An Account of the return of the Prince Kamran from Bhiker, and of his retaking Kabul by surprise. A. H. 953.—A. D. 1546.

Whilst the King was encamped at Zuffer, the Prince Kamran having made forced marches from Bhiker, first took the fort of Tyry, and put out the eyes of the governor; he then took Ghizni, and slew its governor; afterwards he proceeded rapidly to Kabul, and having found the governor and other officers off their guard, took the place by surprise, and either blinded or put them to death; after which he again got possession of the Prince Muhammed Akber.

On hearing of these lamentable events, the King made peace with Myrza Soliman, and gave him the fort of Zuffer; but Kundez, which was formerly included in the district of Zuffer, he separated from it, and gave it to the Prince Hindal: he then encouraged his army, and proceeded towards Kabul; but several of the chiefs deserted, and joined Kamran.

When his Majesty had reached Talican it snowed heavily for several days, which compelled him to halt at that place for some time; but when the weather cleared up he again marched, and having arrived at Kundez, was hospitably entertained by the Prince Hindal.

At this time Caraja Khan represented to his Majesty, that, in consequence of the desertion of the chiefs, many of the soldiers were wavering in their minds, and that it was requisite to encourage them. His Majesty therefore went amongst the men, spoke kindly to them, and held out hopes to them of better days; and even I, the humble servant, successfully used my influence with some of the soldiers.

In short, the King having taken the route of the Chehar der (four gates), proceeded towards Kabul: it was then the depth of winter, and such a quantity of snow had fallen that the roads were quite blocked up; we were therefore obliged to ram the snow well down; after which the horses and camels were enabled to move on. When we reached the station of Charehkaran, news arrived that the Prince Kamran was resolved to risk the consequences of another engagement; we therefore marched on to Ama Khuatun. Here the men were ordered to put on their armour, and we advanced in battle array till we came to Auret Chalak. Here his Majesty alighted, and having finished his ablutions and prayers, performed some of the ceremonies used in discovering omens, which he found to be auspicious; he, therefore, again mounted his horse, and advanced. When we reached the villages of the Afghans, Shyr Afgun made his appearance at the head of the advance guard of the rebels, and was immediately attacked by a detachment under the command of the Prince Hindal. Whilst the two parties were warmly engaged, his Majesty, perceiving that the young Prince was nearly left alone, was about to proceed in person to his assistance; but Caraja Khan requested that his Majesty would keep in the rear, and allowed him to attack the enemy; the King consented; and Caraja having charged the rebels, engaged in single combat with Shyr Afgun: three cuts had been given on either side, when the rebel chief making a violent lunge at his assailant, fell from his horse; Caraja then rode over him, took him prisoner, and brought him to his Majesty, who gave orders that he should be taken care of; but Caraja represented that the prisoner was a deserter and a rebel, and, therefore, ought to be put to death: in consequence of this remonstrance he was beheaded, and the rest of his party fled. The King then lauded Prince Hindal, and thanked the soldiers.

Shortly after this event information was brought that the Prince Kamran was again endeavouring to escape from Kabul; his Majesty, therefore, gave orders that small parties should be placed on every side of the fort to prevent his egress; spies were also sent into the town to obtain intelligence. The King then went and alighted at the tent of Caraja Khan, when mutual tokens of friendship were exchanged.

At this time the Prince Kamran sent a message to Caraja, “that he wished to speak to him; and that if he did not come, he should put his son, Sirdar Beg, to death.” Caraja represented the circumstance to the King, who said, “if he does, I will be your son;” to which the other replied, “I consider each hair of your Majesty’s head worth the life of a son.”

The next morning, as soon as the sun rose, the King placed his troops all round the fort, and took post himself at the Eagle’s Mount (Kuh Akabyn), whence he had a good view of the fortress, after which he ordered the great guns to be opened against it; but Kamran having threatened to expose the young Prince Akber to the fire of the cannon, his Majesty forbade their being used, but directed the troops to preserve a strict blockade.

Note.—The long contest between the King and Prince Kamran is very tiresome; but as it led to a horrid catastrophe it cannot be properly abridged.