Pashtun Nationalism - Pashtuns Defined

Pashtuns Defined

Among historians, anthropologists, and the Pashtuns themselves, there is some debate as to who exactly qualifies as a Pashtun. The most prominent views are:

  1. Pashtuns are predominantly an Eastern Iranian people, who use Pashto as their first language, and live in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the generally accepted academic view.
  2. They are Sunni Muslims who follow Pashtunwali.
  3. In accordance with the legend of Qais Abdur Rashid, the figure traditionally regarded as their progenitor, Pashtuns are those whose related patrilineal descent may be traced back to legendary times.

These three definitions may be described as the ethno-linguistic definition, the religious-cultural definition, and the patrilineal definition, respectively.

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