Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/687

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339
TRADE

dominions are politically divided into the four provinces of Kábul, Túrkistán, Herát, and Kandahár, to which may be added the district of Badakshán with its dependencies. Each province is under a hakim or governor (called Naib in Sher Alí's time), under whom nobles dispense justice after a feudal fashion. Spoliation, exaction, and embezzlement are almost universal.

The Amír's subjects number about four millions, the most numerous tribe being the Ghilzáis, who must amount to at least a million; then follow the Tájiks, Duránis, Hazáras, and Aimáks, and Uzbegs. The Tájiks, who are found scattered all over the country, are presumably of Arab or Irani descent, and though they are found intermingled with Afgháns, they are more settled, and prefer agricultural or industrial occupations. The Ghilzáis occupy the country south-east of Kábul, while the Duránis inhabit the country north and south of the road between Herát and Kandahár; north of these lie the Paropamisus Mountains, inhabited by the Aimáks and Hazáras, who are said to be the descendants of Tartar colonies left by Ghinghis Khán, and who have undoubted Tartar lineaments. With the exception of the Kizilbáshis and most of the Hazáras, who are mainly Shiás, the inhabitants are Muhammadans of the Suní sect. In 1896, the Amír Abdur Rahmán formally assumed the title of Zia-ul-Mitatiwadín, "Light of Union and Religion."

Justice in ordinary cases is supposed to be administered by a kázi, or chief magistrate, assisted by muftis, or mutaassibs (the latter a species of detective officers), and regulated by laws, which, if rightly acted on, would be tolerably equitable.

The revenue of Afghánistán is subject to considerable fluctuations. One of the late Amír Sher Alí's ministers estimated the average annual revenue of the five years 1872-76 at 712,968 £., but subsequent events have made it impossible to estimate the present revenues. The Government share of the produce recoverable is said to vary from one-third to one-tenth, according to the advantages of irrigation. The Amír receives a subsidy from the Indian Government, originally fixed at Rx. 120,000, and in 1893 increased to Rx. 180,000 a year.

Abdur Rahmán has re-introduced the regular army, which was originally founded on a European model by Sher Alí on his return from India in 1869. In addition to his regular army the Amír's military forces are largely supplemented by local levies of horse and foot. The mounted levies are simply the retainers of great chiefs, or of the latter's wealthier vassals. The foot levies are now, under Abdur Rahmán, permanently embodied, and as irregulars form a valuable auxiliary to the regular infantry. The mountain batteries are believed to be serviceable. There are no engineers, but a few regiments have a company equipped with spades and axes. No trustworthy statistics regarding the strength of the Afghán army are available. It was said in 1896 to number 50,000 men on a war footing. In July 1890, there were 20,000 troops in and about Kábul, including six mule batteries of artillery, two field batteries, an elephant battery, 40 squadrons of cavalry, and 8,000 infantry. Regular troops are now stationed at Herát, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahár and Jelalabad. In 1896, the Amír ordered a conscription of one man in every seven, but the project met with much opposition and does not seem to have been carried out. Cannon, rifles, and ammunition are manufactured at the Kábul arsenal, under the superintendence of Englishmen in the Amír's service. The factories, with the machinery imported from England, are capable of turning out 10,000 Martini cartridges, 10,000 Snider cartridges and 15 rifles daily; and two field guns weekly. There are enough breech-loading rifles to equip 50,000 infantry, but it is uncertain how many of these weapons have been issued, or to what extent the troops

are trained in their use. The ammunition issued for practice is limited to

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