The Afghans arrive at Isphahan and make preparations for sus­taining the war.— The King once more engages a fight with Ashraf the Afghan in the environs of Isphahan, and the Afghans are defeated.— The Court of Sovereignty, Ispha­han, is captured, and the Afghans flee to Shiraz.— The army of the Kizil Bâsh pursues the Afghans, under the command of Tahmâsb Coli Khân.— Warfare of the Great Khân with Ashraf the Afghan, and flight of the rebels.— Arrival of Ashraf and the remnant of the Afghans, who escaped the sword, at the town of Lâr.— The brother of Ashraf is killed by the peasants.— The inhabitants of Lâr wrest their strong fort out of the hands of the Afghans.— Dispersion of the Afghan army, and flight of Ashraf in the direction of Can­dahâr.— A singular circumstance.— Ashraf the Afghan comes to a violent death.

As soon as Ashraf returned to Isphahan after his defeat, mistrusting the people of the town and full of dread on their account, he compelled them to retire and distributed them in the surrounding villages; then, having collected his forces from every side, he applied himself to the preparation of his artillery. As he had made peace with the Turks, he asked them for a troop of able artillery­men; and Ahmed, the Turkish Pasha, sent a whole brigade of them to his assistance. When the King arrived in the neighbourhood of Ispha­han, the Afghans met him with an arrayed army and an immense park of artillery, and drew up their line of battle. The army of the Kizil Bâsh and the musketeers who marched by the Shah's stirrup, first made an attack on their artillery, and killing all the Turks gained possession of the field pieces. Then, after much strife and slaughter, discomfiture again fell upon the Afghans; and the Persians, having cut off about four thousand of their heads, erected with them a lofty pillar.

Ashraf and his Afghans returned to Isphahan, broken and in a wretched condition. They packed up hastily whatever they had or could lay their hands on of goods and treasure, and departed all together in the greatest confusion for the province of Fârs, of which they held possession. Scattered bodies of them, previously, taking their opportu­nity, broke open the stores in the deserted bazars, and pillaged or destroyed the property; and whomsoever they found in concealment, either within the city or without, they put to death with­out mercy. One of the murdered persons was the learned Mawla Aga Mehdi, son and successor of the blessed Mojtahid Aga Hâdi of Mazenderan, on whom be mercy! who ranked among the best of men, and the sincerest of my friends.

A few days afterwards, the King and the army of the Kizil Bâsh entered the city, and the town's people returning thither from the neighbouring country, every person employed himself in repairing his condition. The King took up his abode in his royal palace, whilst Tahmâsb Coli Khan was desirous of a return to Khorâsân. After urging and obtaining certain demands the Khan was deputed to the pursuit of the Afghans. At that time the road to Shiraz, which passes over a severely cold country, was full of snow and the passage was difficult. The Great Khan, however, who in drawing together troops and leading an army is the phœnix of the age, marched to Shi­raz, where Ashraf and the Afghans, who had entered the city, had again assembled their forces, and having offered money and benefits to strag­gling bodies of the tribes in those confines, and joined them though against their will, yet by force of their covetousness, to their army, were in a state of readiness to take the field. As soon as the army of the Kizil Bâsh came within five far­sangs of the city, the Afghans pressed forward to face them again in full throng, and making severe efforts they prolonged the conflict to four days' duration. In truth the army of the Kizil Bâsh, during that engagement, gave full proof also of their courage and alacrity, and slew a great number of the Afghans, those of them, who escaped the sword, taking to their heels for safety. On this occasion the Afghans had set fire to the houses in Shiraz, and carried away the people's property in plunder. A body of their chiefs being taken alive were made to suffer the punishment of their crimes. Among them was the Miânji,* the spiritual director of Mahmôd, Molla Zafrân, with others like him of those brute animals. The Great Khan, after this splendid victory, entered Shiraz and applied himself to the tranquillization and establishment of the people, and to the arrangement of the affairs of that province.

Ashraf and the remains of his army, which still amounted to above two-and-twenty thousand men, fleeing in the most wretched condition had taken the road of the Lâr country, and fearing the pur­suit of the Kizil Bâsh gave themselves not a moment's rest from marching late and early. Most of them at length halting here and there through fatigue on the road were destroyed. From stage to stage they scattered by the way heaps of bodies of their old men, children, and sick, whom, being unable to proceed on the march, they slaughtered of their own accord; so that from Shiraz to the town of Lâr, which is fifteen days' journey, the whole distance was strewed with their slain. As soon as the rumour of their flight was spread abroad, the peasants of all the villages and places bordering on the road, though consisting individu­ally but of ten houses at most, arming their hands with muskets and arrows stood to face that immense army, and put it to the rout; for the Afghans from fear of their pursuers had no oppor­tunity to stop and engage in a conflict with any one. Along the whole of that road not a crust of bread fell into their hands; they lived entirely on the flesh of their horses and asses; and a nation laden with gold and gems was dying of hunger.

When at length they came to Lâr, it occurred to Ashraf, that, as the castle* belonging to that city is one of the strongest in the world, he might there maintain himself, and ask assistance of the Turks. He therefore sent his brother with a body of troops and a great quantity of treasure to pro­ceed by sea to Basra and solicit the aid of the Turkish government. But the brother had no sooner set out on his journey than he was over­whelmed by the peasantry of the surrounding districts, who killed him and carried away his wealth.

The Afghan who was governor of Lâr, went down one day to make his salutations to Ashraf. He at that time held in custody five-and-twenty Ayâns of Lâr in the castle. The prisoners being informed of his departure issued from the place of their confinement, and having slain with their own swords some forty Afghans who had remained in the castle, and having well secured the gate, they found in the lodgings of the Governor and his Afghans a few stands of muskets, and taking upon themselves to defend that immense fort, they raised from its towers a cry for the prosperity of the Shah's government. As the conquest of the castle, though its defenders be but five-and-twenty persons, is no easy matter, Ashraf with all his threats and promises could not succeed in pacifying them. During the nine days that he halted at Lâr, a party of his men each night taking their affairs into their own hands marched away in the hope of reaching some place of safety; but they were all intercepted by the peasants of those parts, who held not themselves dispensed with from killing them and taking their effects.

When Ashraf beheld his ruinous condition, he became a prey to boundless fright and fled by the road to Candahâr. As they traversed that warm country, his men also separated from him every day in different parties, and took the direction of the sea-coast; and the peasantry carried on the same business with them. One body of them reached the coast and embarked; but by the providence of God a great number of the vessels sank, and a vast multitude of the fugitives went to the bottom of the sea. Another part of them was cast on the shores of Lahsâ, Ommân, and the territory of Sind. Sheikh Beni Khâlid, who is the Lord of Lahsâ, having seized them, gave orders that they should be put to death. Afterwards, yielding to their prayers and supplications he spared their lives, but stripped them of their clothes and arms and turned them naked into the desert.

When I arrived some time subsequently on the coast of Ommân, I saw in the city of Mascat the son of one of the brothers of Ashraf, who was about twenty years of age, and Khodâdâd Khan, who had been governor of Lâr, and was one of the great lords of the Afghans, both with leather sacks on their shoulders carrying water for their living from house to house. Having sent for them, I put to them some questions and had a long conversation with them. An Afghan named Sarvar Khan, one of their princes, was also there. I was told that he worked in the clay-pits for hire. They brought him also to me, and I asked him about his health and circumstances.

Ashraf, who on his way from Lâr to Candahâr, had taken the road through the province of Balôchistân, was attacked at every pass by the peasants and people of those parts, who severally killed and plundered a portion of his army, until his wealth and forces were annihilated. He him­self was driving forward with all speed, when the son of Abd Allah Borôhi, of the Balôch* tribe, found him in their confines with two or three attendants, and making haste to kill him sent his head with a diamond of great value which he found on his arm to Shah Tahmâsb. The noble monarch gave the diamond to his messenger, and for him a robe of honour was granted.