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For more information, see: Pashtun people.

One of the two main tribes of the Pashtun people, the Ghilzais have been well known for their bravery and chivalry for many centuries. The other main tribe is the Durrani, who held the throne of Afghanistan since 1973, and started the resistance against the Soviets in the Afghanistan War (1978-1992).

The Durrani are believed to be descended Khilji Turks by most historians. Traditional historians are however of a different view. According to them, Ghilji and Lodi/Lodhi (Ibrahim Lodhi) were the offspring of Shah Hussain Ghauri off his first wife; Bibi Mato bint Bait Nikka bin Qais Abdul Rashid. According to O'Connel Jr, The Ghilzai are the descendents of the Wu'chi (Indo-European/Turk) which absorbed the remnants of the Tocharian people (Indo-European) after the fall of the Tarim Basin to the Han Chinese.[1] Important Ghilzai clans include the Lodi, Suleiman Khel, Nasir Khel, Hotak, and Kharotis.

Urban Ghilzai, although having lost some tribal ties, dominated the leadership of the Communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. [2] As the Afghan civil war progressed, the Taliban began to recruit outside their Durrani tribe, and appealed to the Ghilzai. The Ghilzai, who came from outside the Kandahar area, wanted more power in the Taliban than the Taliban leadership wanted to share. They were especially critical of the Taliban's battle in Mazar-e-Sharif, where they formed an ill-fated alliance with Abdul Malik. [3]

Jalaluddin Harqqani, a respected mujahideen leader from Khost, joined the Taliban in 1995, but large numbers of his troops deserted because he had no authority in the high councils in Kandahar.


  1. - Ghilzai
  2. Peter R. Blood, ed. (2001), Ethnic Groups, Afghanistan: A Country Study, Library of Congress
  3. Ahmed Rashid (2000), Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300089023, pp. 59-60