By: Mir M.Hosseini
When Ashraf Afghan heard that Nader had set out for Herat, he thought of it as a good opportunity to plunder Mashhad. Nader's army quickly reached Khorasan on July, 13, 1729 and he set his artillery in the field and waited. But the Ashraf army did not dare attack Mashhad and they kept on plundering the nearby villages. Nader's preparations were completed in September and on Sep, 20th; he appeared before the enemy in Mehmandoost. Being a military genius, he created a phalanx that was supported on two sides by artillery and dispersed rows of usurpers at every discharge of firearms. Ashraf fled with a few but the great general did not order his men to pursue them and promised to indulge their eagerness for revenge on first occasion. 12,000 of Ashraf's soldiers were killed in this battle while Nader's army lost 4,000 men. The Hotaki army was twice the size of Nader's. The Battle of Damghan ended with Nader Shah's decisive victory on Oct, 5, 1729,
Nader was a great man of politics also; after this victory, he sent an ambassador to the Ottoman court, insisting upon restitution of Azerbaijan, and gave plain hints, that he should soon be able to seize it by force if they paid no attention to his just demand. A year before, he had sent an ambassador to the court of Russia, demanding in high terms the restitution of Guilan, which Peter I, had captured in 1723 when Iran was in a chaos.
When Nader started his next campaign, Ashraf Afghan who had grown more cautious since his defeat, retreated with all his forces to Isfahan, where he massacred most of the inhabitants in cold blood, among them, a number of scientists, poets and learned men.
The Afghans were defeated and evacuated Isfahan to the number of twelve thousand men, but, before quitting the city they had ruined, Ashraf murdered the unfortunate ex-Shah Hossein, and carried off most of the ladies of the royal family and the King's treasure. When Tahmasp 2nd entered Isfahan on December 9, he found only his old mother, who had escaped deportation by disguising herself as a servant, and was moved to tears at the desolation and desecration which met his eyes at every turn.
Nader induced Tahmasp to empower him to levy taxes on his own authority. Then he marched southwards in pursuit of the retiring Afghans, whom he overtook and again defeated near Persepolis. Ashraf fled from Shiraz towards his own country, but cold, hunger and the unrelenting hostility of the inhabitants of the regions which he had to traverse dissipated his forces and compelled him to abandon his captives and his treasure, and he was finally killed by a party of Baluchestan tribesmen. Thus, the disastrous period of Hotaki dominion in Persia ended in 1730 AD after eight years.