Anti-Pashtun sentiment

Anti-Pashtun sentiment refers to fear, dislike, or hostility towards Pashtun people or anything related to Pashtun culture in general. It can sometimes be broadly construed as a subcategory of anti-Pakistan sentiment or anti-Afghan sentiment as Pashtuns are the second largest ethnic group in Pakistan and the largest in Afghanistan. Anti-Pashtun sentiment has been present in South-Central Asia among different non-Pashtun groups for various political and historical reasons.


The traditional rivalry for power and influence between the Pashtun majority and the minority Persian (Dari)-speaking ethnic groups of Afghanistan such as the Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Turkmen, has often stirred anti-Pashtun sentiments among the latter. In 1975, an uprising broke out in Panjsher Valley against the rule of Afghan prime minister and Pashtun nationalist Daoud Khan, which was believed to have been "sparked by anti-Pashtun frustrations."[1] The Settam-e-Melli, led by Uzbek activist Tahir Badakhshi, has been described as "an anti-Pashtun leftist mutation."[1] According to Nabi Misdaq, the Settem-e-Melli "had an internal programme of provoking minorities to armed resurrection to stand up to Pashtuns."[2] The Shalleh-ye Javiyd, a Maoist political party founded in the 1960s that predominantly drew support from Shi'a Muslims and Hazaras, was also similarly opposed to Pashtun rule in Afghanistan.[citation needed]

However, Misdaq notes that these anti-Pashtun stances were usually engraved more in a "Shi'a-versus-Sunni Afghan", "Dari-speaking-intellectuals-versus-Pashtun-rulers" and "majority-versus-minority" context rather than resentment on misrule or mistreatment by Pashtun kings and dynasties.[2] This could be because Afghan dynasties such as the Durrani Empire, although Pashtun by origin, had been considerably Persianised and had even adopted the Dari language over Pashto; this cultural assimilation made the Durranis culturally familiar to Dari-speaking non-Pashtuns and neutralised any ethnic hegemony.[citation needed]

The Rabanni government which ruled Afghanistan in the early and mid-1990s was viewed by the Taliban as corrupt, anti-Pashtun and responsible for civil war.[3]