• 04 October, 2022
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‘The Pashtuns: A Contested History’

Tilak Devasher Wed, 21 Sep 2022   |  Reading Time: 5 minutes

Pashtunistan – the land of the Pashtuns- straddling an area of more than 100,000 square miles, historically stretches from the Indus to the Hindu Kush. Today, this land and its people stand divided by the British era controversial Durand Line into Afghanistan and Pakistan. Consequently, the Pashtuns, despite being the largest Muslim tribal population in the world, are without a state of their own.

Though divided between two countries, the Pashtuns share a common ideology of descent, a common religion, common ethnic, cultural, linguistic and familial bonds, common historical memories and a common code-Pashtunwali- the way of the Pashtun. These unifying bonds makes it possible to see them as a single entity inhabiting a single piece of real estate, distinct from their neighbours. Moreover, the present division of the Pashtuns is just one of the several avatars that this land has been subject to over the centuries.

Through most of history, the Pashtun region now included within the boundaries of Afghanistan and Pakistan has witnessed more invasions than any other in Asia, or perhaps the world. From the Aryans in about the second millennium BCE, to the Greeks, the Persians, the Sakas, the Kushans, the Hephthalites (White Huns), the Arabs, the Mongols, the Turks, the Mughals, the British and the Soviets, to the US, the region has perhaps seen it all. Uniquely, each time the invasions were motivated not by any intrinsic value of Pashtunistan in terms of resources or riches but due to geostrategic reasons. For millennia, landlocked Pashtunistan, located as it was at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and East Asia, was the transit route to the riches of India. Most invaders attempted to conquer and subdue the Pashtuns but ultimately failed giving the land the moniker of ‘The Graveyard of Empires’. The reason was that, as all invaders found out, the Pashtun tribesmen would not be defeated. As has been well put:

You cannot defeat people who have no concept of defeat in the classical sense. They only believe in survival. They know when to fight, when to run and hide, and when to talk. Military operations against such adversaries can only have one objective: to bring them to the negotiating table.

Not surprisingly, these invasions have bred a tough and hardy people with a unique way of life and a unique way of looking at the world.

In medieval times, Pashtunistan was a borderland between empires that ruled from India, Iran or Central Asia. In the last two centuries, it has had the unfortunate distinction of being invaded by each of the great powers of the times: Great Britain in the nineteenth century, the Soviet Union in the twentieth and the United States in the twenty-first.

The tragedy of the Pashtuns is that since December 1979 they have been subjected to constant warfare. This prolonged war has caused one of the largest displacements of people in recent times, with the main victims being Pashtuns, whether they were refugees who sought shelter in Pakistan and Iran or the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Pakistan as a result of various army operations.

The Pashtuns have also suffered the most in the globalization of jihad because of the structural changes that Pashtun society underwent on both sides of the Durand Line. Traditional Pashtun leadership was brushed aside, at times violently, and replaced with Afghan and Pakistani radical Islamists. Worse, those being killed were Pashtuns and those who were killing were also Pashtuns. Most of the Afghan mujahideen were Pashtuns; the Taliban are Pashtuns; the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is Pashtun; those whom they have killed in Afghanistan and in the erstwhile FATA are Pashtuns; Even Pashtun children have not been spared. And the story is not yet over. The killings, the war, goes on.

Taking an overview, several strands about the Pashtuns will be visible in this book.

First, a major failing of the Pashtuns as a collective is that they have shown unity and national solidarity only when seriously threatened by foreigners. To a lesser extent, they, or a section of them, have also stayed united when engaged in successful military offensives, territorial conquests and plundering raids. Other than that, the long history of the Pashtuns shows fragmentation and feuds and conflicts with one another. Attempts at unity by some leaders have either been futile or have not lasted beyond the lifetime of the leader. As a result, outsiders have subjected them to intermittent invasions and even occupation, however limited in time and space it may have been.

The second strand is the representation of their proclivity for conflict and warfare largely due to excessive reliance on colonial literature. For example, as Winston Churchill wrote: ‘Except at the time of sowing and of harvesting, a continual state of feud and strife prevails throughout the land. Tribe wars with tribe… Every tribesman has a blood feud with his neighbour. Every man’s hand is against the other and all against the stranger.’

Unfortunately, there has been a lack of counternarratives about the Pashtuns that could challenge the colonial stereotypes. The non-violence of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan; the activities of Pashtuns tribal elders who have stood against the Taliban and al Qaeda and paid a huge price for such resistance and the evolution of the non-violent Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) have not received the kind of attention they should have. Apart from the lack of counternarratives, while there is an abundance of British literature on the Pashtun, there are not many Pashtun versions of how they saw themselves or saw the British. As Ghani Khan, Ghaffar Khan’s son, put it: ‘The Pathans have no written history, but they have thousands of ruins where the hungry stones tell their story to anyone who would care to listen.’

Third, a critical thread after the creation of Pakistan in 1947 has been the Pashtunistan issue. The newly created state of Pakistan inherited the British territories and with it the issue of Afghan irredentism. The efforts of Ghaffar Khan to unite the Pashtuns into Pashtunistan at the time of the partition of the subcontinent came to naught but it sowed the seeds of doubt amongst the Pakistani leadership about the loyalty of his followers. Post Partition, several Pashtun-led Afghan governments, intermittently raised the issue of Pashtunistan, about the validity of the Durand Line, and challenged Pakistan’s right to rule over its Pashtun areas.

For its part, Punjabi-dominated Pakistan has worked systematically to overwhelm Pashtun impulses for Pashtunistan. This central thread has been one of the key drivers of Pakistan’s policy towards the Pashtuns. Its efforts have been to snuff out Pashtun nationalism and install a friendly and dependent government in Kabul that has been mainly responsible for the current turmoil in Pashtunistan. To do so, Pakistan has manipulated the deeply held religious beliefs of the Pashtuns to encourage the growth of radicalism, terrorism and violence.

An interesting dynamic at play currently is how would a resurgent Taliban deal with the issue of the Durand Line. In their earlier avatar in the late 1990s, they refused to accept it despite Pakistan pressure. Current indications are that not only have they continued to resist such pressure but elements of them have actually torn down the fence in certain areas. The leadership has called the issue unresolved and termed it as dividing a nation. The moot question is if the Taliban will be able to further the issue of Pashtunistan and the aspirations and interests of the Pashtuns.

‘The Pashtuns: A Contested History’, seeks answers to questions like who are the Pashtuns, where did they come from, what are their social and religious beliefs, and what is Pashtunwali and its relationship to Islam? It discusses the British experience of a century of contact with the Pashtuns, the Durand Line, the developments in Afghanistan up to and including the Soviet intervention, the mujahideen, the civil war and the rise to power of the Taliban in the 1990s. It goes on to describe the US intervention, the Taliban resurgence and ultimate victory, the incubation of the al Qaeda and Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) and the dubious role of Pakistan in these events.

Finally, the book analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Pashtuns and the role of the US and of Pakistan. If the Pashtuns are ever to find peace and tranquillity that they long for, break away from the cycle of violence and war, they will themselves have to find answers for their predicament and not depend on others to do so.

Despite their internal differences, despite foreign interference, and above all, despite Pakistan fomenting extremism in Pashtunistan to erode the Pashtun ethnic identity, this writer is convinced that sooner or later, the Pashtuns will rise above such attempts and re-assert their common ethnic identity on both sides of the Durand Line even more strongly.

As the Pashto saying goes:

Afghan Baqi, Kuhsar Baqi. Alhamdo-Lillah, Alhamdo-Lillah

[Afghans (i.e Pashtuns) and their mountains will keep standing, praise be to Allah, praise be to Allah].

*****************************


Author
Tilak Devasher is Member, National Security Advisory Board.

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POST COMMENTS (10)

Fazel Rabi Haqbeen

Sep 26, 2022
One hurt all hurt had been the case to stand against invaders in all eras be it British, be it the then Soviet Union, be it the US and be it any other to dare to invade.. I was clear about this in 2008/09 in the US in many forums there and warned the US failure is absolute... یو دردیدلی ټول دردیدلی٬ خبره دا وه چې په ټولو دورو کې د یرغلګرو په وړاندې ودرېدل که هغه بریتانوي وه، که د هغه وخت شوروي اتحاد وه او یا امریکا وه او که بل څوک د یرغل جرئت وکړي٬ ما په متحده ایالاتو کې په ۲۰۰۸ او ۲۰۰۹ مالونو کی په ډیری فورمونو کې خبرداری ورکړ چې د متحده ایالاتو ناکامي حتمی او مطلقه ده ... یکی درد دید همه دردید٬ اساس این بود که در همه دوران‌ها در مقابل مهاجمان ایستادگی کنند، چه انګلیس، چه اتحاد جماهیر شوروی وقت، چه ایالات متحده و چه دیگران جرات حمله کنند. در ایالات متحده در بسیاری از فورمها در ۲۰۰۸ و ۲۰۰۹ هشدار دادم که شکست ایالات متحده حتمی و مطلق است ...

SOUMYADIPTA MAJUMDER

Sep 26, 2022
The idea that Afghanistan cannot be conquered is a myth. Not reality and certainly not any form of wisdom. This idea that Afghanistan cannot be conquered is based of the failure of modern empires and nations. Their failures resulted in this myth of Afghanistan as an unconquerable land. Below is a list of all of the different empires that have conquered and ruled over Afghanistan since ancient times. Achaemenid Empire Macedonian Empire of Alexander Seleucid Empire (not for long) Maurya Empire Greco-Bactrian and the Indo-Greek Kingdom Scythians Parthian Empire Kushan Empire Sassanian Empire The Kidarite and the Hephthalites Hun Empires Buddhist Turk Shahi of Kabul Hindu Shahi of Kabul (may have been local rulers) Some parts conquered by the Arabs Saffarid Empire Samanid Empire Ghaznavid Empire Ghurid Empire Khwarazmian Empire Mongol Empire and the Ilkhanate as it’s continuation Timurid Empire Arghun dynasty Babur’s Kingdom of Kabul Afghanistan divided between the Mughal Empire, the Safavid Empire and the Khanate of Bukhara Hotak Empire ( A Pashtun led empire that ruled the region for 20 years) Nadir Shah’s Persian Empire Does Afghanistan still seem like a region that is impossible to conquer? The history of Afghanistan revolves around war and conquest. The region that is now Afghanistan was the gateway to South Asia and even parts of Persia. Every Central Asian conqueror that wanted to invade either of those, first had to conquer Afghanistan. Which on most occasions they did. Another thing that many do not seem to understand is that historically Afghanistan was never this united nation built around an identity. It was just a region consisting of many different groups of people. For example during the gunpowder age, Afghanistan was divided between the Mughal Empire of India, the Safavid Empire of Persia and the Khanate of Bukhara of Central Asia. The birth of the idea of Afghanistan as an individual nation or state came to be following the death of Nadir Shah. Ahmad Shah Abdali united the region under his rule and formed the Durrani Empire. This was the origin of Afghanistan, a nation dominated by the Pashtun/Afghans. The Mongols did conquer Afghanistan with relative ease following a major defeat in the Battle of Parwan in 1221, at the hands of Sultan Jalal ad-din Mingburnu, the last Khwarezmian Shah. The army that defeated the Mongols was half Afghan and half Khwarezmian. Unfortunately for both sides, the alliance between the Afghans and Jalal ad-din would break and they Mongol would lead a second assault of the combined Mongol forces under Genghis. Afghanistan would be conquered. The idea that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires is a modern invention based on the failure of modern empires to hold onto the region. These being the British, Russian and now the Americans (based of how things are going). The reason for their failures is a different topic altogether. Historically many different empires have conquered the land that is now Afghanistan.

SOUMYADIPTA MAJUMDER

Sep 26, 2022
The exact origins of the Pashtun/Afghans is shrouded in mystery. The truth is that no one really knows the origins of the Afghans/Pashtuns for sure. There are several different theories regarding the origins of the Pashtun people. Different theories are favored by different historians. Some examples of these being the Jewish origin, Hephthalite origin, Saka origin, Greek origin, Paktha origin and Rajput origin theories. Many modern historians suggest that the Afghans/Pashtuns do not share a single common origin. Rather that the Pashtun were like a tribal confederation that assimilated into a common identity sometime in the medieval Islamic period. That the different Pashtun tribes do not share a common ancestral or genetic origin. This theory suggests that different Pashtun tribes had different and diverse origins. Given the many different theories regarding the origin of the Afghan tribes, it is hard to localize the region of origin. The earliest confirmed mentions of the Afghan tribes are usually from the chroniclers of the medieval era. There are many more mentions of the Afghan tribes during the Islamic medieval era. Most of these sources mention the Afghan tribes living the region east of the Hindu Kush mountains and west of the Indus River. More specifically the mountainous regions along the Pak-Afghan border and the Suleiman Range. If we are to believe the theory of the Paktha origin, then this means that the Afghan tribes lived in the same region even a thousand years prior. The reason I mention all of this is to point out that the Pashtun/Afghan tribes are most likely natives of Pakistan. Atleast natives to certain regions of Pakistan. This region corresponds to the regions near the Pak-Afghan border in southern parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Suleiman Mountain Range. This means that the Pashtun tribes did not migrate into the region of modern-day Pakistan. They always existed within and are natives to the western frontiers of modern-day region of Pakistan. "Saul, a pleasant village on a mountain. In it live Afghans" -Hudud al-Alam on the Afghans living in the mountainous western frontiers of Hindustan The Afghans/Pashtun rose to prominence in the Islamic medieval era. A process that began with the rise of the Ghaznavid Empire. The Ghaznavid military often relied on local nomadic and semi-pastoral non-Muslim tribes to support the professional Ghulam army. The Afghan tribes were among those recruited as auxiliary forces to bolster the numbers. Other Afghans would be recruited into the Ghulam military force. It is quite likely that prior to Mahmud of Ghazni, the Afghan tribes may not have been Muslims. They would have had to make a nominal conversion to Islam at the time. The Ghaznavid Empire brought the Afghans into the fold of the Muslim world. The Afghan tribes would have had to make a nominal conversion to Islam. They would be awarded land grants and pastoral grounds in return for military service and defense of the state. Some tribes were relocated to new regions to serve as a loyal military force in the event of a conflict. Many Afghan tribes were re-located in the regions of Ghazni, Kabul and Kandahar during the Ghaznavid and Ghurid eras. Some Afghan tribes were relocated as far east as Multan. This would have resulted in the rise of the Afghans from a poor group to a powerful military and noble elite over the following centuries. Changes that would become more apparent during the era of the Ghurid Empire and Delhi Sultanate. The Islamic medieval era saw a continual migration of the Afghan tribes towards the east into the Indian Subcontinent. Not only into the region of modern-day Pakistan, but as far east as Bengal. The Persianate Islamic empires, starting with the Ghaznavids, expanded deeper and deeper into North India. The migration of the Afghan tribes followed this process. Some being granted land in return for military service. The Ghurid and the Sultans of Delhi would reward their commanders with hereditary estates in return for military service. This resulted in a significant migration of Afghans migrated towards the east to make a better life for themselves. Away from the relatively barren mountainous lands in the west. And towards the fertile, well-watered lands of the Indian plains to the east. The Afghan waves of migration into the Indian Subcontinent to the east began with the rise of the Ghaznavid Empire in the 11th century. It continued during the Ghurid era in the 12th century. The era of the Delhi Sultanate also saw a continual Afghan migration during the 13th-16th centuries. Something that may have accelerated in the reign of the Khalji Dynasty. The rise of the Lodi Dynasty in North India saw a new wave of migration in the 15th century. The city of Ludhiana in Punjab, India is believed to have been named after the Lodi Dynasty. It served as an Afghan military cantonment at the time. The Afghan presence in North India is documented by the chroniclers of the Mughal era. There was a sizable Pashtun population present in Multan. The existence of the Suri Dynasty and Karrani Dynasty in Bengal in the 16th century also serves as evidence of this. The relationship between the Mughals and Afghan tribes was quite complicated. Though there are plenty of examples of the Pashtuns serving the Mughals (Timurids) during these centuries. Take the Yusufzai chiefs who agreed to serve Babur after a marital alliance for example. Or Dilawar Khan Lodi, who chose to serve Babur as the Khan Khanan, even after Babur ousted his family from power. Babur adopted a reconciliatory attitude towards the Afghan tribes following the Battle of Panipat. After the death of Sher Shah Suri and Humayun’s return from exile, the Mughals no longer trusted the Afghans in high positions within the empire. Akbar ousted many of them from power and confiscated their holdings. Despite, this many Afghans still continued to serve the Mughals. Aurangzeb adopted reconciliatory attitude towards the Afghan tribes during his reign and brought them into the fold of the Mughal administration. His reign (and the era that followed) saw another wave of migration of Afghan tribes towards the east. For example, Daud Khan (founder of the Rohilla state) was granted land by Aurangzeb in exchange of military service. This Afghan migration evident by the dominance of the Rohilla Afghans in the region of Rohilkhand in the 18th century. We cannot conclude topic of the Afghan/Pashtun migration without talking about Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Durrani Empire. The middle of the 18th century was marked by the collapse of the Mughal empire, the rise of Ahmad Shah Durrani and the Afghan invasions that followed. The ascendant Durrani Empire took advantage of the decline of Mughal central authority and led multiple invasions deeper and deeper into the Indian Subcontinent. He took control of all territory west of Sirhind and Kashmir. The Durrani state also formed an alliance with the Rohilla Afghans in Central North India. This era saw a migration of Afghan tribes into the region of the Durrani Empire. These cities were left under the control of Afghan commanders and garrisons. The Durrani Empire was unable to hold onto these regions for long. The Durrani Empire fell into a state of civil war following the death of Timur Shah Durrani in 1793. This resulted in complete political chaos within the Durrani Empire. Many took advantage of this and broke away from the empire. Including the regions of Sindh and Kashmir. Similarly, the Sikh used this opportunity to consolidate their power in Punjab. The Afghans lost Punjab and Kashmir in 1817–1819. The Afghan rule effectively came to an end across the Indus River within just a few years. This resulted in a massive migration of Afghan refugees and nobility towards the west. Limiting the Afghan migration eastwards during the 18th-19th century. The Pashtun presence was mostly limited to the region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Balochistan. The Khattak, Yusufzai and Afridi tribes were the main Pashtun tribes present in the region. Thousands of Afghan tribesmen from these tribes joined the Durrani army against the invading Sikh forces in the Battle of Nowshera in 1823. This battle ended as a complete victory for the Sikh Empire. The Sikh forces quickly secured Nowshera and marched onto Peshawar. Reaching as far as Jamrud. The Yusufzai and Afridi tribesmen suffered great casualties. The tribesmen would no longer be able to pose a significant threat to the Sikh rule (or British) in the region. The Durrani (Saddozai and Barakzai) power in the region was broken forever. This region remained as a part of the Sikh Empire for a few decades. It was directly annexed in 1834. The region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, along with the rest of the Sikh Empire, was annexed by the British Empire in the aftermath of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849. It would remain as a part of British India for about a century. The region became a part of Pakistan in 1947 during the Partition of the Indian Subcontinent. It has remained as a part of Pakistan for about seventy years. The regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Balochistan still contain a significant Pashtun presence to this day.

Pranay Dhande

Sep 26, 2022
Hello Sir, You mentioned Aryan invasion in second millennium BCE, but Aryan invasion is a theory given by west to put down indian civilization in front of western. What are your thoughts about this

M. AZAM

Sep 24, 2022
Same like multinational areas in entire Indian subcontinent

SOUMYADIPTA MAJUMDER

Sep 23, 2022
The history of the Pashtuns is ancient and much of it has yet to be recorded in contemporary times. From the 2nd millennium BCE to the present, Pashtun regions have seen immense migrations including Aryan tribes, such as Persians, Sakas, or Scythians, as well as Kushans, Hephthalites, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. There are many conflicting theories about the origins of the Pashtun people, some modern and others archaic, both among historians and the Pashtuns themselves. Anthropology and linguistics The origins of the Pashtuns are not entirely clear, but their language is classified as an Eastern Iranian tongue, itself a sub-branch of the Indo-Iranian branch of the greater Indo-European family of languages, and thus the Pashtuns are often classified as an Iranian peoples, notably as probable modern day descendants of the Scythians, an ancient Iranian group. According to many academics, such as Yu V. Gankovsky, the Pashtuns began as a, "union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis dates from the middle of the first millennium AD and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy." These tribes, who most likely spoke an early version of modern Pashto survived countless invasions and spread throughout the northeastern Iranian plateau. The Pashto-speaking Pashtuns refer to themselves as Pashtuns or Pukhtuns depending upon whether they are speakers of the southern dialect or northern dialect respectively. These Pashtuns compose the core of ethnic Pashtuns who are predominantly an Iranian people are found in southern and eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Many Pashto-speaking Pashtuns have however intermingled with various invaders, neighboring groups, and migrants (as have the other Iranian peoples) including possibly the Ghilzai who may have mingled with Turkic tribes, the Durrani who have interacted considerably with the Tajiks (another Iranian people), and Pashtun tribes north of Peshawar who have mingled with Dardic groups. In terms of phenotype, the Pashto-speaking Pashtuns overall are predominantly a Mediterranean Caucasoid people, but light hair and eye colours are not uncommon, especially among remote mountain tribes. Oral traditions and recent research In addition, some anthropologists lend credence to the oral traditions of the Pashtun tribes themselves. For example, according to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the Theory of Pashtun descent from Israelites is traced to Maghzan-e-Afghani who compiled a history for Khan-e-Jehan Lodhi in the reign of Mughal Emperor Jehangir in the 16th century CE. Another book, that corresponds with most Pashtun historical records, Taaqati-Nasiri, states that in the 7th century a people called the Bani Israel settled in Ghor, southeast of Herat, Afghanistan and then migrated south and east. These Bani Israel references are in line with the commonly held view by Pashtuns that when the twelve tribes of Israel were dispersed (see Israel and Judah and Lost Ten Tribes), the tribe of Joseph, among other Hebrew tribes, settled in the region. Hence the term ' Yusef Zai' in Pashto translates to the 'sons of Joseph'. A similar story is told by Ferishta. Maghzan-e-Afghani's Bani-Israel theory has largely been debunked due to historical and linguistic inconsistencies. The oral tradition is believed to be a myth that grew out of a political and cultural struggle between Pashtuns and Mughals, which explains the historical backdrop for the creation of the myth, the inconsistencies of the mythology, and the linguistic research that refutes any Semitic origins. Other Pashtun tribes claim descent from Arabs including some even claiming to be descendants of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad (popularly referred to as sayyids). Some groups from Peshawar, and Kandahar, such as the Afridis, Khattaks, and Sadozais, also claim to be descended from Alexander the Great's Greeks. The Khakwani tribe found in an area from Khogyani district in Nangarhar province to as far east as Bahawalpur city in the south of Punjab claims to be Sayyid descendants of Muhammad. Genetics Research into human DNA has emerged as a new and innovative tool being used to explore the genetic make-up of various populations in order to ascertain historical population movements. According to some genetic research (the source of which is disclosed under the references section below regarding a random sampling of Pashtun populations without specfication as to which Pashtun tribes were tested in western Pakistan) the anthropological evidence that the Pashto-speaking Pashtuns are related to other Iranian groups as well as the Burusho of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, who speak a language isolate. The genetic testing, though still in its initial phases, has not shown any substantial connection between the general Pashtun population sampled to the genetic markers found among most Greeks, Jews, or Arabs. What may be the case is that the gentically Pashtuns have slightly changed over time by due to vairous migrations in the area, while still maintaining an eastern Iranian base genetically overall. Ultimately, a much more detailed, transparent and wider sampling of Pashtun DNA will be required before a conclusive and generally representative answer of Pashto tribal origins can be answered. Putative ancestry There are also various groups which claim Pashtun descent and are largely found among other groups in Afghanistan and South Asia and generally do not speak Pashto and are often considered either overlapping groups or are simply assigned to the ethno-linguistic group that corresponds to their geographic location and their mother tongue. Some groups who claim Pashtun descent include various non-Pashtun Afghans who are often conversant in Persian rather than Pashto. Hindkowans who are referred to as Punjabi Pathans (in publications such as Encyclopedia Britannica) speak the Hindko language and are regarded as a group of mixed Pashtun and Punjabi origin. The Hindko-speaking people living in major cities such as Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Dera Ismail Khan and in mixed districts like Batagram are often bilingual in Pashto and Hindko. There are also a small number of Siraiki speaking Pathans as well. As Multan was once a province of Afghanistan, the Nawabs of Multan were of Khakwani and Saddozai extraction and settled in Multan. Many Siraiki speaking Pathans currently reside in Mianwali and D.I. Khan. Many claimants of Pashtun heritage in other parts of South Asia have mixed with local Muslim populations and refer to themselves (and Pashto-speaking Pashtuns and often Afghans in general) in the Urdu/Hindi variant Pathan rather than Pashtun or Pukhtun. These populations are usually only part-Pashtun, to varying degrees, and often trace their Pashtun ancestry putatively through a paternal lineage, and are not universally viewed as ethnic Pashtuns (see section on Pashtuns Defined for further analysis). In addition, nearly 20% of Urdu-speaking people claim partial Pashtun ancestry. The Muslim sultans and Mughal emperors of Delhi employed thousands of Pashtun soldiers that settled down in northern India and intermarried with local Muslims. The Rohilla Pashtuns, after their defeat by the British, are notable for having intermarried with local Muslims, while becoming part of the Urdu-speaking Muslim community. The repression of Rohilla Pashtuns by the British in late 18th century caused thousands to flee to the Dutch colony of Guyana in South America. Small minorities of Pashto-speaking Sikhs and Hindus, estimated to be in the thousands, can be found in parts of Afghanistan. Pashtuns defined Among historians, anthropologists, and the Pashtuns themselves, there is some debate as to who exactly is a Pashtun. The most prominent views are (1) that Pashtuns are predominantly an Eastern Iranian people who are speakers of the Pashto language and live in a contiguous geographic location (this is the generally accepted academic view) in Afghanistan and Pakistan, (2) Pashtuns, in addition to being Pashto-speakers and meeting other criteria, are also Muslim and follow Pashtunwali and thus Jews, Christians, or atheists would be excluded, (3) to define the Pashtuns in terms of patrilineal descent going back to legendary times in accordance with the legend of Qais Abdur Rashid who is seen as the progenitor of the Pashtun people. We may call these the ethno-linguistic definition, religious-cultural definition, and the patrilineal definition. Ethnic definition The ethno-linguistic definition is the most prominent and accepted view as to who is and is not a Pashtun. Generally, this most common view holds that Pashtuns are defined within the parameters of having mainly eastern Iranian ethnic origins, sharing a common language, culture and history, living in relatively close geographic proximity to each other, and acknowledging each other as kinsmen. Thus, tribes that speak even disparate yet mutually intelligible dialects of Pashto will acknowledge each other as ethnic Pashtuns and even subscribe to certain dialects as 'proper' such as the Pukhtu spoken by the Yousafzai and the Pashto spoken by the Durrani. These criteria tend to be used by most Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the basis for who can be counted as a Pashtun. Cultural definition The religious and cultural definition is more stringent and requires Pashtuns to be Muslim and adherents of the Pashtunwali code. This is the most prevalent view among the more orthodox and conservative tribesmen who do not view Pashtuns of the Jewish faith as actual Pashtuns even if they themselves might claim to be of Hebrew ancestry depending upon which tribe is in question. The religious definition for Pashtuns is partially based upon the laws of Pashtunwali, and that those who are Pashtun must follow and honour Pashtunwali. However, Pashtun society is not entirely homogenous in the religious sense, as Pashtuns, who are predominantly Sunni Muslims, can also be followers of the Shia sect among others. In addition, the Pashtun Jewish population (once numbering in the thousands) has largely relocated to Israel. Overall, more flexibility can be found among Pashtun intellectuals and academics who sometimes simply define who is and is not a Pashtun based upon other criteria that often excludes religion. Ancestral definition The patrilineal definition is based on an important orthodox law of Pashtunwali. Its main requirement is that anyone claiming to be a Pashtun must have a Pashtun father. This law has maintained the tradition of exclusively patriarchal tribal lineage intact. Under this definition there is less regard as to what language you speak (Pashto, Persian, Urdu, English, etc.), while more emphasis is placed upon one's father in order to be an ethnic Pashtun. Thus, the Pathans in India, for example, who have lost both the language and presumably many of the ways of their putative ancestors, can, by being able to trace their fathers' ethnic heritage back to the Pashtun tribes (who some believe are descendants of the four grandsons of Qais Abdur Rashid, a possible legendary progenitor of the Pashtuns), remain 'Pashtun'. The legend states that Qais, after having heard of the new religion of Islam, traveled to meet the Muslim Prophet Muhammad in Medina and returned to Afghanistan a Muslim. Qais, in turn, purportedly had many children and one son, Afghana, produced up to four sons who set out towards the east including one son who went towards Swat, another towards Lahore and Oudh, another to Multan, and finally one to Quetta. This legend is one of many traditional tales among the Pashtuns regarding their disparate origins that remain largely unverifiable. Culture Pashtun culture was formed over the course of many centuries. Pagan traditions survived in the form of traditional dances, while literary styles and music largely reflect strong influence from the Persian literary tradition and regional musical instruments fused with localized variants and interpretation. Pashtun culture is a unique blend of native customs and strong influences from Central, South and West Asia. Language and literature Throughout Pashtun history poets, prophets, kings and warriors have been the most revered members of society. For much of Pashtun history literature has not played a major role as Persian was the lingua franca used by neighboring peoples and generally relied upon for writing purposes. However, by the sixteenth century early written records of Pashto began to appear, the earliest of which describes Sheikh Mali's conquest of Swat. The advent of Pashto poetry and the revered works of Khushal Khan Khattak and Rahman Baba in the 17th century helped transition Pashto towards the modern period. In the 20th century, Pashto literature gained significant prominence with the poetic works of Ameer Hamza Shinwari who was noted for his development of Pashto Ghazals. In recent times, Pashto literature has received increased patronage, but due to relatively high illiteracy rates, many Pashtuns continue to rely upon the oral tradition. Pashtun males continue to meet at chai khaanas or tea cafes to listen and relate various oral tales of valor and history. Despite the general male dominance of Pashto oral story-telling, Pashtun society is also marked by some matriarchal tendencies. Folktales involving reverence for Pashtun mothers and matriarchs are common and are passed down from parent to child, as is most Pashtun heritage, through a rich oral tradition that has survived the ravages of time. Religion Pashtuns are Sunni Muslims, most of them follow the Hanafite branch of Sunni Islam. A tiny Jewish population has relocated to Israel. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, belonging to the Afghan (Pashtun) AlKhoashki Al-Jamandi tribe from Kandahar, Afghanistan, translated the Noble Quran, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Al-lu'lu' wal Margan and many other books into English. He last worked as the Director of the Islamic University Clinic in Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Pashtunwali The term 'Pakhto' or 'Pashto' from which the Pashtuns derive their name is not merely the name of their language, but synonymous with a pre-Islamic honour code/religion formally known as Pashtunwali (or Pakhtunwali). The main tenets of Pashtunwali include: Melmastia: Hospitality and asylum to all guests seeking help. Badal: Justice and revenge, possibly derived from ancient Israelite Mosaic Law, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." Zan, Zar and Zameen: Defense of women/family, treasure, and property/land. Nanawati: Humble admission of guilt for a wrong committed, which should result in automatic forgiveness from the wronged party. The basic precepts of Pashtunwali continue to be followed by many Pashtuns, especially in rural areas and is often the centre of Pashtun tribal life.

SOUMYADIPTA MAJUMDER

Sep 23, 2022
Afghanistan does not derive it’s name from a city or village. Rather it’s name signifies it’s Vedic past and history. The prefix which today came to be pronounced as “Afghan” originates from Sanskrit and it’s near identical sister language Avestan. The “Ashvakan” was mentioned by the Greek historian Arrian. In later times “Ashvakan” continued to be used. The word itself derives from two Sanskrit components, “Av” or “Aswa” which both mean “Horse” and the Sanskrit word “Vakan”, which signifies “those who ride”, thus “Ashvakan” means horsemen or cavalry. When Sanskrit’s grammar was perfected, it was done so in the 5th century B.C. in the Kabul Valley by Panini. He referred to the region as “Ashvayana”, this is supported by relics still found in Chitral and Gilgit which have the near same spelling of the region. In later times the Pathan group called themselves “Avagana”, this was attested to by Indian Astronomer Varaha Mihira, in the 6th century A.D. in his famous work Brahatsamahita. As time progressed the word would change to Afghan, but it’s historical meaning though forgotten remained. Afghan poet, Khushal Khan Khattak would emphasize “Afghan” as national identity and state “Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashton and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtons, Pashtons are Afghans! ” It can be taken to show that even in absence of Sanskrit knowledge the Afghan people still knew this was one of their original names. Afghanistan has gone through similar name changes as India and Iran. In Ancient times, India was known as ”Aryavarta”, Iran as “Aryanamvaeja” and Afganistan as “Aryana” In all three cases the names mean “Land of the Arya”, and all three nations were settled by Vedic people. Thus, in later times India became known as “Bharat”, to signify the Vedic tribe which became very successful and would settle Southern Punjab. In Afghanistan the Vedic tribe known as the Ashvakan would have similar success and settle the Kabul Valley. Iran would become known as Persia, as it was once more to condone the name of a Vedic tribe known as Parsha. The history of Afghanistan follows a similar linguistic history as well which is shared by it’s neighbors which all trace their linguistic and historical roots to the ancient Vedic people who settled these three nations in the ages of antiquity. The Origin Of The Name Afghan 1. Arrian writes them Assakenois. Strabo also calls them Assakanois, but Curtius calls them Assacani. 2. The name Afghan has evidently been derived from Asvakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian... (Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180; see also: Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38; J. W. McCrindle) 3. This includes S. Martin, L. Bishop, W. Crooke, J. C. Vidyalnar, Dr M. R. Singh, P. Smith, N. L. Dey, Henry Yule, A. C. Burnell, Dr J. L. Kamboj, S. Kirpal Singh and several others. cf: “The name represents Sanskrit Asvaka in the sense of a cavalier, and this reappears scarcely modified in the Assakani or Assakeni of the historians of the expedition of Alexander” (Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological..by Henry Yule, A. C. Burnell). 4. Ashtadhyayi, Nadadi gana IV-1, 99 5. Ashtadhyayi Sutra IV-1, 110 6. History and Culture of Indian People, the Age of Imperial Unity, Vol II, p 45, Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr Munshi etc; Panjab Past and Present, pp 9-10, Dr Buddha Parkash; See also: History of Porus, pp 12, 38; Ancient India, 2003, pp 260-61, Dr V. D. Mahajan; India as Known to Panini, pp 456-57, Dr V. S. Aggarwala; Preliminary Notes on the Excavation of the Necropolises found in Western Pakistan and The Tombs of the Asvakayana-Assakenoi, Antonini, Chiara Silvi & Tucci, Giuseppe, pp 13 to 28; 'Asvakayana-Assakenoi', East and West, NS,. 14 (Roma, t963), pp 27-28. 7. Kambojo assa.nam ayata.nam i.e Kamboja the birthplace of horse......(|| Samangalavilasini, Vol I, p 124||). 8. Aruppa-Niddesa of Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa describes the Kamboja land as the base of horses (10/28) 9. In the Anushasnaparava section of Mahabharata, the Kambojas are specifically designated as Ashava.yuddha.kushalah (expert cavalrymen).tatha Yavana Kamboja Mathuram.abhitash cha ye |ete 'ashava.yuddha.kushalahdasinatyasi charminah. || 5 || 10. Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133 fn 6, pp 216-20, (Also Commentary p 576 fn 22), Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Historie du bouddhisme Indien, p110, Dr E. Lammotte; Panjab Past and Present, pp 9-10, Dr Buddha Parkash. J. W. McCrindle says that the modern Afghanistan -- the Kaofu (Kambu) of Hiun Tsang was ancient Kamboja, and the name Afghan evidently derives from the Ashavakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian (Alexandra's Invasion of India, p 38; Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180, J. McCrindle); Ancient Kamboja, People and Country, 1981, pp 271-72, 278, Dr J. L. Kamboj; These Kamboj People, 1979, pp 119, 192, K. S. Dardi; Kambojas, Through the Ages, 2005, pp 129, 218-19, S Kirpal Singh; Sir Thomas H. Holdich, in the his classic book, (The Gates of India, p 102-03), writes that the Aspasians (Aspasios) represent the modern Kafirs. But the modern Kafirs, especially the Siah-Posh Kafirs (Kamoz/Camoje, Kamtoz) etc are considered to be modern representatives of the ancient Kambojas. Other noted scholars supporting this view are Dr Romilla Thapar, Dr R. C. Majumdar etc. The Invasion Of India By Alexander The Great As Described By Arrian, Q. Curtius, Diodorus, Plutarch And Justin, Dr J. W. McCrindle. 11. Other scholars like Dr N. K. Shastri, Dr Buddha Parkash, Dr L. M. Joshi, Dr Fauja Singh, Dr J. L. Kamboj and many others also hold the same view. 12. Ch.M. Kieffer, "Afghan" (with ref. to "Afghanistan: iv. Ethnography"), in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition 2006, 13. extract from "Passion of the Afghan" by Khushal Khan Khattak; translated by C. Biddulph in "Afghan Poetry Of The 17th Century: Selections from the Poems of Khushal Khan Khattak", London, 1890 14. Zahir ud-Din Mohammad Babur in Baburnama, "Transactions of the year 908", translated by John Leyden, Oxford University Press 1921 15. M. Longworth Dames/G. Morgenstierne/R. Ghirshman, "Afghanistan", in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Online Edition MECW Volume 18, p. 40; The New American Cyclopaedia - Vol. I, 1858;... 16. CIA World Factbook - Afghanistan... 17. Encyclopaedia Britannica - Ahmad Shah Durrani... 18. Nancy Hatch Dupree - An Historical Guide To Afghanistan - The South (Chapter 16)... 19. Columbia Encyclopedia - Afghanistan: History... 20. History Of Nations - History of Afghanistan... 21. Afghanistan Online - Biography (Ahmad Shah Abdali)... 22. Britannica Student Encyclopedia - Government and History (from Afghanistan)... 23. Elphinstone, M., "Account of the Kingdom of Cabul and its Dependencies in Persia and India", London 1815; published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown 24. M. Ali, "Afghanistan: The War of Independence, 1919", Kabul [s.n.], 1960 25. Afghanistan's Constitution of 1923, under King Amanullah Khan, English translation... 26. A.A. Dehkhoda, Dehkhoda Dictionary, p. 8457 27. Gankovsky, Yu. V., et al "A History of Afghanistan." Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1982. 8vo. Cloth. 359 p. USD 22.50

SOUMYADIPTA MAJUMDER

Sep 23, 2022
Let’s begin with the sobriquet of “Graveyard of Empires”. This is a myth that has proven to have been false. Afghanistan has never been a graveyard of empires. Afghanistan has been conquered many times over throughout history. From the east, the west and the north. The region of modern-day Afghanistan serves as a cross-roads between different regions. This meant that no matter where a conqueror was from, he would have to conquer Afghanistan to pass through. Some examples of these empires being the Achaemenid Empire, Sassanid Empire, Mongol Empire, Timurid Empire and many more. Not only this. But Afghanistan has been a center of civilization and many empires in history as well. The region was a great center of trade. The Kushan Empire, Ghaznavid Empire and Ghurid Empire were all based out of Afghanistan. The Ghaznavid capital of Ghazni was said to have been one of the greatest cities in the world at the time. The idea that Afghanistan cannot be conquered is a myth. Not reality and certainly not any form of wisdom. This idea that Afghanistan cannot be conquered is based of the failure of modern empires and nations. Their failures resulted in this myth of Afghanistan as an unconquerable land. Below is a list of all of the different empires that have conquered and ruled over Afghanistan since ancient times. Achaemenid Empire Macedonian Empire of Alexander Seleucid Empire (not for long) Maurya Empire Greco-Bactrian and the Indo-Greek Kingdom Scythians Parthian Empire Kushan Empire Sassanian Empire The Kidarite and the Hephthalites Hun Empires Buddhist Turk Shahi of Kabul Hindu Shahi of Kabul (may have been local rulers) Some parts conquered by the Arabs Saffarid Empire Samanid Empire Ghaznavid Empire Ghurid Empire Khwarazmian Empire Mongol Empire and the Ilkhanate as it’s continuation Timurid Empire Arghun dynasty Babur’s Kingdom of Kabul Afghanistan divided between the Mughal Empire, the Safavid Empire and the Khanate of Bukhara Hotak Empire ( A Pashtun led empire that ruled the region for 20 years) Nadir Shah’s Persian Empire Does Afghanistan still seem like a region that is impossible to conquer? The history of Afghanistan revolves around war and conquest. The region that is now Afghanistan was the gateway to South Asia and even parts of Persia. Every Central Asian conqueror that wanted to invade either of those, first had to conquer Afghanistan. Which on most occasions they did. Another thing that many do not seem to understand is that historically Afghanistan was never this united nation built around an identity. It was just a region consisting of many different groups of people. For example during the gunpowder age, Afghanistan was divided between the Mughal Empire of India, the Safavid Empire of Persia and the Khanate of Bukhara of Central Asia. The birth of the idea of Afghanistan as an individual nation or state came to be following the death of Nadir Shah. Ahmad Shah Abdali united the region under his rule and formed the Durrani Empire. This was the origin of Afghanistan, a nation dominated by the Pashtun/Afghans. Now as for the Mongol and Chinese conquering Afghanistan. The Mongols did conquer Afghanistan with relative ease following a major defeat in the Battle of Parwan in 1221, at the hands of Sultan Jalal ad-din Mingburnu, the last Khwarezmian Shah. The army that defeated the Mongols was half Afghan and half Khwarezmian. Unfortunately for both sides, the alliance between the Afghans and Jalal ad-din would break and they Mongol would lead a second assault of the combined Mongol forces under Genghis. Afghanistan would be conquered. The only real empire that failed to conquer Afghanistan was the British Empire. Neither the Soviets or the Americans actually tried to conquer the region. Nor are they empires. The Soviets and Americans both tried to set up governments within Afghanistan, which were allied to them. Even the British Empire wasn’t really trying to conquer Afghanistan directly. The purpose of the First Anglo-Afghan War was to set up an allied/puppet ruler, Shah Shujah Durrani, who would be allied to them and protect the British interests in the region. The British managed to take control of Afghanistan, but eventually the resistance forced them to abandon the region. British Empire Let’s start with the British and Afghanistan. The British Empire did not lose power at all when it lost in Afghanistan. It persisted on as a world power for close to a century afterwards. The British lost to the Afghans in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839 – 1842). The war began with a British invasion with the Great Army of the Indus. The army was extremely effective and managed to take over Afghanistan quite easily. Emir Dost Muhammad Khan of Afghanistan was defeated and removed from power. He would continue to wage a guerrilla war against the occupying force. The Barakzai Dynasty was removed from power. Shah Shujah of the Durrani Dynasty was placed on the throne. Soon afterwards, the majority of the Army of the Indus would leave. A small force was left behind in Kabul. The Afghans would continue resistance against the British and finally drive them out in 1842. This is when the infamous retreat from Kabul took place, where the British forces were massacred. This is considered as the great defeat of the British in Afghanistan. However, this defeat harmed the image of the British Empire more than anything else. In terms of men and equipment lost, the damage was negligible. The British Empire did not begin to break down after the loss in the First Anglo-Afghan War. It remained as a superpower for close to a century afterwards. Even the British military power was unfazed, other than the reputation. I would hardly call that an empire breaking apart. Let’s also not forget that the British invaded Afghanistan once again in the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878 – 1880) and achieved great success. They defeated the Afghan armies and took control of Afghanistan. The Afghans were forced to sign the Treaty of Gandamak, which was completely in favor of the British. The Afghans ceded control over territory, they lost autonomy and became a British protectorate. The British even picked which king would be placed on the throne in Kabul (Emir Abdur Rahman Khan). The effect of the loss in the First Anglo-Afghan War on the British Empire and its military has been greatly exaggerated. It has resulted in myths such as the one mentioned in the question above. The British Empire did not break apart following the loss in Afghanistan. The British Empire fell apart as a result of the two World Wars, more so than anything else. The loss in Afghanistan had no real impact on the overall stability of the British Empire. Soviet Union The Soviets invaded Afghanistan to ensure that the communist government in Afghanistan remained in power. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) came to power in 1978 following the Saur Revolution, a coup against President Daud Khan of Afghanistan. Afghanistan then became a single party communist state. Unfortunately for them, the PDPA lacked the popular support to maintain power. Especially with Pakistan supporting the resistance (Mujaheddin) as retaliation for Afghanistan’s support to the separatists in western Pakistan. By 1979 it seemed to the Soviet Union that without direct support, the PDPA government would fall. So the Soviets “invaded” Afghanistan. To counter, many nations (including the US) threw their full support behind the Mujaheddin. The thing to know about the Soviet at this time is that they were under the rule of Leonid Brezhnev. The Soviet Union was already stagnating during this time period, long before they entered Afghanistan. Afghanistan was just another pointless expenditure that the Soviets could not afford. The invasion of Afghanistan hurt the image of the Soviet Union and turned many nations against it. Not to mention the price paid in wealth and lives. All of this took its toll on the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not exactly lose its power after leaving Afghanistan. Though Afghanistan was certainly a factor. The Soviets had to abandon Afghanistan because they had already lost much of their old power and influence. The Soviet Union of the late 70s and 80s was not the same Soviet Union from a few decades ago. The Soviet Union fell apart soon after leaving Afghanistan because the reason that they were forced to abandon Afghanistan was the decline within. Myth of an unconquerable Afghanistan This is one of the most common myths seen in the world today. The idea that Afghanistan cannot be conquered or that it has been this way throughout history. The truth is quite the opposite. Because of its location as a crossroads, Afghanistan is one of the regions that has been conquered by the greatest number of empires throughout history. This myth of Afghanistan being unconquerable comes from the failure of modern empires to conquer it. Prior to the British Empire, there was no such myth. As Afghanistan was conquered by almost every conqueror who passed through the region. The British did not lose power after losing in Afghanistan. Nor did the British Empire break apart. It persisted as a world power for about a century afterwards. Afghanistan did not actually do any real damage to the wealth, power and stability of the British Empire. It did hurt its reputation. I would not be surprised if the British themselves were not responsible for creating the myth of an unconquerable Afghanistan, just to justify their loss in the First Anglo-Afghan War. The Soviets did lose a lot in the decade spent in Afghanistan. However, the Soviets did not exactly lose power after leaving Afghanistan. The Soviet power had already decline even before the war in Afghanistan. It broke apart after soon after the Soviets left Afghanistan. In this case, Afghanistan can be said to have been a factor. But there were many other factors as well, which had a far greater effect. The US is not in the same position as the USSR. Not even close. The US is still the world’s largest economy and is doing quite well. Not to mention the fact that there is still no nation in the world that can challenge the US as its role of the world superpower. China could be a challenger in the future, but that would take many decades. Even the political system of the US is far more stable than that of the USSR. The US does not need a large internal force and isolation mixed with government propaganda to hold the union together. The states within the US have stuck together for a long time. It seems unlikely that they will break away anytime soon.

Vikrant

Sep 23, 2022
Go beyond Greeks and Huns. It was the firstmost frontier and forces of dharmic culture, whose name literally means purushpura, land of purusha(men). The bond which unites them is deeper than culture and religion. It's in their blood. Frontier ghandi begged the Congress leadership at time of partition to include them in India or else a seperate state. It's a faliure of nehru and gandh i. Abdul Gaffar Khan died in agony and pain as a broken man watching his blood desend into radacalisation and chaos.

Ahsan Ullah

Sep 23, 2022
All afghan is not Pashtun and all Pashtun are afghan. Things change when Pashtun lost their eastren territories to Sikhs. Wonder afghania still holds? Afghania was a nation united by Abdali. The region just conqured by Abdali was named as Afghania. There is no history of the united Nations of Pashtun, hazara, Persian speaking (tajik, uzbik) and some baloch. In fact, the persian speaking in Afghanistan has a strong historical bond with central Asian kingdoms. It's similar to Pakistan, like many nations combined and created a country named Pakistan. Similar example exist from past , like Kingdom of Khitan rulled by Kaneshka from Peshawar and many more example. So Afghan is not one nation. But we can say pushtu speaking are same nation, I don't know it applies to one nation or not? Like same is true that persian speaking people are not same nation.

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