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Habibullah Khan

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Habibullah Khan (1872 - 1919) was the Emir of Afghanistan from 1901 until 1919. He was born in Tashkent,Uzbekistan, the eldest son of the Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, whom he succeeded by right of primogeniture in October 1901.

Habibullah was a relatively secular, reform-minded ruler who attempted to modernize his country. During his reign he worked to bring Western medicine and other technology to Afghanistan. In 1904, Habibullah founded the Habibia school as well as a military academy. He also published a weekly paper in Persian called Siraj-ul-Akhbar, which agitated for reform. He instituted various legal reforms and repealed many of the harshest criminal penalties. Other reforms included the dismantling of the repressive internal intelligence organization that had been put in place by his father.

He strictly maintained the country's neutrality in World War I, despite strenuous efforts by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, spiritual ruler of Islam, to enlist Afghanistan on its side. He also greatly reduced tensions with India, signing a treaty of friendship in 1905 and paying an official state visit in 1907.

Habibullah was assassinated at Kalagosh on February 20, 1919.

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