Zaman Shah

Zaman Shah Durrani

Zaman Shah Durrani (c.1770 - 1844) was ruler of the Durrani Empire from 1793 until 1800. He was the grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani and the fifth son of Timur Shah Durrani. Zaman Shah became the third Emir of Khorasan.

Early years

He seized the throne of the Durrani Empire on the death of his father. He defeated his rivals, his brothers, with the help of Sardar Payenda Khan, chief of the Barakzai. He extracted an oath of allegiance from the final challenger, Mahmud, and in return relinquished the governorship of Herat. In so doing, he divided the power base between Herat and his own government in Kabul, a division which was to remain in place for a century. Kabul was the primary base of power, while Herat maintained a state of quasi-independence. Kandahar was fought over for the spoils.

He attempted to repeat his father's success in India, but his attempts at expansion brought him into conflict with the British. The British induced the Shah of Persia to invade Durrani, thwarting his plans by forcing him to protect his own lands.

In his own lands, things went well for Zaman, at least initially. He was able to force Mahmud from Herat and into a Persian exile. However, Mahmud established an alliance with Fateh Khan, with whose support he was able to strike back in 1800, and Zaman had to flee toward Peshawar. But he never made it--on the way, he was captured, blinded and imprisoned in Kabul, in the Bala Hissar. Little information about the rest of his life is available, but he was probably imprisoned for nearly 40 years, until his death, during which time Afghanistan continued to experience much political turmoil.

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