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Mir Alam of Kohistan region in Afghanistan
 

 

 

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Description Ko-i-staun foot soldiery in summer costume

This lithograph is taken from plate 12 of 'Afghaunistan' by Lieutenant James Rattray. This Kohistani is Mir Alam, formerly one of a band of noted robbers on the road to Turkestan, north-west of Begram. Rattray wrote: "Coistaun has always been remarkable for the war-like character of its inhabitants, who average some forty thousand families famous for the efficiency and excellence of their Pyadas (foot-soldiery). As light infantry they are unrivalled, and from their numbers and determined courage, are of considerable importance in the event of any revolution in which they may take part."

The robber chief Hassan secretly and daringly accosted the British envoy William McNaghten and offered to bring him Dost Mohammmed's head in return for a large amount of money. Although this offer was hastily turned down, Hassan and his men were later enrolled among the infantry escort of Rattray's brother. Giving up their precarious livelihood, they became most efficient soldiers.

Mir Alam carries a 'juzzail', a type of large heavy rifle. Afghan snipers were expert marksmen and their juzzails fired roughened bullets, long iron nails or even pebbles over a range of some 250 metres. The Afghans could fling the large rifles across their shoulders as if they were feathers and spring nimbly from rock to rock. They loved to decorate their rifles: Rattray writes of finding one adorned with human teeth.
Date 1839-41
Source The British Library
Author Lieutenant James Rattray
Permission
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This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.
Public domain This work is in the public domain in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years or fewer.

Dialog-warning.svg You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States. Note that a few countries have copyright terms longer than 70 years: Mexico has 100 years, Colombia has 80 years, and Guatemala and Samoa have 75 years. This image may not be in the public domain in these countries, which moreover do not implement the rule of the shorter term. Côte d'Ivoire has a general copyright term of 99 years and Honduras has 75 years, but they do implement the rule of the shorter term.


This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.


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Public Domain

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