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Afghanistan

 
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Afghanistan

Tajik

The Tajik form the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. Estimates in 1995 averaged around 4.3 million. Afghan Tajik live mainly in the Panjsher Valley north of Kabul and in the northern and northeastern provinces of Parwan, Takhar, Badakhshan, and also Baghlan and Samangan. Tajik also extend into the central mountains. There is a tendency of some non-Tajik groups to classify any Dari speaker as a member of this group. Some also tend to categorize any urban resident who has become detribalized as Tajik. This is particularly true in Kabul. Tajik are also found north of Afghanistan's border in their own state of Tajikistan.

Tajik are physically from the Mediterranean substock. They speak various Tajiki dialects of Dari, an Iranian language in the Indo-European language family. Most are Hanafi Sunni, although a sizeable number living in areas from Bamiyan to eastern Badakhshan are Ismaili Shia. Tajik are not organized by tribe and refer to themselves most often by the name of the valley or region they inhabit, such as Panjsheri, Andarabi, Samangani, and Badakhshi. Those living among non-Tajik, such as those living among the Pushtun who refer to them as dehqan, often describe themselves simply as Tajik.

Tajik are predominantly fully sedentary mountaineer farmers and herders, who often make short-range seasonal migrations to alpine grazing meadows during which whole families move up to the mountains to harvest grain and melons. The Tajik areas are famous for a wide variety of fruits and nuts which are acknowledged to be among the finest in the country.

Many Tajik migrated to the cities, especially to Kabul, which was primarily a Tajik town until Timur, the son of Ahmad Shah Durrani, moved his court to Kabul in 1776 and declared it to be the Pushtun capital. In Kabul the Tajik are still dominant and well-represented in the uppermiddle class. Many are active in business and in government service; others find employment as cooks, houseboys or gardeners in the homes of foreigners. On the off-agricultural season Tajik may join the workforce at industrial complexes near their villages. Whether seasonally or permanently based in cities, Tajik tend to maintain close links with their rural kin.

Except for the short rule of the Tajik known as Bacha Saqqao in 1928, the Tajik have not dominated politically. Since 1978, however, several Tajik military leaders have gained substantial recognition, the most renowned being Ahmad Shah Masood from the Panjsher Valley. Burhanuddin Rabbani who served as President of The Islamic State of Afghanistan from 1992-1996 is a Tajik from Badakhshan.

Data as of 1997

 

Afghanistan - TABLE OF CONTENTS

SOCIAL STRUCTURE


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GENERAL FACTS & LINKS

Country name
Afghanistan
conventional long form
Islamic State of Afghanistan
conventional short form
Afghanistan
local long form
Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan
local short form
Afghanestan
former
Republic of Afghanistan

Area -
total: 647,500 sq km
land: 647,500 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Geographic Location - Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran

Map references - Asia

Capital - Kabul

Border Countries - China 76 km, Iran 936 km, Pakistan 2,430 km, Tajikistan 1,206 km, Turkmenistan 744 km, Uzbekistan 137 km

Major Cities - Kabul, Majar-e-Sharief, Jalalabad

Independence - Independence Day, 19 August (1919)

National holiday - Independence Day, 19 August (1919)

Languages Spoken - Pushtu, Dari Persian, other Turkic and minor languages

Weather Forecast -
 Farah
 Faizabad
 Herat
 Jalalabad
 Jabul Saraj
 Mazar I Sharif
 Shindand
 Shebirghan
 Zebak
 Zaranj

Airports - Kabul Airport

Ports - Kheyrabad, Shir Khan

Population - 27,755,775 (July 2002 est.)

Religion - Sunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%, other 1%

Nationality - Afghan(s)

Currency - Afghani

Currency Code - AFA

Internet country code - .af

Mountains & Peaks - Shah Fuladi

Lakes - Helmand, Istada

Rivers - Amudarya, Harirud, Helmand, Kabul

Terrain - mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest

Climate - arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers

Geography - landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)

Waterways - 1,200 km note: chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT (2001)

Natural hazards - damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding; droughts

Natural Resources - natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones


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Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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