Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Pashtun). (1) The ethnic designation of the Afghans living outside Afghanistan, mainly on adjacent Pakistani territory; formerly known as Pathans. In all, the Pashtoon number about 8 million (1971, estimate). Most speak dialects of northeastern Pashto, with the rest speaking dialects of southwestern Pashto. The majority are Sunnite Muslims.

The Pashtoon have retained their division into tribes and tribal subdivisions called khels. The most important tribes in the region of the Khyber Pass are the Afridis, Mohmand, and Drakzai. The Yusufzai, who live north of Peshawar, are the largest group of tribes, numbering some 2 million persons. The Kattak and Wazir live south and west of Peshawar, and the Kakar inhabit North Baluchistan. The affairs of the tribe or khel are decided by a jirga (council of elders) according to customary (adat) law. Women do not have equal rights. The clergy and tribal elite (khans and maliks) have considerable authority. Capitalist relations are also developing. The chief occupations of the Pashtoon are land cultivation and transhumance farming. The rural proletariat represents a significant group. Many Pashtoon are in the administrative apparatus and army. The Pashtoon have a rich folklore and a great variety of dances and songs, and a literature is developing in Pashto.

Until the 20th century, the history of the Pashtoon was inseparably linked to that of the Afghans. In the mid-19th century, the Pashtoon began offering stubborn resistance to the colonial encroachments of Great Britain. In 1893, Pashtoon lands south and southeast of the Durand Line were made part of the British colony of India. The anti-imperialist movement of the Pashtoon became part of the national liberation struggle of the peoples of colonial India. When India was partitioned in 1947, the Pashtoon regions became part of Pakistan. The Pakistani constitution of 1973 gave fairly broad autonomy to the Northwest Frontier Province, which is inhabited by the Pashtoon.

(2) The self-designation of the Afghans.


Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963. Pages 731–53.
Gankovskii, Iu. V. Narody Pakistana. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
He has also produced two books regarding culture, literature, art and history of Pashtoons.
After winning the first set, Farooq Club did not lost their strength and did the same in the second by taking 2-0 lead against Pashtoon Garri village team.
The Chief Minister said that certain so called Pashtoon leaders were doing politics on the name of Pashtoons for vested interests and political gains but will never succeed because the politics on the name of Pashtoon was over.
The Chief Minister said that his government was the government of Pashtoon and knew better what the real issues of the Pashtoons were.
On the one hand, it increased the population of Pashtoons and on the other hand, the Pashtoon community was blamed for Talibanization in Karachi by MQM.
The tribalism notion based on which Duranies established their administration was fading due to the prolonged war and flammable conflicts between the rival princes supported by emulous Pashtoon tribes.
First deputy of the Afghan house of representatives Khalid pashtoon while speaking during a press conference expressed concerns over the growing violence in Kandahar province and said, southern Kandahar province has been the operational base for al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
From a country that has been traditionally ruled by the Pashtoons, Afghanistan is now fast making way for public representatives from other ethnicgroups such as the Tajiks and Uzbeks.
Pashtoon history, culture and traditions, along with their language, Pashto, is very old.
Pashtoon said a team of five American servicemen had been in the Mian Koh area, about two miles northeast of Kandahar, where they had been dynamiting unexploded bombs and shells.
Yusuf Pashtoon, a top aide to the governor of Kandahar Province, says two Iranian Army generals have spent the past several weeks visiting Helmand, Nimruz and Farah provinces, distributing cash, goods and possibly arms to former warlords in an apparent effort to foment unrest.
Pashtoon community is being targeted, we know who are the enemies and we warn them that we will not let them spill more blood of innocent pashtoons, Asghar Achakzai said.