Major-General Abdur Rauf Khan Tarzi
Abdur Rauf Khan Tarzi was born in 1891 into a family committed to service and the public. Born during the reign of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan, he would commit himself to the family tradition of public service. Abdur Rauf Khan lived a simple and happy life. In 1912, at the age of 21, Gen. Tarzi married Her Highness Princess Bibi Khurd. Later in his life he would marry Yaqut Bibi, with which he would have issue one son and one daughter.
Abdur Rauf Khan Tarzi joined the military around 1915 as an officer in the Afghan Army. In the latter part of 1918 during a transitional period he would become the CO, or Commanding Officer, of the 1st Infantry Brigade (Bde) stationed in Herat. A few months into his Afghanistan would again play center stage to the diplomatic struggle between Russia and Britain, both trying to influence Afghan foreign policy. In an effort to rid Afghanistan of the influence, King Amanullah Khan ordered a surprise attack on British forces in May of 1919.
Cmdr. Abdur Rauf Khan Tarzi was a key play in the ground war against the British. The British was defeated on the ground so the they resorted to airpower to shock the Afghans, the King's home was directly attacked in the first case of aerial bombardment in Afghanistan's history. The air attacks played a key role in forcing a diplomatic end to the conflict, but brought an angry rebuke from King Amanullah. He wrote:
"It is a matter of great regret that the throwing of bombs by zeppelins on London was denounced as a most savage act and the bombardment of places of worship and sacred spots was considered a most abominable operation. While we now see with our own eyes that such operations were a habit which is prevalent among all civilized people of the west"
Due to his bravery and commitment to his country, Cmdr. Abdur Rauf Khan was promoted as a Major-General of Afghanistan, one of only a few at the time. As General, he commanded the 4th Cavalry Brigade in 1921. As a military leader, he took part in many affairs in Afghanistan's Department of War. General Abdur Rauf Khan Tarzi would stay in the military from 1921 to 1926.
There is speculation as to why Gen. Tarzi's career ended. Some say he ultimately simply decided to retire. There is other speculation that sounds more accurate. After Afghanistan essentially defeated the British in the Third Anglo-Afghan war, the King did not see the need for a large army. Thus, it is believed that the numerous cutbacks and neglect of the Afghan military lead to General Tarzi's resignation in protest. A year after, King Amanullah Khan's downsized army would be unable to quell the 1928-1929 uprising that cost him his throne.
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