Pashtun [push to͞on′]n.pl. Pashtun or Pashtunsa member of a Pashto-speaking people of E Afghanistan and N Pakistan
* * *Any member of a Pashto-speaking people of southeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan.The Pashtun, who number about 7.5 million in Afghanistan and 14 million in Pakistan, constitute the majority of the population of Afghanistan. Their origins are unclear: Pashtun tradition asserts that they are descended from Afghana, grandson of King Saul of Israel, but most scholars believe that they arose from an intermingling of ancient Aryans from the north or west with subsequent invaders. Each Pashtun tribe is divided into clans, subclans, and patriarchal families. Disputes among the Pashtun over property, women, and personal injury often result in blood feuds between families and whole clans. Most tribal people are sedentary farmers; some are migratory herders and caravaners. Large numbers of the Pashtun have always been attracted to military service.
* * *▪ peoplePashto-speaking people of southeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. They constitute the majority of the population of Afghanistan and bore the exclusive name of Afghan before that name came to denote any native of the present land area of Afghanistan.The origins of the Pashtun are unclear. Pashtun tradition asserts that they are descended from Afghana, grandson of King Saul of Israel, though most scholars believe it more likely that they arose from an intermingling of ancient Aryans from the north or west with subsequent invaders. Several Pashtun tribes are known to have moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan between the 13th and 16th century. Each tribe, consisting of kinsmen who trace descent in the male bloodline from a common tribal ancestor, is divided into clans, subclans, and patriarchal families. Tribal genealogies establish rights of succession and inheritance and the right to use tribal lands and to speak in tribal council. Disputes over property, women, and personal injury often result in blood feuds between families and whole clans; these may be inherited unless settled by the intervention of clan chiefs or by tribal council.The Pashtun are farmers, herdsmen, and warriors. Most tribesmen are sedentary farmers, combining cultivation with animal husbandry; some are migratory herdsmen and caravaners. Large numbers of them have always been attracted to military service.There are estimated to be about 7,500,000 Pashtun in Afghanistan and 14,000,000 in Pakistan. They comprise about 60 tribes of varying size and importance, each of which occupies a particular territory. In Afghanistan, where Pashtun are the predominant ethnic group, the main tribes—or, more accurately, federations of tribes—are the Durrānī south of Kābul and the Ghilzay east of Kābul.In Pakistan, Pashtun predominate north of Quetta between the Sulaimān Range and the Indus River. In the hill areas the main tribes are, from south to north: the Kākaṛ, Shērāni, and Ustarāna south of the Gumal River; the Maḥsūd, Darwēsh Khēl, Wazīrī, and Biṭanī between the Gumal River and Thal; the Tūrī, Bangash, Ōrakzay, Afrīdī, and Shinwārī from Thal to the Khyber Pass; and the Mahmand, Utmān Khēl, Tarklānī, and Yūsufzay north and northeast of the Khyber.The settled areas include lowland tribes subject to direct administration by the provincial government. The main tribes there are, from south to north: the Banūchī and Khaṭak from the Kurram River to Nowshera; and the Khalīl and Mandāṇ in the Vale of Peshāwar.
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