadir, to appear on the scene.
While Nadir and his brother who were in the south of France gave careful thought to the internal crisis built up in Afghanistan. Apparently they were away from the scene but actually they held communication with the designer of the master plan regarding the fall of the progressive regime of Afghanistan. The plan, which was prepared by Nadir’s cooperation, was adhered to in all its details both inside and outside of Afghanistan. So, they had to report the occurrence of and predict the incidents and foresee the events.
After the failure of the “Patyala Plot” when Shah Mahmud, High Commissioner in the Mashriqi Province, was dismissed and Abdul Washed Shinwari, known as Mr. Weed, an Australian citizen was appointed to serve as liaison between the exiled brothers in the south of France and the British sources. Mr. Weed was a frontier Afghan by birth who travelled with a camel caravan to Australia at the end of the 19th century. He worked there on the vast plain using his camels as a means of transportation and earned enough money. Later he came back to the frontier.
According to the declassified documents of the British government, Mr. Weed came to Afghanistan in 1923-1924 concurrently with the event of Mullah Lang. He acted like a sensitive Afghan interested in using his money and experience for the benefit of his homeland. He proposed to have the concession for working the gold mines in Kandahar and trade of wood in Kunar. For this purpose, he proposed to give the amount of 10,000 English pounds of gold for obtaining this concession.
Though his proposal was very lucrative, it soon became clear that behind all this there were the real British masters involved. Their main goal was to penetrate into the sensitive part of Afghanistan. According to the declassified documents of the British government and also the book Fire in Afghanistan when his proposal was rejected by the government of Afghanistan in 1925 he wrote to the Military Attaché of Britain in Kabul that he still hoped and desired to serve for the benefit of the British government. Thus, Nadir met him a year later in Paris to help coordinate with him their plans.
Another comrade of Mr. Weed was M.A. Hakim, the agent with the German Commercial agency Anbar in Kabul. Mr. Hakim used to travel between Kabul and Peshawar. Mr. Hakim who was called Hakimjan became a trustworthy communicator of Nadir in covert matters with high ranking authorities of the British government in India. When Nadir acceded to the throne he transferred the centre of his activity to Kabul and all the government purchasing was brought within his monopoly. It was seen that the opposing elements to the regime of Amanullah Khan were in contact with the British imperialists and were very well organized. But seemingly, they looked scattered and unorganised.
Mr. Weed resumed his activity on Aqrab 1307 and went to the High Commissioner of Peshawar and proposed to him that because of his close relationship with the chief of the rebellious tribes of Mashriqi and with the help of the people of Kabul, he could guarantee the security of British transportation and safety of the British Embassy in Kabul.
Though his proposal was reliable, the Indian government got in touch with Humphreys. He did not advise him to go back to Kabul because the government of Afghanistan prohibited him from entering the country. In Fire in Afghanistan, it refers to the declassified documents of the British government stating that the High Commissioner of Peshawar authorized to substitute for money all the necessary services required from him. Thus, Mr. Weed got the permission to carry on his activity at the frontier area and Mashriqi Province.
The main ally was Lawrence, top officer in the British Intelligence Service. He cooperated to run the plan against the Government of Afghanistan. Once of his important works was to outline a proclamation in 18 articles against Amanullah Khan. His proclamation was published at Iqbal Press in Peshawar and distributed among the tribal areas. His other work was obtaining freedom for the British pilot and the return of the airplane, which landed in Jagdalak.
The exiled brothers in the southern of France became impatient with the news of the Shinwar Revolt. Without the permission of their master to wait for the conditions to improve they decided to leave for Afghanistan. According to the declassified documents of the British government, Hashim went to the British Consulate in Nice on December 10th. He asked for transit visas through India for his two brothers, Nadir and Shah Wali, and himself. The request was made before Habibullah Kalakani attacked Kabul.
According to the administrative regulations, the British Consulate asked for an entry visa to Afghanistan first. So, Hashim returned to Paris where he repeated his demand. He received the same reply there. Hashim insisted they were well known people and close friends of the British government. Therefore, it was not necessary for them to have an Afghan visa. He was advised to go to London to make his case.
The negative attitude of the British Embassy made him irresolute. On the other hand, Hashim was not sure what would be the result of his trip to London and did not want to let the Afghan Embassy know about their decision. Finally, he was compelled to go to the Afghan Embassy for permission to return. So, Hashim returned very nervously to Nice.
The newspapers reported Habibullah Kalakani’s attack of Kabul and it was another factor that aggravated their nervousness. Again, Hashim went to the British Consulate in Nice. He, on behalf of Nadir, asked to communicate his personal message to London via telegram. In Fire in Afghanistan, his message contained their request from the British government to send a high ranking officer who would be able to communicate in Persian and help them in their covert conversations.
The related British sources informed the British Embassy in Kabul about the matter. Humphreys became anxious of Nadir and his brothers' hasty decision. It was against his required plan and he was especially worried about the divulgence of the original plan. In reply, he instructed that visas should be issued yet. Thus, the British Counsellor in Nice informed Hashim after two days the visas could not be issued nor could the British Embassy send them a Persian speaking Englishman.
Nadir could not imagine such a cold and negative treatment of the British government, he though there must be some misunderstanding. So, Hashim wanted to go in person to London to make clear the situation. For that purpose, he had to go first to the Afghan Embassy. He was informed that instructions had been received from Kabul to issue them visas for Afghanistan. Hashim became so happy that he immediately left Paris and returned to Nice to bring his brother’s passports. In spite of that they did not dare to make any decisions by themselves without the agreement and permission of their British contacts.
Amanullah Khan was not aware of the underground activities of Nadir and his brothers. That is why, the government of Afghanistan issued the visas in good faith. He considered the brothers request to come home as an indication of cooperation and goodwill to the government of Afghanistan.
Amanullah Khan’s weak position made him reply to everyone. Thus, he appointed Ali Ahmad Khan, his arch enemy as Commander of the Armed Forces in Mashriqi and sent him to Jalalabad. Then he considered he would finish off the guerrilla forces of Habibullah with the support of Nadir and his brothers.
In spite of the fact, he appreciated the return of Nadir he did not forget the importance of security and instructed the Afghan Embassy in Paris that they should return only via Moscow and Tashkent and by Russian airplane. TO show his trust in Nadir, Amanullah Khan told his son who was studying in Paris to accompany the brothers. Also, the younger brother of Nadir, Shah Mahmud, who did not hold any position, was appointed as Commander of Armed Forces in Dehsabz and Khwaja Rawash. Both Dehsabz and Khwaja Rawash were defensive positions during the attacks of Habibullah Kalakani. However, the location of the Shirpur airport as well as Kabul prison situated at the historical fort of Shirpur gave them special importance.
By the second attack of Habibullah Kalakani and the defeat of the government forces, Amanullah Khan was deposed and left for Kandahar. Humphreys, the British Ambassador in Kabul, watched the events very carefully. He contacted his government to issue transit visas for Nadir and his brothers, so they could be able to start immediately for India.
Humphreys explained in his telegram that even if it made Habibullah unhappy, the being of Nadir and his brothers in Afghanistan is now very important and necessary. So, the British Embassy in Paris called Nadir on January 21, 1929 to invited to come to Paris for their visas. There the British Ambassador in person met them and offered his excuses for what had happened in connection with the issuance of their visas. They got a diplomatic visa an started for India with a special recommendation letter. They left the port of Marseilles on the Indian ship, Kaiser.
The three years of seclusion and expectation of Nadir and his brothers in the south of France reached its end. Nadir was so happy he neglected the instructions of his government concerning his return via Moscow. Moreover, he forgot the guardianship of the young prince on the way. Nadir was so happy that while singing a song to himself with Indian rhythm, he departed from the port of Marseilles the next morning.
Nadir was considered by Habibullah Kalakani as his probable competitor. He was aware of their existing opposition between Nadir and Amanullah Khan. Therefore, he wanted to bring him inside the circle of his activity or to keep him under his authority. With that thought in mind, he acceded to the throne on the first week and appointed Shah Mahmud his private advisor. He also appointed Ahmad Shah, Nadir’s cousin, and Abdul Aziz, Hashim’s cousin, to go to Europe to escort Nadir to Kabul. There were instructed to get their travel expenses from the Commercial Agency in Peshawar.
Since Abdul Hakim, Commercial agent, was on Amanullah Khan’s side, he refused to accept the instructions of Habibullah. He did not play their travel expenses from Kabul to Peshawar, so they flew by a British plane. Therefore, the expenses were paid by the British government and they left by boat from an Indian port. According to the declassified documents of the British government, the British were aware of Habibullah’s decision to invite Nadir.
Since the British plan was formulated earlier and then it ran parallel with Habibullah’s decision and they did not want to disclose the latter stages of the plan, they took it easy in a time that Amanullah was still on the scene. In spite of that fact, the British knew this and refused to send Habibullah’s agent. They also prepared the required facilities for them.
The British political agencies and consulates in Europe hesitated and were surprised about the matter but the political departments in London and Delhi did not show even a small hesitation in connection with what had happened. Their arrival on the scene of activity in India was impatiently awaited. Due to various cases and reasons, they were worried the plan might be made public and neutralized ahead of time.
The anxiety of the Indian government from t disclosure of the plan could be judged from the covert message of the Indian Viceroy to Vice Count Phil in London, which the Indian Minister dated February 3, 1929. It corresponded with the departure of the Indian Kaiser from Marseilles heading for Bombay. In Fire in Afghanistan, reference is made to the declassified documents:
“Fortunately, in spite f the seditious publicity the conditions are developing in our favour. I hope to succeed in bringing Nadir here quietly and without causing disturbance. Under the existing circumstances, there is no doubt that he would play the part of a winner bead on the confused board of politics in Afghanistan. It would be a God given chance.”
On February 23, three days before the arrival of the ship into the port of Bombay, following earlier messages another message was sent to the Governor of Bombay. Again, in In Fire in Afghanistan, contained the following instructions:
In a very friendly was apologise to Nadir. IT should be expressed that for the existence of certain political considerations the Indian government could not arrange an elaborate welcome for such a distinguished guest such as Nadir and we hope you will understand. Accordingly, he should be kept away from all political activities and should be sent to Afghanistan. Their baggage should not go through the custom regulation. Moreover, necessary steps should be taken for their safety.
Nadir and his brothers arrived at the port of Bombay on February 3, 1929. The representative of the Indian Viceroy, C.J. Freek, met Nadir on the deck of the ship. He communicated the crucial matters with him before Nadir saw the Afghan officials who were there to bid him welcome.
According to declassified documents of the British government, the special representative of the Indian Viceroy was assured by Nadir he would not meet Amanullah Khan and would not support him. On the contrary, he would do what the British government desired. After this conversation was over, Nadir landed and was received by the Afghan Consul and the Afghan citizens in Bombay. Nadir resided at the Taj Mahal Hotel. At the hotel the letter of Amanullah Khan was presented to him by the Afghan Consul.
It request that Nadir should come directly to Kandahar and meet Amanullah Khan. Nadir answered his letter on the same day and sent it back via the Afghan Consul. Amanullah Khan had accused Nadir for being unreliable. Then Nadir assured Amanullah Khan and took oath he would remain loyal to Amanullah Khan. He said that since their goal is the same, therefore, let me begin the struggle in another part of the country instead of coming to Kandahar.
After sending the letter, Nadir pretended to be sick and severed relations with the Afghan officials and citizens. He continued his contact with the British officials. It was continued until he received the preliminary plan for his activity. Afterwards, Nadir and his brothers secretly left for Peshawar by train on a dark night. In spite of all the secrecy, the news of their arrival in India was reported in newspapers. The newspaper representatives and men of political parties were looking for them everywhere. His incantations were questioned by them.
In reply, Nadir claimed he struggled in support of Amanullah Khan and had no claim for himself. When he acceded to the throne, his past promises became a sharp weapon in the hands of the patriotic elements in India who were against the British and favoured Amanullah Khan. They encouraged public opinion in India and the frontier against his illegitimate regime.
Humphreys waited for the arrival of Nadir and his brothers. He convinced his government that the British Embassy should close their office and leave Kabul. So, with this action, the other embassies in Kabul would also feel unsafe and might follow suit. When the conditions became favourable then could come back and open the embassy again. However, the acquired government would not give permission to the other diplomatic representative to open their offices again. The matter can be clearly seen in the famous declaration of Shinwars outlined by Humphreys’ agents.
Contrary to his prediction, with the exception of a few western embassies in Kabul the other remained open. According to the declassified documents of the British government, the USSR Embassy adopted a free policy and the embassies of Turkey and Iran followed suit and remained active with all their delegation members until the reign of Habibullah. The British apparently closed the embassy after a month of rule of Habibullah Kalakani and the British officials left the country one after another.
A frontier servant, Rahmat Khan, who was an Indian citizen, took the responsibility of looking after the embassy building and the British property in Kabul. Yet, Rahmat Khan was an expert and experienced comrade of Humphreys. At the time of Habibullah Kalakani, all the government correspondence with the Indian government was carried out by him. Actually the British Embassy was transferred to Peshawar and all its members including Sheikh Mahbub Ali, the secretary for the eastern desk were busy there.
Humphreys went on talking about closing the embassy with a view to attract the attention of other embassies especially that of the USSR embassy. He pretended the diplomatic members were leaving by English plan he postponed his departure until he was convinced of the failure of his plan. He then took the British flag and left Kabul for Peshawar on an English airplane on February 7, 1929 just after 34v days of the rule of Habibullah.
Before leaving he met with Shah Mahmud, the younger brother of Nadir, for six hours. In Wings over Kabul, Baker and Chapman give the summary of their negotiations. The purpose of their negotiations was to guide Shah Mahmud who was appointed by Habibullah to talk with the Eastern and Southern Provinces as to how he can deceive Habibullah.
Humphreys desired to meet in person with Nadir and discuss the matter. Through a few telegrams sent to the Indian and British governments he pointed out the necessity of such a meeting. In a telegram, he said,
“Fortunately Nadir, his brothers, and I were once very close friends. If I would be able to see them, it would surely create a misunderstanding. Since the Indian and Russian presses continue with their propaganda, therefore, from my point of view the disaffection of such an influential family of Afghanistan might not be proper.”
So, they met in Peshawar when the brothers arrived on April 27, 1929. They met at the residence of Humphreys covertly. As far as it could be deduced from Humphreys’ reports, Nadir showered him the latest letter of Amanullah Khan, which was written in a leading tone and instructed hi to come immediately to Kandahar.
Nadir assured him he will neglect Amanullah Khan’s instructions as he did before about his return via Russia. Meanwhile, Nadir said he and his brothers would start the struggle for power in the eastern and southern provinces. However, he will also arrange the details of their work after his meeting with Shah Mahmud who was in Khost.
As Humphreys advised Nadir, he held a number of meetings with Mr. Wilton, Chief Commissioner of Peshawar. He discussed the work of Nadir and his comrades. Meanwhile, a few persons were introduced as messengers and communicators. On the British side, Mohammad Sadiq Mujadidi and M.A. Hakim and on Nadir’s side were Haji Mohammad Akbar Khan and Alanawaz Khan. The purpose of the meeting was to let Nadir understand not to introduce himself as the representative of Amanullah Khan as he did since he left France.
Meanwhile, Nadir delivered a speech at the Friday prayer in Peshawar without knowing that Ali Ahmad Khan was also present there and vice-versa. Nadir shed light on their struggle to assume power and deliver the country from thieves and robbers. He asked for help and cooperation of the frontier men.
From that moment, he avoided newspaper journalists and members of the political structure. Nadir made sure he keep away from the Hisb-i-Khilafat headed by Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan who was active along the frontier area and stood shoulder to shoulder with Amanullah Khan.
When Abdul Ghafar Khan heard about Nadir’s speech, he advised his followers to hold the oath of support because he was sure Nadir was acting in hypocrisy, dissimulation, and betrayal to Amanullah Khan. He said Nadir was working for himself with the cooperation of foreigners against Amanullah Khan and the Afghan people. Still, Habibullah was disturbed but the activity among the eastern and southern tribes.
He became suspicious of the British intentions and tried to bring Nadir under control as soon as possible. So, he despatched a telegram to Peshawar for Humphreys. He noted in the telegram that the road of Mashriqi is not safe yet, so the Indian government could cooperate and let an airplane to transfer Nadir and his brothers to Kabul immediately.
It was clear that both, Humphreys and the Indian government would not be ready to grant his request. On the other hand, as it was usual with them he assured Habibullah that whenever Nadir and his brothers were ready to go to Kabul, the plane will carry them. Meanwhile, Nadir, Shah Wali, and Hashim started for Kabul via Tal and Khost. Then, they journeyed through the Momand district of Jalalabad.
An American writer, Louis Dupree, writes in his book Afghanistan that it was the British who devised the rules for the game in which Nadir and his brothers only had the responsibility for playing it step by step according to the plan of the master. Thus, Hashim entered Afghanistan through the eastern province and Nadir and Shah Wali through the Southern Province on March 8, 1929.
According to declassified documents of the British government, the first condition laid down by the people of Momand at the Lalpur Meeting was that Hashim and his brothers should only fight to regain the throne for Amanullah Khan; otherwise, they would not cooperate with and help them. The condition was accepted by the tribes of Byazi and Khawji.
Naturally, it weakened the chance of accession for Hashim. When Hashim met the Shinwar people; contrary to his expectations, the people laid down the same conditions at the Achin Meeting. The report prepared by the Chief Commissioner of Frontier addressed to the Central Government of India and reflecting clearly the change of opinion of the related tribes is part of the documents in the National Archives in India.
Apparently, the immediate change of mind among the tribal people was something strange and unnatural. However, in reality it was because of being naive and easily impressed by dishonest Maliks, Khans, and Sardars who conspired with foreign imperialist led by Lawrence (also know as Pir Karam), Abdul Wahid Shinwari (known as Mr. Weed), Sardar Mohammad Omar who was son of Sardar Mohammad Ayub Khan, and others.
When the impression of the dark missionaries was neutralized, the tribesmen knew the result of their action by the coming of Habibullah Kalakani and his band into power. Then their reaction to get to the side of Amanullah Khan was a natural act. When they saw Nadir and his brothers emerge on the scene without any approvals from Amanullah Khan, the tribesmen became suspicious.
Malik Mohammad Alam Khan and Malik Mohammad Afzal Khan, leaders of the Shinwar Rebellion four months earlier, drove Hashim out from their region despaired and disappointed. Hashim’s chances of success among the Khogyanis were comparable with the Shinwar people. Since Khogyani was near Kabul, the gathering and organization of forces in the area was easier for Hashim.
This gave Hashim the idea he was not far away from his goals. Meanwhile, the forces of Habibullah marched from Kabul and the Khogyani Maliks left Hashim and joined the approaching forces. Thus, Hashim’s forces like those of Ali Ahmad Khan’s forces became scattered. He left Afghanistan and after a month returned to India. Although he wanted to go to the southern province to join his brothers, the British sent him to Quetta for their future plans.
When Nadir attacked Kabul, the Achikzais rose against Habibullah Kalakani’s forces. After a few days, they captured Kandahar from Abdul Qadir Kohistani, the governor appointed by Habibullah. The flag of Amanullah Khan was hoisted over the town hall.
Immediately, the British brought Hashim back to the frontier. With the collaboration of a number of elders and merchants from Kandahar, Hashim as the agent of Nadir was able to reach Kandahar. By spreading the news of the conquest of Kabul and bating Mehrdil Khan whom he had promised a ministry position.
At least he could take part in achieving the freedom of the country from the thieves and actually handing it over to the treasonous elements of the homeland. However, before entering Afghanistan Nadir met wit his old friend Richard Mechaniki, former British Ambassador in Kabul, who had the crucial duty of being the political agent in Kurm.
After the kingship of Nadir, Mechaniki replaced Humphreys as the British Ambassador in Kabul. Mechaniki briefed him about the latest occurrences and the condition of the tribesmen. Moreover, he outlined to Hashim the procedure of the work he should follow. Mechaniki confirmed the view of Humphreys and said Nadir should hold a tribal meeting and explain his policy before any other activity. He elicited the cooperation of the tribal people.
Shah Mahmud with the invitation message of Habibullah Kalakani and four hundred gold pounds as gift was sent earlier toward the southern provinces. He joined Nadir and informed him about the outcome of his contact with the tribal people. He assured Nadir with the exception of a small number of Ahmadzais, some other Logaris, and the Shiites; the remaining tribes of the southern provinces were on their side.
After receiving the information and guidance from and consulting with his brothers, Nadir prepared the plan of his action. His first activity was sending Shah Mahmud to gather the representatives of the tribes for the tribal meeting in Gardiz. Nadir and Shah Wali stayed at Alikhel of Jaji and started to communicate with the chiefs, elders, and maliks of the tribes.
Another person who met with Nadir was Mirza Abdul Hakim who earlier was introduced as liaison between him and the British authorities. According to the declassified documents of the British government, Hakim received a considerable amount of money transferred to Peshawar during Amanullah Khan’s time. It was to buy government supplies through Anbdar, a German businessman, residing in Kabul.
According to the guidance of Welton who was Chief Commissioner of Peshawar, Nadir was assured of the existence of such a considerable sum. First, Nadir ordered the purchase of British guns and ammunitions, which were available at Lowarguy and other part of the Khyber Pass. They are available at cheap prices and in considerable quantity and transferred them immediately.
Nadir also requested Mirza Abdul Hakim, Commercial agent of Afghanistan in Peshawar, to buy weapons with the Afghan government funds and to send the consignments to him. However, Mirza Abdul Hakim who was aware of his intentions refused to do so.
Disappointed Nadir sent Humphreys a letter who was in Peshawar where he had asked for him to send money. The letter was sent through Mohammad Sadiq Mojadidi who was a man introduced to Nadir as a messenger and confidante. This letter is now part of the declassified documents of the British government. It contains a detailed request for the amount of two hundred thousand Indian Rupees for the time being. He added in the letter that if made no difference whether they gave the amount in his name or in the name of the government of Afghanistan. It meant that Nadir considered himself at that time the leader of Afghanistan and on that basis had asked for the money from the British government. Ironically, a few months earlier when Amanullah Khan was in Kandahar he objected to the one-sided interference of the British to which the British replied they felt he was not accepted throughout the country. Now, that Nadir is in similar stance and was never a government minister let alone a leader his requested is being considered.
After a few days, the preliminary steps toward the tribal meeting were taken, Nadir and Shah Wali started towards Gardiz to participate in the meeting. There they were welcomed by Ghausuddin, son of Jandad Ahmadzai, who was also a seasoned British conspirator and adventurer. According to a source who was at the meeting, two days after the meeting started which was contrary to Nadir’s expectation. The Khost tribes who earlier had promised to stand behind Nadir as well as some of the Ghilzais proclaimed they would cooperate with Amanullah Khan, which is documented in the report of March 14 of the Tribal Commissioner of the Frontier addressed to the Indian government.
The same people proposed to the meeting since Amanullah Khan is now in Ghazni, a delegation consisting of the representatives of the different tribes should be sent to him. The unexpected proposal of the Khost people upset Nadir. As a result, he announcement his opposition to Amanullah Khan in that same meeting.
Nadir reminded the meeting of the Mullah Lang Rebellion, the slaughter of the Mangal chiefs, and other southern tribes by Amanullah Khan. However, this announcement instead of changing the view of the meeting in his favour had a negative effect and a large number of the participants as a sign of protest left the meeting without taking any decision. Thus, the meeting ended in confusion.
Consequently, the opposing elements together with Ghausuddin attacked the Balahissar of Gardiz, the residence of Nadir and his followers. They all ran out in confusion with the help of Abdul Ghani Gardizi through a side exit and reach Alikhel again.
The main reason why Ghausuddin changed sides was he received the decrees of Amanullah Khan through Mirza Faqir Ahmad Khan, Director of Forestry, who addressed to him and the other tribal head in the Southern Province. However, the actual cause of the incident was General Mohammad Sidiq Khan who was Military Commander of the Southern Province (and the brother of Shirjan, Minister of Court for Habibullah Kalakani). He for the time being remained loyal to Amanullah Khan.
Since he assured that Nadir is trying to benefit for himself under the name of Amanullah Khan and advised to stand against this treachery. Shirjan’s brother soon left for Kabul and joined his brothers against Nadir until he lost a leg one of the battles.
Shah Mahmud and Janbaz of Charkh were sent to Logar to prevent the advances of Habibullah Kalakani’s forces. They were also defeated. Nadir saw the support of the tribesmen gave him much less than he had hoped for. He understood without the effective help of the British government, he alone would not be able to stand up to dangerous opponents such as Habibullah.
Accordingly, he sent Shah Wali to Fazel Omar Mojadidi who had recently arrived from India and resided in Orgoon. There he was busy gathering forces, Nadir’s agents asked for his help and cooperation. He was asked to prevent the Ghilzais from joining Amanullah Khan’s forces. This matter is described in detail in Shah Wali’s book My Memoirs.
Meanwhile, Haji Mohammad Akbar Yousofi, Former Consul in Bombay, was sent to Simla with a letter to Deans Barry, Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the India government, along with a personal letter to Humphreys would help to deliver the letter and fulfil his requests.
Thus, Nadir expressed in this secret letter dated September 18, 1929, which is filed document number F.40 in the National Archives of India:
“If the Indian Government does not allow the tribesmen on the other side of
the frontier to help him, he would not succeed at all. Therefore, Afghanistan would face an anarchy. The current situation would be explained to you in detail by Haji Mohammad Akbar himself. The coming of a powering Government in Afghanistan is entirely in the interest of the British government. Moreover, the following privileges would be given to the British government:
1. Establishment of closer relations between Afghanistan and Britain.
2. Reduction of Russian influence.
3. Refraining from inimical and inflammatory publicity against India.
4. Construction of Chaman, Kandahar, and Herat railways.
5. Establishing relations among the frontier tribes so as to suit the British Government.
6. In spite of being independent, Afghanistan would accept financial aid from the British Government as before.”
Nadir obtained the agreement of the British government to use the tribesmen beyond the frontier. By their cooperation, Nadir succeeded to conquer Kabul. Nadir clearly confessed in his letter to the Indian government that without the effective and direct cooperation of the British government in the use of the competent forces of Wazir and Mashud Provinces. Otherwise, he was quite sure it would be impossible for him to succeed against Habibullah Kalakani.
As it is understood from the text of his letter and proposals, Nadir received those privileges at the cost of the independence of Afghanistan. From this point, he like those before him could not free themselves from the British influence and authority. The prior 20 year term was freed by Amanullah Khan.
After the aforementioned agreement, the British government officially continued with her so called policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. To deceive local and foreign people, the British agents apparently forbade the tribesmen from entering Afghan soil.
However, in practice the Wazir and Mahsud forces numbering over ten thousand people were sent inside Afghanistan under the supervision of British personnel and Nadir’s agent, Mawlawi Alanawaz Multani, with large sums of money and weapons to gather and mobilize forces.
It is worth considering that during the revolt of Shinwar when the people of Momand wanted to enter Afghanistan in favour of Amanullah Khan, it was the British government that forbad their entering and resorted to air bombardment. However, then contented with overall protestations and the official personnel that “because of the sensitiveness of the time tribal forces should be strictly prevented from any practical actions.” This was the meaning of the non-interference policy of the British government six months earlier announced by the British Foreign Secretary in the parliament of that country.
At Alikhel, Nadir watched for the arrival of the tribesmen. At the same time, he prepared the plan of attack on Kabul. During this time, he prepared the plan of attack on Kabul. On the other side, Shah Wali and Shah Mahmud at the entrance of the Logar Pass took their defensive positions. They were also warding off the attacks of the forces of Habibullah Kalakani.
It was at this moment that Aminjan, brother of Amanullah Khan, accompanied by Hazaras and using a detour arrived at Alikhel and ran into Nadir. Nadir tricked him by advising him to save his life and that it would be better for him to leave Afghanistan without delay. Nadir could ask the Indian government to assign him a suitable residence and salary until conditions to better in Afghanistan. Instead, Nadir sent different messages to the British personnel. For example, he asked that Abdul Hakim Khan, Commercial Agent in Peshawar, who openly criticized Nadir’s intentions to be exiled in Rangun.
Meanwhile, as the plan for preparation and organization of attack on Kabul was completed the tribesmen with zeal and excitement of bringing back Amanullah Khan finally appeared on the battle scene. With a few days they defeated the forced of Habibullah on several fronts. At that time, first of all Shah Wali leading one of those forces through Charasyb reached Kabul and declared himself the “Conqueror of Kabul. One the other side, Shah Mahmud, leading another force chased the surrendered forces of Habibullah arriving the next day through Rishkhor and Daralaman in Kabul.
When Nadir was assured that Kabul was occupied and Habibullah took refuge toward Kohistan, he then came to Chilsitoon. One the next day, Nadir victoriously entered Kabul and Bagh Alimardan, the quarter of his grandfather Sardar Sultan Mohammad Khan Telai. There he consulted with the near relations some of whom were the near dependents of the imperialist organization. Such as Shir Ahmad Zikria and Faiz Mohammad Zikria.
There, at that meeting preparations for the election of the future king were made and the plot revealed that they all betrayed their oath to bring back Amanullah Khan and used the tribesmen. Finally, the crowing ceremony took place at the Public Hall of Salamkhana on October 16, 1929 in the presence of a small number of his comrades. That desired and chosen candidate of the British government who earlier received the tile of “Winner Bead” by the Indian government finally reached his imperial destiny.
His clear promises contained in his speeches and published declarations distributed among the people were quite contrary to what he practiced. For instance, in a meeting collusively and without the knowledge and agreement of the people he proclaimed himself king of Afghanistan.
According to a previous and agreement, the British, soon offered to Nadir the amount of one Kror Rupees as a contribution for what he had committed himself. According to the declassified documents of the British government, Nadir requested them that this amount be changed to Sterling Pounds and transferred to the Bank of England to his personal account.
Humphreys, his old friend and colleague, who got for his activities the position of High Commissioner of England in Iraq, tried to raise the mentioned amount from one Kror to six Kror for the sake of friendship.
But, according to documents of the time which existed in the National Archives of India, the total expenses of England for the fall of the progressive government of Amanullah until the succession of the reactionary and anti-nationalist regime of Nadir was estimated to be over 600,000 Kror. Although during that reactionary movement the Afghans bore great losses and thousands of youth were sacrificed, millions of money and wealth were spent uselessly. But the main disadvantage was the loss of precious time and opportunity that could have been used for the progress of the country.
In spite of the fact that the people of Afghanistan were put out of patience due to the cruelty, oppression, and tyranny of Habibullah the kingship of Nadir which started wit deceit, and dishonesty was not welcomed by them. From the very early days the people did not trust Nadir. Thus, when he announced his cabinet and declared his policy their doubt changed into opposition and antagonism. Especially the voice of criticism and adducting rose from the intellectual circles all over the country.
Especially his weak foreign policy that took the British side strongly shocked the Afghans and made them to rise and begin their struggle. Soon, the national uprising took shape and an all-sided struggle was started in the country. Nadir and his protectors knew that the Afghans would never give up their freedom and independence for any price as they had shown in the time of Shah Shuja and Yaqub Khan. Under such circumstances and conditions they not only rise against the foreign influence, they also fight against the internal reactionary until their last dying breath.
Thus, during the four years of Nadir’s kingship, the courageous people of Afghanistan continued their struggles against him. It was a strange struggle between life and death, therefore, Nadir resorted to all kinds of savagely and fierce acts against the compatriots. The people of Afghanistan fro mall classes and circles individually and in groups, and with empty hands but high morals rose and struggled against Nadir.
The imposing and uncompassionate Nadir using every handy facility tried to annihilate them but in spite of all this, the people’s struggle did not stop. When the people received a single stroke in reply they dealt several heavy blows to him. If he killed a compatriot, for avenging his death another compatriot killed his brother.
outside the country. Whenever he hanged a group of intellectual people, another youth killed a number of the British personnel who protected Nadir.
Briefly, in that bloody war in which equipment and forces of the two sides were not comparable hundreds of Afghan intellectuals lost their lives. But, finally the success was with the Afghan nation. Although that irreconcilable work took four years at the end Nadir was shot and killed by a bulled of an ardent youth. Thus, the shameful stain was washed out from the skirt of the homeland. After that incident this nation spent forty-five years under the descendents of that bloody and tyrant dynasty. It was the Afghan Nation's Saur Uprising that ended the fifty years of illegal sovereignty of a despotic dynasty.
· Indian national Archives. Declassified Pages of years 1919-1931.
· India Office Record (manuscript of India Ministry). 1919-1929
· Rhea Talley Stewart. Fire in Afghanistan.
· N. Baker and Air Marshall Heyola Chapman. Wings over Kabul.
· Louise Dupree. Afghanistan.
· Ronald Wild. Amanullah Khan: The Ex-king of Afghanistan.
· Madame Violees. Rebellion in Afghanistan.
· Colonel Premakov. Afghanistan in Fire. Translated by M.S. Tarzi.
· Iqbal Ali Shah. My life from highway robbery to kingship: Habibullah Kalakani.
· Ghulam Mohaiuddin Anis. Crisis and Deliverance.
· Monshi Ali Ahmad Shalizi. The Fall of Amanullah Khan.
· A collection of Aman-i-Afghan dated 1307.
· A collection of Habib-al-Islam dated 1307
· Interviews with the people who were seen or took part in those happenings.