List of heads of state of Afghanistan

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This article lists the heads of state of Afghanistan since the foundation of the first Afghan state, the Hotak Empire, in 1709.

List of heads of state[change | change source]

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Monarchs[change | change source]

Monarch of Afghanistan
Former Monarchy
Royal Standard of the King of Afghanistan (1931–1973).svg
Royal Standard
(1931–1973)
King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan in 1963.jpg
Last to reign:
Mohammed Zahir Shah
8 November 1933 – 17 July 1973
First monarch Mirwais Hotak (Emir)
Last monarch Mohammed Zahir Shah (King)
Official residence Kabul:
Appointer Hereditary
Monarchy started {{{began}}}
Monarchy ended {{{ended}}}
Current pretender Ahmad Shah Khan, Crown Prince of Afghanistan

Hotak Empire (1709–1738)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Mirwais Hotak
  • Mirwais the father
1673–171517091715HotakMirwais Hotak of Afghanistan
Abdul Aziz HotakDied 171717151717Brother of Mirwais HotakHotakAbdul Aziz Hotak of Afghanistan
Mahmud Hotak1697 – 22 April 1725171722 April 1725Son of Mirwais HotakHotakMahmud Hotak of Afghanistan
Ashraf HotakDied 173022 April 17251730Nephew of Mirwais HotakHotakAshraf Hotak of Afghanistan
Hussain HotakDied 1738173024 March 1738
(deposed)
Son of Mirwais HotakHotakHussain Hotak of Afghanistan

Durrani Empire (1747–1823)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ahmad Shah Durrani
  • the Father of the Nation
1722 – 16 October 1772174716 October 1772DurraniAhmad Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Timur Shah Durrani1748 – 18 May 179316 October 177218 May 1793Son of Ahmad Shah DurraniDurraniTimur Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Zaman Shah Durrani1770–184418 May 179325 July 1801
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniZaman Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Mahmud Shah Durrani
(1st reign)
1769 – 18 April 182925 July 180113 July 1803
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniMahmud Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Shah Shujah Durrani
(1st reign)
4 November 1785 – 5 April 184213 July 18033 May 1809
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniShah Shujah Durrani of Afghanistan
Mahmud Shah Durrani
(2nd reign)
1769 – 18 April 18293 May 18091818
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniMahmud Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Ali Shah Durrani18181819
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniAli Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Ayub Shah DurraniDied 1 October 183718191823
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniAyub Shah Durrani of Afghanistan

Emirate of Afghanistan (1823–1926)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Dost Mohammad Khan
(1st reign)
23 December 1793 – 9 June 186318232 August 1839
(deposed)
Son of Sardar Payendah KhanBarakzaiDost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan
Shah Shujah Durrani
(2nd reign)
4 November 1785 – 5 April 18427 August 18395 April 1842 [note 1]Son of Timur Shah DurraniDurraniShah Shujah Durrani of Afghanistan
Akbar Khan1816–18455 April 18421845Son of Dost Mohammad KhanBarakzaiAkbar Khan of Afghanistan
Dost Mohammad Khan
(2nd reign)
23 December 1793 – 9 June 186318459 June 1863Son of Sardar Payendah KhanBarakzaiDost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan
Sher Ali Khan
(1st reign)
1825 – 21 February 18799 June 18631865
(deposed)
Son of Dost Mohammad KhanBarakzaiSher Ali Khan of Afghanistan
Mohammad Afzal Khan1811 – 7 October 186718657 October 1867Son of Dost Mohammad KhanBarakzaiMohammad Afzal Khan of Afghanistan
Mohammad Azam KhanDied 21 February 18687 October 186721 February 1868Son of Dost Mohammad KhanBarakzaiMohammad Azam Khan of Afghanistan
Sher Ali Khan
(2nd reign)
1825 – 21 February 18797 October 186821 February 1879Son of Dost Mohammad KhanBarakzaiSher Ali Khan of Afghanistan
Mohammad Yaqub Khan1849 – 15 November 192321 February 187912 October 1879
(deposed)
Son of Sher Ali KhanBarakzaiMohammad Yaqub Khan of Afghanistan
Ayub Khan
1857 – 7 April 191412 October 187931 May 1880
(deposed)
Son of Sher Ali KhanBarakzaiMohammad Yaqub Khan of Afghanistan
Abdur Rahman Khan
  • the Iron Amir
1840/44 – 1 October 190131 May 18801 October 1901Son of Mohammad Afzal KhanBarakzaiAbdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan
Habibullah Khan3 June 1872 – 20 February 19191 October 190120 February 1919Son of Abdur Rahman KhanBarakzaiHabibullah Khan of Afghanistan
Nasrullah Khan1874–192020 February 191928 February 1919
(deposed)
Son of Abdur Rahman KhanBarakzaiNasrullah Khan of Afghanistan
Amanullah Khan1 June 1892 – 25 April 196028 February 19199 June 1926Son of Habibullah KhanBarakzaiAmanullah Khan of Afghanistan

Kingdom of Afghanistan (1926–1929)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Amanullah Khan1 June 1892 – 25 April 19609 June 192614 January 1929
(abdicated)
Son of Habibullah KhanBarakzaiAmanullah Khan of Afghanistan
Inayatullah Khan20 October 1888 – 12 August 194614 January 192917 January 1929
(deposed)
Son of Habibullah KhanBarakzaiInayatullah Khan of Afghanistan

Saqqawist Emirate and the 1928–1929 civil war

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Habibullāh Kalakāni
  • Bacha-ye Saqao
19 January 1891 – 3 November 192917 January 1929 [note 2]13 October 1929Styled as King and Emir [note 3]; contested the throne during the 1928–29 civil war;[6] deposed and executed[7]Non-dynasticHabibullāh Kalakāni of Afghanistan
Ali Ahmad Khan1883 – 11 July 192917 January 19299 February 1929Styled as King; rose in opposition to Kalakāni during the 1928–29 civil war; captured and executedNon-dynasticAli Ahmad Khan of Afghanistan
Amanullah Khan1 June 1892 – 25 April 1960March 192923 May 1929Son of Habibullah Khan
Former King; returned to Afghanistan to contest the throne during the 1928–29 civil war; eventually retreated back into British India;[8] See also Amanullah loyalism
BarakzaiAmanullah Khan of Afghanistan

Kingdom of Afghanistan (restored; 1929–1973)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Mohammed Nadir Shah9 April 1883 – 8 November 193315 October 1929[9]8 November 1933 [note 4]Great-nephew of Dost Mohammed KhanBarakzaiMohammed Nadir Shah of Afghanistan
Mohammed Zahir Shah
  • the Father of the Nation
    (from 2004) [note 5]
15 October 1914 – 23 July 20078 November 193317 July 1973
(deposed)
Son of Mohammed Nadir ShahBarakzaiMohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan

Local monarchs[change | change source]

Some rulers tried to take advantage of internal conflicts in Afghanistan to claim the throne. However, their rule was limited only to certain areas.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Jehandad KhanDied 1914May 1912May 1912
(deposed)
Styled as Emir; ruled only in Khost during the 1912 rebellionNon-dynasticJehandad Khan of Afghanistan
Abd-al Karim1897 – 18 February 1927July 192430 January 1925
(deposed)
Son of Mohammad Yaqub Khan
Styled as Emir; rule limited to the Southern Province during the 1924–1925 rebellion
BarakzaiAbd-al Karim of Afghanistan
Salemaic. 1944c. 1946
(deposed)
Styled as King; rule limited to the Eastern Province during the 1944–47 tribal revoltsNon-dynasticSalemai of Afghanistan

Non-monarchs[change | change source]

Name Portrait Lifespan Term of office Political party
Took office Left office Time in office
Republic of Afghanistan (1973–1978)
Mohammed Daoud Khan Mohammed Daoud Khan (cropped).jpg 1909–1978 17 July 1973 28 April 1978 4 years, 285 days Independent
(until 1976)
National Revolutionary Party
President; Member of the Barakzai dynasty (first cousin of Mohammed Zahir Shah); Assassinated with most of his family during the Saur Revolution.[10] Shortly afterwards, the new military leaders announced that Khan was killed for refusing to surrender.[11]
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (1978–1992)
Colonel
Abdul Qadir
No image.svg 1944–2014 28 April 1978 30 April 1978 2 days People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Military Revolutionary Council
Nur Muhammad Taraki Nur Muhammad Taraki.png 1917–1979 30 April 1978 14 September 1979 1 year, 137 days People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Assassinated by orders of Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin Hafizullah Amin.jpg 1929–1979 14 September 1979 27 December 1979 104 days People's Democratic Party
(Khalq faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Assassinated by Soviet special forces during the Operation Storm-333[12]
Babrak Karmal No image.svg 1929–1996 27 December 1979 24 November 1986 6 years, 332 days People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Dismissed
Haji Mohammad Chamkani No image.svg 1947–2012 24 November 1986 30 September 1987 310 days Independent
Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council; Appointed as part of the National Reconciliation process
Mohammad Najibullah Mohammad Najibullah 1986.jpg 1947–1996 30 September 1987 16 April 1992 4 years, 199 days People's Democratic Party
(Parcham faction)
(until 1990)
Homeland Party
President (Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council until 30 November 1987); Resigned
Abdul Rahim Hatif No image.svg 1926–2013 16 April 1992 28 April 1992 12 days Homeland Party
Acting President; Deposed
Islamic State of Afghanistan (1992–2002)
Sibghatullah Mojaddedi Mojaddedi in September 2014.jpg 1926–2019 28 April 1992 28 June 1992 61 days National Liberation Front of Afghanistan
Acting President; Resigned
Burhanuddin Rabbani Burhanuddin Rabbani Cropped DVIDS.jpg 1940–2011 28 June 1992 22 December 2001 9 years, 167 days Jamiat-e Islami
President; Between 1996 and 2001, the Islamic State remained the internationally recognized government, despite only controlling about 10% of Afghan territory
Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai listens to Barack Obama in Kabul 2012 (cropped).jpg born 1957 22 December 2001 13 July 2002 203 days Independent
Acting President
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1996–2001)
Mullah
Mohammed Omar
1960–2013 27 September 1996 13 November 2001 5 years, 47 days Taliban
Head of the Supreme Council, Emir and Commander of the Faithful; The Islamic Emirate never attained widespread international recognition, despite controlling about 90% of Afghan territory; Deposed
Mullah
Mohammad Rabbani
No image.svg 1955–2001 27 September 1996 13 April 2001 4 years, 198 days Taliban
Prime Minister and Deputy Head of the Supreme Council; Deputy leader of the Taliban; Died in office
Mawlawi
Abdul Kabir
No image.svg born 1958 16 April 2001 13 November 2001 211 days Taliban
Acting Prime Minister and Acting Deputy Head of the Supreme Council; Deposed
Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (2002–2004)
Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai listens to Barack Obama in Kabul 2012 (cropped).jpg born 1957 13 July 2002 7 December 2004 2 years, 147 days Independent
Transitional President; Appointed at the 2002 loya jirga
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2004–2021)
Hamid Karzai Hamid Karzai listens to Barack Obama in Kabul 2012 (cropped).jpg born 1957 7 December 2004 29 September 2014 9 years, 296 days Independent
President; First democratically elected head of state; Elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2009
Ashraf Ghani Ashraf Ghani December 2014.jpg born 1949 29 September 2014 15 August 2021 6 years, 320 days Independent
President; First peaceful transition of power; Elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2019; Deposed
Amrullah Saleh Amrullah Saleh (4).jpg born 1972 17 August 2021 Incumbent 317 days Basej-e Milli
Former First Vice President; Claimed the position of caretaker president based on Article 67 of the 2004 Constitution;[13] Announced the formation of an anti-Taliban front in Panjshir[14]
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (2021–present)
Mawlawi
Hibatullah Akhundzada
born 1961 15 August 2021 Incumbent 319 days Taliban
Emir and Commander of the Faithful; The Islamic Emirate is currently not internationally recognized, despite controlling the majority of Afghan territory

References[change | change source]

  1. Qassem, Dr Ahmad Shayeq (2013-03-28). Afghanistan's Political Stability: A Dream Unrealised. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 175. ISBN 9781409499428.
  2. Wazir, Azmatullah Khan (2002). The immediate solution of Afghan crisis. A.K. Wazir. p. 8.
  3. Muḥammad, Fayz̤; McChesney, R. D. (1999). Kabul under siege: Fayz Muhammad's account of the 1929 Uprising. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 9781558761544.
  4. "ExecutedToday.com » 1929: Habibullah Kalakani, Tajik bandit-king". 1 November 2016. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  5. Muḥammad, Fayz̤; Hazārah, Fayz̤ Muḥammad Kātib; Muḥammad, Faiḍ (1999). Kabul Under Siege: Fayz Muhammad's Account of the 1929 Uprising. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-55876-155-1.
  6. "REBEL BECOMES KING IN AFGHANISTAN". The New York Times. 18 January 1929. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  7. "AFHGAN USURPER YIELDS TO NEW KING". The New York Times. 24 October 1929. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  8. "AMANULLAH HUNGRY IN FLIGHT TO INDIA". The New York Times. 26 May 1929. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  9. "NADIR KHAN IS ELECTED AMIR OF AFGHANISTAN". The New York Times. 18 October 1929. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  10. "There was, therefore, little to hinder the assault mounted by the rebel 4th Armored Brigade, led by Major Mohammad Aslam Watanjar, who had also been prominent in Daoud's own coup five years before. Watanjar first secured the airport, where the other coup leader, Colonel Abdul Qadir, left by helicopter for the Bagram air base. There he took charge and organized air strikes on the presidential palace, where Daoud and the presidential guard were conducting a desperate defense. Fighting continued the whole day and into the night, when the defenders were finally overwhelmed. Daoud and almost all of his family members, including women and children, died in the fighting. Altogether there were possibly as many as two thousand fatalities, both military and civilian." p. 88 of Ewans, Martin (2002) Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics HarperCollins, New York, Page 88 ISBN 0-06-050507-9
  11. "1978: Afghan coup rebels claim victory". April 29, 1978 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  12. "How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace". BBC. 27 December 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  13. Landay, Jonathan; Macfie, Nick; Boyle, John (17 August 2021). "Afghan vice president says he is "caretaker" president". Reuters. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  14. "An anti-Taliban front forming in Panjshir? Ex top spy Saleh, son of 'Lion of Panjshir' meet at citadel". The Week. Retrieved 2021-08-17.
Notes
  1. Shah Shujah was murdered in the aftermath of the 1842 retreat from Kabul.
  2. Most sources list 17 January 1929, the day that Kalakāni captured Kabul, as the date that his reign began.[1][2] However, he had been formally claiming the title of emir since 14 December 1928.[3]
  3. Kalakāni referred to himself as both "King"[4] and "Emir".[5]
  4. Nadir Shah was assassinated by Abdul Khaliq Hazara. "King of Afghanistan Is Slain at Kabul; Stable Boy Won Throne by Military Skill". The New York Times. 9 November 1933. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  5. "The late King was always fondly referred to by all Afghans, cutting across ethnic boundaries, as "Baba-e-Millat" or 'Father of the Nation', a position given to him in the country's Constitution promulgated in January 2004, about two years after the collapse of Taliban rule. The title of the 'Father of the Nation' dissolves with his death." "Last King of Afghanistan dies at 92". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

Other websites[change | change source]