Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)


Capital : Kabul

Badghisat, Bamian, Farah, Ghazni, Ghowr, Helmand, Herat, Kabul, Konarha, Nangarhar, Oruzgan, Paktia, Parvan, Qandahar, Rigestan

Size: 250 000 sq m Popn: 19 062 000


This region was part of the Persian Empire and was used as a path to India by Darius I and Alexander the Great. It was conquered by Islamic groups in the C7th and the Mongols Genghis Khan and Tamerlane in the C13th and C14th. In 1747, Afghanistan became an independent emirate under Ahmed Shah Durrani. The three Afghan Wars of the C19th were fought by Britain to prevent Russian expansion into India. In the first, 1838-42, the British garrison in Kabul was wiped out, in the second, 1878-80, General Roberts recaptured Kabul and relieved Kandahar. The Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1907 gave Afghanistan autonomy and it gained independence through the Treaty of Rawalpindi after the Third Afghan War of 1919 in which the UK sent an aeroplane, the first seen in Kabul.

A kingdom was founded by Emir Amanullah in 1926 and King Mohammad Zahir Shah ruled from 1933-73. His cousin, Lt-Gen Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan, was prime minister during the 1950s and introduced a Soviet-backed programme of economic and social modernization. He resigned after his authoritarian rule was opposed in 1963 and the king became a constitutional monarch but political parties were banned. The famine of 1972 weakened the position of the monarch and he fled into exile after being overthrown by General Daud Khan in the military coup of 1973. A republic was declared and Daud followed centrist policies but was assassinated in 1978 in a military coup. A radical Khalq (masses) faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan took control as a revolutionary council under Nur Mohammad Taraki as president. It adopted a one-party constitution and signed a Treaty of Friendship Mutual Defence with the USSR. Conservative Muslims opposed this and the major land and social reforms and 5 million refugees left for Pakistan and Iran.

Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin replaced Taraki in 1979 but internal unrest grew he was executed in the USSR-backed coup of December. Babrak Karmal, leader of the gradualist Parcham (banner) faction of the PDPA returned from exile and was installed as ruler. By 1985, the Muslim resistance of the mujaheddin 'holy warriors' had increased and over 120000 Soviet troops were in the country but could not gain control of rural areas. Mikhail Gorbachev's regime moved towards a compromise settlement. Najibullah Ahmadzai replaced Karmal in 1986 and the new government included several non-communists. It announced a unilateral ceasefire in 1987 and ratified a new multi-party Islamic constitution the USSR began a phased withdrawal of troops which was completed in February 1989. A state of emergency was imposed by the Najibullah government, which faced an increasing military threat from the mujaheddin who took the garrison of Khost, near the border with Pakistan in 1991. In May that year, the government accepted a UN peace plan but the mujaheddin rejected it. In January 1992, Pakistan, the USSR and the USA stopped supplying weapons to the warring parties.

The Najibullah regime fell in April and government troops defected to the mujaheddin forces, under, which captured Kabul. Islamic fundamentalist tried unsuccessfully to seize power. An interim government under the moderate Sibghatullah Mojadidi failed to restore order and guerrilla leader took power with Hezb-I-Islami representative as prime minister, promising to try to unite the warring factions and abolish all laws which contradicted the Islamic law of the Sharia. Tensions between the government and the Hekmatyar faction grew and the rebels bombed Kabul in 1992. Rabbani sacked Farid and banned Hezb-I-Islami from any government activity.


Most names are Arabic with some Persian and Farsee.


Abdul Sabur Farid Ahmad Shah Massoud Ahmed Shah Durrani Amanullah Barbrak Kamal Burhanuddin/Borhanoddin Rabbani
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Hafizullah Amin Mohammad Zahir Shah Najibullah Ahmadzai Nur Mohammad Taraki Osama Bin Laden
Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Satar Sibghatullah Mojadidi      


Farishta Khadija        

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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