The Bangash (Pashto: بنګش), (Urdu: بنگش) are one of the largest and perhaps the most powerful Karlani Pashtun tribe of the border region of eastern Afghanistan and North Western Pakistan. They primarily inhabit the Kohat, Hangu, Doaba, Thall, and districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as portions of the Kurram Agency and Orakzai Agency in FATA.[1] A large number of Bangash are also found in the northeastern section of the Paktia and Paktika Province in Afghanistan. Descendants of Bangash are also found in the Uttar Pradesh state of India, particularly in the city of Farrukhabad which was founded by Muhammad Khan Bangash in 1714.[2][3]

Etymology and origins

The name Bangash or Bankash is said to be derived from Persian namely "bun", meaning root, and "Kashtan",[4] meaning 'To tear apart'.Since the origin of the tribe it was believed that during battle the tribesmen of the Bangash would not rest until they had ripped the enemy off of their roots.Hence the Name 'Bangash' or 'Root Destroyer'.It is believed by the tribe that they are the descendants of a man named Esmail, who moved from Persia to the Solayman mountains but whose eleventh-generation ancestor was the famous Arab general Khalid ibn Walid.[5] According to Pashtun folklore, the Bangash tribe traces its origin back to the eponymous ancestor of all Pashtuns, Qais Abdur Rashid, through his youngest son, Karlan. Thus, the Bangash tribe are one of the Karlani tribes.


The Bangash are said to have originally lived in the Gardez region of modern-day Afghanistan, where they were still living as of the Ghaznavids period (975 to 1187).[1] Later on, they came into conflict with the Ghilzais, and were ousted from their homeland eastwards across the Paywar Pass to the upper Kurram Basin, located on the eastern slopes of the Spin Ghar range. The Bangash allied with the Khattaks who were also moving to the same area and pushed the Orakzai of the area southeastwards. In the 16th century, the whole habitat of the Bangash was called Bangash District and was ruled by the Khan of Hangu (Mardu Khan(1540 A.D) 1st khan of the Hangu) who were the chiefs of Bangash tribe. However, in the 18th century, the Bangash ceded most of the upper Kurram Basin to the Turi tribe, though the Bangash sill occupy some villages there, in particular in the Shalozan area near the PakistanAfghanistan border.[1] This incorporation, which is never clearly formulated in terms of filiation or even of adoption, may have originated in a military alliance between the Bangaṧ and Ḵaṭak (q.v.) in the 9th/15th century."[1]

The Mughal Emperor Babur mentioned a population of approximately 5,600 Bangash located in the Kurram agency, which was formerly divided into Bangash-i-Bala and Bangash Payan, "Upper and Lower Bangash", and lists Bangash as one of the fourteen provinces then dependent on Kabul. Babur wished to conquer these provinces, but was unable to conquer the territory bounded on the north by the Spin Ghar down as far as Bannu, where Bangash, Turis, and Wazirs live, as is clear from his comments: "Bangash is another tuman [of Kabul]. The area round about is full of highway robbers such as the Khogyani, Khirilchi, Turi and Landar. Since it is isolated they do not pay the desired revenue. As greater tasks such as the conquest of Kandahar, Balkh, Badakhshan and Hindustan occupied me, there has been no opportunity to subjugate the Bangash".[6] However, in 1505 Babur raided and plundered the district of the Bangash.[7]

They inhabited the Miranzai valley (Hangu), the Kohat defile in the North-West Frontier Province (1901–1955), and the valley of Kurram river in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Kohat Gazetteer of 1883–84 records

"The Orakzai tribes are said to have been converted by the Tirah Syeds about the beginning of the present century. The Bangash of Samizai were probably converted a little earlier."[8]

The three main divisions of the Bangash clan are the Miranzai, Baizais and Samilzai.

Bangash in Afghanistan

The Bangash Tribe are Found in Primarily In Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni and Khost Provinces in Afghanistan. and From The Majority Of The Population in Gardez and Zurmat The Main Cities Of Paktia Province.

The three main Bangash lineages

  Main Bangash Lineages Genealogical Descen Political Affiliation Religion  
  Baizai Gar Gar Sunni + Shia Minority  
  Miranzai Gar Gar + Samel Minority Sunni + Shia  
  Samelzai Samel Gar + Samel Minority Shia + Sunni Minority  


Tribe Division Subdivision Section of subdivision(Khel)  
Bangash Gaar Baizai Alisher, Toya khel, Yousaf-Khel, Hassan-Zai, Gulshah, Landi, Shingi, Biland, Hasan, Mandar, Tapi, Dang, Isa, Mastu, Daulat, Shamshedi, Musa, Darsamand, Kamal, Mysaro, Doda, Kati, Shadi, Makhizai etc.  
    Miranzai Mardu Khel,Haji khel,Yousaf-Khel,Hassan-Zai Alisher, Azi, Badda, Isap, Khoja, Labi, Lodi, Mandar, Shahu etc.  
  Samil   Ali, Darbi, Yousaf-Khel,Hassan-Zai, Kalesar, Kasi, Khadi, Khadir, Khoti, Landi, Mama, Mari, Mastori, Mozu, Musa, Naso, Pae, Tana, Tazi, Ustarizai,sherkot,Alizai, Khadizai,Darvikhal, Chekerkot Bala, Kohat, Hangu,Togh Sarai, Kahi, Mohammad khwaja etc.  


Main article: Baizai

The Baizai are a sub-tribe of the Bangash. . The name "Baizai" originated from that of a tribal chieftain of the Bangash, Behzad Khan-son of Amirzai chief Daulat Khan-a tribal chieftain and feudal lord. Behzad Khan is said to have been married to a daughter of Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Amir of Afghanistan. The Baizai Bangash inhabit most of rural Kohat and parts of the city limits where most government installations, institutions and commercial centers have been built on their lands. Originally the Bazai Bangash (also known as Behzadi being the direct descendedants of Behzad Khan) established their village in Kohat at the location of the present fort constructed by the British to secure the area. All Baizais are Sunni Muslims. They are further divided into clans or khels. Toya khel, Izzat Khel also known as Dolat Khel are one of the khels.


Main article: Miranzai

The Miranzai occupy a vast territory in Hangu known as the Miranzai Valley.Hangu valley was controlled mostly by Orakzai and to some extent by khattaks before the Bangash came. Bangash pushed the orakzai's towards nearby mountains and the khattaks towards the other side and took the control of the valley, in much the same fashion the Baizais of Kohat did so. Miranzai Bangash include both Shias and Sunnis. The Miranzai are the descendants of Miran,one of the grandchildren of Ismail, the progenitor of the Bangash tribe.This valley was ruled by the Khan of Hangu chiefs.The first being 'Mardu Khan' in the 16th century.The Miranzai are renowned for their bravey.They have constantly come into conflict with various forces such as neighboring tribes,the British Raj etc.On one account during Darveza Niazi's attack on Hangu, The Khan of Hangu was pushed towards "Kasha" a place in the Samana mountain range. The Miranzai Bangash struck and took back control of the valley. Darveza was killed in the battle and the influence of the Khan was restored. In the recent period of Talibanization,Bangash of Miranzai valley,especially of Hangu city have given a very hard time to Taliban fighters. In 2009 Taliban launched a huge attack on Hangu city bringing their fighters from Waziristan,Khyber,Orakzai and Kurram agency and the battle continued for four days. The Bangash succeeded in protecting every inch of their land.


The Bangash speak the northeastern or "harder" variant of Pashto similar to that of the Orakzai and Afridi but slightly differing in some lexicographical and phonetic features.[9]


All Bangash follow the religion of Islam. The Bangash, along with the Orakzai and the Turi (Pashtun tribe), are the only Pashtun tribe with significant Shia population. The Shias are concentrated around upper Kurram Agency in FATA, Hangu and Kohat in KPK, while the Sunnis are mostly concentrated around Lower Kurram Agency and Tall area of Hangu.[10]

Notable people

Farid Hussain Bangash (shaheed) Malik Altamash Bangash (Shaheed) Malik Saad (Shaheed)


  1. 1 2 3 4 Balland, Daniel. Encyclopaedia Iranica. BANGAṦ. Originally Published: December 15, 1988. "BANGAṦ - one of the least-known Pashtun tribes in the Solaymān range, Pakistan, and one of the few that are not named after eponymous ancestors."
  2. Irvine, William (1878). A History of the Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad: From 1713 to 1771 A.D. Calcutta: G.H. Rouse. p. 246.
  3. Srivastava, Ashirbadi (Jan 1, 1954). The first two Nawabs of Awadh. Shiva Lal Agarwala & Co. p. 137.
  4. Wylly, Harold (1912). From the Black Mountain to Waziristan: Being an Account of the Border Countries and the More Turbulent of the Tribes Controlled by the North-west Frontier Province, and of Our Military Relations with Them in the Past. Macmillan. p. 15. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  5. Wylly, Harold (1912). From the Black Mountain to Waziristan. Macmillan. p. 15. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  6. "The Garden of the Eight Paradises", Stephen Frederic Dale, pg. 304
  7. Gommans, Jos J. L. (1995). The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire. BRILL. p. 171. ISBN 90-04-10109-8. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  8. Gazetteer of the Kohat District 1883–84 published by Sang e meel publications Pakistan page 69
  9. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill Archive. 1950. p. 250. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  10. A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province (1 ed.). Atlantic Publishers & Dist. Jan 1, 1997. p. 574.
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