Tribal and religious leaders in southern Afghanistan.jpg
Pashtun men in Kandahar, Afghanistan
Total population
c. 50+ million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Pakistan36,679,879 (2021)[2]
 Afghanistan15,735,893 (2021)[3]
 India3,200,000 (2018) [primarily non-Pashto speaking]
21,677 (2011) [Pashto speakers][4][5][6][7]
 UAE338,315 (2009)[8]
 United States138,554 (2010)[9]
 Iran110,000 (1993)[10]
 United Kingdom100,000 (2009)[11]
 Germany37,800 (2012)[12]
 Canada26,000 (2006)[13]
 Russia9,800 (2002)[14]
 Australia8,154 (2006)[15]
 Malaysia6,000 (2008)[16]
 Tajikistan4,000 (1970)[10]
Additional: Dari Persian (in Afghanistan) and Hindi–Urdu (in Pakistan and India)[18][19][20]
Allah-green.svg Islam
(Sunni majority, Shia minority)[21][22]
Related ethnic groups
Other Iranian peoples

Pashtuns (/ˈpʌʃˌtʊn/, /ˈpɑːʃˌtʊn/ or /ˈpæʃˌtn/; Pashto: پښتانه, Pəx̌tānə́[27]), also called Pakhtuns[28] or Pathans[a] and historically known as Afghans,[b] are an Iranian ethnic group[37] who are native to Central Asia and South Asia.[38][39] Pashtuns are the 26th-largest ethnic group in the world, and the largest segmentary lineage society. There are an estimated 350–400 Pashtun tribes and clans with a variety of origin theories.[40][41]

The Pashtun people are indigenous to a historical region known as Pashtunistan, which stretches across southern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan and hosts the majority of their global population. Significant and historical communities of the Pashtun diaspora exist in the Pakistani provinces of Sindh and Punjab, particularly in the cities of Karachi and Lahore; and in Rohilkhand, a region in northern India, as well as in major Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.[42][43][7] A recent diaspora has formed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf (primarily in the United Arab Emirates) as part of the larger South Asian diaspora in that region.[44]

The group's native language is Pashto, an Iranian language in the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. The Dari dialect[45] of Persian serves as the second language of Pashtuns in Afghanistan,[46][47] while Pashtuns in South Asia speak Urdu and Hindi (see Hindustani language) as their second language.[19][20][18][48]

The total population of the Pashtun people worldwide is estimated to be around 49 million;[1] however, this figure is disputed due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979.[49] Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, constituting around 48 percent of the country's total population,[50] and have been the dominant ethnolinguistic group in the country since its founding. Additionally, Pashtuns are the second-largest ethnic group in Pakistan,[51] constituting 15.4 percent of the country's total population,[52] and are considered to be one of the five major ethnolinguistic groups of the Pakistani nation.[53] Prominent Pashtun figures include Aamir Khan, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Abdul Ghani Khan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, Alauddin Khalji, Ayub Khan, Bahlul Lodi, Imran Khan, Irrfan Khan, Khushal Khan, Madhubala, Malala Yousafzai, Malalai of Maiwand, Mirwais Hotak, Mohammed Daoud Khan, Pir Roshan, Rahman Baba, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Afridi, Sher Shah Suri, and Zakir Hussain, among others.[54]

  1. ^ a b Lewis, Paul M. (2009). "Pashto, Northern". SIL International. Dallas, TX: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Retrieved 18 September 2010. Ethnic population: 49,529,000 possibly total Pashto in all countries.
  2. ^ "South Asia :: Pakistan — The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  3. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook -- Afghanistan". 21 June 2022.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Ali2018 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Frontier Gandhi's granddaughter urges Centre to grant citizenship to Pathans". The News International. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  6. ^ Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. "LANGUAGE INDIA, STATES AND UNION TERRITORIES (Table C-16)" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 31 December 2018. AFGHANI/KABULI/PASHTO 21,677{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b "Pakhtoons in Kashmir". The Hindu. 20 July 1954. Archived from the original on 9 December 2004. Retrieved 28 November 2012. Over a lakh Pakhtoons living in Jammu and Kashmir as nomad tribesmen without any nationality became Indian subjects on July 17. Batches of them received certificates to this effect from the Kashmir Prime Minister, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, at village Gutligabh, 17 miles from Srinagar.
  8. ^ "United Arab Emirates: Demography" (PDF). Encyclopædia Britannica World Data. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  9. ^ 42% of 200,000 Afghan Americans = 84,000 and 15% of 363,699 Pakistani Americans = 54,554. Total Afghan and Pakistani Pashtuns in USA = 138,554.
  10. ^ a b "Ethnologue report for Southern Pashto: Iran (1993)". SIL International. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  11. ^ Maclean, William (10 June 2009). "Support for Taliban dives among British Pashtuns". Reuters. Retrieved 6 August 2009.
  12. ^ Relations between Afghanistan and Germany Archived 16 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine: Germany is now home to almost 90,000 people of Afghan origin. 42% of 90,000 = 37,800
  13. ^ "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada". 2006. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  14. ^ "". (in Russian). Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  15. ^ "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex – Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 June 2008. Total responses: 25,451,383 for total count of persons: 19,855,288.
  16. ^ "Pashtuns in malaysia". Northern Pashtuns in Malaysia.
  17. ^ "Väestö 31.12. muuttujina Maakunta, Kieli, Ikä, Sukupuoli, Vuosi ja Tiedot". Tilastokeskuksen PX-Web tietokannat.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ a b Green, Nile (2017). Afghanistan's Islam: From Conversion to the Taliban. University of California Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-520-29413-4. Many of the communities of ethnic Pashtuns (known as Pathans in India) that had emerged in India over the previous centuries lived peaceably among their Hindu neighbors. Most of these Indo-Afghans lost the ability to speak Pashto and instead spoke Hindi and Punjabi.
  19. ^ a b Hakala, Walter N. (2012). "Languages as a Key to Understanding Afghanistan's Cultures" (PDF). National Geographic. Retrieved 13 March 2018. In the 1980s and '90s, at least three million Afghans--mostly Pashtun--fled to Pakistan, where a substantial number spent several years being exposed to Hindi- and Urdu-language media, especially Bollywood films and songs, and being educated in Urdu-language schools, both of which contributed to the decline of Dari, even among urban Pashtuns.
  20. ^ a b Krishnamurthy, Rajeshwari (28 June 2013). "Kabul Diary: Discovering the Indian connection". Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. Retrieved 13 March 2018. Most Afghans in Kabul understand and/or speak Hindi, thanks to the popularity of Indian cinema in the country.
  21. ^ Williams, Victoria; Taylor, Ken (2017). Etiquette and Taboos around the World: A Geographic Encyclopedia of Social and cultural customs. ABC CLIO. p. 231. ISBN 978-1440838200.
  22. ^ Nyrop, Richard F; Seekins, Donald M (1986). Afghanistan: A Country Study by United States Department of the Army. United States Department of the Army, American University. p. 105. ISBN 9780160239298.
  23. ^ Cite error: The named reference Tariq Ali was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  24. ^ Cite error: The named reference Haider2018 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  25. ^ Cite error: The named reference hind was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  26. ^ Eusufzye, Khan Shehram (2018). "Two identities, twice the pride: The Pashtun Sikhs of Nankana Saheb". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 31 May 2020. One can sense a diminutive yet charming cultural amalgamation in certain localities within the town with the settling of around 250 Pashtun Sikh families in the city.
    Ruchi Kumar, The decline of Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh communities, Al Jazeera, 2017-01-01, "the culture among Afghan Hindus is predominantly Pashtun"
    Beena Sarwar, Finding lost heritage, Himal, 2016-08-03, "Singh also came across many non turban-wearing followers of Guru Nanak in Pakistan, all of Pashtun origin and from the Khyber area."
    Sonia Dhami, Sikh Religious Heritage – My visit to Lehenda Punjab, Indica News, 2020-01-05, "Nankana Sahib is also home to the largest Sikh Pashtun community, many of whom have migrated from the North West Frontier Provinces, renamed Khyber-Pakhtunwa."
    Neha, Pak misusing Durand Line to facilitate terrorists, says Pashtun, Siasat Daily, 2019-09-20, "The members of the Pashtun and Afghan Sikh community living in Europe and UK have gathered in Geneva"
    Sabrina Toppa, Despite border tensions, Indian Sikhs celebrate festival in Pakistan, TRT World, 2019-04-16, "Hasanabdal is home to around 200 Sikh families that have primarily moved from Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including Pakistan's former tribal areas. The majority are Pashtun Sikhs who abandoned their homes and took refuge near Sikhism's historical sites."
  27. ^ David, Anne Boyle (1 January 2014). Descriptive Grammar of Pashto and its Dialects. De Gruyter Mouton. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-61451-231-8.
  28. ^ Cite error: The named reference ArnoldNettl2000 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  29. ^ James William Spain (1963). The Pathan Borderland. Mouton. p. 40. Retrieved 1 January 2012. The most familiar name in the west is Pathan, a Hindi term adopted by the British, which is usually applied only to the people living east of the Durand.
  30. ^ Pathan. World English Dictionary. Retrieved 1 January 2012. Pathan (pəˈtɑːn) — n a member of the Pashto-speaking people of Afghanistan, Western Pakistan, and elsewhere, most of whom are Muslim in religion [C17: from Hindi]
  31. ^ von Fürer-Haimendorf, Christoph (1985). Tribal populations and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. Handbuch der Orientalistik/2,7. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 126. ISBN 90-04-07120-2. OCLC 240120731. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  32. ^ Sims-Williams, Nicholas. "Bactrian Documents from Northern Afghanistan. Vol II: Letters and Buddhist". Khalili Collectins: 19.
  33. ^ "Afghan and Afghanistan". Abdul Hai Habibi. 1969. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  34. ^ "History of Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  35. ^ Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah (Firishta). "History of the Mohamedan Power in India". Persian Literature in Translation. Packard Humanities Institute. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2007.
  36. ^ "Afghanistan: Glossary". British Library. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  37. ^ Minahan, James B. (30 August 2012). Ethnic Groups of South Asia and the Pacific: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598846607 – via Google Books.
  38. ^ Minahan, James B. (10 February 2014). Ethnic Groups of North, East, and Central Asia: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610690188 – via Google Books.
  39. ^ Cite error: The named reference Brit-Pashtun was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  40. ^ Romano, Amy (2003). A Historical Atlas of Afghanistan. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 28. ISBN 0-8239-3863-8. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  41. ^ Syed Saleem Shahzad (20 October 2006). "Profiles of Pakistan's Seven Tribal Agencies". Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  42. ^ Canfield, Robert L.; Rasuly-Paleczek, Gabriele (4 October 2010). Ethnicity, Authority and Power in Central Asia: New Games Great and Small. Routledge. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-136-92750-8. By the late-eighteenth century perhaps 100,000 "Afghan" or "Puthan" migrants had established several generations of political control and economic consolidation within numerous Rohilkhand communities
  43. ^ Haleem, Safia (24 July 2007). "Study of the Pathan Communities in Four States of India". Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  44. ^ "Northern Pashtun in United Arab Emirates". Joshua project.
  45. ^ Bodetti, Austin (11 July 2019). "What will happen to Afghanistan's national languages?". alaraby.
  46. ^ Chiovenda, Andrea (12 November 2019). Crafting Masculine Selves: Culture, War, and Psychodynamics in Afghanistan. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-007355-8. Niamatullah knew Persian very well, as all the educated Pashtuns generally do in Afghanistan
  47. ^ "Hindu Society and English Rule". The Westminster Review. The Leonard Scott Publishing Company. 108 (213–214): 154. 1877. Hindustani had arisen as a lingua franca from the intercourse of the Persian-speaking Pathans with the Hindi-speaking Hindus.
  48. ^ Cite error: The named reference pathan was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  49. ^ "Hybrid Census to Generate Spatially-disaggregated Population Estimat". United Nations world data form. Archived from the original on 17 May 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  50. ^ "Afghanistan - The World Factbook". Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  51. ^ "Pakistan - The World Factbook". Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  52. ^ "South Asia :: Pakistan — The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  53. ^ "What Languages Are Spoken In Pakistan?". World atlas. 30 July 2019.
  54. ^ "Madhubala: From Peshawar with love". Dawn. 18 January 2015.

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