Who was Ahmad Shah Abdali

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Ahmad Shah Durrani also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali was the founder of the Durrani dynasty that ruled over parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India. The Pashtuns often call him Ahmad Shah Baba.

He was born as Ahmad Chan in 1723 AD. in Multan. He belonged to the Pashtun Sadozai, a branch line of the Abdali, hence the nickname. Ahmad Chan was the second son of Mohammed Zaman Khan, the clan chief of the Abdali. Ahmad Khan and his brother Zhulfikar Chan were prisoners of the Hussain Khan in Kandahar when they were young. Hussain Chan was the governor of the Ghilzai over Kandahar. The Ghilzai had conquered the capital of the Safavids Isfahan in 1722 and thus put an end to the rule of the Safavids. Ahmad Khan was only released when Nadir Shah drove the Ghilzai out of the Iranian Empire and conquered the city of Kandahar in 1736/1737.

When Nadir Shah died in 1747, his empire fell apart. Ahmad Khan, who was appointed tribal leader by a Loya Jirga and was now called Ahmad Shah, was able to bring the East under his control in a short time. He soon conquered Ghazni from the Ghilzai and overthrew the local ruler of Kabul. So he ruled most of Afghanistan. Ahmad Khan invaded Punjab three times between 1747 and 1753.

In 1748 he crossed the Indus and threatened the Mughal Empire. Fearing an attack on their capital Delhi, the Mughals ceded the Sindh and Punjab regions to Ahmad Shah in 1749. In 1750 he conquered Herat and in 1751 Nishapur and Mashhad. But in 1751 the Sihks invaded Punjab and conquered Lahore. Ahmad Shah had to face this danger and drove the Sihks out. Then Ahmad Shah invaded Kashmir in 1752 and wanted to conquer the area north of the Hindu Kush. In time he subjugated the Turkmen, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazara and ruled over all of today's Afghanistan.

In 1756/1757 Ahmad Shah invaded India for the fourth time and sacked Delhi. However, he did not overthrow the Mughal dynasty, but instead installed a puppet with Alamgir II. Alamgir II later became the father-in-law of Ahmad Shah's son Timor Shah. On his way back to Afghanistan in 1757, Ahmad Shah attacked the Golden Temple of the Sihks in Amritsar and is said to have caused a bloodbath.

With the slow but sure decline of the Mughals, other principalities grew stronger. During this time, the British colonization of India began. The Marathas grew stronger and invaded Punjab in 1758. They drove out Timor Shah and with him his administrators. This shame against his son led Ahmad Shah to go against the Marathas. During his campaign he received help from many Muslim tribes and peoples. In 1759 Ahmad Shah reached Lahore and in January 1761 the Third Battle of Panipat took place near Panipat. The Muslims under Ahmad Shah won this battle. This also marked the height of Ahmad Shah's power. For a time it had the second largest empire of the Muslims after the Ottoman Empire.

But this situation did not last long, because at the end of 1761 a Sikh revolt broke out in Punjab. Ahmad Shah had to move to Punjab for the sixth time to end the uprising. He attacked Lahore and Amritsar. But over the next two years the Sikhs rebelled against Ahmad Shah several times, so that in 1764 he had to campaign again against them. He could defeat the insurrection, but not completely banish the danger posed by the Sikhs. In another campaign, the Afghans under their general Jahan Khan lost 5,000 deaths against the Sikhs, who later also looted the Afghan military camp.

At that time, Ahmad Shah was already ill. In 1764 his cancer, a tumor on his face, began to emerge. He spent his last time in Afghanistan and died in Kandahar in June 1773.