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Kingdom of Pashtunistan

د پښتونستان دولت
Flag of Pashtunistan
Coat of Arms of Pashtunistan
Coat of Arms
Anthem: Šâhe Ğažur o Mehrabane Ma
"Our Brave and Noble King"
Map of Pashtunistan.png
Capital Kabul
Official languages Pashto, Dari
Recognised regional languages Balochi, Uzbek, Tajik
Ethnic groups
Pashtuns, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazara, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs
Demonym(s) Pashtun
Government Totalitarian Absolute monarchy
• King
Duran Daud Khan
Hikmatullah Zain
Legislature National Assembly
House of Elders
House of the People
• Emirate established
• End of the Communist government
• Monarchy established
• 2015 estimate
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$203.79 billion
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
$77.26 billion
Gini (2016) 77.8
very high
HDI (2017) 0.098
Currency Afghani (AFN)
Time zone UTC+4:30
• Summer (DST)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Driving side left
Calling code +93

Pashtunistan (Pashto: پښتونستان‎), officially the Kingdom of Pashtunistan (Pashto: د پښتونستان دولت), is a landlocked country in Central Asia. A Totalitarian Absolute monarchy, Pashtunistan is divided into eleven provinces, including the capital city-province of Kabul. It borders Pakistan to the south and east, China to the east, the Union of Sovereign States to the north, and Persia to the west. Pashtunistan has been a geostrategically important location throughout history and because of that it was occupied by numerous peoples. The Pashtuns are the single biggest ethnic group among country's approximately 63.53 million people, followed by Tajiks and Uzbeks, and 99 percent of the population are Muslim. The majority of Pashtunistan's terrain is mountainous or desert.

Because of its location in Central Asia, the country was populated by different peoples and occupied by many empires throughout its history, including Alexander the Great, Mongols, Muslim Arabs, British, and the Soviets. Because many of the invasions failed Pashtunistan has been described as the "graveyard of empires" and "unconquerable." The modern state of Pashtunistan came into existence in the 18th century under the Durrani dynasty. By the late 19th century the country was poor and technologically backward, becoming a buffer state between British India and the Russian Empire during The Great Game. In World War I, the Pashtun government acknowledged the Ottoman Sultan's call for a jihad against the Allied Powers by declaring war on them and joining on the side of the Central Powers. It played an insignificant role in the conflict and was threatened by British invasion. The emirate of Pashtunistan managed to remain independent until the early 1920s, when the Russian Bolshevik Red Army invaded the country.

The Social Democratic Republic of Pashtunistan was established by the Bolsheviks in 1923, and remained as a Soviet satellite state for several decades. It provided minor assistance to the USSR during World War II and the following Cold War. However, nationalist and Islamic fundamentalist forces in Pashtunistan received funding from the Western states during the 1970s and 1980s, and were inspired by the Arab nationalist uprisings in the Middle East. This led to the creation of the Taliban and other rebel groups, which began an insurgency against the Communist government. Even with Soviet help the SDRP was not able to defeat the insurgents completely, and in 1990 with the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc the Pashtun Communists were overthrown in an uprising. A transitional government was established by rebel factions in December 1990, but in early 1992 a civil war broke out between the Taliban and the moderate nationalists. The former were defeated and since 1997 the country has been ruled by a semi-constitutional monarchy under the restored Barakzai dynasty. A low level insurgency has been ongoing in the country since then by Islamic terrorists, most notably factions of the Taliban, and the Conference of American States also intervened to support the Pashtun government following the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Despite being rich in minerals, Pashtunistan is currently among the poorer countries in the world due to being in a continuous state of war since 1976. Mining is the biggest sector of the economy, providing the country's main export. The country has a power purchasing parity GDP of $203.79 billion as of 2018, but at least 25 percent of the population is below the poverty line and the average wage is less than a dollar per hour.


The name Pashtūnistān (Pashto: پښتونستان‎; also called Pakhtūnistān or Pathānistān) means "land of the Pashtuns." Although the name "Afghānistān" (افغانستان) had been in recorded use earlier, the name Pashtunistan became more popular by the 18th century. Afghanistan is a reference to this land by its ethnicity, which were the Afghans, while Pashtunistan is a reference to this land by its language. The Pashto name Pakhtunistan or Pashtunistan (Pashto: پښتونستان‎ (Naskh)) evolved originally from the Indian word "Pathanistan" (Hindustani: پٹھانستان (Nastaleeq), पठानिस्तान (Devanagari)). Sometimes the term Afghanistan is used interchangeably with Pashtunistan, but more specifically it is sometimes used to refer to the southern provinces of modern Pashtunistan. These were the original regions of the Pashtuns the existed prior to the expansion in the 19th century. Thus Afghanistan is also used to refer to the state before the 20th century.


Prehistoric and ancient

Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that humans were living in what is now Pashtunistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites. Artifacts indicate that the indigenous people were small farmers and herdsmen, very probably grouped into tribes, with small local kingdoms rising and falling through the ages. Urbanization may have begun as early as 3000 BCE. Zoroastrianism predominated as the religion in the area; even the modern Afghan solar calendar shows the influence of Zoroastrianism in the names of the months. Other religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism flourished later, leaving a major mark in the region. Gandhara is the name of an ancient kingdom from the Vedic period and its capital city located between the Hindukush and Sulaiman Mountains (mountains of Solomon), although Kandahar in modern times and the ancient Gandhara are not geographically identical.

Early inhabitants, around 3000 BCE were likely to have been connected through culture and trade to neighboring civilizations like Jiroft and Tappeh Sialk and the Indus Valley Civilization. Urban civilization may have begun as early as 3000 BCE and it is possible that the early city of Mundigak (near Kandahar) was a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. The first known people were Indo-Iranians, but their date of arrival has been estimated widely from as early as about 3000 BCE to 1500 BCE.

After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic people from Central Asia began moving south into Pashtunistan; among them were many Indo-European-speaking Indo-Iranians. These tribes later migrated further into South Asia, Western Asia, and toward Europe via the area north of the Caspian Sea. The region at the time was referred to as Ariana. The religion Zoroastrianism is believed by some to have originated in what is now Afghanistan between 1800 and 800 BCE, as its founder Zoroaster is thought to have lived and died in Balkh. Ancient Eastern Iranian languages may have been spoken in the region around the time of the rise of Zoroastrianism. By the middle of the 6th century BCE, the Achaemenids overthrew the Medes and incorporated Arachosia, Aria, and Bactria within its eastern boundaries. An inscription on the tombstone of Darius I of Persia mentions the Kabul Valley in a list of the 29 countries that he had conquered.

The Buddha of Bamiyan. Pashtunistan was Buddhist before the Islamic conquest

Alexander the Great and his Macedonian forces arrived in Pashtunistan in 330 BCE after defeating Darius III of Persia a year earlier in the Battle of Gaugamela. Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the region until 305 BCE when they gave much of it to the Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty. The Mauryans controlled the area south of the Hindu Kush until they were overthrown in about 185 BCE. Their decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, leading to the Hellenistic reconquest by the Greco-Bactrians. Much of it soon broke away from them and became part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. They were defeated and expelled by the Indo-Scythians in the late 2nd century BCE.

During the first century BCE, the Parthian Empire subjugated the region but lost it to their Indo-Parthian vassals. In the mid-to-late first century CE the vast Kushan Empire, centered in Afghanistan, became great patrons of Buddhist culture, making Buddhism flourish throughout the region. The Kushans were overthrown by the Sassanids in the 3rd century CE, though the Indo-Sassanids continued to rule at least parts of the region. They were followed by the Kidarite who, in turn, were replaced by the Hephthalites. By the 6th century CE, the successors to the Kushans and Hepthalites established a small dynasty called Kabul Shahi. Much of the northeastern and southern areas of the country remained dominated by Buddhist culture.

Middle Ages

The Blue Mosque was built in the 15th century

Arab Muslims brought Islam to Herat and Zaranj in 642 CE and began spreading eastward; some of the native inhabitants they encountered accepted it while others revolted. The land was collectively recognized by the Arabs as al-Hind due to its cultural connection with Greater India. Before Islam was introduced, people of the region were mostly Buddhists and Zoroastrians, but there were also Surya and Nana worshipers, Jews, and others. The Zunbils and Kabul Shahi were first conquered in 870 CE by the Saffarid Muslims of Zaranj. Later, the Samanids extended their Islamic influence south of the Hindu Kush. It is reported that Muslims and non-Muslims still lived side by side in Kabul before the Ghaznavids rose to power in the 10th century.

By the 11th century, Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the remaining Hindu rulers and effectively Islamized the wider region, with the exception of Kafiristan. Mahmud made Ghazni into an important city and patronized intellectuals such as the historian Al-Biruni and the poet Ferdowsi. The Ghaznavid dynasty was overthrown by the Ghurids, whose architectural achievements included the remote Minaret of Jam. The Ghurids controlled Afghanistan for less than a century before being conquered by the Khwarazmian dynasty in 1215.

In 1219 AD, Genghis Khan and his Mongol army overran the region. His troops are said to have annihilated the Khorasanian cities of Herat and Balkh as well as Bamyan. The destruction caused by the Mongols forced many locals to return to an agrarian rural society. Mongol rule continued with the Ilkhanate in the northwest while the Khalji dynasty administered the Afghan tribal areas south of the Hindu Kush until the invasion of Timur, who established the Timurid Empire in 1370.

In the early 16th century, Babur arrived from Fergana and captured Kabul from the Arghun dynasty. In 1526, he invaded Delhi in India to replace the Lodi dynasty with the Mughal Empire. Between the 16th and 18th century, the Khanate of Bukhara, Safavids, and Mughals ruled parts of the territory. Before the 19th century, the northwestern area of Afghanistan was referred to by the regional name Khorasan. Two of the four capitals of Khorasan (Herat and Balkh) are now located in Afghanistan, while the regions of Kandahar, Zabulistan, Ghazni, Kabulistan, and Afghanistan formed the frontier between Khorasan and Hindustan.


British and allied forces at Kandahar after the 1880 Battle of Kandahar, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

In 1709, Mirwais Hotak, a local Ghilzai tribal leader, successfully rebelled against the Safavids. He defeated Gurgin Khan and made Pashtunistan independent. The Afghan dynasty under Hotak and his descandents led to the Persian capital of Isfahan, captured the city after the Battle of Gulnabad and his son Mahmud proclaimed himself King of Persia. The Afghan dynasty was ousted from Persia by Nader Shah after the 1729 Battle of Damghan. In 1738, Nader Shah and his forces captured Kandahar, the last Hotak stronghold, from Shah Hussain Hotak, at which point the incarcerated 16-year-old Ahmad Shah Durrani was freed and made the commander of an Afghan regiment. Soon after, the Persian and Afghan forces invaded India. By 1747, the Afghans chose Durrani as their head of state. Durrani and his Afghan army conquered much of present-day Pashtunistan, Pakistan, the Khorasan and Kohistan provinces of Iran, and Delhi in India. He defeated the Indian Maratha Empire, and one of his biggest victories was the 1761 Battle of Panipat.

By the early 19th century, the Pashtun empire was under threat from the Persians in the west and the Sikh Empire in the east. Fateh Khan, leader of the Barakzai tribe, had installed 21 of his brothers in positions of power throughout the empire. After his death, they rebelled and divided up the provinces of the empire between themselves. During this turbulent period, Pashtunistan had many temporary rulers until Dost Mohammad Khan declared himself emir in 1826. By this time the British were advancing from the east and the first major conflict during "The Great Game" was initiated.

In 1838, the British marched into Afghanistan and arrested Dost Mohammad, sent him into exile in India and replaced him with the previous ruler, Shah Shuja Durrani. Following an uprising, the 1842 retreat from Kabul of British-Indian forces and the annihilation of Elphinstone's army, and the Battle of Kabul that led to its recapture, the British placed Dost Mohammad Khan back into power and withdrew their military forces from Afghanistan. In 1878, the Second Anglo-Afghan War was fought over perceived Russian influence, Abdur Rahman Khan replaced Ayub Khan, and Britain gained control of Afghanistan's foreign relations as part of the Treaty of Gandamak of 1879. In 1893, they made an agreement with the British to incorporate all of ethnic Pashtun lands into one state in exchange for being a British client, and Abdur Rahman Khan changed the name of the state from Afghanistan to Pashtunistan. Shia-dominated Hazarajat and pagan Kafiristan remained politically independent until being conquered by Abdur Rahman Khan in 1891–1896.

By the First World War, Pashtunistan's new ruler since 1901 Habibullah Khan had wanted to expand the country's independence beyond being a British vassal and increase its ties with other countries of the world. Despite his disagreements with Britain, Pashtunistan remained neutral during the Great War despite the Ottoman Sultan's call for jihad against the Western powers. Habibullah's assassination in 1919 led to a brief power struggle during which one of his sons, Amanullah Khan, prevailed, and launched the Third Anglo-Pashtun War by invading British India to gain the country's independence. Launching attacks from the Kalat region, the Pashtun army invaded parts of modern day Pakistan before being repulsed in a series of British tactical victories. Still, Pashtunistan secured strategic gains and in the peace negotiations got Britain to give the country independence in its foreign policy as well as fully recognizing its southeastern border with British India, encompassing millions of ethnic Pashtuns.

Following the War of Independence in 1919, Amanullah also pledged to create universal education for boys and girls and a modern system of government. But by then the Russian Civil War was raging, and the Red Army had taken control of most of Russian Turkestan. In 1923, to Britain's alarm, the Red Army decided to enter Pashtunistan from the former Russian Central Asia. The regular Pashtun army, being in a poor state since the War of Independence, could not put up a strong resistance and was defeated. In 1924 the Social Democratic Republic of Pashtunistan was proclaimed with the help of a number of Pashtun communists, led by Saydal Sokhandan, who became the first General Secretary. The establishment of a communist Soviet-affiliated Pashtun government alarmed the British, whose Great Game fears about Russia crossing Pashtunistan to invade India were rekindled. The British secretly provided weapons to Pashtun tribal leaders inside the country who opposed the new regime, but the local rebellions were crushed with Soviet help during the 1920s and 1930s.

The new Communist Pashtun government tried to institute equal rights to women, universal education and land reform, with limited success. The state would last in stability with Soviet assistance until the 1970s, when the independent Pakistan under Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq began funding Islamist resistance groups inside of Pashtunistan. Various rebel factions arose in Pashtunistan, but the Communist government maintained control with a Soviet intervention from 1979. Starting in 1976, this began the long period of civil wars in Pashtunistan that has continued until present day, causing millions of deaths. The Communist government fell shortly after the Soviet Union dissolved and the loss of Russian support.



Shaheed Syed Muhammad al-Sadr.jpg Wahid Waissi .jpg
Duran Daud Khan
Hikmatullah Zain
Prime Minister

The government of Pashtunistan is an absolute monarchy under the Barakzai dynasty with an executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch, and the King is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, while the head of government is the Prime Minister. As an the country is an absolute monarchy, the Prime Minister answers to the king and carries out his will in the bureaucracy. The system was established in 1998 after the moderate nationalist coalition took control of the country and established a new constitution and government in Kabul, who decided that a monarchy would be the best way to reunify all Pashtuns. The executive consist of the Cabinet as the main decision making body below the Prime Minster and the monarchy, responsible for carrying out the daily affairs of state. Pashtunistan has had a long tradition of a strong executive, and only in the 2010s has the legislature been given a more extensive role in decision making. Since 2001, the politics of Pashtunistan have been heavily influenced by the CAS and NATO countries in an effort to stabilize the country. When King Mohammed Zahir Shah was restored to the throne in 1997, he saw the wealthy and stable Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf as a basis to model Pashtunistan's government on. Previously from the end of the Communist rule until the monarchy's restoration, it was known as the Republic of Pashtunistan from 1990 to 1997 and was organised as a presidential republic. The chaotic period of the early to mid-1990s however saw the country's government almost completely dysfunctional due to the Northern Alliance–Taliban civil war.

The legislature, the Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly), is organised into the Meshrano Jirga (House of Elders) and Wolsei Jirga (House of the People). The latter consists of tribal leaders and other officials appointed by the monarch while the former consists of elected politicians. The Assembly mostly performs an advisory function, as the Constitution places most of the power in the executive represented by the King and his government. The main role of the House of the People is approving the government's budget, although if the House does not approve it the previous year's budget will be followed automatically. The Prime Minister is nominated by the parliament but the king can chose to reject the nomination.

Elections take place for the House of the People every five years, elected on the basis of party-list proportional representation. The first democratic election in the country was carried out in 1999. But traditionally, political parties played a minor role. The National Unity Party was established in the late 1990s as a big-tent socially conservative party and has been the ruling party of the country, having won in all of the elections since 1997 except the 2004 and 2019 elections. Since the mid-2010s, newer parties have increased their campaigning and have become more prominent, such as the Pashtun Social Movement and the New Pashtunistan Party. The traditional opposition party previously had been the Republican Party of Pashtunistan. Most recently in the September 2019 election, both of the historically dominant parties, the National Unity Party and the Republican Party, saw a large drop in their seats in favor of newer emerging parties, which some analysts see as a positive development for more dynamic democratic elections in the country. The legislature's influence on actual government policy remains limited.

According to Transparency International, Pashtunistan remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world. A January 2004 report published by the League of Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that bribery consumed an amount equal to 23% of the GDP of the nation. In 2005, the Royal Investigation Commission was established by King Mohammed Zahir Shah as an anti-corruption body with broad-sweeping powers to detain and punish corrupt government officials, and the death penalty was enacted for corruption. The Pashtun government has also been accused of numerous human rights abuses and of inflicting arbitrary or excessive punishments on criminals, as well as assassinating or harassing opposition politicians and journalists. The government reforms reduced corruption by a significant degree between the early 2000s and the 2010s, and increased the revenue taken in by the state from what was being siphoned off, but corruption still remains rampant at all levels.


After the fall of the Communist government in 1990, the country's armed forces (the Pashtun People's Army of the Social Democratic Republic) collapsed and a new national army had to be completely rebuilt from nothing since 1997–98. After the CAS intervention in 2001 Pashtunistan has received tens of billions of dollars in military assistance from those countries. The Royal Armed Forces of Pashtunistan consist of three services: the National Army as the land warfare branch, the National Gendarmerie as a paramilitary internal security force, and the Royal Pashtun Air Force as the aerial warfare branch. Being a landlocked country, it has no navy. As of 2018 the three services together consist of 214,000 active personnel, including 60% of the fighting troops being conscripts. Conscription has been in effect since 1999 due to the ongoing civil war, requiring Pashtun men to undergo two years of national service between the ages of 20 and 27, also part of an effort to instill a sense of national identity and unity among Pashtuns. The military still suffers from corruption, low morale, and defections. Every year hundreds of soldiers are killed in the line of duty. The equipment of the Royal Armed Forces is a mix of former Soviet and Western weaponry.

All parts of Pashtunistan are considered dangerous due to ongoing militant and jihadist activity. The main agency asked with law enforcement in the country is the Pashtun National Police. Organised on the provincial, the National Police main headquarters is in Kabul. There were 150,000 police officers as of 2017. Additionally, there is the Pashtun Local Police that acts as a local militia on the district level, but their total numbers are unknown and not made public. The police also receive assistance from the National Gendarmerie, which is tasked with policing the more rural areas and providing heavier weapons support when needed. Like the Armed Forces, the police forces have received Western funding and training since 2001.

Foreign relations

Pashtunistan became a member of the League of Nations in 1946. It enjoys cordial relations with many Western countries, including Sierra, Brazoria, the Northeast Union, Canada, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, and since the 2000s has been increasing ties with other regional powers in Asia like China and Japan. Increasingly, Pashtunistan has been receiving Chinese investment in addition to Western financial assistance as the country has joined China's Belt and Road Initiative. During the Cold War, the communist government worked closely with the Soviet Union and the United Commonwealth.

Human rights

The Pashtun government has been accused of attacks, threats, and assassinations of against rival politicians and journalists.

Homosexuality is illegal and is punished by death in Pashtunistan.


Administrative divisions

Province Capital Pashto name
Kabul Province Kabul کابل
Faizabad Province Faizabad فیض آباد
Herat Province Herat هرت
Bamyan Province Bamyan بامیان
Ghazni Province Ghazni غزني‬
North Kalat Province Chitral شمالي کلات
South Kalat Province Peshawar سویل کلات
Jalalabad Province Jalalabad جلال آباد
Kandahar Province Kandahar کندهار‎
Balkh Province Balkh کندهار‎
Farah Province Farah فرا



Residents in Pashtunistan by ethnicity
Affiliation % of Pashtun population
Pashtuns 46 46
Uzbeks 31 31
Tajiks 11 11
Hazara 4 4
Other 8 8
Total 100 100

Pashtunistan is inhabited by many diverse peoples, and the dominant culture is that of its biggest ethnic group, the Pashtun people. Other major cultures in the country includes the Tajik, Hazara, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Baloch, Aimak, and other peoples. Generally, Pashtunistan nationals are all referred to as "Pashtuns" even if they are of a different ethnicity. As of 2018 the country is estimated to have a population of 63,532,000 people, but no official census has been carried out since 2002.