Islamic HistoryMuslim EmpiresWorld history

How did Kabul Become the Capital Of Afghanistan p1

How did Kabul Become the Capital Of Afghanistan p1

The story began in 1772. King Ahmad Shah Abdali was on his deathbed near Kandahar. He had been stricken with cancer and diabetes. He stuttered and used hand gestures to convey his meaning. In this condition, he made an important decision for the future of Afghanistan. The decision shocked his courtiers. He appointed his younger son Timur his successor, instead of the eldest Suleiman. His courtiers weren’t happy. Such violation of the Afghan tradition could lead to civil war. But was Abdali’s decision really wrong?

What was the outcome of Sindhi-Afghan war? Why was Kabul made the capital of Afghanistan, who was the Anarkali of Peshawar? So Abdali appointed his younger son. Timur Shah was the governor of Herat. Suleiman Shah was the governor of Kandahar. The courtiers opposed the decision as it was against the tradition. Wazir Shah Wali and General Jahan Khan were against this decision too. They both favored his eldest son Suleiman Shah. They tried their best to convince Abdali to change his decision.

They asked him to appoint Suleiman Shah as his successor. But Abdali didn’t agree. They didn’t even allow Timur Shah to see his father. He was told that his father didn’t want to see him. A disappointed Timur Shah returned to Herat. Abdali died in 1772/73 at the age of 50. The issue of his succession was still unresolved. The courtiers kept his death a secret. They also controlled the state resources. Shah Jahan and Shah Wali took possession of the royal treasury. They didn’t want this wealth to fall in the wrong hands.

Abdali’s body was taken in a palanquin to Kandahar. It looked like as the King was still alive and riding the palanquin. An eunuch, Yakut Khan also often visited the palanquin. He pretended to be talking to the king. Thus no one knew of Abdali’s death until the convoy reached Kandahar. The founder of Durrani Empire, Abdali had died. Both courtiers Suleiman Shah as the new King. But their move was defeated quickly. The eunuch, Yakut Khan, was loyal to Timur Shah.

He sent a secret message to Timur Shah in Herat. He informed him of the conspiracy. Timur Shah’s brother was being enthroned against his father’s will. Timur Shah received this message in Herat and quickly marched on Kandahar. But Suleiman Shah had no great army to fight his brother. Timur Shah’s forces were closing in on Kandahar via Farah province. Suleiman Shah fled to India.

Now, Shah Wali Khan and Jahan Khan feared for their lives. They went to Timur Shah’s camp with their sons and appealed for mercy. But Timur Shah didn’t show mercy. He sent for the executioner and beheaded them all. Then he arrived in Kandahar and took over the government. But he had realized a truth. He had realized that his own Durrani tribe wouldn’t let him rule in peace. They would interfere and conspire against him. He needed a new capital to rule in peace. He wanted a place where his tribe wouldn’t bother him.

He wanted his loyalists around him. He also wanted a defensible and trading capital. Only one Afghan city met all the 3 requirements. This was the city of Kabul. Ghilzai tribes lived in the neighboring provinces of Logar and Nangarhar. Timur Shah’s mother was a Ghilzai, so these tribes were loyal to him.Kabul was also more defensible than Kandahar. Kandahar was a fortified city on a flat land. Its walls couldn’t withstand modern artillery.

While Kabul was a riverside town nestled between mountains. Mountains and the river served as natural defences. Kabul also had a strong fortress, Bala Hisar. It had a double stone wall around it. Heavy guns could be mounted on its walls. The fort had a palace, military buildings and sufficient water supply system. So the Bala Hisar fort met Timur Shah’s defence needs. But it wasn’t just loyalty and defence that Timur Shah wanted. He needed a great trading city.

Kabul also met this requirement. Kabul was an important trade route between India and Central Asia. A lot of trade caravans used to pass through Kabul. Kabul generated a lot more tax revenue than Kandahar. Many Hindu moneylenders also lived in Kabul. They were so rich and even able to give loans to the government. Because of loyalty, defense and economy,

Part 2

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