Biography of Mohammad Nadir Shah

Nadir Shah

By: Abdullah Qazi, 2001

Mohammad Nadir Shah was born in 1883. He was the king of Afghanistan from 1929 until he was assassinated in 1933. Before seizing the throne, Mohammad Nadir played a major role in the third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). Soon after that, because of disagreements with King Amanullah, Mohammad Nadir left Afghanistan to live in exile in France. After Habibullah Kalakani’s rebellion and the abdication of King Amanullah (January 1929), Nadir left France and headed for India to prepare for his war against Kalakani. With British and various tribal support from India, Mohammad Nadir pushed back Kalakani and captured Kabul in October 1929. He later tricked Kalakani into believing he would not be killed, then captured him, and hanged him and many of his followers.

After becoming king, Mohammad Nadir fought hard against people who wanted to restore King Amanullah to the throne. He also reversed many of the modernization plans set forth by King Amanullah, and favored up to various religious extremists. Mir Ghulam Mohammad Ghobar, one of Afghanistan’s most respected historians, describes Mohammad Nadir’s rule as tyrannical. Nadir pinned ethnic groups against one another, (Tajiks and Pashtuns), raped, destroyed, and pillaged the Shamali area to the north of Kabul.