1902 Encyclopedia > Afghanistan > Afghanistan - Military Force

(Part 18)

(18) Afghanistan - Military Force

MILITARY FORCE. – According to the old system the Afghan forces were entirely composed of the ulus, or tribesmen of the chiefs, who were supposed to hold their lands on a condition of service, but who, as frequently as not, went over to the enemy in the day of need. As a counterpoise, the late Amir Dost Mahommed began to form a regular army. In 1858 this contained 16 infantry regiments of (nominally) 800 men 3 of cavalry of 300 men, and about 80 field-pieces, besides a few heavy guns. The pay was bad, and extremely irregular, and punishments were severe. The men were fine, but recruited in the worst manner, viz, the arbitrary and forcible seizure of able-bodied men. There were also Jezailchi (riflemen), irregulars, some in the Amir’s pay, others levies of the local chiefs; and a considerable number of irregular cavalry. We have failed to obtain recent data on this subject.

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