The Khattak (Pashto: خټک [xaˈʈak]), is a Pashtun tribe numbering over 3 million, which speaks a variant of the softer Kandahari Pashto. The Khattaks are settled along the western bank of the Indus River from as north upwards as Lund Khwar, Katlang, Sawaldher, Sher Garh and near Malakand, Nowshera District, Kohat District, Mianwali District, Attock District & Karak District in Pakistan. Across the Durand line, a smaller number of Khattaks are scattered in Kandahar, Ghazni, Logar and Khost in Afghanistan. The historic capitals of the Khattaks were Teri, a town at District Karak, and Akora Khattak, a town at District Nowshera.

The warrior poet Khushal Khan Khattak (1613–1690) belonged to this tribe, and his contributions to Pashto literature are considered as classic texts. They have been translated into numerous languages. The Khattaks have high literacy rates in comparison to other Pashtun tribes having achieved positions of influence throughout history.


Karlani Afghan Tribes Genealogy & Family Tree.

Migration from today's Afghanistan

Early records show migration of the Khattak from Ghazni, Ghor and Logar of modern-day Afghanistan. Later on, the Khattak settled in the Shawal region of present-day Waziristan, Pakistan.

Subsequently, they migrated further eastwards and settled in Bannu District, where the Pashtun tribes of Mangal and Honai were already settled. In the 14th century, the Shitaks, a tribe allied to the Khattaks which also previously held Shawal, migrated to Bannu. The Shitaks first defeated and drove away the Mangals and the Honais, and later gradually captured Bannu and pushed the Khattaks northwards to the southern portions of Kohat, where the Khattaks settled in Bahadur Khel and Teri. Then the Khattak allied with the Bangash, defeated the other Pashtun tribes, and occupied northeastern Kohat, Gumbat, Pattiala and Zira Tippas. Eventually, the Khattak settled in Karak and Nowshera, and finally a small number migrated to Nizampur, Mardan and Malakand.[1] Khattak also migrated from Akora Khattak more than 100 years ago, and settled down in city of Mansehra in the current day province of Khyber Pashtunkhwa. They are settled in the city of Mansehra, and in the villages of Lambi Dheri, Kotkay, Jhagir, and Labarkot. In addition, they are settled in some areas of Abbotabad.

Khushal Khan Khattak

A warrior poet by the name of Khushal Khan Khattak (1613–1690) was once the chief of this tribe, and his contributions to Pashto literature are considered as classic texts .[2] His life and times are one of the most chronicled and discussed subjects in Pashtun history, as he was active on the political, social and intellectual fora of his times. He was a most voluminous writer, and composed no less than three hundred and sixty literary works, both in the Pashto and Persian languages .[3] His poetry revolves around concepts of Honour, Justice, Bravery and Nationalism and his works have been translated into numerous languages, English and Urdu being the primary ones.[4]

Older references

According to Nimatullah's 1620 work History of The Afghans, the Khattaks are amongst the oldest of the Afghan tribes.[5] Their history has been closely knit with that of the khattak have given the place to yusafzai Tribe from their first settlement around the mountains of Ghor and Ghazni[5] to present day East-Central and North-Eastern Pukhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan.

The Sattagudai (Ancient Greek: Σατταγύδαι) were a people mentioned by Herodotus in connection to people under the influence of the Achaemenid Empire.[6]

Herodotus, Book 3, 91.[7] (In this and the two succeeding passages the historian is giving a list of the Achaemenian satrapies and their peoples.)

The Sattagudai and the Gandarioi and the Dadikai and the Aparutai, who were all reckoned together paid 170 talents.

Herodotus, without assigning a name to the satrapy, tells us that Darius' yth Satrapy was inhabited by four tribes, the Sattagudai, the Gandarioi, the Dadikai, and the Aparutai.[8][9]

The addition of the Aparutai/Aparidai correspondence helps to buttress the case for finding in Herodotus traces of names which carry through to the present day. Bellew has gone further and identified the Sattagudai with the famous Khatak tribe. "The Pathans 55O B.C.-A.D. 1957" printed St Martin's Press 1958 by MacMillan and Company Limited"[9]


Numerous historians identify the Khattak with the Sattagudai.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Sir Olaf Caroe, The Pathans 550BC 1957AD:[9]

"Let us now refer to the third passage cited, in which Herodotus, without assigning a name to the satrapy, tells us that Darius' yth

Satrapy was inhabited by four tribes, the Sattagudai, the Gandarioi, the Dadikai, and the Aparutai.

Bellew has gone further and identified the Sattagudai with the famous Khatak tribe, and the Dadikai with an obscure branch of Kakars whom he calls Dadi."

Khattaks and Shetaks

Sir Olaf Caroe, The Pathans 550BC 1957AD:[9]

"Neither Khataks nor Shitaks appear by name until the period of publication of genealogies under the Mughals, and the time of Akbar's dealings with the Khataks for the protection of the highway to Peshawar. Babur indeed in his memoirs mentions the Karranis (Karlanis) whom he encountered in 1505 around Bannu along with the Niazis and Isakhel. It is probable that this reference of his is to Khataks or Shitaks, or both, for both are Karlani tribes, and the other Karlanis who live in that area, Wazirs and Bangash, Babur mentions by name when he comes to them."

It is thus clear that Babur & other Mughals in their descriptions identify Khattaks & Shetaks together without any differentiation.

In Pashtun history

Sir Olaf Caroe, The Pathans 550BC 1957AD:[9]

"Taken together, the Khataks and the Shitaks, who now have a common boundary close to Bannu, cover a stretch of territory as large as that held by any Afghan or Pathan tribe, whether Ghilzai, Yusufzai or Durrani. From the Khatak settlements around Lundkhwar, close to the Malakand Pass, to the Shitak villages in Upper Daur in the Tochi, the distance is over 200 miles. The wide extent of their present territory, their large population, and the association of both groups of tribes at one time or another with the rich oases of Bannu and the Tochi, suggest sufficiently their importance in this family of peoples."

Theory of Israelite descent

Khattak tribe has oral traditions and legendary history of descent from the Israelites.[17]

Khushal Khan Khattak, chosen malak in 1641, believed that malak was a continuation of the Israelite title malak given to the legendary progenitors King Saul and Malak Afghana.[18]

Khushal expresses that the Khattak reputation for fierceness and valor stems from the fact that Khattaks and Afghans have been nursed by the Lioness’s (King Saul’s wife) milk.[19][20]

One of the first progenitors of the modern tribe is Manal. Manal is considered to be a modification of Manas from the word Manasseh. In his book The Armies of India, A.C. Lovett declares the Khattaks to be a widely enlisted tribe, who also lay claim to the Pashtun Jewish descent.[21]

Theory of descent from the Greeks

After the creation of Pakistan, some Pakistani scholars, suggested a Greek descent for the Khattaks. However from the Histories of Herodotus, Herodotus, Book 3, 91.,[7] it is clear that a tribe by the name of SattaGydae (or Sattagudai) were already settled in the area around current day Ghor in Afghanistan and paid as tribute coinage and materials to the Greeks when they subjugated these areas:

"The Sattagudai and the Gandarioi and the Dadikai and the Aparutai, who were all reckoned together paid 170 talents."

Later Bellew, Caroe and other historians both Pashtun and Western through their works identified the Sattagudai with the famous Khatak & Shitak tribes. "The Pathans 55O B.C.-A.D. 1957" printed St Martin's Press 1958 by MacMillan and Company Limited"[9]

Though all Afghan DNA[22] including Khattak DNA has minor contributions from haplogroups more common to the Greeks,[23] these are minor enough to rule out a direct lineage. Together with works from Herodotus and more recent historians, the theory of Khattak descent from the Greeks is unfounded.

Afridi and Khattak history

Sir Olaf Caroe, The Pathans 550BC 1957AD:[9]

"The Afridis and Khataks lumped together as Karlanis, can be held to reflect a knowledge that they represented a more aboriginal stock, which only later absorbed the characteristics of the invaders. In other words, it is not surprising that in looking for a prototype in the oldest recorded history bearing on this region we hit on the ancestor of the Pakhtun."

Molding and amalgamation

Sir Olaf Caroe, The Pathans 550BC 1957AD:[9]

"This is not to assert that the ethnic or linguistic stock can be traced through to tribes of similar names today. The case would be rather that these were sub-stratum agglomerations of people who, through contact with later-comers, modified their language and were assimilated to later cultures, but retained in the more inaccessible places sufficient of their older inspirations to boast their original names. The theory does at least give a starting-point to Pathan history & the stock belief in the Bani Israel."
The Khattak super Tribe and sub tribes. Khattak Family Tree.

Khattak tribes

Borak Khattak

Areas: (Karak) Karak City, Tappi Karak, Chokara, Trakha Koi, Mitha Khel, Sabir abad, Deli Mila,Nari Panos, Issak Chontra,Nari Panos, Takhte Nasrati, Bahadur Khel & Banda Daud shah latamber and mandawa,totaki,khurram muhammad zai,shawa.

Akori Khattak

Areas: Peshawar Nowshera. City Centers: Peshawar, Akbar Pura, Akora Khattak, Mansehra, manki sharif and cherat, ilaqa Khwara (Nizampur), and Attock

Yusufzai Khattak

Areas: Mardan, Sawabi, Malakand, Charsadda. City Centers: Lund Khwar, Jamal Garhi, Sher Garh, Katlang, Hatia'n (alternatively Hatiaan), Sakha Kot, Shahdherai Swat.[24]

Soghri (Bhangi Khel) Khattak

Bhangi Khel are a sub-tribe of the Khattak. They are located in Mianwali in the province of Punjab. The tribal location is bound by the district of Karak to the north-east, the district of Kohat to the north, and by the Indus River to the south. the tribal capital is Tabbisar. The Bangi Khel are further divided in two parts, the upper and lower Bangi Khel. Their main villages Tola, sanda bangi khel,(now hayat abad) Manja Ghondi, Madochanda, Neryob, Mezrena, Missar Wala, Chapry and Tola Magali. The main sub-tribes are Hakeem Khel,babar,haibut khell, Jani Khel, Saho Khel and Manki Khel.

Soghri (Bhangi Khel) Khattak In Bannu

Presences of Soghari (bhangi khel) Khattaks are also proofed in District Bannu. The large numbers of the said Sub tribe khattaks are living in Village Kottka Khattakan in Fatima Khel. their Chief Shair shah son of fateh shah was Migrated from Village Khanry Makhad Distt Atock in 1861 due to some political and properties issues with Ghulam Muhammad who take the position of Khan of khattaks in 1861 after death of his father Sher Ahmed Khan. Shair shah first migrated to Khalabagh and latter than shifted to Bannu, where he start his life as Translator to English Government. He started living in gari shair Ahmed, than he shifted Fatima khel. he have Two son Sair Ali Khan and Amir ali khan, shair ali Khan have one son who died bachelor while Amir Ali khan have eight sons, named Shaista Khan, Bhangi khan,Mir khaboot Akbar Ali khan, Shair Nawaz.Ahmed Nawaz, Amir Nawaz, GulDaraz. One of Amir Ali khan’s son Amir Nawaz who was a Mechanical Foreman in Baghai Transport Company migrated to Quetta Baluchistan in 1947, where he settled and attached with the Business of timber.{History of Bannu by Jahangir Khan Sikandari,Bannu in mirror of History by Faizi} Presently Malik Hasim Ali Khan is the chief of these khattaks in Bannu.

Borak Khattak of Karak

Areas: Karak District, which includes three Tehsils, named Karak, Banda Dawood Shah and Takht-e Nasrati. District Karak has the highest literacy rate. This is the only area where no other tribe except Khattaks are living. As Khattaks are brave and well-built people, most of the Khattaks living in Karak District, have been serving the armed forces of Pakistan, both as soldiers and officers.The land in karak is dry and people rely mostly on rain for agriculture thus leaving them with no other option than to work hard and study.The people from this region are mostly peaceful and nationalist with no linkage to terrorism or extremism due to high literacy rate yet they observe strict Islamic culture and they unlike the use of force as in other tribal regions.Khattaks on majority believe in education to women and many of them are working women in different civil services and governments jobs. Currently they are in the best positions worldwide making their way towards the top in every organization due to their hard work honesty and intelligence. Karak is enriched with Oil & Gas and in near future is going to be the Karak (Kuwait) of Pakistan.

Saghri Khattak

Saghri Khattak (Urdu: خٹک ساغری) is a subtribe of the Khattak tribe. Saghri Khattak are spread in many villages, on the east bank of the River Sindh, and on the boundary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Attock District in Punjab, Pakistan.

The distribution of the Khattak Tribe in modern-day Pakistan. Also shows major Khattak centers, cities, Tribal capitals and Districts where the Khattak Tribe is populated. All percentages shown are related to census demographics of population surveys of Pakistan.


The Khattak sub tribes include the Seni Khattak (Kohat), Barak Khattak (Karak), Akora Khel Khattak (From Lundkhur to Nizampur), Mungi Khel Khattak (Shakar Dara), Mattu Khel Khattak (Shakar Darra), and the Saghri Khattak (Narra Kanjoor, chhab, nakka afghan, INJRA AFGHAN, injra, Jand - Attock).

They also live in Sndh, Balochistan and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. In past there was democratic process to make a new leader of the tribe by vote of leaders of clans. each tribe leader was given extra land as Jagir (padgai or pagrrai) to cover the expenses of his Public Kitchen (Langer). There are 3 Chieftain of Khattak's, Khan of Terri, Akora and Makhad. it seems till the time of Khushal Khan, khattaks were having one Chieftain at Akora.

Bangi khels live at Narrah (Taraf Jamal Khel of Narrah) Bani Afghan, Tabbi sari at Mianwali and some village at Shakar Dara District Kohat. Bangi khel are much in count so mostly considered separate tribe of Khattak's but actually Bangi khel and Akora's are part of Saghri's. Saghris living at Shakardara are called as "Topi Sughri" whereas at Attock are called "nar-rray sughri" in local dialect. According to Punjab government revenue record, Saghri khattak's living at Tehsil Jand belong to the following clans/ Pats. Taraf Narrah comprise the Patti khosar khel, Patti Nanadrak, Patti Khatter khel, Patti Abdullh Khel and Patti Chandel Khel, Patti Taraf Syeded Khel comprise Patti Nanadrak, Kotiwal, Qureshi, Bangash, Awan, Malyar and Sarban and Patti Taraf Jamal khel. The property belonging to each Patti is separately compiled as book to avoid mistake due to repetition of names. This system provide authentic family tree through inherited land transfer record. today each Patti is sub divided in dozens of sub khels.

Saghris in the past were warlike people and didn't have written history but wisely they recorded their existence through naming their new settlements with old names.

Lund Khwar

Lund Khwar was known in the old days as Sammah.[9] The Khattaks here are the direct descendants of those khattak warriors who came down from the khattak hilly areas and settled down in the early sixteenth century during the times of the great Khushal Khan Khattak. In his campaign of Swat, Khushal Khan Khattak had camped here and those of the Khattaks that live here today helped him in his wars against the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.


Further information: List of Khattaks

See also


  1. "History of Kohat - The Khattak Tribe, Gazetteer of the Kohat District, 1883-84".
  2. "Afghan Poetry: Selections from the poems of Khush Hal Khan Khattak., Biddulph, C.D., Saeed Book Bank, Peshawar, 1983 (reprint of 1890 ed.)".
  3. Raverty, H. G. A Grammar Of The Pukhto, Pushto: Or Language Of The Afghans, Raverty, H.G., London, 1860.
  4. "Poems from the Diwan of Khushâl Khân Khattak, MacKenzie, D.N, London, Allen & Unwin, 1965".
  5. 1 2 Deportation by the Assyrians, Makhzan-i Afghani, page 37:
  6. James Romm; Herodotus (15 March 2014). Histories. Hackett Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 978-1-62466-115-0.
  7. 1 2 "The Histories of Herodotus, George Rawlinson, Translation 1858–1860".
  8. "The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957" printed St Martin's Press 1958 by MacMillan and Company Limited"
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "The Pathans 55O B.C.-A.D. 1957 By Sir Olaf Caroe"
  10. The Histories of Herodotus, George Rawlinson, Translation 1858–1860.
  11. Guardians of the Khaibar Pass: the social organisation and history of the Afridis of Pakistan David M. Hart Page 7.
  12. The races of Afghanistan being a brief account of the principal nations, By Henry Walter Bellew - 2004 - 124 pages - Page 85.
  13. An inquiry into the ethnography of Afghanistan: prepared and presented to the Ninth international congress of Orientalists, London, September, 1891 - The Oriental university institute, 1891 - 208 pages - pages 107,108,122.
  14. A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province: Based on the census report for the Punjab, 1883 - Horace Arthur Rose, Sir Denzil Ibbetson, Sir Edward Maclagan - Printed by the superintendent, Government printing, Punjab, 1914 - Page 217.
  15. Qabila: tribal profiles and tribe-state relations in Morocco and on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier - By David M. Hart - - 2001 - 254 pages - Page 152.
  16. Afghanistan of the Afghans - Bhavana Books & Prints, 2000 - 272 pages - Ikbal Ali Shah (Sirdar.) - Page 95.
  17. Ferishta, History Of The Mohammedan Power In India, The Packard Humanities Institute Persian Texts in Translation, Book 1 Chapter 2 page 11, Part II page 54 and Part II page 130, (90)
  18. Dastar Nama, Khushal Khan Khattak, Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar, Pakistan.
  19. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, Volume 54, Issues 3-4, Page 30.
  20. Perspective , Volume 4, Pakistan Publications., 1971.Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society , Volume 54, Issues 3-4, Pakistan Historical Society, 2006 - Page 86.
  21. The Armies of India, A. C. Lovett, Major, The Lancer International Inc., 19558 S. Harlem Avenue, Suit 1, Frankfort IL. 60423., 224 pages, Page 152.
  22. Sengupta S, Zhivotovsky LA, King R, et al. (2006). "Polarity and temporality of high-resolution y-chromosome distributions in India identify both indigenous and exogenous expansions and reveal minor genetic influence of central asian pastoralists". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 78 (2): 202–21. doi:10.1086/499411. PMC 1380230Freely accessible. PMID 16400607.
  23. Firasat S, Khaliq S, Mohyuddin A, et al. (2007). "Y-chromosomal evidence for a limited Greek contribution to the Pathan population of Pakistan". Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 15 (1): 121–6. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201726. PMC 2588664Freely accessible. PMID 17047675.
  24. Sama Au Swat,takkar,Doctor Qabil Khan Khattak, published 1992 by Jadoon Press Peshawar, pages 284.
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