DOST MUHAMMAD KHAN. AMIR
DOST MUHAMMAD KHAN. AMIR (1791-1863), ruler of Kabul and Qandahar, was the son of Painda Khan (executed 1799), the Barakzai chief. Dost Muhammad`s first engagement with the Sikhs was at Attock, the Afghan citadel, which had fallen into the hands of the Sikhs in June 1813. In the conflict which lasted three months, Dost Muhammad Khan, who himself led the attack in the battle of Haidru, 8 km from Attock, was badly mauled by the Sikh force commanded by Diwan Mohkam Chand. As a result of the fighting among the members of the Durrani and Barakzai families, Dost Muhammad finally established himself in 1823 in Kabul, Kashmir having been lost to the Sikhs in 1819.
In 1833, Shah Shuja`, the dethroned king of Afghanistan, attempted to regain his throne, but he was defeated by Dost Muhammad Khan at Qandahar.In 1834, Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed Peshawar.Dost Muhammad Khan, resolved to recover the city, marched with an army to the Khaibar Pass in 1835, but, fearing that the Sikh army would cut off his rear, retired towards Kabul.Dost Muhammad led out another expedition in 1837, and a fierce engagement took place at Jamrud in which the Sikh general, Hari Singh Nalva, was killed, but the fort of Jamrud remained in the possession of the Sikhs. Soon afterwards, Dost Muhammad made overtures to the British soliciting their help for the recovery of Peshawar.
The British, however, decided to replace Shah Shuja` on the Kabul throne. Dost Muhammad was defeated and exiled to Calcutta in November 1839. He was set free in November 1842, and reestablished on the throne of Kabul. Dost Muhammad thereafter maintained cordial relations with the Sikhs and there was a regular exchange of embassies between the two governments. A representative of the Sikh kingdom was accredited to Kabul, while an agent of the Amir was always present at Lahore. Dost Muhammad received the support of the Sikhs at the time of the treaty made at Peshawar with the British governorgeneral, by which the independence of Afghanistan was recognized. Dost Muhammad Khan died at Herat on 9 June 1863.
1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs. Princeton, 1963, 1966
3. Hasrat, BikramaJit, Life and Times of Ranjit Singh. Hoshiarpur, 1977
4. Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times. Delhi, 1990