Kingdom of Afghanistan

The Kingdom of Afghanistan (Pashto: د افغانستان واکمنان, romanized: Dǝ Afġānistān wākmanān; Dari: پادشاهی افغانستان, romanized: Pādešāhī-ye Afġānistān) was a constitutional monarchy in Central Asia established in 1926 as a successor state to the Emirate of Afghanistan. It was proclaimed by its first king, Amanullah Khan, seven years after he acceded to the throne. The monarchy ended in the 1973 Afghan coup d'état.

Kingdom of Afghanistan
  • د افغانستان شاهي دولت (Pashto)
    Dǝ Afġānistān Šahi Dawlat
  • پادشاهی افغانستان (Dari)
    Pādešāhī-ye Afġānistān
شاهي سلام
"Royal Salute"

لوی سلام
Loya Salami
"Grand Salute"
33°N 65°E / 33; 65
Official languagesPashto (after 1936),[1] Dari
GovernmentUnitary absolute monarchy (1926–1964)
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy (1964–1973)
Amanullah Khan
Mohammed Nadir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah
Prime Minister 
 1929–1946 (first)
Mohammad Khan
 1972–1973 (last)
Mohammad Shafiq
LegislatureLoya Jirga
House of Elders (1931–1972)
House of the People (1931–1972)
Historical eraInterwar Period · Cold War
 Succeeds Afghan emirate
9 June 1926
 Civil War
17 July 1973
1973652,864 km2 (252,072 sq mi)
CurrencyAfghan afghani
Calling code93
ISO 3166 codeAF
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Emirate of Afghanistan
Republic of Afghanistan (1973–1978)
Today part ofAfghanistan


Emir Amanullah Khan was keen on modernizing Afghanistan, provoking several uprisings led by his conservative opponents. One such rebellion broke out while he was visiting Europe in 1927. He abdicated in favour of his brother Inayatullah Khan, who only ruled for three days before the leader of the rebellion Habibullāh Kalakāni took power and reinstated the Emirate.[3]

After 10 months, Amanullah Khan's Minister of War, Mohammed Nadir, returned from exile in India. His British-supported armies sacked Kabul, forcing Kalakāni to discuss a truce. Instead, Mohammed Nadir's forces apprehended and subsequently executed Kalakāni. Mohammed Nadir reinstated the kingdom, was proclaimed King of Afghanistan as Mohammed Nadir Shah in October 1929, and went on to revert the reformist path of the last king, Amanullah Khan. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammed Zahir Shah, whose rule started in 1933 and lasted for 39 years. Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan, was eventually overthrown by his own cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan who successfully ended the centuries-old monarchy and established a republic. It was under the leadership of Zahir Shah that the Afghan government sought relationships with the outside world, most notably with the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, and the United States.[4]

On 27 September 1934, during the reign of Zahir Shah, the Kingdom of Afghanistan joined the League of Nations. During World War II, Afghanistan remained neutral and pursued a diplomatic policy of non-alignment. Though being neutral in World War II, Afghanistan had relations with Nazi Germany, but that was severed after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.[5]

Afghanistan was admitted into the United Nations on 29 August 1946.[6] In 1947, Afghanistan was the only United Nations member to vote against admitting Pakistan into the United Nations.[5] This was mostly done because of Kingdom's call for Pashtunistan. Nikita Khrushchev visited the capital of Kabul and endorsed the Afghan claims to Pashtunistan in 1955.[5] Afghanistan also became a member of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. Daoud Khan, Prime Minister of Afghanistan at the time, worked hard for the development of modern industries, and education in the country. In July 1973, Daoud Khan staged a bloodless coup d'état while Zahir Shah was not in the country. The next month, Zahir Shah abdicated, hoping to avoid a civil war, which officially marked the end of the Kingdom of Afghanistan and the beginning of the Republic.


The Kingdom of Afghanistan bordered Iran on the west, the Soviet Union in the north, China on the east, and Pakistan and India on the south. The mountainous and mostly dry country was 652,200 square kilometres (251,830 sq mi). The strange shape and borders of the country, most notably the Wakhan Corridor, were a result of its former role as a buffer state between Russia and the United Kingdom. Snow was common in most areas during winter and rainfall was small.[7]


The country was made up of various ethnic groups such as the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and many others.

The majority of Afghans were Muslim, approximate 99% of the population. Around 90% of the Muslim population were Sunni, the rest were Shia.

Dari (Persian) and Pashto were the official languages of the nation. Many Afghans were bilingual and could speak both languages between each other.[8]


Like the past and present-day Afghanistan, the economy relied greatly on agriculture and mining.

The United States and the Soviet Union both invested in neutral Afghanistan's economy to try to gain influence during the Cold War. This included the Four Point Program in 1951, when Afghanistan and the United States signed an agreement in Kabul to help assist the economic development in the economy, and the construction of a 100 km pipeline from Termez to Mazar-i-Sharif that was built by Soviet technicians and began in 1954. Afghanistan received $18,500,000 from the Export–Import Bank of the United States to help them purchase U.S. material, equipment, and services for the Helmand River valley developmental project.

In August 1961, Pakistan closed the border with Afghanistan, due to Prime Minister, Daoud Khan's strong stance on Pashtunistan, but it re-opened in May after Khan's resignation.[9]

The country had deposits of talc, mica, silver, lead, beryl, chromite, copper, lapis lazuli, and iron ore.


King Zahir Shah's cousin, Daoud Khan, signed a $3 million arms deal with the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and a 32.5 million arms deal with the Soviet Union in 1956. The deal gave the Afghan military imported T-34 tanks and MiG-17 jet fighters. A quarter to third of all Afghan officers had trained in the Soviet Union by 1973.[5]

See also


  1. Kieffer, Charles M. "AFGHANISTAN v. Languages". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  2. "Afghanistan Population 1950–2021: MacroTrends". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  3. Niamatullah Ibrahimi (2017). The Hazaras and the Afghan State: Rebellion, Exclusion and the Struggle for Recognition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-1849047074.
  4. Rubin, Barnett. "DĀWŪD KHAN". In Ehsan Yarshater (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  6. United Nations member states
  7. Tate, George. The kingdom of Afghanistan: a historical sketch.
  8. Farangis Najibullah. "Afghanistan: Status Of Dari, Pashto Languages A Sensitive Topic". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 3 November 2003.
  9. "Modern Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
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