‘Turan’ is an ancient Dari word which means Central and part of North Asia. To be more specific it refers to the regions that are today known as Mongolia and some countries surrounding it. Around 400 BC, present day Mongolia was home to many nomadic tribes. It was around 250 BC when a young and capable leader named Touman Khan appeared among the tribal Khans in the steppes of Mongolia. In 234 BC his son Modu/Mette was born who later formed the Great Hun Empire in 209 BC.
There are some sources that introduce Huns as an Iranic people or just as an unidentified group of people. However, it is quite clear who Huns were and what their origin was. ‘Hun’ is an ancient Mongol/Turkic word which means ‘people’. Huns were the ancestors of all Mongol and Turk tribes.
All the nomadic tribes who lived in the great vast steppes of Mongolia were united by Modu Khan and formed one united Hun army. Chinese sources refer to Huns as ‘Xiongnu’. Their sources contain a lot of information regarding Hunnic lifestyle, traditions and military conquests. All the sources refer to them as brave and skilful hunters and superb horsemen who had a nomadic lifestyle.
Hun Empire kept growing year by year. Their confidence and unity made them believe that there was no power that could resist or stand against their army. Slowly they started expanding to the West in Eurasian regions as well as to other parts of Asia.
In Europe, Huns were led by Atila Khan, where he created the European Hun empire. Later, his successors established Hungary and Bulgaria.
Sami are the indigenous people of Sweden. They have a lot in common with the Huns. Their language and culture suggest that they are also Mongoloid and related to Huns.
Moving back to the Hun conquest, while most of the Huns continued their expansion in the West, some rode South towards present day Afghanistan. This small Hunnic group later became known as the Ak Huns, who were the first settlers of Bamiyan and some areas of Northern Afghanistan. After their settlement in those regions, they had a long history of conflicts with the Sasanids. Sasanids were an Indo-European people located in the present day Iran.
Unfortunately there are not enough sources to tell us the exact names of all the tribes that were part of Ak Hun. However, the link between the present day Hazaras and the Ak Huns are quite clear. Uar and Hun were the two biggest tribes, but there were many more.
Yezderi, Baghcheri, Atta and Gari are some of the ancient Hazara tribes who live mainly in Ja Ghury, Afghanistan. Without a doubt, these names resemble ancient Hunnic names. There are many similarities and proofs that suggest these tribes are descendants of Ak Huns.
Ak Huns were later influenced by Buddhism. When Buddhism was at its peak, Ak Huns together with a few other non-Hunnic tribes such the tribes of Takhasitan formed theKushan Empire. It is quite common to come across Persian and some Afghan texts that describe Kushan as an Aryan Empire or an empire that was run by Indo-European tribes. This is clearly wrong because Kushan was a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empire that was formed by a few different races. It was rather a religious empire.
Bamiyan was a rich and well developed and well populated city which turned into an important Buddhist centre during Ak Huns. Bamiyan was chosen as the capital city of Kushan. Ak Huns had the key role in running the empire. They created a unique and important Buddhist civilisation in Bamiyan during Kushan Empire. There are still signs of its beauty and architecture remaining today. The gaint Buddhas of Bamiyan that were destroyed by the Taliban were created by Ak Huns during and even possibly before Kushan Empire.
Hazara ancestors before the 12th century created three empires:
1. Ak Hun Empire – By the Huns, the ancient people of Bamiyan
2. Ghaznadiv Empire – By Mahmud of Ghazni
3. Ghuri Turkic Empire – By Mohamad Turk of Ghuri
(1) “The Spread of Buddhism” by Ann Heirman & Stephan Peter Bumbacher, Part 8 Vol. 16, pp 88
(2) “Rhie 1999-2002″ Vol. 1. pp 232f