MOHMANDS, a Pathan (Afghan) tribe holding about 1,200sq.m. of hilly country N.W. of Peshawar, in the North-west Frontier Province of India. This tract is hot, infertile and almost treeless, the hills being sparsely covered with low scrub, stunted palms and coarse grass. Water is scarce in summer, yet the low lands are malarious. The harvests depend entirely on the rainfall. The whole of this region was claimed by the amir of Afghanistan, but in 1893 he handed over most of it under the Durand Agree ment to the Indian Government, which, however, gave a guarantee to the Mohmand clans, whose lands fell within the Durand line, that they should not lose by their severance from Kabul. These are known as the Assured Clans. Owing to their poverty, even more than to their pugnacity, the Mohmands have always been persistent raiders into British territory, and their forays neces sitated punitive expeditions in 1851-52, 1854, 1864, 1879 and 1880, culminating in the campaign of 1897, when they joined in the general upheaval along the north-west frontier. Descending in force the Mohmands burnt Shabkadar, a village in British territory. Immediate counter-measures being imperative, British forces advanced from the Malakand and Peshawar to effect a junction in Bajaur, a brigade being detached northward to attack the Mohmand valley. This brigade was strongly opposed and retired with loss. It resumed the offensive, however, and defeated the Mohmands. Meanwhile the main force, heavily attacked, had repulsed the Mohmands. Those in the hilly hinterland submitted.
But the Mamunds were not yet subdued and their valley had to be re-occupied, though they soon came to terms. British losses in their valley amounted to 282 men out of 1,200.
The Mohmands played some part in Afghan history after they had driven off the older inhabitants of their present seats in Kafiri stan early in the 16th century. They joined in the great revolt of the Roshania sect in 1586 against the Mughals, and after its suppression retained their lands. Under the Abdali rulers of Kabul a Mohmand chief became siibandc7r, "governor," of Sirhind province. More aristocratic by instinct than the Afghans to the south, the power of their chiefs of clans is well-developed, but they have never recognized any supreme head of the whole tribe, and even within the clan faction is strong, succession to its head ship being often divided and disputed. The Mohmands rule over a considerable mixed population of Hindus and Mohammedan traders and tenants, largely no doubt converts from the tribes they dispossessed. Their shrines are useful as sanctuaries for murderers, etc., but they are not especially fanatical. A through trade in females kidnapped from Swat, etc., assists some clans to live, in spite of priestly censure, and there is a similar trade in hides, rice, etc., but it is mostly in the hands of non-Mohmands.