Peoples and Ethnic Groups – Introduction
Welcome to this lesson on the Afghan people. In Afghanistan, there is no single coherent identity at the national level that supersedes ethnicity and unites the different ethnic groups. The term Afghan, historically synonymous with Pashtun, was promoted as a national identity by the Pashtun monarchies. However, the people of Afghanistan do not generally think of themselves as Afghans, but rather as Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Tajiks or Hazaras, and their primary loyalty is usually to their family, kin group, clan, or tribe.
As a whole, the peoples of Afghanistan are friendly and hospitable, but they can be stern and hard depending on their war experiences. They value knowledge, wisdom, and education. Piety and stoicism are admired traits. The various tribal and religious codes by which they live are often strict and inflexible, stressing honor and one’s responsibility to fulfill expected roles and duties. These codes are considered essential to living properly but can often, especially in cases involving protecting personal or family honor, make solving personal disputes very difficult. Blood feuds are not uncommon. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to complete the following learning objectives.
Terminal Learning Objective:
Recognize characteristics related to the people and ethnic groups of Afghanistan.
Enabling Learning Objectives:
- Identify characteristics related to the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
- Describe inter-ethnic relations of Afghans.
- Identify characteristics of Afghan kinship and tribal societies.
- Describe the state of conflict of tribes versus government in Afghanistan.
- Identify core concepts of the Pashtunwali tribal honor code.