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Dost Muhammad(dōst mo͞ohäm`mäd), 1793–1863, emir of Afghanistan. He and his family struggled to get the emirate for years before he finally succeeded in establishing himself in 1826. He waged continual war with the Sikhs, and trouble with the British, beginning in 1838, led to the first (1839–42) of the Afghan Wars. Defeated, he fled to India, but he later returned, and it was at least with British acquiescence that he regained the throne. Friendly relations were resumed and an agreement was reached in 1855, but Britain firmly refused to support him against the Persians. A strong, capable ruler, he helped to build Afghanistan and sought to play Russian interests against the British.
Born 1790 (according to other data, Dec. 23, 1793); died June 9, 1863, in Herat. Afghani emir from 1834. He was the 20th son of Payanda Khan, the leader of the Barakzai tribe. After the decline of the Durrani Empire in 1818 he governed the princedoms of Ghazni and Kabul (beginning in 1826-27). In 1834 he declared himself emir of all Afghanistan, beginning the Barakzai dynasty. Dost Muhammad tried to unite the country politically by enlisting the support of Russia, a step that aroused the opposition of Great Britain. In 1838, Great Britain went to war against Afghanistan. In the first stage of the war, Dost Muhammad actively struggled against the aggressors, but at the end of 1840 he surrendered to the British and was exiled to India. In 1842 the English were forced to free Dost Muhammad after being defeated in Afghanistan. He returned to Afghanistan to rule once again. From 1855 to 1863 he united Qandahar, Eastern Seistan, Herat, and the lands on the left bank of the Amu Darya River with Afghanistan.
REFERENCESKhalfin, N. A. Proval britanskoi agressii v Afganistane. Moscow, 1959.
Babakhodzhaev, M. A. Bor’ba Afganistana za nezavisimost’. Moscow, 1959.
Masson, V. M., and V. A. Romodin. Istoriia Afganistana, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965.
N. A. KHALFIN