Pashtun, Southern in Tajikistan

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People Name: Pashtun, Southern
Country: Tajikistan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 35,000
World Population: 10,823,700
Primary Language: Pashto, Southern
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - Pashtun
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

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. A smaller number live in neighboring Central Asian countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and especially Tajikistan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Pashtuns and other Afghans, report feeling welcome by the Tajik majority, but jobs are very scarce. They face a very high rate of unemployment in this country with a weak economy. Some of the Pashtuns are able to start small businesses, but they are very limited because they are not allowed to live in Dushanbe, the capital city, where there are more opportunities than in rural areas and townships. Most Pashtuns in Tajikistan want to either move on to a Western country or return to Afghanistan.

What Are Their Beliefs?

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. 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.

What Are Their Needs?

The Pashtuns need to hear of the only Savior of mankind, the one who can give them abundant life if they would allow Him.

Prayer Points

Pray for a movement to Christ among the Pashtuns Diaspora that will spread far and wide. Pray for accuracy in Bible translations in progress! Pray for more workers to serve among the Pashtun people in Turkmenistan—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!

Text Source:   Joshua Project