The dynamics of the rise of Mir
Zamani Khan to political prominence were very much imbedded in the
dominant historical predilections of young Mir Zaman Khan’s time.
The natural enmity he felt towards the British
oppression formed the basis of Mir Zaman Khan joining hands with the
politically like-mined youths and tribal leaders of the North Western
Frontier and their declaration of war against the British. In the
historically well-known Sra Ghaza (Red Jihad) of 1908, Mir Zaman Khan
played a leading role and thus become a household name among the general
populace, both in the Frontier and in Afghanistan. This anti British
position and reputation formed the basis of Mir Zaman Khan’s deep and
long-standing relationship with the then young anti-British Prince
Amanullah Khan, a relationship that grew stronger with time.
His relentless crossings of the Durand Line to fight
the British led to a conspiracy by the regime of Amir Habibullah Khan
that resulted in Mir Zaman Khan’s detention. In prison, he met numerous
political personalities and other independence-minded people. After
spending one year in prison, he returned to his native Kunar. It wasn’t
long before he was detained again and sent to Sherpur Prison. Mir Zaman
Khan was to spend five years in prison this time and wasn’t released
until the death of Amir Habibullah Khan in February of 1919.
Mir Zaman Khan was primarily a tribal chief, and based
on an interminable drive to fight British oppression, he proved himself
to be a courageous and shrewd military leader and an important political
personality of his time.
By mobilizing the courageous tribes of Kunar and
various other tribes from the Eastern Zone behind him, to not only fight
for the Afghan Independence, but to later help sustain the regime of
King Amanullah Khan, Mir Zaman Khan had an undeniably important
influence on the political landscape of the Independence-era
Mir Zaman Khan’s close and intimate relationship with
King Amanullah Khan is of particular significance. At a time of great
social upheaval and political unrest, Mir Zaman Khan was one of the very
few politico-military forces Amanullah Khan relied upon to maintain
power. Mir Zaman Khan was so close to the King’s family that Amanullah
Khan’s mother considered him as her adopted ”son”.
First and foremost, Mir Zaman Khan Kunari will,
nevertheless, be remembered by history as the victorious leader of the
Chatral Front, also known as the Fourth Front of the 1919 Third
British-Afghan War. The Fourth Front consisted of the fronts of Asmar,
Arnawai (Arando), Do Kalam and Lambrabat, where Mir Zaman Khan led the
tribes forces to victory over the British. Mir Zaman Khan also played a
central role in the quashing of the 1924 (1303 AH) Mangal Rebellion as
well as the Shinwar Rebellion.
In recognition of his dedication and services, Ghazi
Mir Zaman Khan received four medals from the Government of King
Amanullah Khan: Loy Kha (Grand Khan), Wafa, (Loyalty), Sedaaqat
(Honesty), and Khedmat (Service). These medals were accompanied by the
granting of land and money.
Mir Zaman Khan was a member of King
Amanullah Khan’s Shura-i-Daylat (Governmental Council), created to
provide consultation to the young king, and legislate and ratify new
statutory laws. The Council was
inaugurated in 1300 AH at the Royal Palace by King Amanullah Khan. After
the 1924 Paghman Loya Jirga, or Grand Assembly, the Governmental Council
was replaced by a 150-member National Assembly.
Mir Zaman Khan participated in the following three
historically significant Assemblies:
1. The First Loya Jirgah (Grand Assembly) of 1921 in
Jalalabad which was the very first Loya Jirga after the Afghan
Independence. It consisted of members of the Governmental Council,
representatives of the people of Kabul, Nengarhar, Laghman and Kunar.
The main reason for the Jirga was social reforms and to ratify the
Charter of the First Afghan Constitution. The Charter related to the
abolition of slavery, maintaining national unity, individual freedom,
civic equality and income-based taxation etc.
2. The 1928 Third Grand Assembly (Loya Jirgah) of
Paghman that was based on the renewal of the Charter of the Second Grand
Assembly held in Paghman. It is worth mentioning that due to his
involvement in quashing the Mangal Rebellion, Mir Zaman Khan could not
participate in the Second Grand Assembly of 1924 (1303) held in Paghman.
His son, Ismatullah Khan Kunari participated in the Jirga instead.
3. The historical 1920 Grand Assembly of Ada,
Jalalabad, known as the Historical Unity of the Eastern Zone, taking
place soon after the Afghan Independence. The Jirgal took place with
support and efforts of Mir Zaman Khan, with the participation of the
nearly 5,000 tribal leaders and scholars from both sides of the
Frontier, including people from Laghman, Nengarhar and Kunar. The aim of
the Jirga was to reassert the Afghan territorial integrity and national
unity, to defend Afghan Independence and to maintain tribal unity and
co-operation on both sides of the Frontier. The Jirga warned Britain to
refrain from meddling in Afghan internal affairs and to cease
instigating cross-border warfare, or be ready to face the wrath of the
courageous Afghan tribes once more.
Ghazi Mir Zaman Khan remained loyal to the end to King
Amanullah Khan and his programs of reform and modernization.
Ghazni Mir Zaman Khan, the courageous Mujahid
commander, was martyred by the sworn enemies of Afghanistan and their
internal elements at the age of 58, in February 1929, during a campaign
to rally support for the kingdom of Ghazi Amanullah Khan. He was
assassinated during Isha prayers at the Shinkorak Mosque, Kunar.
As the great Persian mystic and poet, Sa’adi puts it:
سعديا مـــــــــرد نيکونام نميرد هرگز
مرده آنست که نامش به نيکويى نبرند
Sa’adi, a man with good name never perishes
For only that whose name is associated with evil dies
A Pashto poem lavishing praise on Khan Mir Zaman Khan says:
خاني ستا په نوم کړي فخر ته يې فخر د خانانو
تاريخ ستا يادونه ستايي ته يې فخر د ځوانانو
Lordship prides itself on you, you are
the pride of lordship
History savors your memories, you are the pride of the young