Amanullah Khan, the first chap to assume the title “King of Afghanistan” and the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan. He fought a war against the British, and kinda won.
He actually started this one, and was then thrown the fuck out of the British Raj, thanks to the British military’s superior technology and air power.
Yup, turns out being able to bomb the shit out of Kabul, in an age without Flak guns, is a useful thing, who’d knew?
So, who won? Both of them really, even if the Afghans won the most, sure, the British won militarily, in that they got rid of the Afghani invasion force, but they didn’t gain anything, they accepted the existence of Afghanistan as an independent Kingdom, and reaffirmed the earlier border treaties.
And what did the British then get? Well-armed tribesmen, going nuts in the North-West Frontier, from that day and until the fall of the British Raj, and really, still going strong.
So what happened to our man Amanullah Khan? He won didn’t he? Technically spoken, he did, to bad he then tried to reform a little to fast.
Guess what happened to when you try to change a VERY conservative country really fast? You get murdered, that’s right, five points to Gryffindor.
His immediate successor lasted for decades and he was later described as “Inayatullah Khan the Magnificent”, oh wait, his reign lasted from January 14, 1929 to January 17, 1929.
His succossor had slightly more luck, at least he wasn’t chased around in his Rolls Royce by guys on freaking horses, he still only lasted a few months before being overthrown by:
Habibullāh Kalakāni, who took on the really impressive title: Habībullāh Khādem-e Dīn-e Rasūlallāh (“The servant of the religion of the messenger of God”).
He then ruled for a few months and then got overthrown and executed, his last words where: “Oh God, I have nothing to ask from you, you have given me everything that, I have wanted, you made me Amir…”. Pretty impressive from a guy who really returns to the traditions, including murder!
The next guy, was Mohammed Nadir Shah, King of the God granted Kingdom of Afghanistan and its dependencies.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Mohammad Nadir was related to the Royal family through the usual convoluted mess caused by one of royalty’s old pastimes: Fornications and another of the old pastimes: Backup heirs.
So he gets power and rapidly abolishes most of his predecessor’s reforms, presumably making the enormously conservative majority happy, he then goes and writes a “constitution”, which was basically him going “My family and friends are awesome, the rest of you will do whatever we say.”
He then goes and does the smart thing, build roads and a national army from absolutely nothing, he then goes and does the horribly brutal thing of continuing the Pashtunization his predecessors had been doing, just with bigger guns, probably wiped out a few hundred thousand, not a bad record by a horrible despotic monarch.
No match for anything the Russian Tzars ever did.
He managed to stay in power by using a method similar to freaking Emperor Palpatine, he played the various factions, tribes and clans against each other. And oddly enough, that actually works quite often, if also backfires quite often.
He was then, in the traditionally manner, assassinated, even if it was by some schoolboy, who was of course killed.
Then his entire family was horribly murdered, probably raped and according to a rumour, one of the woman in his extended family was pregnant. She gives birth in prison, the baby is released and probably placed with some loyal family, the mother snaps, and if this had been a video game or a fantasy movie, the boy would return and avenge his lost family.
He probably just went and died of some disease, if he actually existed.
And here we comes to the last King of Afghanistan: Mohammed Zahir Shah. Who died a few years ago, thus breaking a proud tradition of being murdered by someone else.
He was characterized by being a fairly decent monarch, which really just mean that he didn’t really do anything for the first thirty years of his fairly long reign, except improving foreign relations with anyone who knew Afghanistan was an actual nation.
Until 1963 when he goes and proclaims a new constitution with all the trappings of a civilized nation, civil rights, equality between the sexes, parliament, the whole thing.
To bad factionalism and his cousin killed the whole thing off in 1973, when Mohammed Daoud Khan goes and overthrows him while he was being operated in Italy, and then goes and breaks tradition by proclaiming himself President, rather than doing what everyone before that did, and just proclaiming himself King/Emir.
To be fair to Zahir, there was an attempted assination in 1991, decades after he was thrown out of Afghanistan, by some guy pretending to be Portuguese, and he did manage to return in 2002, when the Taliban had been thrown out.
He then died of old age.
But back to Daoud, who was kinda angry he’d been removed from any power by the 1963 consitution, goes and forms a defacto military dictatorship, with the rubberstamp of a loyalist Loya Jirga, which is a sort of old school tribal gathering, kinda like the Witenagemot of old England.
He then goes and pisses all over his neighbour by his foolish Pashtun nationalism, thus resulting in Pakistan closing the border and going “Fuck you”.
Thus pretty much forcing poor Daud to look towards the now Soviet Union, who delightfully responds by sending him cheap military equipment.
He even goes and actually invades Pakistan, and is then repulsed by, get this, Pakistani Pashtun Tribesmen.
That’s right, the guy he’s hoping “liberate” actually helped the Pakistani army fighting his forces off, isn’t that just fucking ironic?
He then goes and suppress Islamic fundamentalist, proclaim a single party state, distance himself form the communists and in 1978, in a return to traditions, he gets overthrown, this time not by a family member, but the Communists.
He then gets shot, and officially “Retires due to Health issues”, which is technically correct, pretty sure that bullets in your brain counts as “health issues”.
The Communists then goes and tries to turn the country into a socialists wonderstate, to bad they kinda missed the whole “Islam is a really strong religion” thing, which caused the entire scheme to fail hilariously, forcing the Soviets to intervene, and here we go, it’s time for war.
The Soviets invasion of Afghanistan went really well in the begining, and then got bogged down by angry Afghani tribesmen, kinda like the British did, and then the CIA went and started support rebels too, making it even harder for the Soviets.
The Soviets tried for nine long years, then gave up and buggered out in 1989, they did keep supplying the Afghanistan Communists with weapons until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Communists in Kabul lasted to 1992, when they kinda ran out of everything, from food and water to guns and bullets.
The war basically fucked everything up, the infrastructure went to hell in a hand-basket, and even through the Soviets had helped the Afghani’s with raw material extraction, even today, Afghanistan has a few dozen natural gas operations build by the Soviets, it all just fell apart during the civil war.
Now, when the Communist, the popular misconception probably is that the Taliban seized power immediately after, they didn’t actually, sure, they had control of some areas, but most of Afghanistan was under control of that weeks attempt at a nation-state, which fell in 1996, went he Taliban went and returned to tradition, by proclaiming the Emirate of Afghanistan, with a brand new Emir.
Mohammed Omar, who according to images, have a giant beard:
The Taliban basically went and turned the clock back around a century, to just before the turn of the last century, brutally enforcing the barbaric Sharia law.
It just went downhill from there really, the Taliban really didn’t do anything good for the country in this entire period, isn’t that awesome?
They probably could have gotten away with it, until the pissed the Americans off in 2002, and got invaded by everyone’s favourite superpower, The United States of America.
Who then beat the shit out of the Taliban, kicked them out of the cities, and then did the same freaking thing as the British and the Soviets and tried to put their own puppets in power, and by puppet, I mean Hamid Karzai, a corrupt fucker with a list of sins a billion miles long.
Why they didn’t just dig out the old King and put him into place, proclaiming the restoration of Afghanistan, I don’t know.
So the history of Afghanistan can basically by summed up like this, the cooler the beard, the better the ruler.
Now enjoy this Frontline documentary about how Obama’s trying to get the mess in Afghanistan under control, to bad it’s probably way to late.