Diaries of Kandahar:1891-1892 (vol 5 – 3 of 5)

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News. D.No. 198 F. No.2806, dated Quetta, the 14th May 1892.
From-Major-General Sir J. Browne, K.C.S.I.,C.B., R.E., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
News-letter No, 19.
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Taki Khan, 7th May 1892.

The Amir has written to the Governor reprimanding him. His Highness observes that, from letters received from Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan, it appears that supplies and ammunition have not yet reached his camp. The Sardar complains of this, and desires to ascertain the cause of the omission.

His Highness orders the Governor to make arrangements forthwith for the despatch of a sufficient supply of ammunition and provisions to the Sardar’s camp, and adds that the Governor will be held personally responsible for any further omission in this respect.

The Governor has submitted a detailed list to the Amir of the supplies and ammunition already despatched by him to Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan’s camp, together with a letter expressing his astonishment at hearing that these articles have not reached their destination. He adds that he is at a loss to understand why the Sardar has misrepresented his action despite the fact that he has actually sent supplies and ammunition in compliance with Abdul Kudus Khan’s request. The Governor has further collected all the available lead and gunpowder from the Kandahar shop-keepers, and despatched it to the Sardar’s camp with additional supplies.

Abdul Kudus Khan is still at Chureh where the rebels attack his camp nightly. The Hazaras of Byantan are reported to have attacked the Sardar’s force lately , killing and wounding several of the tribal force which was sent against them.

The Governor informs me that the Amir has ordered Abdul Kudus Khan to suspend further hostilities pending the arrival of reinforcements from Kabul. These reinforcements are expected to reach Chilleh Kur shortly. The troops already stationed at Chilleh Kur have been overpowered by the repeated attacks made on them by the Hazaras. No news has reached Kandahar from Brigadier Zabardast Khan’s camp. It will be remembered that the Brigadier’s force was reported to have been surrounded by the rebels in Urzagan. The people of Kandahar say that the situation of the Brigadier’s force is critical.

3. The tribal force recently sent to Urzagan was, in the first instance, provisioned from the Government granary on cash payment. The Governor has now issued orders, directing the men composing the force to make private arrangements at Kandahar for provisioning themselves.

9. Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan has addressed the Amir complaining of the behaviour of the people of Tirin and Dehrawud, as also of the Duranis and others. The Sardar writes that the rebellion does not appear to be confined to the Hazaras alone, as the behaviour of the Afghans points to the conclusion that they too are disposed to evince a rebellious bearing especially in the matter of their failure to render any assistance in supplying his camp with provisions.



News. D.No.208 F. No.2938, dated Quetta, the 21st May 1892.
From-Major General Sir James Browne, K.C.S.I., C.B., R.E., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Taki Khan, 14th May 1892.

3. It is reported that the Urzagan Hazaras have attacked the advanced guard of Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan’s force at a place called Kalkhar, and that Abdul Wahab, Sadbashi, and several soldiers and Khassadars were killed. The remainder of the advance guard were compelled to fall back on their main body. On the following night, the Hazaras made a night attack on Abdul Kudus Khan’s camp. A hand to hand conflict ensued, great loss being occurred on either side. According to the Governor’s statement, the Hazaras suffered great losses in this engagement, and their attack was made so suddenly that no recourse could be had to rifles, but the fighting had to be done with bayonets and swords. The common report, however, is that Abdul Kudus Khan’s force, and not the Hazaras, suffered the greater loss, as he was compelled to fall back and encamp at Wana. No fresh news has been received from Chilleh Kur, nothing of importance having apparently occurred at that place. The Governor has given out that the army under General Sher Muhammad Khan has moved from Kabul towards Daya and Faulad.

The Governor is busily engaged in collecting and despatching supplies to Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan’s camp. Whatever camels, donkeys and ponies are forthcoming, are brought in and despatched with supplies to Urzagan. The Hazaras of Giru and Taimran in the Dehrawud district are reported to have risen in rebellion, and to have attacked the Governor of Dehrawud, and seized all the Government money in his charge. It is reported that the rebels have drawn all the Governor’s teeth, a novel sort of punishment.

4. The Governor of Kandahar has shown great zeal and energy in collecting tribal sowars and despatching them to Urzagan. He has written to the people of Maruf and Arghistan, urging them on the necessity of collecting tribal sowars and despatching them as soon as possible.

5. The Governor has ordered half of the ammunition formerly sent to Shinkai and Salisun to be brought back for despatch to Urzagan.

6. Several families of the Kandahari troops now stationed in Kabul have this week arrived in Kandahar, owing to the severity of cholera in Kabul. They report that, in the event of the continuance of cholera in Kabul, His Highness the Amir will probably go to Turkistan.



News. D.No. 217 F. No.3058, dated Quetta, the 27th May 1892.
From-Major-General Sir James Browne, K.C.S.I., C.B., R.E., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Takki Khan, 21st May 1892.

1. The Governor has read out in Darbar a letter recently received by him from His Highness the Amir. The purport of the letter is as follows:-

An engagement has taken place between the force under General Sher Muhammad Khan and the Hazaras of Ujristan, Malistan, Daya and Faulad. In this engagement most of the positions occupied by the Hazaras were captured, a large number of them were killed, and their property and wives and families fell into General Sher Muhammad’s hands. Farhad Khan has fought a battle with the Hazaras of Jaghori, in which he gained a complete victory. The Amir concluded his letter with the remark that the rebellious Hazaras would soon be completely subdued.

On the same day the Governor assembled all the Durani Khans, and directed them to furnish as soon as possible a thousand more tribal sowars, in addition to those already provided by them. He also ordered the immediate despatch of two guns to Tirin from Kandahar. The Khassadars, belonging to the various posts from Takht-i-Pul to Chaman, have been recalled to Kandahar, only three men being left at each post, and out of them a fresh company has been formed which has been sent to Tirin.

The shop-keepers have again been called on to supply as much lead as they can, and from one to two seers have been collected from each. The zamindars have been ordered to provide donkeys to carry provisions to Urzagan. A copy of the Amir’s letter has been sent to the zamindars, and they have been told that they should furnish as many tribal sowars as they can. They have also been ordered to join the expedition to Urzagan without delay, and have been told that His Highness the Amir intends to distribute the land and property of the Hazaras amongst the Afghans.

This action of the Governor has led the people to attach little belief to the news of General Sher Muhammad Khan’s victory. They even go so far as to say that the General has, in reality, suffered a reverse, and has himself been wounded. Until the receipt of the Amir’s letter the people here were not certain whether the Jaghori Hazaras had also rebelled, but now they entertain no doubt in the matter.

Brigadier Zabardast Khan, with a force consisting of two regiments of infantry and six guns, was reported to be surrounded by the rebels, but this week the Governor gave out that he had succeeded in making good his escape, and had joined Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan’s camp at Tirin. Here, however, the rumour is current that, out of Zabardast Khan’s force, only some two hundred men have survived, and that these were being closely besieged in two forts. Subsequently, so the report goes, they were compelled from want of food to send a Koran to the Hazaras (as a token of submission), and they were then disarmed and permitted to retire to Tirin. At any rate it is reported that not more than two hundred men have joined Abdul Kudus Khan’s camp. It would thus appear that all the arms and the six guns, belonging to Zabardast Khan’s force, have fallen into the hands of the Hazaras.

2. It is rumoured here that the Hazaras of Urzagan have attacked the Hazaras of Giru, and plundered the town on the score of the Giru Hazaras having given assistance to Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan. It is stated that at the time of the engagement, Abdul Kudus Khan’s family was at Giru.

3. The Hazaras of Askar, Kisu, and Tamran are reported to be raiding in the Dehrawud districts.



News.D.No. 230 F. No.3252, dated Quetta, the 5th June 1892.
From-Major-General Sir James Browne, K.C.S.I., C.B., R.E., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
News-letter No. 22.
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Takki Khan. 28th May 1892. >>>>(Peg.108)<<<<

2. Lal Muhammad Kazi has sent news from Quetta to his brother, Abdulla, at Kandahar that some notable Urzagan Hazaras came to the British officers at Quetta, and that, after they returned to Urzagan, the rebellion broke out. Abdulla forwarded this news to His Highness at Kabul. His Highness has written to the Governor of Kandahar, censuring him for his want of energy in not watching the Hazaras, and so preventing them from going to Quetta. The Governor has summoned the Tahsildar and Thanadar of Takht-i-Pul, and called for an explanation from them as to why they permitted the Hazaras to proceed to Quetta.

3. Two letters have been received from His Highness this week on the subject of affairs at Urzagan. The first letter is addressed to the Duranis of Kandahar. His Highness the Amir writes that the settlement of the Urzagan affair should be made by the Duranis of Kandahar. If they were brave and zealous, they would themselves undertake to put down the rebellion at Urzagan; otherwise they should submit a letter confessing their want of zeal and patriotism, and then His Highness would decide the matter himself. The Governor accordingly sent for the Khans and notables of the Durani tribes, and informed them of the contents of His Highness’s letter, and asked them what reply he should send to the Amir. The Duranis were at a loss what reply to send; at last they decided to take upon themselves to supply 2,000 tribal sowars for an Urzagan expedition. The Amir’s second letter was in the shape of a notification proclaiming the Hazaras as infidels, and declaring their property as lawfully confiscated to the Afghans. This notification has been publicly affixed on the high road and in the Kandahar bazaar. A letter has been sent to the Durani tribes from His Highness that 10,000 tribal sowars are to be sent against the Hazaras from Kabul, 10,000 from Badakhshan and Turkistan, 10,000 from Herat, 10,000 from Farah and Zamindawar, and 10,000 from the Duranis of Kandahar. The letter adds that, after Urzagan is captured, all the Hazaras are to be put to the sword, their wives, children, and property being distributed as booty among the Afghans. The Governor states that he also will proceed to Urzagan with the Kandahar tribal sowars. At present the local sowars are collected in the proportion of one in ten from every tribe irrespective of their caste, and not especially from the Duranis. Two thousand men only can be collected on the above calculation. Every two men have to provide a donkey for the transport of rations, &c.: each man has also to bring with him 100 bullets. There being no lead in the State arsenal, these men have to provide bullets at their own expense. These men are hired from all tribes, and are people of little respectability or means. Most of them are old or weak and unfit for active service, and would probably be of no use except in number. This appears to be against the order.>>>(Peg.108)<<<

Note by the Agent to the governor-general:

Para.2-This is the silly way in which had feeling is got up with the Amir. I have found this man, Lal Muhammad Kazi, in the Baleli village near Quetta, and warned him that, if I again heard of his reporting such mischievous nonsense, I would give him 50 lashes in the Quetta market place, and turn him out of British territory.
J. B.

Para.3- I had by mere chance an interview this morning with a Taraki Ghilzai, who left Urzagan about a week ago, and who had come into Quetta to get a severe and perfectly fresh bullet wound in his arm dressed, which he had received in the fighting with the Hazaras. He says Abdul Kudus Khan had deserted with a regiment of infantry and a squadron of cavalry, the men having dispersed, and Abdul Kudus himself having made his escape from the Amir’s authority, through the Hazara country. His account is that, in the fight where he was wounded, the attack on the Hazaras was made by Ghilzai irregular levies, who were repulsed with a loss, he says, of some 350 killed (chietly Tokhi Ghilzais) He says there are some 4,000 regular troops, and about 5,000 irregulars like himself, attacking the Hazaras; but that the regulars absolutely decline to fight; and have only lost some four men killed, as they always keep well in the rear; and that the Amir’s orders are not to expose his regulars to being cut up, as their main object is to push on the irregulars to the attack; and to prevent the irregulars turning against the Amir if any misfortune or severe loss befell his regular troops, who quite appreciate the situation, and don’t consider themselves as at all intended to fight anybody. The irregulars have, therefore, the meanest opinion of the regulars’ fighting powers, and are only coerced by them to go on to the attack through fear of the breech-loaders with which we have supplied the Amir’s regulars. The wounded man, however, says the Hazaras will before long be crushed, although the Amir threatens to cut out the tongue, and then cut off the head of any man who ventures to say the Hazaras have hitherto got the best of it. This is useful information as confirming the opinion I have long held that the royal road to make the Afghans utterly useless as a means of fighting under their own Afghan leaders, either England or Russia is to induce the Amir to make every Afghan in the country into a regular soldier, drilled a European and with the whole of his native fighting power knocked out of him by a European system of drill-book.



(a letter is received?) of His Highness that the Urzagan affair should be settled solely by the Duranis. The ryots are put to heavy expense and trouble in connection with the collection of tribal sowars, and the officers employed in carrying it out are availing themselves of the occasion by filling their own pockets. It appears from this that the news of the victory gained by General Sher Muhammad Khan and given out last week must be unfounded. The force under Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan, owing to being constantly harassed by the rebels. has retired from Chureh and Tirin to Dahala. His Highness the Amir has forwarded to the Governor of Kandahar a letter received from Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan, complaining of the want of supplies and ammunition, and attributing the fact to negligence on the part of the Kandahar officials. His Highness censures the Governor for showing want of energy in despatching transport and ammunition to the Sardar, and calls upon him to account for his conduct. The Governor expresses his surprise that the Sardar should have misrepresented the matter to His Highness the Amir, despite the fact that he has been sending supplies, &c., to the Sardar for the last two months. He adds that he has already sent all the ammunition available in Kandahar to the Sardar. It appears that Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan has not sent any receipts for the stores supplied to him by the Governor; and this has led the Governor to suspect the conduct of the latter. He has there fore deputed Diwan Sada Nand to the Sardar with instructions to obtain receipts for all the supplies and ammunition hitherto supplied. The Governor and Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan are greatly at variance with one another, and are on the look-out for an opportunity to impeach one another’s conduct.

4. On the 27th instant, the Governor after prayers ascended the pulpit and proclaimed the Hazaras to be infidels, with the object of inducing the people to undertake a religious war against them. He told the congregation that he wanted 1,000 men to be brought to him at the head of whom he would himself proceed to Urzagan.

On the 28th, the Governor, accompanied by a few sowars and some Khassadars, amounting in all to some 300 men with two guns, marched to the Bagh-i-Amir-Afzal Khan. The police have been ordered to collect and send to the Governor, as soon as possible, one man out of every ten inhabitants of the town. These men are to furnish their own arms. The inhabitants, who are shop-keepers and have no arms, are at a loss to know how to procure the arms required of them. The Governor appears to be greatly perturbed in mind, from which it would appear that he must have received unfavourable news from the camp of Abdul Kuddus Khan. This conduct on the part of the Governor has led the people to make various speculations. Some say that Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan has joined the Hazara rebels, while others say that the force under the Sardar has been signally defeated, and the Hazaras have occupied the Tirin district. No authentic news on the subject can be obtained at present. Great excitement and commotion prevail here. The Chaman road is unsafe owing to the misbehaviour of the Achakzais and Nurzais, and messengers are stripped and robbed on the high road. >>>>>(Peg.109)<<<<<<

Note by the Agent to the governor-general.

Para 3 -There are some 5,000 regulars altogether and now perhaps 5,000 irregulars at Urzagan. The Hazaras may have some 10,000 men, scarcely armed. They apparently hold two defiles leading into an open plain. Once these defiles are forced (a mere question of time), there will be an indiscriminate slaughter; a ghastly massacre, as all their women and children are in the plain villages. The Ghilzais are all coming into la curee, as they have been told that plunder and murder, &c., of the Hazaras’ property, women, &c., will be allowed for 15 days.

As far as I can ascertain, Abdul Kudus Khan has either deserted, or is so very half-hearted, that he will desert before long, and avoid the usual penalty in Afghanistan of not being a military genius. J.B.

Para 4:-The Amir’s Khassadars in the Registan have been seizing transport so recklessly that it has let to fighting in which yesterday an Achakzai was killed (not a British subject). The Amir’s police posts in the Registan, having killed the man, have, for fear of consequences, bolted to Gatai and abandoned their post in the Registan.



News. D.No. 240 F. No.3341, dated Quetta, the 9th June 1892.
From-Major-General Sir James Browne, K.C.S.I., C.B., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
News-letter No 23,
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Takki Khan, 4th June 1892.

Fresh orders have been received from His Highness the Amir on the subject of the Urzagan rebellion. The Governor read out the letter for public information. The purport of the letter is as follows:-Ghulam Haidar Khan, the Commander-in-Chief of the troops in Turkistan, has been ordered to move with his troops from Turkistan, and Generals Mir Attar Khan and Sher Muhammad Khan from Daya and Fulad to Urzagan. Ten thousand men are to be collected from Herat, ten thousand from Zamindawar and Farrah, and ten thousand from Kandahar under Sardar Abdulla Khan himself (the Governor of Kandahar) who will also march against Urzagan. When the force from Kandahar arrives in the proximity of Urzagan, it is to halt and await the arrival of the other troops. When the combined forces arrive in the Urzagan district, a report should be made to me (the Amir), and I will join them at the head of my troops from Kabul. In this engagement the troops should not be less than 100,000 men and 100 guns. Urzagan should be besieged on all sides and all the Hazaras be put to the sword.

2. Six hundred men were collected within the city of Kandahar and brought to the Governor, who approved of their arms and preferred them to those collected from the outlying districts. He ordered six hundred more men to be recruited from the city. Officials have been appointed to enlist these men. Each man furnished by the citizens is to provide Rs.120 for the purchase of his arms, equipment, transport, &c. This sum will be defrayed by the ryots themselves according to their means. At the first collection of these men, the widows, orphans and Sayads were exempted from any contribution. On the second occasion, however, the above also were included. The inhabitants are therefore put to great loss and inconvenience. The people of the outlying districts, especially the Barakzais and Duranis, have furnished very few tribal sowars and are showing signs of unwillingness to comply with the order.

5. The Governor has ordered all the Durani Khans, even those who are not in receipt of any subsidy, to accompany him to Urzagan. No supplies are given to these Durani Khans. The Governor has ordered them to take supplies with them sufficient for two months, and it is not easy for them to do this. At the time of the Governor’s leaving Bagh I went there to pay my respects to him. He told me that it was his intention to march direct to Tirin and attack the people of Gizu who had also lately risen in rebellion. Afterwards he would march against the Hazaras of Kamran, and would await whatever orders His Highness the Amir might issue to him with regard to further proceedings. He also said that he would remain in Tirin until His Highness the Amir should order him to attack Urzagan. The Governor censures Abdul Kudus Khan for leaving Tirin without a garrison and moving towards Chilleh Kur.

7. The Kandahar people have no authentic news as to the whereabouts of Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan and his force; they therefore are disposed to think that the said Sardar is himself meditating rebellion against the Amir. In confirmation of their idea, they state that one thousand Hazaras of Dehkandi, Tamazan and Gizu are with Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan.



News. D.No.249 F. No. 3513, dated Quetta, the 18th June 1892.
From-Major-General Sir James Browne, K.C.S.I., C.B., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Taki Khan, 11th June 1892.

2. The Governor left Shoo-in for Khakrez on the 6th instant. The previous day the Governor received news from Tirin that Azim Khan son of Alizai Khan, the Chief of the Dehzani (Dehzangi?) Hazaras with 5,000 sowars, entered Tirin, and after attacking Nawa Durafshan, plundered the city and put a great number of the inhabitants to death. He also carried away the families and flocks of the Afghans. The information received went on to say that Azim Khan was encamped at Chureh. On the same date the Governor also received the news of the defeat of the Amir’s troops at Chilleh Kur and the flight and slaughter of the tribal force there. Further he heard that Abdul Kudus Khan had been forced to retire to Showeh, which is in the Chilleh Kur district. It is not certain which road the Governor will take from Khakrez to Tirin. Some people say that he will proceed from Khakrez to Khajour Dehala and thence to Tirin. The day of his departure from Showeh, the Governor ordered a company of Khassadars with two guns to march to Tirin via Dehala, and he himself proceeded to Khakrez with the main body.

6. The Governor has issued orders directing all the Hazaras employed as Khassadars to be disarmed, and called upon to furnish security for their good behaviour. Those who failed to produce the required security have been placed in custody, but they were released after two days incarceration and dismissed the service.

10. A consignment of 20 loads of ammunition had been despatched from Ghazni to Chilleh Kur. This the Hazaras attacked and plundered.



Diaries. D.No.260 F. No.3640,dated Quetta, the 25th June 1892.
From-Major-General Sir James Browne, K.C.S.I., C.B., Agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan,
To-The Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department.
News-letter. No.25,
By Khan Bahadur Mirza Muhammad Taki Khan, 18th June 1892.

7. Bangal, son of Dost Muhammad, Kakar, has told the Governor, after joining his camp, that he is able, by some enchantment, to prevent the Hazara bullets from harming the Afghans. The common folk here are simple enough to believe this nonsense. Dost Muhammad himself is said to have joined General Sher Muhammad Khan’s camp.

9. The Governor has sent a letter to his son, which has been published in Kandahar for general information. The purport of the letter is as follows:- Brigadier Muhammad Sadik Khan, with a force consisting of two regiments of infantry, one cavalry regiment and six guns, had been ordered from Turkistan and has now arrived at Dehrawud. When on the march the Brigadier engaged the Tamazan Hazaras and succeeded in demolishing the Tamazan Fort and wounding a large number of the Hazaras. The casualties on the side of the Brigadier were sixty killed and wounded. The inhabitants of Kandahar, however, do not credit the news. They argue that, if the Tamazan Fort had been demolished and the Hazaras defeated, Brigadier Muhammad Sadik Khan would certainly attack Gizu and force his way to Chureh, and thence enter the Tirin district. Why did he make such a circuit to come via Dehrawud? It is even rumoured that Brigadier Sadik Muhammad’s force has been greatly harassed by the Hazaras, and has been compelled to retreat to the Dehrawud district.

11. The force under Sardar Abdul Kudus Khan is said to be at Shui in the Chilleh Kur district; this week it was rumoured at one time that the Sardar had left his camp, and had proceeded to Shinkai and Darwazagi with a few sowars. The rumour was however subsequently contradicted.

Note by the Governor-general’s Agent:
Para. 11.-Abdul Kudus Khan is apparently playing a double game; and there is a strong feeling in the country that he is backing up the Hazaras secretly; and would gladly seize Kandahar (which he certainly could do in its present state of demoralisation ) on the slightest encouragement from the English Government: fear of which alone restrains him from turning against the Amir.


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