Quotes from Afghan Personalities of Yesterday and Today

When the below quotes are read superficially, they mean little. However, viewed within a historical context, the words of these important Afghans below, draw clear and vivid pictures of what was going on during their times. It is through their words that we really understand what it means to be an “Afghan”.

“Whatever countries I conquer in the world, I would never forget your beautiful gardens. When I remember the summits of your beautiful mountains, I forget the greatness of the Delhi throne.”

Ahmad Shah Durrani
Founder of the Afghan Empire, (1747-1773).

Many Afghan historians consider Ahmad Shah as the true founder of modern Afghanistan.

“My spirit will remain in Afghanistan, even though my soul will go to Allah. My last words to you, my son and successor, are: Never trust the Russians.”

“The first and most important advice that I can give to my successors and people to make Afghanistan into a great kingdom is to impress upon their minds the value of unity; unity, and unity alone, can make it into a great power.”

Abdur Rahman Khan
Amir of Afghanistan (1880-1901)

Considered by western scholars as the “founder of modern Afghanistan”.

“Once Europe existed in a Dark Age and Islam carried the torch of learning. Now we Muslims live in a Dark Age.”

Mahmud Tarzi
Afghan Intellectual, advisor to King Amanullah Khan (1865-1933)

“Religion does not require women to veil their hands, feet, and faces or enjoin any special type of veil. Tribal custom must not impose itself on the free will of the individual.”

Amanullah Khan
King of Afghanistan (1919-1929), known as the “reform” king.

“We will never allow you to dictate to us how to run our country and whom to employ in Afghanistan. How and where we employ the foreign experts will remain the exclusive prerogative of the Afghan state. Afghanistan shall remain poor, if necessary, but free in its acts and decisions.”

Daoud Khan
President of Afghanistan (1973-1978).

Ousted King Zahir Shah. Campaigned for the return of Pashtunistan.

“The Americans want us to continue fighting but not to win, just to bleed the Russians.”

Ismael Khan
Prominent Afghan Political and Military Figure

Ismael Khan fought against the Russians in Herat, as well as the Pakistani-backed Taliban.

“We will not be a pawn in someone else’s game, we will always be Afghanistan!”

Ahmad Shah Masood
Prominent Afghan Political and Military Figure 

Masood fought against the Russians and the Pakistani-backed Taliban.