Dost Muhammad (dōst mōhämˈmäd) [key], 1793–1863, emir of Afghanistan. He and his family struggled to get the emirate for years before he finally succeeded in establishing himself in 1826. He waged continual war with the Sikhs, and trouble with the British, beginning in 1838, led to the first (1839–42) of the Afghan Wars. Defeated, he fled to India, but he later returned, and it was at least with British acquiescence that he regained the throne. Friendly relations were resumed and an agreement was reached in 1855, but Britain firmly refused to support him against the Persians. A strong, capable ruler, he helped to build Afghanistan and sought to play Russian interests against the British.
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