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The Qizilbash population of Afghanistan (Ludwig W.

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    Posted: 03 Dec 2016 at 07:12

The Qizilbash population of Afghanistan (Ludwig W. Adamec, 1985)








A Mughal Persian tribe settled in different parts of Afghanistan, and especially in Kabul and its neighbourhood.
When Nadir Shah marched for India in 1738, he left at Kabul a “chandawal,” or rear guard, of this tribe, whose name is derived from the red caps they once wore, i.e., kizil bash. After the death of Nadir Shah they remained at Kabul as a military colony, and their descendants still occupy a distinct quarter of the city, which is called Chandawal. They hold their ground in Afghanistan as a distinct Persian community of the Shia persuasion against the native Sunni population. They constitute an important element in the general population of the capital, and exercise a considerable influence in local politics. Owing to their isolated position and antagonism to the Afghans, they are favourable inclined to the British. Indeed the overture which Burnes reports to have been made to him by Naib Muhammad Sharif shows this. He says that “the Kizilbashis were then dangerously places, as their quarter, the Chandawal, being completely commanded, they could easily be overpowered by an infuriated population; but if a piece of ground could be got for them at a distance, they would build a fort on it bridle the ruler whoever he might be and prove of eminent service to any power who might purchase their good offices. That besides their own military strength, which amounted to 5,000 cavalry, they could reckon on the aid of the Hazaras, who were also Shias, and the Ghilzais, who were decidedly inimical to the Duranis.” read more
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