Pashto (پښتو pax̌to, ; alternatively spelled Pakhto, Pushto or Pukhto), also known historically as Afghani (افغاني afǧānī) and Pathani, is the native language of the Pashtun people of South-Central Asia. Pashto is a member of the Eastern Iranian languages group, and is descended from Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language. Pashto is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan (the other being Dari), and is also spoken as a regional language in western and northwestern Pakistan and among the Pashtun diaspora around the world.
Pashto belongs to the Northeastern Iranic branch of the Indo-Iranian language family, although Ethnologue lists it as Southeastern Iranian. The number of Pashtuns or Pashto-speakers is estimated 40–60 million people worldwide.