History of the Utman Khel tribe (اتمان خیل)

Utman Khels are Karlanri Pashtuns whose territory lies between Swat and Bajaur. According to a local legend the Utman Khels are the descendants of Baba Utman, a follower of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. 

It is said that their original abode was in the mountains about Tank and Gomal from which they moved away in early 14th century AD and accompanied the Yousafzai by way of Kabul and Nangarhar to Peshawar. In the war between Yousafzai and Dilazak, the Utman Khel remained faithful to the former even though the latter were their Karlanri kinsmen. They contributed to the victory of Yousafzais over Dilazaks by effectively using shields of raw and tanned ox hides that protected them against the arrows of the enemy archers. They advanced boldly into the very lines of their enemies and routed the Dilazaks. 

The whole or part of Utman Khel tribe were found in Tirah in the times of Pir Roshan. Afzal Khan Khattak writes:

“It is stated that, in Pir Roshan’s day, the Utman Khel tribe was in Tirah and that on enmity arising between them and the Afridis, they left Tirah and went and took up their quarters in Arang Barang of Bajaur”.


References: (1) ‘Hayat-i-Afghani’ by Muhammad Hayat Khan (2) ‘History of the Pathans’ by Haroon Rashid;

Utman Khel tribe
Utman Khel tribesmen, 1890 (c). From “The tribes on our frontier” series of photos by Bourne & Shepherd. Source.



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