Tajiks are a Persian-speaking Iranian ethnic group native to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Tajiks are the largest ethnicity in Tajikistan, the second largest in Afghanistan which constitutes over half of the global Tajik population, they speak varieties of a Western Iranian language. In Tajikistan, since the 1939 Soviet census, its small Pamiri and Yaghnobi ethnic groups are included as Tajiks. In China, the term is used to refer to its Pamiri ethnic groups, the Tajiks of Xinjiang, who speak the Eastern Iranian Pamiri languages. In Afghanistan, the Pamiris are counted as a separate ethnic group; as a self-designation, the literary New Persian term Tajik, which had some previous pejorative usage as a label for eastern Persians or Iranians, has become acceptable during the last several decades as a result of Soviet administration in Central Asia. Alternative names for the Tajiks are Eastern Persian, Fārsīwān, Dīhgān which translates to "farmer or settled villager", in a wider sense "settled" in contrast to "nomadic" and was used to describe a class of land-owning magnates as "Persian of noble blood" in contrast to Arabs and Romans during the Sassanid and early Islamic period.
The Tajiks are an Iranian people, speaking a variety of Persian, concentrated in the Oxus Basin, the Farḡāna valley and on both banks of the upper Oxus, i.e. the Pamir Mountains and northeastern Afghanistan and western Afghanistan. The ancient Tajiks were chiefly agriculturalists before the Arab Conquest of Iran. While agriculture remained a stronghold, the Islamization of Iran resulted in the rapid urbanization of historical Khorasan and Transoxiana that lasted until the devastating Mongolian invasion. Several surviving ancient urban centers of the Tajik people include Herat, Bukhara, Khujand and Kabul. Contemporary Tajiks are the descendants of ancient Eastern Iranian inhabitants of Central Asia, in particular, the Sogdians and the Bactrians, other groups, with an admixture of Western Iranian Persians and non-Iranian peoples. According to Richard Nelson Frye, a leading historian of Iranian and Central Asian history, the Persian migration to Central Asia may be considered the beginning of the modern Tajik nation, ethnic Persians, along with some elements of East-Iranian Bactrians and Sogdians, as the main ancestors of modern Tajiks.
In works, Frye expands on the complexity of the historical origins of the Tajiks. In a 1996 publication, Frye explains that many "factors must be taken into account in explaining the evolution of the peoples whose remnants are the Tajiks in Central Asia" and that "the peoples of Central Asia, whether Iranian or Turkic speaking, have one culture, one religion, one set of social values and traditions with only language separating them." Regarding Tajiks, the Encyclopædia Britannica states:The Tajiks are the direct descendants of the Iranian peoples whose continuous presence in Central Asia and northern Afghanistan is attested from the middle of the 1st millennium bc. The ancestors of the Tajiks constituted the core of the ancient population of Khwārezm and Bactria, which formed part of Transoxania. Over the course of time, the eastern Iranian dialect, used by the ancient Tajiks gave way to Farsi, a western dialect spoken in Iran and Afghanistan; the geographical division between the eastern and western Iranians is considered and to be the desert Dasht-e Kavir, situated in the center of the Iranian plateau.
According to John Perry The most plausible and accepted origin of the word is Middle Persian tāzīk'Arab', or an Iranian cognate word. The Muslim armies that invaded Transoxiana early in the eighth century, conquering the Sogdian principalities and clashing with the Qarluq Turks consisted not only of Arabs, but of Persian converts from Fārs and the central Zagros region. Hence the Turks of Central Asia adopted a variant of the Iranian word, täžik, to designate their Muslim adversaries in general. For example, the rulers of the south Indian Chalukya dynasty and Rashtrakuta dynasty referred to the Arabs as "Tajika" in the 8th and 9th century. By the eleventh century, the Qarakhanid Turks applied this term more to the Persian Muslims in the Oxus basin and Khorasan, who were variously the Turks' rivals, models and subjects. Persian writers of the Ghaznavid, Seljuq and Atābak periods adopted the term and extended its use to cover Persians in the rest of Greater Iran, now under Turkish rule, as early as the poet ʿOnṣori, ca.
1025. Iranians soon accepted it as an ethnonym, as is shown by a Persian court official's referring to mā tāzikān "we Tajiks"; the distinction between Turk and Tajik became stereotyped to express the symbiosis and rivalry of the nomadic military executive and the urban civil bureaucracy. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the oldest known usage of the word Tajik as a reference to Persians in Persian literature can be found in the writings of the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi; the 15th century Turkic-speaking poet Mīr Alī Šer Navā'ī used Tajik as a reference to Persians. An exampl
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was a totalitarian Islamic state established in September 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul. At its peak, the Taliban established control over 90% of the country, whereas remaining parts of the country in the northeast were held by the Northern Alliance, who maintained broad international recognition as a continuation of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. After 9/11, international opposition to the regime drastically increased, with diplomatic recognition from the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan being rescinded; the Islamic Emirate ceased to exist on December 17, 2001, after being overthrown by the Northern Alliance, bolstered by a US-led invasion of the country. The Taliban and its rule arose from the chaos after the Soviet–Afghan War, it began as an Islamic and Pashtun politico-religious movement composed of madrasa students in southern Afghanistan. Overwhelmingly ethnic Pashtuns, the Taliban blended Pashtunwali tribal code with elements of Sunni Islamic teaching to form an anti-Western and anti-modern Islamic ideology with which it ruled.
It began to receive support from neighboring Pakistan as well as from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Taliban considered many of Afghanistan's other ethnic communities as foreign. Pashtun people are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan and compromised the vast majority of the Taliban movement; as the Taliban expanded from their southern and south-eastern strongholds, they encountered more resistance. The Battles of Mazar-i-Sharif illustrated this ethnic tension. Spreading from Kandahar, the Taliban ruled Kabul in 1996. By the end of 2000, the Taliban were able to rule 90% of the country, aside from the opposition strongholds found in the northeast corner of Badakhshan Province. Areas under the Taliban's direct control were Afghanistan's major cities and highways. Tribal khans and warlords had de facto direct control over various small towns and rural areas; the Taliban sought to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law upon the entire country of Afghanistan. During the five-year history of the Islamic Emirate, women were banned from working, girls were forbidden to attend schools or universities and were requested to observe purdah and to abstain from obscenities.
Those who resisted were punished. Communists were systematically executed and thieves were punished by amputating one of their hands or feet. Meanwhile, the Taliban succeeded in nearly eradicating the majority of the opium production by 2001. Cabinet ministers and deputies were mullahs with a "madrasah education." Several of them, such as the Minister of Health and Governor of the State bank, were military commanders who were ready to leave their administrative posts to fight when needed. Military reverses that trapped them behind lines or led to their deaths increased the chaos in the national administration. At the national level, "all senior Tajik and Hazara bureaucrats" were replaced "with Pashtuns, whether qualified or not." The ministries "by and large ceased to function."Rashid described the Taliban government as "a secret society run by Kandaharis... mysterious and dictatorial." They did not hold elections, as their spokesman explained: The Sharia does not allow politics or political parties.
That is why we give no salaries to officials or soldiers, just food, clothes and weapons. We want to live a life like the Prophet lived 1400 years ago, jihad is our right. We want to recreate the time of the Prophet, we are only carrying out what the Afghan people have wanted for the past 14 years, they modeled their decision-making process on the Pashtun tribal council, together with what they believed to be the early Islamic model. Discussion was followed by a building of a consensus by the "believers". Before capturing Kabul, there was talk of stepping aside once a government of "good Muslims" took power, law and order were restored; as the Taliban's power grew, decisions were made by Mullah Omar without consulting the jirga and without consulting other parts of the country. He visited the capital, only twice while in power. Instead of an election, their leader's legitimacy came from an oath of allegiance, in imitation of the Prophet and the first four Caliphs. On 4 April 1996, Mullah Omar had "the Cloak of the Prophet Mohammed" taken from its shrine for the first time in 60 years.
Wrapping himself in the relic, he appeared on the roof of a building in the center of Kandahar while hundreds of Pashtun mullahs below shouted "Amir al-Mu'minin!", in a pledge of support. Taliban spokesman Mullah Wakil explained: Decisions are based on the advice of the Amir-ul Momineen. For us consultation is not necessary. We believe. We abide by the Amir's view if he alone takes this view. There will not be a head of state. Instead there will be an Amir al-Mu'minin. Mullah Omar will be the highest authority, the government will not be able to implement any decision to which he does not agree. General elections are incompatible with Sharia and therefore we reject them; the Taliban were reluctant to share power, since their ranks were overwhelmingly Pashtun they ruled as overlords over the 60% of Afghans from other ethnic groups. In local government, such as Kabul city council or Herat, Taliban loyalists, not locals, dominated when the Pashto-speaking Taliban could not communicate with the half of the populat
Shighnan District is one of the 28 districts of the Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. It's part of the history region of Shighnan, today divided between Afghanistan and Tajikistan; the district borders the Panj River and Tajikistan in the northeast, the Maimay district to the west, the Raghistan district in the southwest, the Kohistan, Arghanj Khwa, Shuhada districts in the south, the Ishkashim district in the southeast. The Khowar, Tajiks and Pamiris are the major ethnic groups. Pashto and Persian are spoken; this District has a population of 27,750 >Shighnan District
The Czech Republic known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with a temperate continental climate and oceanic climate, it is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava and Pilsen; the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services and innovation; the UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index, it ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.
The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, adopted a policy of gradual Germanization; this contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the German Confederation 1815-1866 as part of Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic.
Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii"; the current English name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which comes from the Czech word Čech. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain.
The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people. The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east, Czech Silesia in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas; when the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country. After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lac
Badakhshan Province is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and northern Pakistan. It shares a 56.5-mile border with China. It is part of a broader historical Badakhshan region; the province contains 22 to 28 districts, over 1,200 villages, 904,700 people. Feyzabad serves as the provincial capital. Badakhshan is bordered by Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province and Khatlon Province in Tajikistan to the north and east. In the east of the province a long spur called the Wakhan Corridor extends above northern Pakistan's Chitral and Northern Areas to a border with China; the province has a total area of 44,059 square kilometres, most of, occupied by the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges. Badakhshan was a stopover on the ancient Silk Road trading path, China has shown great interest in the province after the fall of the Taliban, helping to reconstruct roads and infrastructure. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Badakhshan contains temperate grasslands and shrublands, as well as Gissaro-Alai open woodlands along the Pamir River.
Common plants found in these areas include pistachio, walnut, apple and sagebrush. Montane grasslands and shrublands are existent in the province, with the Hindu Kush alpine meadow in the high mountains in the northern and southwestern regions; the Wakhan corridor contains two montane grassland and shrubland regions: the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe and in the Pamir Mountains and Kuh-e Safed Khers in Darwaz region. South of Fayzabad the terrain becomes dominated by xeric shrublands. Common vegetation includes thorny bushes, zizyphus and Amygdatus. Paropamisus xeric woodlands can be found in central areas. Common vegetation includes almond, pistachio and sea-buckthorn; the area has a long history like the rest of Afghanistan, dating to its conquering by the Achaemenid Empire and beyond. Badakhshan etymologically derives from an official title; the suffix of the name, -ān, means the region belonged to someone with the title badaxš. The territory was ruled by the Uzbek Khanate of Bukhara between the early 16th century and the mid-18th century.
It was given to Ahmad Shah Durrani by Murad Beg of Bukhara after a treaty of friendship was reached in or about 1750 and became part of the Durrani Empire. It was ruled by the Durranis followed by the Barakzai dynasty, was untouched by the British during the three Anglo-Afghan wars that were fought in the 19th and 20th centuries, it remained peaceful for about 100 years until the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War at which point the Mujahideen began a rebellion against the central Afghan government. During the 1990s, much of the area was controlled by forces loyal to Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud, who were de facto the national government until 1996. Badakhshan was the only province that the Taliban did not conquer during their rule from 1996 to 2001. However, during the course of the wars a non-Taliban Islamic emirate was established in Badakhshan by Mawlawi Shariqi, paralleling the Islamic Revolutionary State of Afghanistan in neighboring Nuristan. Rabbani, a Badakhshan native, Massoud, were the last remnants of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance during the peak of Taliban control in 2001.
Badakhshan was thus one of the few provinces of the country that witnessed little insurgency in the Afghan wars - however during the 2010s Taliban insurgents managed to attack and take control of several districts in the province. On 26 October 2015, the 7.5 Mw Hindu Kush earthquake shook northern Afghanistan with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII. This earthquake destroyed 30,000 homes, left several hundred dead, more than 1,700 injured; the current Governor of the province is Shah Waliullah Adeeb. His predecessors were Baz Mohammad Ahmadi; the borders with neighboring Tajikistan and Pakistan are monitored by the Afghan Border Police. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police. A provincial Police Chief is assigned to lead both the ANP and the ABP; the Police Chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul. The ANP is backed by the military, including the NATO-led forces. Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province, sits on the Kokcha River and has an approximate population of 50,000.
The chief commercial and administrative center of northeast Afghanistan and the Pamir region, Fayzabad has rice and flour mills. Fayzabad Airport serves the province with regular direct flights to Kabul; the percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 2% in 2011. The overall literacy rate fell from 31% in 2005 to 26% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate increased from 46% in 2005 to 68% in 2011. Despite massive mineral reserves, Badakhshan is one of the most destitute areas in the world. Opium poppy growing is the only real source of income in the province and Badakhshan has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world, due to the complete lack of health infrastructure, inaccessible locations, bitter winters of the province. BORNA Institute of Higher Education being the first private university located on the bank of Kokcha river. Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Sar-e-Sang mines, located in the Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan, for over 6,000 years.
The mines were the largest and most well-known source in ancient times. Most recent
Baghlan is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country; as of 2013, the province has a population of about 910,700. Its capital is Puli Khumri; the ruins of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the Surkh Kotal, are located in Baghlan. The lead nation of the local Provincial Reconstruction Team was Hungary, which operated from 2006 to 2015; the name Baghlan is derived from Bagolango or "image-temple", inscribed on the temple of Surkh Kotal during the reign of the Kushan emperor, Kanishka in the early 2nd century CE. The Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang traveled through Baghlan in the mid-7th Century CE, referred to it as the "kingdom of Fo-kia-lang". In the 13th Century CE, a permanent garrison of Mongol troops was quartered in the Kunduz-Baghlan area, in 1253 fell under the jurisdiction of Sali Noyan Tatar, appointed there by Möngke Khan. Sali Noyan's position was inherited by his son Uladu, grandson Baktut; these Turco-Mongol garrison troops formed the Qara'unas faction, by the 14th Century had allied with the Chaghataite Khanate.
Under the rule of Temür the Qara'unas were given to Chekü Barlas, to his son Jahānshāh. Forbes Manz notes that these Kunduz-Baghlan forces appear to have remained cohesive and influential throughout the Timurid period, though under different leaders and different names, up until the Uzbek invasion. By the Islamic year 900, the area was noted in the Baburnama. In the mid-20th Century, as Afghanistan became the target of international development from both the Western and Soviet world, agricultural-industrial projects were initiated in Baghlan; these included factories for the production of sugar for vegetable oil. Czech expertise figured into the development of Baghlans' coal-mining industry, centred at Baghlan's Karkar Valley, the only coal mine in Afghanistan to remain operational up through 1992; the modern Baghlan Province was created out of the former Qataghan Province in 1964. During the Soviet–Afghan War, the Soviets in 1982 established the Kayan military zone in southern Baghlan; the area was defended by 10,000 Ismaili militiamen, increasing to 18,000 by 1992, who sided with the Soviets due to differences with the Islamist opposition.
Afghan Ismailis overall were inclined to support the Communists, though a local Ismaili leader, Sayed Manuchehr, lead a partisan movement against the Communists until Ismaili leader Sayed Mansur Naderi accepted Soviet support. Large portions of Baghlan and neighbouring Samangan Province were under the sway of the Soviet-aligned Naderi clan, the hereditary Ismaili Sayeds of Kayan. Under their jurisdiction, was quiet and societally functional throughout the 1980s, with hospitals and administrative services, funded by the communist central government. Despite the Naderi's alliance with the Communists, they maintained positive relations with the Mujahideen as well, permitting them to move through the area provided they refrained from attacks. One of the Soviets' three primary bases in Afghanistan, was located in Baghlan Province, served as the "largest military supply and armoury centre of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan." As the 2001 Afghan War commenced, Ismaili leader Sayed Mansoor Naderi attempted to retake Baghlan from the Taliban.
Naderi was aligned with Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Jumbesh-e Milli party, the competing Tajik-dominated Jamiat-e Islami party was keen to seize control of Baghlan as Taliban power eroded. The Jamiat were able to seize the capital of Pul-i Khumri before Naderi, who despite his strong backing among the Afghan Ismailis and Shia Hazaras, was unable to rally enough supporters to control the province. Naderi failed to retake the capital in 2001 and 2003, in the latter event he negotiated a power-sharing agreement with the dominant Andarabi militias and made the Ismaili bastion of the Kayan Valley his base. On 13 June 2012, two earthquakes hit Afghanistan and there was a major landslide in Burka District of Baghlan Province; the village of Sayi Hazara was buried under up to 30 meters of rock. The town of Puli Khumri serves as the capital of the province. All law enforcement activities throughout the province are handled by the Afghan National Police; the provincial police chief represents the Ministry of the Interior in Kabul.
The ANP is backed including the NATO-led forces. Abdul Sattar Bariz has been the governor of the province since October 2015; the population of Baghlan province was reported at 863,700 in the year 2013. Tajiks make up 50% of the population, followed by 20% Pashtuns, 5% Turkmens, 20% Hazaras, 5% Uzbeks, others. Most of the population speak Persian, followed by Pashto-speaking Pashtuns and some Tatars. Baghlan is home to a small community of Ismaili Muslims led by the Sayeds of Kayan; the percentage of households with clean drinking water increased from 19% in 2005 to 25% in 2011. The percentage of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant increased from 5.5% in 2005 to 22% in 2011. The overall literacy rate increased from 21% in 2005 to 24% in 2011; the overall net enrolment rate increased from 29% in 2005 to 62% in 2011. Baghlan's primary crops were cotton and sugar beets, industrial sugar production having begun under Czech supervision in the 1940s; the area produced grapes and pomegranates.
The primary livestock is Karakul sheep. The province produces silk, coal is mined in the Karkar Valley. Baghlan 2007 Baghlan sugar factory bom
The Pashtuns known as ethnic Afghans and Pathans, are an Iranian ethnic group who live in Pakistan and Afghanistan in South-Central Asia. They speak the Pashto language and adhere to Pashtunwali, a traditional set of ethics guiding individual and communal conduct; the ethnogenesis of the Pashtun ethnic group is unclear but historians have come across references to various ancient peoples called Pakthas between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC, who may be their early ancestors. Their history is spread amongst the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centred on their traditional seat of power in that region. Globally, the Pashtuns are estimated to number around 50 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979; the majority of the Pashtuns live in the region regarded as Pashtunistan, split between the two countries since the Durand Line border was formed after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. There are significant Pashtun diaspora communities in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan, in particular in the cities of Karachi and Lahore.
A recent Pashtun diaspora has developed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates. The Pashtuns are a significant minority group in Pakistan, where they constitute the second-largest ethnic group or about 15% of the population; as the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, Pashtuns have been the dominant ethno-linguistic group for over 300 years. During the Delhi Sultanate era, the 15th–16th century Lodi dynasty replaced the preexisting rulers in North India until Babur deposed the Lodi dynasty. Other Pashtuns fought the Safavids and Mughals before obtaining an independent state in the early 18th century, which began with a successful revolution by Mirwais Hotak followed by conquests of Ahmad Shah Durrani; the Barakzai dynasty played a vital role during the Great Game from the 19th century to the 20th century as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires. The Pashtuns are the world's largest segmentary lineage ethnic group. Estimates of the number of Pashtun tribes and clans range from about 350 to over 400.
There have been many notable Pashtun people throughout history: Ahmad Shah Durrani is regarded as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan, while Bacha Khan was a Pashtun independence activist against the rule of the British Raj. Some others include Malala Yousafzai, Shah Rukh Khan, Zarine Khan, Imran Khan, Farhad Darya, Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Ahmad Zahir, Zakir Husain, Hamid Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Mullah Mohammed Omar; the vast majority of the Pashtuns are found in the traditional Pashtun homeland, located in an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and west of the Indus River in Pakistan, which includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern part of Balochistan. Additional Pashtun communities are located in Western and Northern Afghanistan, the Gilgit–Baltistan and Kashmir regions and northwestern Punjab province, Pakistan. There are sizeable Muslim communities in India, which are of Pashtun ancestry. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are referred to as Pathans. Smaller Pashtun communities are found in the countries of the Middle East, such as in the Khorasan Province of Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, North America and Australia.
Important metropolitan centres of Pashtun culture include Peshawar, Quetta, Mardan and Jalalabad. In Pakistan, the city of Karachi in Sindh province has the largest Pashtun diaspora communities in the world, with as much as 7 million Pashtuns living in Karachi according to some estimates. Several cities in Pakistan's Punjab province have sizeable Pashtun populations, in particular Lahore. About 15% of Pakistan's nearly 200 million population is Pashtun. In Afghanistan, they are the largest ethnic group and make up between 42–60% of the 32.5 million population. The exact figure remains uncertain in Afghanistan, affected by the 1.3 million or more Afghan refugees that remain in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns. Another one million or more Afghans live in Iran. A cumulative population assessment suggests a total of around 49 million individuals all across the world. A prominent institution of the Pashtun people is the intricate system of tribes; the Pashtuns remain a predominantly tribal people, but the trend of urbanisation has begun to alter Pashtun society as cities such as Kandahar, Peshawar and Kabul have grown due to the influx of rural Pashtuns.
Despite this, many people still identify themselves with various clans. The tribal system has several levels of organisation: the tribe, tabar, is divided into kinship groups called khels, in turn divided into smaller groups, each consisting of several extended families called kahols. Pashtun tribes are divided into four'greater' tribal groups: the Sarbani, the Bettani, the Gharghashti, the Karlani. Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that early humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago. Since the 2nd millennium BC, cities in the region now inhabited by Pashtuns have seen invasions and migrations, including by Ancient Indian peoples, Ancient Iranian peoples, the Medes and Ancient Macedonians in antiquity, Hephthalites, Turks and others. In recent times, people of the Western world have explored the area as well. Most historians acknowledge that the origin of the Pashtuns is some