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The Challenges to Nation-Building
In the draft Constitution of 2004, only Pashto and Dari were recognised as official languages of the State.
The final version made concessions to other languages as well by adding: “The Turkic languages (Uzbeki and Turkmen), Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani and Pamiri (alsana) are official language in areas where the majority speaks them. Thus, Article 16 provides for a three-language formula wherever necessary.
In the draft Constitution, the national anthem was to be in Pashto. However, in the final version, names of all ethnic groups have also been added to the national anthem besides ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Article 20).
Major Ethnic Groups
Afghanistan has often been described as a tribal confederation, comprising of multi-racial groups and nationalities. The dominant group, both in economic and numerical terms, is the Pashtuns. Concentrated in the South and the South–east but settled in most regions, the Pashtuns constitute around 38 percent of the total Afghan population.
The Tajiks, the second largest nationality, is estimated to constitute 25 percent of the total population and is concentrated around Kabul, the Panjsher Valley and the Badakhshan province. Apart from these two nationalities there are a large number of smaller groups such as the Hazaras (19 percent), Uzbeks (6 percent), other minor ethnic groups like Aimaqs, Farsiwans, Heratis, Turkmens, Brahuis, Baluchs and Nuristanis (around 12 percent). Among the tribally organized communities are the Pahtuns, Hazaras, Aimaqs, Nuristanis and the Baluchs. The non-tribal communities include the mountain Tajiks, Uzbeks,Turkmen, Farsiwans and Kohistanis. All these groups maintain their own distinctive culture and sense of identity.
To be continued....