By Victoria Schofield
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Additional info for Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia
Encountering rebellion from his brother in Kandahar, Timur moved the capital to Kabul, making it his custom to retire to the pleasant climate of Peshawar in winter. Although less able than his father, he managed to rule in relative peace for the twenty years up to his death. The Durrani empire could hardly have been expected to survive the legacy of Timur; out of thirty-six children from numerous wives, twenty-six were sons and there was no named heir. One of the twenty-six, Zaman Shah, succeeded to the throne, but he was ousted by his half-brother Mahmud, who blinded him.
Neither he nor his successors really managed to rule over the tribes lying to the north-west of their empire. Their control was nominal, and one small tribe, the Khataks, was entrusted by Akbar with the duty of guarding the imperial route across the Indus at Attock to Peshawar. In return for being allowed to collect the tolls, the Khataks were only too happy to help the Mogul emperor against the Yusufzais, with whom the Khataks also had a feud. The most famous Khatak was Khushhal Khan; known as the warrior-poet, he set to verse in Pashtu his feelings about the Moguls and the times in which he lived.
The town of Oghi, lying in the shadow of the Black Mountain, was the starting point for many a British expedition against the tribesmen. The vale of Peshawar Upon approaching the town of Peshawar, ‘the traveller will find himself in a spreading vale, watered by many streams and surrounded by an unbroken girdle of mountains,’ wrote Olaf Caroe. ’ ‘The plain with its fat cattle and fatter crops and the green and silver of its fields and rivers stretches away,’ wrote Yvonne Gertrude Fitzroy, Lady Reading’s Private Secretary in 1921.
Afghan Frontier: Feuding and Fighting in Central Asia by Victoria Schofield