About 1.3 million Uzbek live mingled with the Tajik all across
the northern plains of Afghanistan, from Faryab Province to Faizabad,
capital of Badakhshan Province. There are many mixed Uzbek and
Tajik villages, although each live in separate residential quarters.
In 1983 a sizeable group of Uzbek were included among the group
of 4,000 Turkic speakers from Afghanistan that were resettled
in Turkey. Uzbek also reside north of the Afghan border in Uzbekistan,
Tajikstan and Turkmenistan.
The Uzbek are Mongoloid with considerable Mediterranean admixture.
They are Sunni Muslim and speak central Turkic dialects called
Uzbeki. Uzbek practice agriculture and herding, but many live
in towns where they are known as astute businessmen and skillful
artisans as silver and goldsmiths, leatherworkers, and rug makers.
Some Afghan Uzbek refer to themselves by old tribal names; others
identify with their towns of origin in Central Asia. Uzbek social
structure is strictly patriarchal, giving considerable authoritarian
power to leaders called begs, arbabs or khans.
Marital endogamy is of prime importance. Although interethnic
marriages between Uzbek, Turkoman and Tajik do take place, antipathy
to marriage with Pushtun is widespread.
Afghan Uzbek originally came from Central Asia and their rise
as the dominant political force in north Afghanistan followed
the demise in 1506 of the Timurid dynasty centered at Herat. They
established eleven strong principalities from Maimana to Kunduz
under strong leaders, sometimes independent, sometimes nominally
acknowledging allegiance to either Bokhara or Kabul, but always
jockeying for power among themselves.
At the end of the nineteenth century Amir Abdur Rahman consolidated
these Uzbak khanates under his rule. Later, fresh immigrations
took place in the 1920s and 1930s as Russian conquests and local
uprisings in Central Asia continued. During this same period many
Pushtun settled among the Uzbeks with the result that by the 1960s
the Uzbek had become a small minority within the area they once
dominated. Since 1992, the Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostom,
principal leader of the coalition opposing the Taliban, has controlled
the predominant centers of power in the north.
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
- total: 647,500 sq km land: 647,500 sq km water: 0 sq km
- mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
- arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers
- 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)
- 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
Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies
on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. We accept no responsibility
for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information
published on this site. We encourage you to verify any critical information with
the relevant authorities.