Saffarid dynasty at its greatest extent under
Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
The Saffarids (Persian: سلسله صفاریان) were a Muslim Persian dynasty from Sistan, which ruled from parts of eastern Iran, Khorasan, Afghanistan and Balochistan from 861 to 1003. The dynasty of Persian origin was founded by Ya'qub bin Laith -Saffar, a native Sistan and a local Ayyar who worked as a copper fief (ṣaffār) before becoming a warlord. He took control of the Sistan region and began to conquer the bulk of today's Afghanistan.
The Saffarids used their capital Zaranj, a city in today's Afghanistan, as the basis for an aggressive expansion to the east and west. They first captured the lands south of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan and then crashed the Persian Tahirid dynasty, which Khorasan annexed in 873. During the death of Ya'qub he had the Kabul Valley, Sindh, Tocharistan, Makran, Kerman, Fars, Khorasan, and almost reached Baghdad, but then suffered a defeat by the Abbasids.
The Saffarid empire did not last long after Ya'qub's death. His brother and successor, Amr bin Laith, was defeated in the Battle of Balkh against Ismail Samani in the year 900. Amr bin Laith had to surrender most of his territories to the new rulers. The Saffarids were later confined to their heartland by Sistan, their role being reduced to that of vassals of the Samanids and their successors.
The dynasty began with Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar (Ya'qub, son of Layth, the copper fitter), a copper smith who moved to the city of Zaranj. He left the work to become an ayyar and finally got the power to act as an independent ruler. From his capital Zaranj he moved east in al-Rukhkhadj and Zamindawar, followed by Zunbil and Kabul from 865. Then he fell in Bamyan, Balkh, Badghis and Ghor. In the name of Islam, he conquered these areas, which were mainly governed by Buddhist tribal chiefs. He took large amounts of looting and slaves from this campaign.
"Arab armies carrying the banner of Islam came from the West to defeat the Sasanians in 642, and then they marched faithfully to the east. On the western edge of the Afghan territory, the princes of Herat and Sistan entered the rule of the Arab Governors But in the east, in the mountains, the cities were allowed to rise only in insurrection, and the hastily converted men returned to their old faiths as soon as the armies passed, and the harshness and covetousness of Arab rule produced such unrest The Saffarids of Sistan briefly saw the Afghan territory, and the fanatical founder of this dynasty, Yaqub ibn Layth Saffari, a copperworkmaker, came from his capital in Zaranj and marched through Bost, Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh and Herat Of Islam.Nancy Dupree, 1971
The Tahirid city of Herat was captured in 870 and its campaign in the Badghis region led to the capture of Kharidjites, who later formed the Djash al-Shurat contingent in his army. Ya'qub then turned his focus on the West and began attacks on Khorasan, Khuzestan, Kerman and Fars. These attacks forced the Abbasid caliphate to recognize him as Kerman's governor.
In 901, Amr Saffari was defeated at the battle of Balkh by the Persian Samanids, which reduced the Saffarid dynasty to a minor tributary in Sistan.
In 1002, Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Sistan, dethroned Khalaf I and finally ended the Saffarid dynasty.