Afghan Ethnic Group-Pashtuns
The Pashtuns are primarily found in Afghanistan and they make up one of the largest groups in the country. The ethnic group consists of more than sixty tribes that are spread mostly in the eastern and southern parts of Afghanistan. This large ethnic group is subdivided into sub-groups which have been involved in wars over the last decades. The groups have the characteristics of being at loggerheads with each other due to a variety of reasons.
The group has its members united by one common language, Pashtu, which is the original language that they speak (Alikuzai, 2013, p.65). However, some of the groups that migrated into towns such as Kabul speak different language known as Dari. The group has had immense impact in Afghanistan since it makes up the largest population, numbering to more than 50 million people in the country (Siddique, 2014, p.45). The people have guiding principles that ensure that they remain loyal to each other and they carry out their daily activities in orderly manners. These principles have played a pivotal role in making sure that the groups remain united even after the wars that the count5yr faces in most of the times.
The Pashtuns do not have a single point of origin. DNA tests carried on them shows that the groups have varying places where they originated. Most of the legends emanating from this huge ethnic group claim that they originated from Israel. Most of the scholars have argued on this issue and they lack a conclusion. Indeed, this community attracted a great deal of scholars who studied the origin of the community to ascertain the various misconceptions in regards to the origin of the Pashtuns. The tribes making up the group has different stories in regards to their origin, which complicates the situation.
The researchers that have studied the origin of the group do not come into a conclusion that seems to be in line with the inhabitants of the area. However, the truthful origins of the Pashtuns remain undetermined. The ethnic characteristic of the Afghanistan was triggered by the Russian invasion of the 1979, which enabled the Pashtuns to dominate the country (Barfield, 2010, p.54). The People’s democratic Union was dominated by the Pashtuns, which enabled them to control the government in all sectors. However, most of the factions that were opposed to the Pashtun rule had to align themselves to the decisions and laws passed by the ruling majority. Therefore, the Pashtuns have had their influence since the formation of the Afghanistan sovereign state.
Since the time Afghanistan was founded in 1747, the country’s most sectors have been dominated by the Pashtuns (Siddique, 2014, p.98). In this case, the group has had its influence on every aspect in the country. These include politics, religion, and other factors such as economy, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring the development of the country. The group dominates the population of the country by more than 60% (Barfield, 2010, p.79).
However, after the Russian invasion, most of the members of the group migrated into other countries such as Pakistan and Iran as refugees. This apparently lowered the population of the Pashtuns especially in the regions where they dominated. The dominance of the other groups in the country took center-stage after the migration but later the group gained its dominance. The group popularity and its influence in the country have enabled it to get involved in most of the issues that affect the country at large.
The people of Pashtun mostly dwell in the region of Indian subcontinent and the Khurasan region and they comprise of numerous groups. The Pashtuns live in the area that forms a triangular shape, which is to the South of Pakistan. As such, some of the Pashtuns are found in Pakistan especially in the Northern part of the country. These areas form the better part of the country’s civilization, accounting for their leadership in most of the sectors in the country.
The group however, spread to other regions from their main point of dwelling after the events that took place in the country. The tribes making up the Pashtun group live in different territories that are separated from the rest of the people. In this instance, the country experience various revolts since the groups have conflicting issues that make them engage in wars. In addition, the group is united by one major religion, Sunni Islam sect. The percentage of the people living in these areas who proclaim Christianity does not exceed 1% (Cook, 2012, p.102). The religion’s dominance and its strict characteristics make it impossible to separate the groups.
The group has had many challenges especially in the political arena where the other leaders under the support of the outside countries condemn them. However, some of the leaders from the Pashtun community have played a pivotal role in ensuring that the country moves forward in all sectors of the economy. In addition, the leaders fought for the eradication of the fighting that hit the country ever since its formation. Abdur Ghaffar Khan was one of the greatest leaders from the Pashtun community. Abdul was impressively involved in the political arena especially in Afghanistan and was a great follower of Gandhi.
In this regard, people even nicknamed him Frontier Gandhi. After being involved with Gandhi for long, Ghaffar commenced various activities among the Pashtuns which paved way for the community. He formed the Red Shirt Movement (Khudai Khitmatgar), which was entirely Pashtun consistent (Cook, 2012, p.210). This group entailed for the freedom of the Indian movement through peaceful means. In addition, Abdur Ghaffar Kahn was concerned about his community’s presence in the national issues, and he chose to use the movement to awaken their consciousness.
Abdur Ghaffar Khan continued to agitate for India’s independence through various means and became one of Gandhi’s fervent advisors. In addition, he continued to fight for the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and later was arrested. This great leader spent many years in jail after the ordeal. However, this is a clear sign of how the Pashtuns have produced great leaders that have had even immense influence even in the other countries such as India.
The acts of the community to use non-violent means in achieving freedom for their rights shows that the community had unity to demand for what really belonged to them (Lieven, 2012, para 4). Consequently, the impact that the community has ever had on the national government and the country at large clearly signifies their existence. The people used non-violent means in making sure that their demands were met by the ruling governments.
The community has always been regarded as being conflict-oriented. In this case, the geography of their dwellings is in most cases attributed to their violent nature. Since the community does not regard its sub-tribes, wars have emerged in defense of either other communities or the subdivisions within the group. The community has a code that it follows, which has various principles that are supposed to be followed by the community at large.
The Pashtuns refer this code as pashtunwali, which means the code of the Pashtuns (Kfir, 2009, para 3). It is this code, which contains various principles such as honor. This principle has faced criticism from the other communities claiming that the Pashtuns take to mean revenge. The former is due to the violent nature of the Pashtuns that has been known to cause numerous violent incidents in the country that have led to war. The American government at one point allied with the other communities in order to attack the Pashtuns but their plan never worked since the community was too big to defeat.
The various principles in this community have various effects on the standards of living. For instance, anybody who does not own land in this community does not have a voice in the society. Such a person is usually treated with disrespect and taken to be of low class. It is important to note that community has generosity in terms giving food and other items to people but the reality is that there exists enmity between the various subdivisions that make up the Pashtuns.
Local conflicts emanate from land disputes between different individuals or tribes in the community (Siddique, 2014, p.65). In fact, the level of conflict in this community goes to more extents such that cousins and brothers develop hatred towards each other. Therefore, it is clear that the Pashtuns have had a negative impact on the country since most of the problems that Afghanistan faces emanates from the Pashtun community. The radical leaders that originate from this community have been known to cause revolution in most sectors in the government since they have a characteristic behavior of working by force.