Amir Habibullah Khan:
(b. 1872, Tashkent,
Russian Turkistan [now in Uzbekistan]--d. Feb. 20, 1919, Kalagosh, Afg.),
ruler of Afghanistan from 1901 to 1919. Maintaining satisfactory relations
with British India, he introduced needed reforms in Afghanistan and
steered his country on a moderate political course.
The eldest son of 'Abdor Rahman Khan, Habibollah succeeded peacefully to
the throne after his father's death in October 1901. At the time, British
India was deeply involved in Afghan affairs, and Habibollah agreed to
accept British guidance in foreign affairs in return for an annual subsidy
of 160,000. He was able to retain full control of his country's internal
With the outbreak of
World War I (1914-18), there was widespread support in Afghanistan of
Ottoman Turkey against the British. Habibollah, however, was able to
maintain a policy of noninvolvement throughout the war. He meanwhile moved
to open Afghanistan to technology from the West, founding schools, a
military academy, and a weekly newspaper. He also introduced electricity,
automobiles, and Western medical methods to the country.
policy was unpopular with the young anti-British elements in the
population. In 1919 he was assassinated while on a hunting trip.