Durrani (Pashto: دراني) or Abdali (Pashto: ابدالی) is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16% of the population of Afghanistan or 5 million individuals. Durrani are found throughout Afghanistan, although large concentrations are found in the South, they are also found to less extent in East, West and Central Afghanistan. They are also found in large numbers in Pakistan, mainly inhabiting the Western area of the nation. The Durrani Pashtuns of Afghanistan are usually bilingual in Pashto and Persian while those of Pakistan in Pashto and Urdu.
The Durranis have been prominent leaders, as the royal family of Afghanistan is derived from this tribe, and a substantial number of Durrani Pashtuns are bureaucrats and public officials, as well as businessmen, wealthy merchants and hold high ranks in the military. The particular dialect of Pashto language favored by the Durrani Pashtuns tends to be tinged with a slight Persian inflection and is considered a more urbane and mixed dialect, as opposed to the original, rougher "Pukhtu" version favoured in the north and by most of the Pashtuns of Pakistan.
Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the modern state of Afghanistan in 1747 and ruler of the Durrani Empire.
The Durranis are, like other Pashtun people, Indo-European, Iranic in heritage and language. They were known in the past as Abdalis, from approximately the 7th century until the mid-18th century when Ahmad Shah Durrani was chosen as the new Emir and the Durrani Empire was established. One of Ahmad Shah's first acts as Emir was to adopt the title padshah durr-i durran ('King, "pearl of the age"). He united the Pashtun tribes following a loya jirga in western Kandahar and changed his own name from Ahmad Shah Abdali to Ahmad Shah Durrani. Since that period, the kings of Afghanistan have been of Durrani extraction.
The origins of the Abdalis were most likely the Hephthalites. However, the mythical account of the Abdalis is traced to (Qais ul-Malik) Abdal Rashid (the first and founder of the Abdali tribe). Abdal had three sons, one of them was Ibrahim [Sarabun] whose first son was Sharf ud-din [Sharakh-bun] and he had a son whose name was Tarin and Tarin's son was Malik Abdul and Abdul's son was Rajjal [Rajor] after Rajjal comes his son Isa, who produced a son Sulaiman (Zirak Khan) who was the ancestor of Durranis. The Zirak line begins with Sulaiman (Zirak Khan). Zirak was father to Popalzai, Barakzai (tribes), and Alakozai.
The Durranis were the most divided Pashtun tribe(مهمبن)during the rule of the Ghilzai-dominated Taliban, with some having openly opposed them. The Durrani are the politically dominant Pashtun group in Afghanistan as the current President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is of the Durrani sub-group known as the Popalzai and has close ties to the last king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, another member of the Durrani tribe Mohammadzai/Barakzai.
According to Hayat Khan history of Afghanistan from their progenitor Bor Tareen, otherwise known as Abdal, are descended two main division the Zirak and the Panjpai. The term Abdal, however, gradually superseded that of Bor Tareen and came into special prominence when Ahmad Shah Abdali Sadozai/Popalzai commonly known as Durrani, began his career of conquest. The Achakzais are, in strictness, a branch of the Barakzai but Ahmad Shah, Durrani himself an Abdal Tareen, fearing the growing numbers of the Barakzai, separated them from the parent stock, since which time their organization has remained distinct. It is still used, though sparingly, for the Achakzais, who have become localised in Toba and are regarded as a separate political unit from the rest of the Tareens.
Sadozai Abdali tribe is the tribe Ahmad Shah Abdali was from. The Durrani Tareen tribe is divided into two branches Panjpai and Zirak. Durrani tribes of the Zirak branch include Popalzai, Alikozai, Barakzai, Badozai, and Achakzai.
The Panjpai branch are mainly found in the western Kandahar Helmand and Farah area, and they include Alizai, Noorzai, Ishakzai or Sakzai, Khogyani(Khakwani), and Maku.
The literacy rate of the Durrani is the highest among all the Pashtun tribes and are also considered the most liberal of the Pashtun tribes. The Durranis continue to live close to other people of Afghanistan and culturally overlap in many ways with the Tajiks whom they often share more cultural and socio-economic traits in comparison to the more tribal Pashtuns such as the Ghilzai, which is the other major Pashtun tribe.
Description: The figure shows the splitting of the Zirak line into the Popalzai, Alokozai, Achakzai (Barech) (the Historical and famous area of Barech Tribes are Qilabes, LashgarGah and Showrawak) and Barakzai branches.