Turkmen are another Sunni Turkic-speaking group whose language
has close affinities with modern Turkish. They are of aquiline
Mongoloid stock. The Afghan Turkmen population in the 1990s is
estimated at around 200,000. Turkmen also reside north of the
Amu Darya in Turkmenistan. The original Turkmen groups came from
east of the Caspian Sea into northwestern Afghanistan at various
periods, particularly after the end of the nineteenth century
when the Russians moved into their territory. They established
settlements from Balkh Province to Herat Province, where they
are now concentrated; smaller groups settled in Kunduz Province.
Others came in considerable numbers as a result of the failure
of the Basmachi revolts against the Bolsheviks in the 1920s.
Turkmen tribes, of which there are twelve major groups in Afghanistan,
base their structure on genealogies traced through the male line.
Senior members wield considerable authority. Formerly a nomadic
and warlike people feared for their lightening raids on caravans,
Turkmen in Afghanistan are farmer-herdsmen and important contributors
to the economy. They brought karakul sheep to Afghanistan and
are also renowned makers of carpets, which, with karakul pelts,
are major hard currency export commodities. Turkmen jewelry is
also highly prized.
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.