Historically, Afghans have served in the army of the Ghaznavids (963–1187), Ghurids (1148–1215), Delhi Sultanate (1206–1527), and the Mughals (1526–1858). The current Afghan army traces its origin to the early 18th century when the Hotaki dynasty rose to power in Kandahar and defeated the Persian Safavid Empire at the Battle of Gulnabad in 1722.
When Ahmad Shah Durrani formed the Durrani Empire in 1747, the Afghan army fought a number of battles in the Punjab region of India during the 19th century. One of the famous battles was the 1761 Battle of Panipat in which the Afghan army decisively defeated the Hindu Maratha Empire.The Afghans then fought with the Sikh Empire, until finally, the Sikh Marshal Hari Singh Nalwa was killed and Sikh conquests stopped. In 1842, The British unsuccessfully tried to conquer Afghanistan, resulting in the massacre of Elphinstone's army.
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Further improvements to the army were made by King Amanullah Khan in the early 20th century just before the Third Anglo-Afghan War. King Amanullah fought against the British in 1919, resulting in Afghanistan becoming fully independent after the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed. It appears from reports of Naib Sular Abdur Rahim's career that a Cavalry Division was in existence in the 1920s, with him being posted to the division in Herat Province in 1913 and Mazar-i-Sharif after 1927. The Afghan Army was expanded during King Zahir Shah's reign, starting in 1933.