Barakzai dynasty

Barakzai dynasty
Country Afghanistan
Titles Emir, King
Founded 1826
Founder Dost Mohammad Khan
Current head Ahmed Shah Khan
Bārakzai / BĀRAKZĪ
Amir-ul-Momineen, Amir-i-Kabir Dost Mohammad Khan, who established the Barakzai dynasty in 1826
Mahmud Tarzi, son of Ghulam Muhammad Tarzi, became the pioneer of Afghan journalism, he belonged to the Tarzi royal family
Mohammed Zahir Shah, was the last King (Badshah) of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973, he belonged to the Mohammadzai tribe
Shukria Barakzai, is an Afghan politician, journalist and entrepreneur, and a prominent Muslim feminist. She belongs to the Barakzai tribe
Total population
(several millions)
Regions with significant populations
Afghanistan, Pakistan
Pashto, Dari,
Predominantly Sunni Islam

The two branches of the Barakzai dynasty (Translation of Barakzai: sons of Barak)[1] ruled modern day Afghanistan from 1826 to 1973 when the monarchy ended under Musahiban Mohammad Zahir Shah. The Barakzai dynasty was established by Dost Mohammad Khan after the Durrani dynasty of Ahmad Shah Durrani was removed from power. During this era, Afghanistan saw much of its territory lost to the British in the south and east, Persia in the west, and Russia in the north. There were also many conflicts within Afghanistan, including the three major Anglo-Afghan Wars and the 1929 civil war.

Flag of the Abdali Afghan Tribes. Made from historical texts and references.

History and background

The Barakzai dynasty was the line of rulers in Afghanistan in the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the fall of the Durrani Empire in 1826, chaos reigned in the domains of Ahmed Shah Durrani's Afghan Empire as various sons of Timur Shah struggled for supremacy. The Afghan Empire ceased to exist as a single nation state, disintegrating for a brief time into a fragmented collection of small units. Dost Mohammad Khan gained preeminence in 1826 and founded the Barakzai dynasty in about 1837. Thereafter, his descendants ruled in direct succession until 1929, when King Amanullah Khan abdicated and his cousin Mohammed Nadir Shah was elected king. The most prominent & powerful sub-clan of the Barakzai Pashtun tribe is the Mohamedzai clan, of which the 1826-1973 Afghanistan ruling dynasty comes.[2]

Current Khan of Barakzai tribe

Early Pashtun photograph depicting Amir Sher Ali Khan with Prince Abdullah (seated), Ghaznavid Khan Nasher (with turban) and other Pashtun Khans in 1869.

Currently, Gul Agha Sherzai is the Khan of the Barakzai tribe. He is Senior Advisor to the President of Afghanistan and also Governor of Nangarhar Province.

Barakzai Tribe in District Swabi of Pakistan

A family of Barakzai Tribe is residing in village Tordher of District Swabi of Khyber PukhtoonKhwa.


Mohammadzai are the most prominent & powerful sub-tribe of Barakzai, they belong to the branch of the Durrani confederacy, and are primarily centered around Kandahar. They can also be found in other provinces throughout Afghanistan as well across the border in the Pakistan's Balochistan Province.

Musahiban also known as the Yahya Khel. Descendants of Sultan Muhammed Khan, ruler of Peshawar, brother of Dost Muhammad Khan. Mohammadzai Barakzai are closely related to Amanullah Khan. The family of Nadir and Zahir Shah. Payendah Khel are descendants of Payendah Khan, head of the Mohammadzai branch of the Barakzai tribe during the reigns of Timur and Zaman Shah, who became rulers with the decline of the Sadozai dynasty.

The Tarzi family is a branch of the Mohammadzai of Afghanistan. Although a smaller branch of the Barakzai ruling dynasty, the Tarzi family has produced some of the most famous and affluent members. The founder of Tarzi family was Ghulam Muhammad Tarzi.

Predigree of King Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan. Figure shows the branching of the Abdal dynasty into the Popal (founder of the Popalzai; in figure spelled 'Fofal'), Barak (founder of the Barakzai), and Alako (founder of the Alakozai) line (the fourth branch Achakzai is missing).
Genealogy of the Barakzai rulers of Afghanistan from the Barakzai dynasty

List of Barakzai rulers

Heads of the House of Barakzai since 1973

The Emirate of Western Baluchistan

Nawabs of Kurwai and Basoda

Barakzai Feroze Khel




The principal language of Barakzai is Pashto. Formerly, Dari Persian was used as the language for records and correspondence; until the late nineteenth century tombstones were also inscribed in Dari. The language of the Barakzai tribes in Pishin, Quetta, Gulistan and Dukki (Distt. Loralai) is just like the language spoken in Kandahar. Those who have settled away from Pishin speak local languages (Pushto), such as Multani or Saraiki in Multan, Hindko in Hazara, Urdu in Bhopal and Sindhi in Sindh. Barakzai, a dialect of Pashto, is the language spoken by Harnai Barakzai.[3][4][5]

See also


  1. Martin, Mike (2014). An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict, 1978-2012. Oxford University Press. p. 321. ISBN 978-0199387984. Retrieved 26 July 2016. In Pushtun folklore, Barak, Alak and Popol were brothers who went their separate ways to found tribes in their own namesake with the addition of the—zai (son of) suffix, for example, Barakzai.
  2. "Afghanistan". CIA. The World Factbook. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  3. Pakistan and the emergence of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan By Rizwan Hussain Page 16
  4. page 64 India and Central Asia By J. N. Roy, J.N. Roy And B.B. Kumar, Astha Bharati (Organization)
  5. Study of the Pathan Communities in Four States of India Archived May 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., (retrieved 30 January 2008)

External links

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