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|People Name:||Pashtun, Southern|
|Primary Language:||Pashto, Southern|
|Christian Adherents:||0.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||South Asia Muslim - Pashtun|
|Affinity Bloc:||South Asian Peoples|
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, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
Most Pashtuns and other Afghans arrived in Turkmenistan during the 1990s. There are Pashtuns in Turkmenistan who are involved with the narcotics trade, but most of them are involved with honest business ventures in Turkmenistan. Those in cities have to re-build their own lives, but they are likely to begin small business ventures. Many Pashtuns have returned to Afghanistan, but a small number remain in Turkmenistan and other Central Asian nations.
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.
The Pashtuns need to hear of the only Savior of mankind, the one who can give them abundant life if they would allow Him.
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.