Kushan Empire one of forgotten empires of Afghanistan, from 30-220 AD in chinese sources it is known Guisshang, in persian its known as Kushania, there are many theories regarding the word 'Kushan' however most historians agree the term Kushan is derived from Kushaniewan, Or the hindu killers (From the Hindu-Kush mountains).
The Kushans are known as Koshani tribe living in the Takharistan (Takhar northern province of Afghanistan). It is not known how much the Takharis had common with Bactrians. Each village had its own leader and each lived according to its own rules until the Koshani leader succeeded in brining all leaders under his command and thus the Kushan kingdom is born. King Kajola Kadfezis
for the first time crosses the Hindu Kush and captures Kabul. His eastern campaigns rewards him with capture of Wastern Khorasan (Iran). By year
80 AD became the most powerful force in Afghanistan.
Kajola Kadfezis II
expanded the empire by capturing northern India and there after travels up to China to capture the now famous silk road. China, which had fought hard to establish this rout, fought hard and defeated the Kushan armies and forced them to pay annual suffrage to the Chinese Government
By 120 AD a new King emerges amongst the Koshanis by the name of Kanishka. Kanishka immediately moves his capital city from north of Hindu Kush to south. Bagram is the site for the summer and Peshawer the winter capital of the Kushan Period.
He captures the North Eastern Part of the country and with reinforcements captures the Turkistan region, which was ruled by the Chinese rulers. The Kushans are believed to have been predominantly Zoroastrian. However, After taking control of Gangetic plains, by the end of Kushani king Wama Takhto
, many Kushans started adopting
aspects of Indian culture like the other invaders, who had invaded India.
The great Kushan emperor Wima Kadphises may have embraced Saivism
, as surmised by coins minted during the period. The following Kushan emperors represented a wide variety of faiths including Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and possibly Saivism
. During the 1st and 2nd century, the Kushan Empire expanded militarily to the north and occupied parts of the Tarim Basin. By the end of 200 AD Kushans had expanded from Northwestern China to Iran and from south Uzbekistan to Ganges river, India. Kushans had good economic connections with Rome
. Several Roman sources describe the visit of ambassadors from the Kings of Bactria. Historia Augusta, speaking of Emperor Hadrian (117–138 AD) tells:"Reges Bactrianorum legatos ad eum, amicitiae petendae causa, supplices miserunt" translate into english "The kings of the Bactrians sent supplicant ambassadors to him, to seek his friendship."
Shortly after the Sasanian king Ardashir I overthrew the Parthians
, he marched to the east and invaded Bactria (220 AD). Under him and his son Shapur I, the Kushans lost the western part of their empire and these provinces in Bactria
and Gandhara came under the rule of Sasanian nobles called Kushanshahs. Around 320s Kushan lost almost all of her territories to the Sassanians during Shapur II's reign. And all the Indian territories to Gupta Empire. Shapur II took direct control of the Northern part of the region. In the south, Kushanshah governors retained control until the Kidarites took over.
The Kidarite empire were the last remnants of Kushan Empire
, during the middle of the 4th century a Kushan tribe in northern eastern Afghanistan and NWFP, named Kidara, rose to power and overthrew the Sassanian noble dynasty. He created a kingdom known as the Kidarite Kingdom. Although he considered himself a Kushan, as indicated by the Kushan style of his coins. The Kidarite seem to have been rather prosperous, although on a smaller scale than their Kushan predecessors. By 410 AD Kushans were pushed into the Indian border by another Afghan tribe by the name of (Abidali) Ephthalites who were already resistances to Sassanians.
Kidarite huns remained calmed until 450 AD. And from 455-470 Kidarites ruled northern India for 30 years and they were known as Huna/Hunas.
Tacharistan/Tocharistan/Tukaristan/Takharistan today is divided into three (1/4 of Tacharistan was conqured by Russians 1800s (South end part of Uzbekistan and south western regions of Tajikistan) the other strong 3/4 remained as part of Afghanistan. In Afghanistan it is still known as province of Tachar/Takhar (In Pashtu Ta-Khar). Takhar 's capital at Taloqan. Takhar is a great part of Afghan history, at most times the Takhari tribes were very calm. It was around 2 nd century BCE that records were made by a Chinese historians after Takhari tribe limited Greco-Bactrian power, cut off relations between China and Greco-Bactrian empire and took over control of Bactria (Balkh), moving north into central Asia today's Turkistan and east into China