Pashtuns ( Pashtun پښتانه Pashtāna or Pachtāna ), also Pathans (from Hindi पठान paṭhān ) or Afghans (from Persian افغان Afghān ) are an Iranian people in South and Central Asia . There are around 50 million Pashtuns worldwide, of which around 15 millionlive in Afghanistan ,which is named after them(around 42% of the country's population). About 23 million Pashtuns live in Pakistan, including 3 million Afghan refugees and Hindkos, as well as people who do not speak Pashto but have Pashtun ancestors on their father's side.
Most of the Pashtuns live with around 23 million members in Pakistan in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , FATA and in Balochistan (approx. 15% of the country's population). The linguistically and culturally coherent area of the Pashtuns, the Pakhtunkhwa , was divided by the Durand Line in 1893 as a result of British colonial policy .
Many citizens of Afghanistan, including a large number of Pashtuns, also fled to Europe during the civil war in the 1990s, particularly to Great Britain (approx. 88,000), Germany (55,000) and France (40,000).
The word Afghan is used very rarely or hardly as a proper name of the Pashtuns today. The Pashtuns themselves prefer their own name Pashtun (also Pakhtune ) over the foreign names Pathane or Afghane .
The name Pakhtun possibly has the same roots as the two Afghan provinces Paktika and Paktiya , which are derived from the word Pactyan , the name of an Iranian tribe mentioned by Herodotus in the ancient Persian province of Arachosia , which roughly corresponds to today's area around Kandahar .
The terms Afghan ( Persian افغان) or Pashtun ( Pashtun پښتون) were and are often used synonymously. The term Pathan ( Urdu پٹھان) or ( Hindi पठान paṭhān ) or Pathans is also a synonym for Pashtuns in India, since the partition in 1947 also in Pakistan , mainly apart from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . Both Afghan and Pashtun were official names for Pashtuns in Afghanistan until 1936. It is Pashtun own name and Afghan ( Persian افغان) the foreign name from Persian, which was historically used primarily for tribes from the West, which explains why a terminological difference was sometimes suggested such that Afghan refers to the Durrani (the most western tribe) and their allies. The designation of Afghan as a citizen of Afghanistan was enshrined in the constitution in 1965.
A first mention is found in the encyclopedia Bṛhat Saṃhitā by the Indian astronomer and mathematician Varahamihira from the early 6th century. There is talk of Avagāṇa . In the biography of the Buddhist pilgrim and translator Xuanzang , written by his students Huili and Yencong, which was written a little later, the Chinese speak of A-p'o-kien as a tribe in the north of the Suleiman Mountains.
Al-Biruni , an 11th century scientist who accompanied Sultan Mahmud from Ghazni to India, describes Kitab Tarich al-Hind ( Persian تحقیق ماللهند, 'India Studies'; التفهیم لاوایل صناعة التنجیم Kitab al-Tafhim li-Awa'il Sina`at al-Tandjim , wrote 1029) the "areas of the Afghans" between Multan and the Suleiman mountain range south of the Hindu Kush.
Also in the book on Yamin (Kitāb al-Yamīnī) by Abū Naṣr al-ʿUtbī, a biography of Mahmud of Ghazni (whose nickname was Yamīn ad-Daula, right hand of the empire, completed in 1020), the name Afghan was used in connection with the original Settlement area of the Pashtuns z. B. in today's Wazirestan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , today's province of Pakistan , used.
Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani delivers in his Tatimmat al-Bayān fi Tarikh al Afghan (تتمة البيان في تاريخ الأفغان; dt. Some follow-up statements about the history of the Afghans ) an explanation why the Pashtuns were called Afghan .
Hypotheses on origin
There are no written sources that could clearly clarify the origin of this people.
They are perhaps descendants of the Indo-European Saaks who have mixed with many other peoples in the region over time. According to other theories, there is also evidence of a relationship with the historical Hephthalites that once controlled eastern Iran and the Indian suburbs. Studies by the Russian historian V. Gankovsky connect the Pashtun tribal name Abdali with the word "Ephtalit" (= Hephthalites ). In fact, the traces of the historical Hephthalites are lost after their devastating defeat against the Sassanid ruler Chosrau I ( 563 near Bukhara ) in the Hindu Kush mountains, so that a closer relationship - at least in part - is obvious here.
Some Pashtun tribes claim they are the descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel . They want to recognize the tribal names Barakzai , Ismailkhel , Yossufzai etc. in the originally Hebrew-Jewish names ( Barak , Ismail , Josef (Yossuf) etc.). The theory of the Israelite descent of Afghans stems from the time of the Mughal rule in India and is described in the Persian-language book Maḫzan-e Afghāni / Persian مخزن افغانىexplained in more detail by Nehmatullah Herawi . According to today's linguistic and genetic analyzes, this theory is neither credible nor provable.
The Arab ancestry is also unproven ; the common ancestor of all Pashtuns is Qais (Kas), who is said to have later assumed the title "Abdul Rashid". Qais' eldest son Sarbanar is said to have been the progenitor of the Durranis , his second son the progenitor of the Ghilzai , and his third son the progenitor of the Kakars (Kandahar) and Safis (Peshawar).
What is certain is that the Pashtuns lived in the mountains on the borders of Khorasan during the times of the Kartids . From his memoirs from Babur's time , one can see that the Pashtuns, Afghans in the context of the time , lived in the areas south of Kabul. The earliest mention of the etymology of the term "Afghan" can be traced back to late antiquity, Xuanzang mentioned in his travels around the area of today's Afghanistan, a people called "Avagana", who, according to him, populated the area between Bannu and Ghazni , which both corresponds to the historical as well as today's settlement area of the Pashtuns.
The first presumably Pashtun empire could have been the Ghurids . But their origin is disputed. It is known, however, that they were members of an Iranian people from Ghor in what is now Afghanistan and that they spoke a language that was not Persian. Abū l-Fażl Baihaqī makes this clear in his work, in which he mentions that the Ghaznavids from Ghazni needed interpreters for their trips to Ghor. Furthermore, the Khilji dynasty in India is often associated with both Turks and Pashtuns. The rule of the Lodhi in India with Delhi as the capital (1451–1526) is the first empire that can be clearly associated with the Pashtuns. But with the victory of the Turkic-Mongolian ruler Babur (founder of the Mughal dynasty) over Ibrahim, the last Lodhi sultan, the Pashtun rule in India also ended. The Pashtuns under the leadership of Sher Shah Suri opposed the Mughal rule only once and founded the Surid Empire in India before they were finally defeated by the Mughals.
Thereafter, the Pashtuns lived divided under the rule of the Mughals and Safavids, until the Ghilzai tribe, under the leadership of Mir Wais Hotak, rose against the rule of the Safavids in the 18th century and founded the Hotaki dynasty . The uprising of the Ghilzai ended the rule of the Safavids in Persia with the victory of Mir Mahmud Hotaki . However, the Ghilzai could not hold on to power for long because the many Pashtun tribes were at odds with one another and the Ghilzai were not accepted as rulers. Only four years later the Ghilzai were defeated by Nadir Shah and pushed back to Kandahar .
With the death of Nadir Shah, Persia split up again into smaller states, which fought among themselves. At that time it was the former General Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Abdali from the tribe of Abdali who could unite the many Pashtun tribes to fight for independence. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Abdali founded an independent kingdom of the Afghans in the Khorasan region in eastern Persia and expanded his empire to the south, east and northwest - the Durrani Empire - and fought for their final independence for the Pashtuns. In the 19th century, the 21 grandchildren of Ahmad Shah Abdali became governors of 21 major provinces in the country. After the death of his son Timor Shah , who moved the capital of the empire from Kandahar to Kabul after a loja jirga , his 21 sons fought each other. In the end, only the area that was officially named "Afghanistan" since 1919 (translated "Land of Afghans / Pashtuns") remained of the largest Muslim kingdom at that time after the Ottomans. Apart from short periods, e.g. B. during the civil war at the end of the 20th century, Afghans (Pashtuns) have ruled the country continuously since 1747.
The Pashtuns are predominantly Sunni Muslims . Their society is mainly determined by the tribal system with its strict Pashtunwali code of honor , strongly influenced by Orthodox Islam . The Pashtuns are organized into agnatic tribal groups , clans and clans , which refer to common ancestors. Most Pashtuns living in rural areas do not have a popular feeling to this day. Rather, each tribe stands for itself as an association and regards other tribes as alien and hostile to some extent. So until the late 19th century (and in some cases until today) the two largest Pashtun tribes, the Durranis and Ghilzai, were enemies. Until the early 20th century, the Durranis and Ghilzai were considered two distinct ethnic groups.
Characteristic musical instruments in Afghanistan are primarily the plucked lute rubāb , which comes from Pashtun folk music , and in Afghanistan and Pakistan the string lute sarinda and the two-headed barrel drum dohol or doholak . In addition, folk music includes instruments adopted from other regions such as the end-blown longitudinal flute nal ( narh for the Baluch ). Folk songs are often accompanied by a kettle drum tabla and a harmonium based on Indian models .
With the beginning of radio broadcasts from Kabul in the late 1940s, Pashtun styles of playing became popular in large parts of Afghanistan and shaped a national style. In addition to the lecture by Ghaselen, there is the folk song genre landai , which is cultivated by almost all Pashtuns, with five verses in an anapaestic rhythm, which are sung with one of the familiar melodies.
The most famous Pashtun tribes are:
The Kutschi, with around 5 million members , are the largest of the nomadic tribal groups that are generally assigned to the Pashtuns . According to the Afghan constitution, they enjoy a special position in the state. However, the Kuchi are demonstrably not only Pashtun nomads, but also countless other nomadic peoples of the region who only speak the Pashto language in Afghanistan and West Pakistan . According to a thesis by Jahanshah Derakhshani , the Kuchi are essentially descendants of the Gutschi, a nomadic people in the region from the pre-Islamic period, who each adopted the languages of their settled neighbors.
The Pashtunwali is a code of ethics , code of conduct and customary law. It is of pre-Islamic origin and, according to Enevoldsen, shows an ancient Indo-European origin, but some practices, such as Badal (vengeance), are reminiscent of the characteristics of the Abrahamic religion .
The most important Pashtunwali terms include:
- the hospitality (Melmastya)
- the revenge (Badal), literally "exchange" (see also blood feud )
- the cohesion of the family
- the right of asylum (Pana)
The East Iranian languages, of which the most prominent representative today is Pashto, vary from other Iranian languages through certain phonetic laws that explain their different development. Indian- Dravidian influences on the Pashtun language, such as B. retroflex consonants or ergative formation , indicate a clearly southeastern ancestry of the language. This distinguishes Pashto as a southeastern Iranian language from the northeastern Iranian languages, e.g. B. Jaghnobi (today's form of ancient Sogdish ) or ancient Bactrian . Since Pashto is only spoken by Pashtuns and had no significant influence on neighboring languages, direct conclusions can be drawn about the ancestry and the area of origin of the Pashtun people. Accordingly, the area of origin of the Pashtuns in the southeastern part of the Iranian highlands , i.e. H. south of the Hindu Kush (this corresponds to the former area of the above-mentioned Pactyan ).
The first literary works of Pashto probably date from the Islamization of the Hindu Kush. The best-known poet of this language is the Pashtun national hero and folk poet Khuschal Khan Khattak (1613–1689). Other well-known poets of the Pashtun language are the patriotic poet Kabir Stori , the mystic and Islamic scholar Abdul Rahman Mohmand , and Hamid , the sensitive love poet.
The Islamist Taliban were founded in the Pashtun-inhabited border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan , and their fighters mainly recruited from their ranks (Ghilzai and other Pashtun tribes from Pakistan). Nationalist Pashtuns call for some time Afghanistan and Pashtunistan as Pakhtunkhwa .
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