Pashtun - Geographic Distribution

Geographic Distribution

See also: Pashtun tribes and Pashtun tribal structure

The vast majority of Pashtuns are found in the traditional Pashtun homeland, located in an area south of the Oxus River in Afghanistan and west of the Indus River in Pakistan, which includes Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and part of Balochistan. Additional Pashtun communities are located in western and northern Afghanistan, the Gilgit–Baltistan and Kashmir regions and northwestern Punjab province of Pakistan, as well as in the Khorasan province of Iran. There are also sizeable Muslim communities in India, which are of largely Pashtun ancestry. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, excluding Pashtun-dominated regions, they are often referred to as Pathans. Smaller Pashtun communities are found in the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Europe and the Americas, particularly in North America.

Important metropolitan centres of Pashtun culture include Peshawar, Quetta, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Lashkar Gah. There are a number of smaller Pashtun dominated towns such as Swat, Khost, Asadabad, Gardēz, Farah, Pul-i-Alam, Mingora, Bannu, Parachinar, Swabi, Maidan Shar, Tarin Kowt and others. The cities of Kabul and Ghazni in Afghanistan are home to around 25% Pashtun population while Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif each has at least 10%. With as high as 7 million by some estimates, the city of Karachi in Sindh, Pakistan has the largest concentration of urban Pashtuns in the world. In addition, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Lahore also have sizeable Pashtun populations.

Pashtuns comprise over 15% of Pakistan's population. In Afghanistan, they make up an estimated 42% of the population according to the CIA World Factbook. Some sources give 50–60% because the exact figure remains uncertain in Afghanistan, and are affected by the 1.7 million Afghan refugees that remain in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns. Another 937,600 Afghans live in Iran according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A cumulative population assessment suggests a total of around 49 million individuals all across the world.

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