The Pashtun of Afghanistan and Pakistan have been called the largest Muslim tribal society in the world. There are at least 30 major tribes, and countless sub-tribes and clans. Spread over a vast geographical area and riven by socio-economic, political, tribal and linguistic (dialectical) differences, Pashtuns nevertheless share a unique sense of common identity. Pashtun identity is based on four elements: Heritage (descent from a common ancestor); Islam (99.9% Muslim); the Pashtunwali Code of Honor ("The Way of the Pashtun"); and to some extent, language (Pakhtu or Pashto). They live primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though there is a significant Pashtun diaspora in the Arab Gulf and many Western countries. The Arab Gulf country where they are most likely to migrate is the UAE. This country has had good relations with Afghanistan for many decades, and they have been taking in Afghan refugees since the days of the Soviet invasion in 1979. Many arrived with very little except business savvy, and they have put it to good use in the UAE.
Most of the Pashtun Afghans in the UAE have a good business background which comes in handy in this business-friendly environment. Pashtuns are involved with many kinds of businesses: restaurants, car rentals, shops, jewelry, real estate, etc. The Afghan Business Council (ABC) began in 2005 to help newly arriving Afghans establish businesses in the UAE. The Pashtuns in the UAE enjoy their own types of food, and they almost always have a strong social network established.
Whether they are new in Western countries or they have never been to the original Pashtun homeland, Pashtuns almost always identify themselves as Sunni Muslims. They will be married in a mosque, and to be associated with another religious system would be unacceptable in their community. Those who want to take Christ to the Pashtuns will need to do just that; take Christ to them, not a religious system. The Pashtunwali Code of Honor erodes among Pashtuns who live in urban settings like Dubai. Some of them have only a weak identity as Pashtuns. They need to find their identity in the Savior who loves them and wants them to be transformed into His likeness.
The Pashtuns need to hear of the only Savior of mankind, the one who can give them abundant life if they would allow Him.
* Scripture Prayers for the Pashtun, Southern in United Arab Emirates.
Pray for accuracy in Bible translations in progress. Pray for more workers to serve among the Pashtun people in the UAE—in education, business, healthcare, development, and other professional areas. No one knows how many Pashtuns are following Jesus. Seeds of the gospel have been sown widely. The greatest barriers to faith are social and cultural. Pray for God’s Spirit to strengthen and protect new believers and to empower their lives and witness.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project|
|Expanded PDF Profile|
|People Name General||Pashtun, Southern|
|People Name in Country||Pashtun, Southern|
|Natural Name||Southern Pashtun|
|Population this Country||146,000|
|Population all Countries||10,055,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||Yes|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||3|
|Alternate Names||Afghan; Afghan Pathan; Khan; Pashto; Pashtun; Pathan; Pukhtun; Pushtun|
|Primary Language||Pashto, Southern (146,000 speakers)|
|Language Code||pbt Ethnologue Listing|
|Language Written||Yes ScriptSource Listing|
Primary Language: Pashto, Southern
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||General Ministry Resources|
|Audio Recordings||Pashto Radio|
|Film / Video||God's Love Story|
|Film / Video||Indigitube.tv Video / Animation|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Pashto, Southern|
|Film / Video||Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||The Prophets' Story|
|Text / Printed Matter||Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.00 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|