List of heads of state of Afghanistan

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

History

The Hotak Empire was formed after a successful uprising led by Mirwais Hotak and other Afghan tribal chiefs from the Kandahar region against Mughal and Safavid Persian rule.[1][2][3]

After a long series of wars, the Hotak Empire was eventually replaced by the Durrani Afghan Empire that was founded by Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747.[4][5]

After the collapse of the Durrani Empire in 1823, the Barakzai dynasty founded the Emirate of Afghanistan, transformed it into the Kingdom of Afghanistan in 1926, and ruled the country (with an interruption in 1929) until the last king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, was deposed in the 1973 coup d'état, led by his first cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan. Despite being part of the Barakzai dynasty, Daoud Khan departed from tradition and did not proclaim himself Shah, instead abolished the monarchy and established the Republic of Afghanistan, with himself as President.[6][7] The Republic lasted until the Saur Revolution in 1978.[8]

Since 1978, Afghanistan has been in a state of continuous internal conflict and foreign interventions.

The former president Hamid Karzai became the first ever democratically elected head of state of Afghanistan on 7 December 2004. His successor, Ashraf Ghani, had been in power from 29 September 2014 to 15 August 2021, when he went to exile as Kabul fell to the Taliban during their 2021 offensive.[9]

List of heads of state

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Monarchs

Monarch of Afghanistan
Pashto: د افغانستان پاچا
Persian: پادشاه افغانستان
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
Details
Style His Majesty
First monarch Mirwais Hotak (Emir)
Last monarch Mohammed Zahir Shah (King)
Formation 1709
Abolition 17 July 1973
Residence Kabul:
Appointer Hereditary
Pretender(s) Ahmad Shah Khan, Crown Prince of Afghanistan

Hotak Empire (1709–1738)

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Mirwais Hotak
  • Mirwais the Grandfather
1673–1715 1709 1715 Founder of the Hotaki dynasty Hotak Mirwais Hotak of Afghanistan
Abdul Aziz Hotak Died 1717 1715 1717 Brother of Mirwais Hotak, short reign and was deposed by his nephew Hotak Abdul Aziz Hotak of Afghanistan
Mahmud Hotak 1697 – 22 April 1725 1717 22 April 1725 Son of Mirwais Hotak Hotak Mahmud Hotak of Afghanistan
Ashraf Hotak Died 1730 22 April 1725 1730 Nephew of Mirwais Hotak Hotak Ashraf Hotak of Afghanistan
Hussain Hotak Died 1738 1730 24 March 1738
(deposed)
Son of Mirwais Hotak, deposed by Nader Shah in Siege of Kandahar Hotak Hussain Hotak of Afghanistan

Durrani Empire (1747–1823)

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Ahmad Shah Durrani
  • the Father of the Nation
1722 – 16 October 1772 1747 16 October 1772 Founder of the Durrani dynasty and the Durrani Empire, considered founder of modern Afghanistan Durrani Ahmad Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Timur Shah Durrani 1748 – 18 May 1793 16 October 1772 18 May 1793 Son of Ahmad Shah Durrani Durrani Timur Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Zaman Shah Durrani 1770–1844 18 May 1793 25 July 1801
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Zaman Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Mahmud Shah Durrani
(1st reign)
1769 – 18 April 1829 25 July 1801 13 July 1803
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Mahmud Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Shah Shujah Durrani
(1st reign)
4 November 1785 – 5 April 1842 13 July 1803 3 May 1809
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Shah Shujah Durrani of Afghanistan
Mahmud Shah Durrani
(2nd reign)
1769 – 18 April 1829 3 May 1809 1818
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Mahmud Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Ali Shah Durrani 1818 1819
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Ali Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
Ayub Shah Durrani Died 1 October 1837 1819 1823
(deposed)
Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Ayub Shah Durrani of Afghanistan

Emirate of Afghanistan (1823–1926)

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Sultan Mohammad Khan
  • Mohammad Khan Telai
1792–1834 1823 1826
(abdicated)
Son of Sardar Payendah Khan Barakzai Sultan Mohammad Khan Telai of Afghanistan
Dost Mohammad Khan
(1st reign)
23 December 1793 – 9 June 1863 Summer 1826 6 August 1839
(deposed)
Son of Sardar Payendah Khan Barakzai Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan
Shah Shujah Durrani
(2nd reign)
4 November 1785 – 5 April 1842 7 August 1839 5 April 1842 [note 1] Son of Timur Shah Durrani Durrani Shah Shujah Durrani of Afghanistan
Akbar Khan 1816–1847 May 1842 1843 Son of Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai Akbar Khan of Afghanistan
Dost Mohammad Khan
(2nd reign)
23 December 1793 – 9 June 1863 1843 9 June 1863 Son of Sardar Payendah Khan Barakzai Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan
Sher Ali Khan
(1st reign)
1825 – 21 February 1879 9 June 1863 May 1866
(deposed)
Son of Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan
Mohammad Afzal Khan 1815 – 7 October 1867 May 1866 7 October 1867 Son of Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai Mohammad Afzal Khan of Afghanistan
Mohammad Azam Khan 1820–1870 7 October 1867 21 August 1868 Son of Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai Mohammad Azam Khan of Afghanistan
Sher Ali Khan
(2nd reign)
1825 – 21 February 1879 9 September 1868 21 February 1879 Son of Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan
Mohammad Yaqub Khan 1849 – 15 November 1923 21 February 1879 12 October 1879
(deposed)
Son of Sher Ali Khan Barakzai Mohammad Yaqub Khan of Afghanistan
Ayub Khan
1857 – 7 April 1914 12 October 1879 31 May 1880
(deposed)
Son of Sher Ali Khan Barakzai Mohammad Yaqub Khan of Afghanistan
Abdur Rahman Khan
  • the Iron Amir
1840/44 – 1 October 1901 31 May 1880 1 October 1901 Son of Mohammad Afzal Khan Barakzai Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan
Habibullah Khan 3 June 1872 – 20 February 1919 1 October 1901 20 February 1919 Son of Abdur Rahman Khan Barakzai Habibullah Khan of Afghanistan
Nasrullah Khan 1874–1920 20 February 1919 28 February 1919
(deposed)
Son of Abdur Rahman Khan Barakzai Nasrullah Khan of Afghanistan
Amanullah Khan 1 June 1892 – 25 April 1960 28 February 1919 9 June 1926 Son of Habibullah Khan Barakzai Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan

Kingdom of Afghanistan (1926–1929)

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Amanullah Khan 1 June 1892 – 25 April 1960 9 June 1926 14 January 1929
(abdicated)
Son of Habibullah Khan Barakzai Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan
Inayatullah Khan 20 October 1888 – 12 August 1946 14 January 1929 17 January 1929
(deposed)
Son of Habibullah Khan Barakzai Inayatullah Khan of Afghanistan

Saqqawist Emirate and the 1928–1929 civil war

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Habibullāh Kalakāni
  • Bacha-ye Saqao
19 January 1891 – 3 November 1929 17 January 1929 [note 2] 13 October 1929 Styled as king and emir [note 3]; contested the throne during the 1928–29 civil war;[15] deposed and executed[16] Non-dynastic Habibullāh Kalakāni of Afghanistan
Ali Ahmad Khan 1883 – 11 July 1929 17 January 1929 9 February 1929 Styled as King; rose in opposition to Kalakāni during the 1928–29 civil war; captured and executed Non-dynastic Ali Ahmad Khan of Afghanistan
Amanullah Khan 1 June 1892 – 25 April 1960 March 1929 23 May 1929 Son of Habibullah Khan
Former King; returned to Afghanistan to contest the throne during the 1928–29 civil war; eventually retreated back into British India;[17] See also Amanullah loyalism
Barakzai Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan

Kingdom of Afghanistan (restored; 1929–1973)

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Mohammed Nadir Shah 9 April 1883 – 8 November 1933 15 October 1929[18] 8 November 1933 [note 4] Great-nephew of Dost Mohammed Khan Barakzai Mohammed Nadir Shah of Afghanistan
Mohammed Zahir Shah
  • the Father of the Nation
    (from 2004) [note 5]
15 October 1914 – 23 July 2007 8 November 1933 17 July 1973
(deposed)[6]
Son of Mohammed Nadir Shah Barakzai Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan

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

Name Lifespan Reign start Reign end Notes Family Image
Jehandad Khan Died 1914 May 1912 May 1912
(deposed)
Styled as Emir; ruled only in Khost during the 1912 rebellion Non-dynastic Jehandad Khan of Afghanistan
Abd-al Karim 1897 – 18 February 1927 July 1924 30 January 1925
(deposed)
Son of Mohammad Yaqub Khan
Styled as Emir; rule limited to the Southern Province during the 1924–1925 rebellion
Barakzai Abd-al Karim of Afghanistan
Salemai c. 1944 c. 1946
(deposed)
Styled as King; rule limited to the Eastern Province during the 1944–47 tribal revolts Non-dynastic Salemai of Afghanistan

Non-monarchs

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 1974)
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;[19] Supposedly killed for refusing to surrender to the new authorities[20][8]
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[21]
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; Deposed during the fall of Kabul on 27 September 1996;[22] Continued to claim the position in rebellion during the 1996–2001 Civil War until the recapture of Kabul on 13 November 2001; 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 and 2021–present)
Mullah
Mohammed Omar
No image.svg 1960–2013 27 September 1996 23 April 2013 16 years, 208 days Taliban
Head of the Supreme Council, Emir and Commander of the Faithful; Deposed during the fall of Kabul on 13 November 2001; Continued to claim the position in rebellion during the Taliban insurgency until his death; Between 1996 and 2001, the Islamic Emirate never attained widespread international recognition, despite controlling about 90% of Afghan territory
Post vacant (23 April 2013–29 July 2015)
Mullah
Akhtar Mansour
No image.svg 1968–2016 29 July 2015 21 May 2016 297 days Taliban
Emir and Commander of the Faithful; Claimed the position in rebellion during the Taliban insurgency until his death in a U.S. military drone strike in Pakistan[23]
Mullah
Mawlawi
Hibatullah Akhundzada
Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.jpg born 1961 25 May 2016 Incumbent 5 years, 122 days Taliban
Emir and Commander of the Faithful; Claimed the position in rebellion during the Taliban insurgency until the recapture of Kabul on 15 August 2021; Officially appointed on 7 September 2021;[24] The Islamic Emirate is currently not internationally recognized, despite controlling the majority of Afghan territory
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 (5).jpg born 1972 17 August 2021 Incumbent 38 days Basej-e Milli
Acting President; Claimed the position in rebellion during the Panjshir conflict, based on Article 67 of the 2004 Constitution (as former First Vice President);[25] Simultaneously announced the formation of an anti-Taliban front in the Panjshir Valley[26]

Timeline from 1880

Standards of heads of state

See also

Copyright