Overthrow of foreign rule

Periodic attempts were made to gain independence. In 1709 Mirwais Khan, a leader of the Hotak , led a successful rising against Gorgin Khan, the Persian governor of Qandahar.

The Hotakis.

Mirwais Khan governed Qandahar until his death in 1715. In 1716 the Abdalis of Herat, encouraged by his example, took up arms against the Persians and under their leader, Asadullah Khan, succeeded in liberating their province. Mahmud, Mirwais's young son and successor, was not content with holding Qandahar, and in 1722 he led some 20,000 men against Isfahan; the Safavid government surrendered after a six-month siege.

Mahmud died in 1725 and was succeeded by Ashraf, who had to contend with Russian pressure from the north and Ottoman Turk advances from the west. Shah Ashraf halted both the Russian and Turkish onslaughts, but a brigand chief, Nader Qoli Beg, defeated the Afghans at Damghan in October 1729 and drove them from Persia. During the retreat Ashraf was murdered, probably on orders from his cousin, who was then holding Qandahar.

Nader Shah.

Nader Qoli Beg took Herat in 1732 after a desperate siege. Impressed by their courage, Nader recruited many Heratis to serve in his army. He was elected shah of Persia, with the name Nader Shah, in 1736.

In 1738, after a year's siege, the city of Qandahar fell to Nader Shah's army of 80,000 men. Nader Shah seized Ghazna and Kabul and occupied the Mughal capital at Delhi in 1739. His booty included the Koh-i-noor diamond and the Peacock Throne. He was assassinated at Khabushan in 1747, which led to the disintegration of his empire and the rise of the last great Afghan empire.


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