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Pushtu language

(Redirected from Pashto language)
Pushtu (پښتو)
Spoken in: Afghanistan, Pakistan
Region: Afghanistan: south, east and a few provinces in the north; Pakstan: western provinces
Total speakers: c. 17 million
Ranking: 82 (Northern), 92 (Southern). See [1].


Official status
Official language of: Afghanistan
Regulated by:
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ps
ISO 639-2 pus

Pushtu (پښتو; also known as Afghan, Pushto, Pashto, Pashtoe, Pashtu, and Pukhto) is the language spoken by the ethnic Afghan otherwise known as the Pashtun people who inhabit Afghanistan and the Western provinces of Pakistan.



The language is believed to have originated in the Kandahar/Helmand areas of Afghanistan. Persian often dominates over Afghan/Pashto in Afghanistan in everyday government use since the capital was moved to Kabul from Kandahar in the 18th century.


Pushtu is presently classified in the Southeastern Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages.

From the time of Islam's rise in Central Asia, Pushtu has used a modified version of the Perso-Arabic script. In recent years, however, because of the Internet, it has become increasingly easier to write Pushtu in the Latin script.

It is alongside Persian, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan,

Geographic distribution

Pushtu is spoken by about 17 million people in in the south, east and a few northern provinces of Afghanistan, as well as the western provinces of Pakistan. It is spoken by circa 36% of Afghanistan population who are of the Pashtun tribe, as well as by ethnic Pashtuns who live on the other side of the disputed Durand Line in present day Pakistan.

Official status

Pushtu is one of the two official languages of Afhganistan. The other is the Persian language.


The northern dialect is spoken by about 9,685,000 people, and the southern dialect by about 8,206,000 people.


It has some Arabic and Persian words incorporated in it.

External links