external image ethnic-header.JPG

  • Many different people have been brought to afghanistan due to migration, invasion, and conquest, giving afghanistan an ethnically varied population.
  • Afghanistan has a variety of ethnic groups, which consists of the Pashtuns, Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzebeks & Turkmen and other small ethnic groups.

The Pashtuns
  • Largest ethnic group (2)
  • Tribally concentrated in the east and south (2)
  • Gained control over the country in the 19th century- "true Afghans" (2)
  • Speak Pashtu (1)
  • Generally Sunni Muslims (1)
  • They are further segregated into tribes (2)
  • They are usually well built and tall, light brown skin and black or brown hair and have prominent noses (2)
  • Pashtun men have thick mustaches and beards and cover their head in public (1)
  • Women drape long scarves over their heads (2)
  • Both men and Women wear loose long shirts and baggy pants (2)
The Hazaras
  • Many reside in an area of rugged moutains and narrow valleys in centeral Afghanistan (2)
  • Many Hazaras are shepherds (2)
  • Most have high cheekbones, eyefolds, and sparse beards (2)
  • Many Hazaras enlisted in the military to escapse the barren mountains (2)
  • Men are clean shaven and wear the traditional Afghan national costume with skullcaps (1)
  • Women wear long dresses (1)

The Tajiks
  • Speak Persian (1)
  • Second largest ethnic group (1)
  • Mostly Sunni Muslims (1)
  • Mostly live in north-east and in the west, but also live other places (2)
  • Usually slender and light skinned, have aquiline noses and usually black hair, sometimes red or blonde (2)
  • The plains dwelling Tajiks are usually town dwelling traders or skilled farmers, they are considered middle class (2)
  • Village dwelling farmers are poor and usually live in the northeastern mountains (2)

Uzebeks & Turkmen
  • Uzebeks are the most popular turkish group in Afganistan (1)
  • They usually have broad, flat faces and lighter skin then the Pashtuns (1)
  • Farmers and stockmen (1)
  • Breed karakul sheep and a type of turkman horse (2)
  • The Turkmen are less numerous (2)
  • Live along the southern of Amu Darya (2)
  • They are nomadic people and herd yaks (2)
  • Turkish groups speak a form of Turkish and Perisian (1)
  • Men wear large soft leather boots, belted cloaks turbans and sometimes greatcoats (1)
  • Women wear long dresses with bright floral patterns over their legginings (2)

Other Ethnic groups
  • Nuristanis, live in remote mountains northeast of Kabul (1)
  • Aimaqs, live west of Hazarajat (1)
  • Baluchis, live mostly in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz and Farah (1)

Women in Afghanistan:

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2012 est.) (3)

Manpower available for military service: (3)

males age 16-49: 7,056,339
females age 16-49: 6,653,419 (2010 est.)

males age 16-49: 4,050,222
females age 16-49: 3,797,087 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 392,116
female: 370,295 (2010 est.)

Gender Roles:

  • Although statistics indicate that by 1978 women were joining the workforce in increasing numbers, only about eight percent of the female population received an income. (4)

  • What they command is equality and justice guaranteeing that women be treated as in no way lesser than men.(4)

Women Restrictions:
  • Free mixing between genders only takes places within families.(5)
  • In professional situations such as at businesses or universities, males and females may be co-workers, but are nevertheless cautious to maintain each other's honour.(5)
  • Foreign females must learn to read the rules and live by them.(5)
  • If a man speaks to you directly in a social context, he is dishonouring you. If someone speaks to you on the street, that is equally inappropriate. You should avoid looking men in the eyes, and keep your eyes lowered when you walk down the street to maintain your reputation as a proper woman.(5)
  • Women must always dress properly to avoid unwanted attention. Always wear loose fitting pants under your skirts and be sure the definition of your legs is undistinguishable. It is also strongly advisable to wear a headscarf in public.(5)
  • Men and women should never be alone in the same room. If this happens you should ensure a door is left open.(5)
  • Men and women should never touch one another under any circumstances.(5)

When they took control in 1996, the Taliban initially imposed strict inforced that:
  • Banished women from the work force (5)
  • Closed schools to girls and women and expelled women from universities (5)
  • Prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative (5)
  • Ordered the publicly visible windows of women's houses painted black and forced women to wear the burqa (or chadari) - which completely shrouds the body, leaving only a small mesh-covered opening through which to see (5)
  • Prohibited women and girls from being examined by male physicians while at the same time prohibited female doctors and nurses from working (5)

Real Life Situations:

  • A woman who defied Taliban orders by running a home school for girls was killed in front of her family and friends. (5)
  • A woman caught trying to flee Afghanistan with a man not related to her was stoned to death for adultery. (5)
  • An elderly woman was brutally beaten with a metal cable until her leg was broken because her ankle was accidentally showing from underneath her traditional Dress (5)

Image Detail
Image Detail
Image Detail
Image Detail
Image Detail
Image Detail

Social Classes

Labor Class
lower class
low end farmers
Bourgeois Class
middle class
wealthy farmers/industry workers
upper class
political control and consist of people from different ethnic groups
Religious Class
seperate but upper class
most influence on the lower classes by using relgious aspects
against westernization and modernization

1. Ethnic groups of afghanistan. (1997). Retrieved from
2.Clifford, M.(1989). The land and people of Afhganistan. New York: Harper & Row Inc.
3. South, Asia: Afghanistan. (2012). Retrieved from:
4. Gender Roles. (1995). Retrieved from:
5. Afghanistan: Language, Culture, and People. (2003). Retrieved from: