Afghan Biographies

Zadran Tribe

Name Zadran Tribe
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Background
History and Biodata

Background Zadran Tribe:
The Zadran Tribe, also spelled Dzadran, Jadran and Jandran, is a Pashtun tribe that inhabits an area in eastern Afghanistan and parts of Waziristan in neighboring Pakistan. They are mainly found in parts of the Loya Paktia and Khost areas, "Zadran: Pashtun tribe mainly residing in the “Zadran Arc” a 9-district area encompassing portions of the Khost Paktya, and Paktika provinces.“ The Zadran are a branch of the Karlani tribal confederacy. Approximately two-thirds of Afghan Pashtuns belong to the Ghilzai and Durrani confederations. The tribes of the smaller Karlanri confederation live in Afghanistan’s eastern and southeastern provinces , providing the strongest kinship bridges into Pakistan. Ghilzai and Durrani tribes, however, are numerically dominant in most of Afghanistan. As a general rule, tribal allegiances and systems of governance are stronger among the mountainous tribes of the Ghilzai and among the Karlanri, while Durrani governance rests more on cross-tribal structures of feudal land ownership.

The leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin has said the Zadran tribe has been deprived of power only because the leader of the notorious Haqqani terrorist network hails from the same tribe.(20171210)

More Background:
Zadran is one of the well-known ethnic Tribe in Southeast Afghanistan, located among the three provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost. These three provinces are now referred as Loya Paktia, meaning “Greater Paktia”. The Zadran clan has 10 districts (walaswali) Shwak, Garda Seray, Wuzai, and Armah in the province of Paktia. Dwamonda or Shamal, Spira, Nadershah Kot in the province of Khost and finally Zearok, Gayan, Nakah in the province of Paktika. 

The Tribes together has a population more than half a million. They live not only in these three regions, but also in other parts of Afghanistan.

The Zadran’s central religion is Islam, and the main language is Pashto.

The people of Zadran are hospitable, patriotic and traditional. 

The Zadran region is largely mountainous. They are separated into two great valleys, the Shamal, and Tangai. 

The tribe has many diverse distinctive fruits, but the most popular fruit is the Pine Nut. The lifestyle of the Zadran’s is prosperous compared to many other tribes in Afghanistan. 

The Khost-Gardez Pass, known locally as the Seti-Kandow pass is the main land route connecting the Afghan province Khost and Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. The route passes the Zadran valley; the pass currently consists of a rutted dirt road, however; it is gradually being improved by government funds as part of the international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. The Seti-Kandow region is mountainous and is an important road connecting Afghanistan with Pakistan. 

The Zadran’s lives in peace with their neighboring tribes such as, Ahmadzai, Zarmat, and Tota Khail in the North, Tanai, and Mondozai, Mada Khail Wazir in the South, Mangal Jani Khail in the East, Kharoti and Peer Kuti in the West.

The 10-year Soviet occupation resulted in the killing of 600,000 to 2 million Afghans, mostly civilians. Approximately 6 million Afghans fled Afghanistan, as Afghan’s immigrated to Pakistan, and Iran. In that period, the Zadran’s became refugees in Pakistan. Their village destroyed from the bombing and left in ruins after the war. All of the institutes had been destroyed by the warfare, effectively eliminating education; thereafter, a generation grew up without any formal education. 

The people of Zadran have not returned, even after the warfare, some live in different parts of Afghanistan and some live in different countries, but most live in Pakistan. Many Zadran tribesmen wear a variety of turbans, known as Lungei, Patkai meaning the headdress that is worn by men. There are numerous styles, specific to the wearer’s region or religion, and they vary in shape, size and color. The Turban is a symbol of honor and is respected everywhere it is worn; it is a common practice to honor important guests by offering them one to wear. Turban as being a Sunnah Mu’akkadah (Confirmed Tradition) but majorities of Zadran’s prefer to wear it in daily.

Milli Attan is the traditional Afghan dance; it is performed usually with a Dhol (drums). The Zadran Tribe has one of the finest Attan in Afghanistan; it has its own unique style performed during weddings or other celebrations (engagement, New Year and informal gatherings). It is now considered the national dance of Afghanistan.

A favorite sport in Zadran is ghosai, a team sport similar to wrestling.

Although the Afghan population is composed of many distinct ethnic groups, certain elements of their way of life are much the same. Characteristically, the family is the lifeblood of Afghan society. Extremely close bonds exist within the family, which consists of the members of several generations. The oldest man, or patriarch, whose word is law for the whole family, heads the family. Family honor, pride, and respect toward other members are highly prized qualities. Among both villagers and nomads the family lives together.

Each village has two sources of authority within it: the malik (village chief), and the mullah (teacher of Islamic laws). The village mosque is the center of religious life and is often used as the village guesthouse. Two separate systems of education exist in Zadran region. The older system is a religious one, taught by the mullahs, in the mosques. They teach the religious precepts of the Holy Quran, reading, writing, and arithmetic. The newer system was introduced and provided for free, which is compulsory education. Many Zadran tribesmen could not attend school, because they lived in areas where there were no Schools.

More More Background:
The Zadran and the Haqqani Network. The Haqqani network is an excellent example of how global jihadists and Taliban fighters have been able to exploit Pashtun nationalism. Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin Haqqani are prominent members of the Pashtun Zadran tribe, and a great deal of their political capital was amassed by Jalaluddin in fighting the Soviets. Former U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson famously called Jalaluddin “goodness personified” and he received a disproportionate share of U.S. money . The Haqqanis have also been effective in attracting Arab donations due to their tactical efficiency and assisted by Jalaluddin’s marital and linguistic connection to the Gulf states . The present strength of the Haqqani network owes much to Jalaluddin’s fighting prowess, accompanying fundraising skills and the power these skills gave Jalaluddin in the Zadran tribe.
Much of the Zadran population live in Afghanistan’s Spera (Khost), Zadran (Paktia) and Gayan (Paktika) districts, which have long histories of resisting foreign influence . The arrival of international forces in 2001 energized a struggle for control over the Zadran between the Haqqanis and Padcha Khan Zadran, a warlord with his power-base in Khost Province. The latter was hardly pro-government, but he positioned himself as anti-Taliban and utilized foreign assistance . In that sense, Padcha Khan was an old-style leader who placed tribal power and independence over external allegiances and interests. 

Since 2002, the Haqqanis’ reversion to jihadist-aligned resistance has leveraged Jalaluddin’s continuing fame and obtained protection from the Zadran in much of their territory. By contrast, Padcha Khan has entered the Wolesi Jirga (Afghanistan’s upper house of parliament) and his power-base has narrowed, a move supported by Hamid Karzai in an effort to neutralize his anti-government appeal. By cooperating with the Karzai government, Padcha Khan has allowed the Haqqanis and, by extension, al-Qa`ida and the Taliban to become the Zadran’s main option for resisting international and government influence.
The Haqqani network’s solid control of Miran Shah in Pakistan and most Zadran districts in Khost, Paktika and Paktia in Afghanistan gives it an effective base for operations in Afghanistan. The Haqqanis have consistently pledged their allegiance to the Taliban, but United Nations and ISAF sources agree that the Haqqanis have demonstrated greater imagination, intent and capability for complex attacks than regular Taliban commanders. While difficult to confirm, the Haqqanis have also been credited for driving the growth of suicide bombings in Afghanistan.
The Haqqanis’ continuing effectiveness draws on and reinforces their long-standing relationship with al-Qa`ida’s leaders. Historically, this was demonstrated in Usama bin Ladin’s choice of Haqqani territory for al-Qa`ida’s first significant training camps in Afghanistan. Currently, Western and Afghan intelligence officials assess that al-Qa`ida places greater trust and accompanying funding in the Haqqani network to execute complex attacks.
The Haqqanis’ reliance on Zadran territory is not a fatal vulnerability, but it does offer the possibility of constraining their operational capability. Jalaluddin’s apparent implacability and Sirajuddin’s turn toward greater radicalism make it highly unlikely that Zadran areas can be pacified through engagement with the Haqqanis. A better strategy would work from the ground up, particularly in Paktia, where leaders combine affection for Jalaluddin with an often stronger concern for the local welfare of their tribe. In the short-term, the most realistic accomplishment would be to increase the reluctance of Zadran community leaders to allow direct access to and through their villages by the Haqqani network. As in other “pro-insurgent” areas, some Zadran communities would prove willing to cooperate with the government when enjoying an ongoing security presence and constructive engagement to support self-policing and immediate reconstruction benefits.

Last Modified 2017-12-10
Established 2017-12-10