The Afghan tribal revolts of 1944–1945, also known as the Khost disturbances were a series of tribal revolts in the Kingdom of Afghanistan by Zadran, Mangal, and Safi tribesmen which occurred in 1944 and 1945. The causes laid in the worsening conditions of farmers. The Afghan government extensively deployed its air force against the rebels, using aircraft to drop leaflets, gun down tribesmen and drop incendiary bombs. Sometime in late 1945, the revolts ended.
The causes of the revolts laid in the worsening conditions of farmers. One of the rebel leaders, Mazrak, supported the restoration of Amanullah Khan, a king of Afghanistan who was deposed in the Afghan Civil War (1928–1929).
The Operations in the Southern Province against Mazrak began in April 1944, shortly after the Afghan government moved troops into the southern province to reassert their authority in the area, which by then was a safe haven for smugglers. En route, the government force was attacked by a Zadian tribal leader named Mazrak, who was forced to retreat into the hills following a counterattack by the Afghan government on 22 April 1944. On 25 April, the Afghan government dispatched 6 Hawker Hind aircraft to Gardez to deal with the uprising, which returned on 21 June. During that operation, the Hind aircraft were focused on dropping leaflets and incendiary bombs. No large explosives were dropped, but there were several instances of hostile tribesmen being gunned down by the aircraft. 2-3 villages were said to have been destroyed by incendiary bombs during this time. On request of the Afghan government, the British Raj took precautions to prevent Waziri tribesmen from aiding Mazrak. During the period of 1 August to 31 October 1944, no major aerial operations against Mazrak were undertaken, other than reconnaissance flights. Around this time, Mazrak was subject to heavy bombardment in British territory, where he was sheltered by local tribesmen, after which he retreated back to Afghan territory. In November, the appearance of a mysterious Malang who posed as the brother of Amanullah temporarily helped boost Mazrak's fortunes, but lack of money with which to bribe the tribes caused the failure of the movement, and Malang had disappeared into obscurity by March 1945. Further aerial operations against Mazrak, which included reconnaissance and bombing runs, took place in the Kunar valley from 24 June to 31 October 1945.
On 24 June 1945, 4 aircraft were dispatched to Jalalabad to deal with a Safi uprising. Bombs and incendiaries caused extensive damage to Safi villages. One aircraft with 3 bombs, 1 vickers machine gun and 1 Lewis gun was lost during operations against the Safis. Aerial operations against the Safis in the Kunar valley ended in early November.
Rebel tribes besieged an Afghan government garrison at Kunar Khas for 14 days, but were unable to capture it due to the Afghan air force supplying the settlement with food and ammunition.
An incomplete list of Aerial reconnaissance operations of note is listed below.
|Start Date||End Date||Duration (in days)||Destination||Aircraft involved||Notes||Ref|
|1944-07-02||1944-07-02||0.083 (2 hours)||Khost||3|||
|1944-07-17||1944-07-17||0.083 (2 hours)||Khost||9|||
|1945-10-13||1945-10-15||3||Matun||3||2 Aircraft returned on the 14th, the last returned on the 15th.|||
It was rumoured that on one occasion, Afghan aircraft accidentally fired on government troops or allied tribal levies, causing 40 casualties. There were also a few minor accidents at the Jalalabad airfield, but the aircraft did not incur serious damage. Two aerial officers, Muhd Anwar Khan (pilot) and Abdul Vaqil Khan (observer) were killed in the operations, while another aerial officer, a pilot, fell into the hands of the rebels in the Mazar or Pech Daras, where he was knifed in the back and had his throat cut, but survived after local villagers found him laying unconscious near his aircraft and tended his wounds.
Engert letter to State Department, 15 July 1944, says that the rebel leader Abdurrahman, known as "Pak," was next in importance to the faqir of Ipi.