A Brief History Of Afghanistan

A Brief History of Afghanistan: By Adam Ritscher This was delivered as a speech at a Students Against War teach-in in Duluth, Minnesota (USA) The story of Afghanistan is in so many ways a very tragic one. Afghanistan is one of the most impoverished nations of the world. It is one of the most war-torn, most ravaged, and most beleaguered of nations. It is a nation that has been beset by invasion, external pressure and internal upheaval since before the time of Alexander the Great. Its people are a people who have endured more than most of us can ever imagine. In fact, for many Afghanis, all that has changed in the last one thousand years are the weapons which have been used against so many of them. It is therefore with great sadness and respect that I tell the story of Afghanistan. First of all, who are the Afghanis? Afghanistan has historically been the link between Central Asia, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. It is therefore a nation made up of many different nationalities – the result of innumerable invasions and migrations. Within its current borders there are at least a dozen major ethnic groups – Baluch, Chahar Aimak, Turkmen, Hazara, Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Nuristani, Arab, Kirghiz, Pashai and Persian. Historically the Pashtun nationality has been the most dominant. The term Afghan, for example, generally is viewed by other peoples in the country to refer to the Pashtuns. The royal families of the country were Pashtun, and today the Pashtun represent about 50% of the total population. Tajiks come in second with 25%, and the rest make up considerably smaller percentages. Within the country there are tiny Hindu, Sikh and Jewish communities, but the vast majority of this people are Muslims – and in fact many ethnic groups consider Islam to be one of the defining aspects of their ethnic identity. This is true of the Pashtun for example. Islam was brought to Afghanistan during the eight and ninth century by the Arabs. Prior to that the nation had been ruled by various Persian, Greek, Sassasian and Central Asian empires. Following a subsequent break down in Arab rule, semi-independent states began to form. These local dynasties and states however were overwhelmed and crushed during the Mongolian invasions of the 1200s – conquerors who were to remain in control of part or all of the country until the 1500s, despite much resistance and internal strife. Following the collapse of Mongol rule, Afghanistan found itself in a situation much like what has continued into modern times – caught between the vice of two great powers. During this time it was the Mughals of northern India and the Safavids of Iran that fought over the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan. Armies marched to and fro devastating the land and murdering the people, laying siege to city after city, and destroying whatever had been left by the invading army that preceded it. It was not until 1747 that Afghanistan was able to free itself. This was the year that Nadir Shah, an empire builder from Iran, died and left a vacuum in central Asia that a former Afghan bodyguard, named Ahmed Shah, was able to fill. Ahmad was a Pashtun, and his Pashtun clan was to rule Afghanistan, in one form or another, for the next 200 years. Ahmad was able to unify the different Afghan tribes, and went on to conquer considerable parts of what are today eastern Iran, Pakistan, northern India and Uzbekistan. His successors though proved unable to hold his vast empire together, and within 50 years much of it had been seized by rival regional powers. Within the country there were numerous bloody civil wars for the throne, and for many Afghanis it meant little that their lives were now being uprooted and destroyed by ethnic kin, as opposed to foreign invaders. Beginning in the 1800s Afghanistan’s internal affairs became dramatically aggravated by the increasing intervention by two new imperialist powers – the British Empire and Czarist Russia. The British were expanding and consolidating their colonial holdings on the India sub-continent, and were looking at the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan as a natural barrier to prevent invasion by rival imperialists. The Russians, for their part, were expanding south and east, swallowing up several formerly independent sultanates and emirates in Central Asia. The two great powers essentially engaged in a race for Afghanistan, and their fiendish seizures of land, overthrow of indigenous nations and reckless interference into the affairs of the remaining independent states in the region became known as “the Great Game.” Imperialists often give such trivial, and even humorous, sounding names to their interventionist schemes, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the peoples of the region experienced the consequences of these actions in a manner that they in any way would have interpreted as a game. For them the consequences were devastating. The arrival of European imperialism into the region simply accelerated, and made more devastating, the wars, poverty and material destruction that had already wracked the region. During this time, on two separate occasions, British armies from India outright invaded Afghanistan in attempts to install puppet governments amenable to British economic interests, and that would oppose the economic interests of Czarist Russia. The first, which became known as the First Anglo-Afghan War, took place in 1838. Outraged by the presence of a single Russian diplomat in Kabul, the British demanded that Afghanistan shun any contact with Russia or Iran, and that it hand over vast tracts of Pashtun inhabited land to British India (regions that are today party of Pakistan). Dost Mohammad, the Afghan ruler, agreed to these humiliating demands, but the British still invaded the country. The British seized most of the major cities in Afghanistan with little resistance, but their heavy handed rule soon resulted in a popular uprising by the people which resulted in the massacre of the entire British army of 15,000, save one. British outrage over the uninvited arrival of a Russian diplomatic envoy in Kabul in 1878 resulted in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Again the British were able to occupy all of the major cities, but unlike the last time, the British got wind of an impending rebellion against their occupation, and brutally crushed it in a pre-emptive move. They did subsequently withdraw, but not before they set up a puppet ruler and forced the country to hand over control of its foreign affairs to Britain. Afghanistan would remain a British protectorate until 1919. Then, following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the wave of popular rebellions that rippled through Asia subsequently, the then king of Afghanistan, Amanullah, declared his country’s full independence by singing a treaty of aid and friendship with Lenin, and declaring war on Britain. After a brief period of border skirmishes, and the bombing of Kabul by the Royal Air Force, Britain conceded Afghanistan’s independence. Stung by this turn of events though, Britain conspired with conservative religious and land owning elements with the country who were unhappy with Amanullah’s attempts to secularize and reform the country. The outbreak of an uprising and civil war forced him to abdicate in 1929. Different warlords contended for power until a new king, Muhammad Nadir Shah took power. He was assassinated four years later by the son of a state execution victim, and was succeeded by Muhammad Zahir Shah, who was to be Afghanistan’s last king, and who would rule for the next 40 years. Zahir Shah’s rule, like the kings before him, was one of almost total autocratic power. The word of the king was the word of law. And while advisory councils and assemblies were sometimes called to advise the king, these bodies had no power, and in no way represented the people of Afghanistan. These bodies were made up of the country’s tribal elders – a nice sounding term that in reality referred to the brutal land owners and patriarchs. And while some history books refer to this time of Afghanistan’s history as one where attempts were made to “modernize” the country – all this really meant was newer rifles for the army, the purchase a few airplanes for a token air force, the creation of a tiny airline to shuttle the ruling elite around, and some telegraph wires to allow the king to collect this taxes more promptly. Under his rule political parties were outlawed, and students were shot and killed when they protested. In 1973, the king was overthrown and a republic was declared. But this in reality represented very little. For the king had simply been overthrown by a prominent member of his own family, Daoud, who decided to title himself president instead of king. Under Daoud a certain liberalization took place, meaning that some of the most draconian realities of the monarchy were rolled back, but by and large whatever hopes and expectations arose among the people – little was done to satisfy them. Daoud had seized power with the help of an underground party named the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan – a pro-Moscow communist party. The PDPA had aided and collaborated with Daoud in exchange for government posts. Once he had consolidated power though and felt he no longer needed these controversial allies, he ditched them, and ordered a crack down upon the party. In 1978 the PDPA seized power from Daoud in a military coup. After seizing power they began a series of limited reforms, such as declaring, more or less, a secular state, and that women were deserving of equal treatment of men. They sought to curtail the practice of purchasing brides, and tried to implement a land reform program. They quickly met with fierce opposition from many sections of the deeply religious population though. The PDPA’s response to this was very heavy-handed, aggravating the situation. Soon several rural areas rose in open armed rebellion against the new government. At the same time, the party’s long history of factionalism came to a bloody head as the more radical wing of the party sought to wipe out the more moderate leaning wing. Immediately following the PDPA coup, the Soviet Union took an active interest in the so-called socialist revolution unfolding in its backyard. Dismayed by the clumsiness of the radical faction of the PDPA, the Soviet Union invaded in 1979 and handed power over a man named Karmal, who was the leader of the more moderate faction of the PDPA. Though perhaps this was not the Soviets original intent, once inside Afghanistan, they found themselves forced to commit more and more troops and material to prop up the unpopular PDPA government. Several Islamic fundamentalist groups sprang up and began waging guerilla warfare, many of them operating from camps set up by the CIA and Pakistani Intelligence within Pakistan, from which they could strike into Afghanistan, and then beat a hasty retreat over a guarded border. For its part, the United States government initially paid little attention to the PDPA coup in Afghanistan; its attention was instead focused to the west, where a popular revolution has overthrown their most valuable Middle East ally, the brutal and autocratic Shah of Iran. This changed of course once the Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan. At that point the United States took an active interest in the Islamic fundamentalists waging war on the PDPA and the Soviets. The CIA began providing military training to the Mujahadeen – the name the Islamic guerillas came to be called. They provided what in the end amounted to billions of dollars worth of weapons, including sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles that allowed the guerillas to take out modern Soviet tanks and jet planes. After offensive after offensive, year after year, gradually the Soviet military became discouraged. They were able to occupy and hold all of the major cities, just at the British imperialists had been able to the century before, but they were unable to subjugate the countryside. Soviet causalities began to mount dramatically, and with the CIA’s providing the Mujahadeen with Stinger missiles, even their control of the air was becoming a costly affair. At the same time the CIA kept increasing and updating the Mujahadeen’s supply of weaponry, the Saudis and Persian Gulf Emirates contributed billions of dollars to their coffers, and thousands of Arabs responded to the Mujahadeen’s call for jihad, or holy war, against the secular Soviets – including the wealthy Saudi playboy, Osama bin Laden – who quickly became one of the CIA’s most important operatives in its proxy war against communism. In 1989 the Soviets withdrew, leaving the PDPA government to fend for itself. The CIA soon lost interest in its mercenary forces now that they had accomplished their mission of bleeding the Soviets white. The misc. Mujahadeen factions began fighting as much with themselves as with the PDPA forces, resulting in increased suffering and bloodshed. It wasn’t until 1992 that Mujahadeen fighters were able to topple the remnants of the PDPA government – ending the Stalinists attempts to bring revolution to the people of Afghanistan at the point of a gun. Different Mujahadeen warlords occupied different cities and regions of the country. Burhanuddin Rabbani, the same Northern Alliance warlord who recently took Kabul from the Taliban, was the warlord who ruled over the city from 1992 until his ouster in 1996. During his reign over 60,000 people were murdered and thousands of women were raped. Current Northern Alliance warlord Rashid Dostum who is in control of the city of Mazar –E – Sharif, also ruled over it from 1992 until his ouster in 1997. Similarly the warlord Ismail Khan again rules the city of Heart, which he also ruled from 1992 to 1995; and warlord Yunis Khalis is back in control of Jalabad, which he ruled from 1992 to 1996. The collapse of the PDPA government did not mark the end of Afghanistan’s civil war. The Mujahadeen warlords continued to bring death and destruction upon the country as they fought over the spoils, and sought to enlarge their new fiefdoms at the expense of their neighboring rivals. While the CIA, after having done such a fine job of instigating unrest and warfare in the 1980s, could care less about the aftermath, Pakistani Intelligence forces maintained their interest. Seeking to end the civil war which threatened the stability of their own country – itself a prison house of many nationalities – Pakistani Intelligence aided in the creation of a new Islamic fundamentalist movement, the Taliban. The Taliban was born in the Islamic schools that had sprung up inside the Afghan refugee camps inside Pakistan. Its leadership and the bulk of its initial ranks, were made up of young religious students, primarily Pashtuns, motivated by the zeal of religion and the belief that they were ordained to bring stability and the ways of Allah back to their war torn land. They railed against the corruption, greed and factionalism of the contending Mujahadeen factions inside Afghanistan, and when they mounted a military push to conquer the country, they were initially well received by certain sections of the weary population. Their ranks were filled by rank and file Mujahadeen fighters and young idealists from inside the country, and city-by-city they were able to occupy most of the country. In 1996 they captured the capital city of Kabul, and had forced most of the remaining warlords into a small pocket in the far north of the country. These warlords subsequently formed a defensive alliance termed the Northern Alliance. By the time of the start of the current war, Taliban offensives had reduced their enclave to a mere 10% of the country. Once in power the Taliban sought to create a theocratic state based on their interpretations of the Koran. Though already severely repressed by the various Mujahadeen warlords, the plight of Afghanistan’s women was made even worse under the new regime. The veil became the law of the land, and women were forbidden from attending school or holding employment outside of the home. Television was banned and an effort was made to purge the country of any signs or remnants of secular or Western influence. The country became politically and diplomatically isolated. Then came the current war. Following the September 11 World Trade Center bombings the United States accused Osama Bin Laden of the crime. Bin Laden, who had left Afghanistan following the defeat of the Soviets, had returned after falling out of favor in Saudi Arabia, and being pressured to leave his first nation of refuge, the Sudan. The U.S. government demanded that the Taliban hand over Bin Laden. The Taliban’s response was to demand proof of Bin Laden’s guilt, and after receiving none, they refused to hand him over. Within a few weeks the United States began bombing the impoverished country, as well as providing active support to the Northern Alliance warlords. Following weeks of devastating bombing, and several failed offensives, the Northern Alliance succeeded in breaking out of its northern enclave, seizing the city of Mazar – E – Sharif, and then moving on to take Kabul. This set in motion a series of defeats for the Taliban, which began surrendering and abandoning almost every major city in the country, and retreating into the mountains. The U.S. meanwhile has continued its bombing campaign, and now has Marines on the ground hunting for Bin Laden. All the while the people of Afghanistan continue to suffer. The United Nations, hardly a radical source of information, has estimated that up to 8 million Afghanis may starve this winter due to a shortage of food, made all the more severe by the intentional U.S. disruption of humanitarian aid, and bombing of Red Cross and other humanitarian aid facilities inside the country. At least hundreds, and more likely thousands, have been killed by U.S. bombs, and many more are dieing as the Northern Alliance and Taliban warlords fight it out. Hundreds of thousands of land mines and unexploded cluster bombs lay scattered across the nation’s landscape. And there is no end in sight to the misery. It’s hard to say how much longer the Taliban will continue to fight, or when the U.S. will end its war. Afghanistan’s future, like its past, looks very dark indeed. Currently Northern Alliance warlords, southern Pashtun warlords, opportunistic émigré politicians, and even supporters of the aging deposed autocrat King Zahir Shah, are arguing about who will be the exploiter-in-chief of the devastated land. Most likely they will come up with some sort of coalition government – that will perhaps hold the different factions together, perhaps not. In the end it matters little, since none of the figures involved represent the people of this country, and none of them seem to have ever had their interests at heart. What is the solution for Afghanistan? What will end the suffering of its people? The most immediate thing would be for the United States government to end its bombing, withdraw its troops, and respect the Afghan peoples right to self-determination. And while this alone would not end all of the bloodshed and the fighting, it would create a situation where the workers and farmers of Afghanistan would be more able to cast off the warlords and petty feudal tyrants, take control of their destinies, and create a society that is based upon cooperation and solidarity. Towards that end let us redouble our efforts to stop the U.S. bombing, to stop the U.S. war on the people of Afghanistan!

A Look To The Languages Of Afghanistan

Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian/Farsi) are the official languages of Afghanistan. Pashto was declared the National Language of the country during the beginning of Zahir Shah's reign, however, Dari has always been used for business and government transactions. Both belong to the Indo-European group of languages. According to recent US government estimates, approximately 35 percent of the Afghan population speaks Pashto, and about 50 percent speaks Dari. Turkic languages (Uzbek and Turkmen) are spoken by about 11 percent of the population. There are also numerous other languages spoken in the country (Baluchi, Pashai, Nuristani, etc.), and bilingualism is very common.

Both Pashto and Dari are written primarily with the Arabic alphabet, however, there are some modifications. Pashto literature saw a massive rise in development in the 17th century, mostly due to poets like Khushal Khan Khattak, who is known today as the national poet of Afghanistan. Other noteworthy Pashto poets in history were Rahman Baba, and the founder of the modern Afghan nation, Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Dari also has an extensive literature, actually, some of the worlds greatest poems have been written in Dari. Dari poems by Jalaluddin Rumi have been translated from its original Dari versions to numerous other languages, and is widely read even in the west. Many powerful kingdoms of the past such as those of the Moghuls in India, primarily used Dari in their royal courts.

About Population

 In the minority in the North, Pashtuns sustain their traditional culture in many ways, including song. One fascinating form unique to this people is the landai (also spelled lundai or landey in English), whose form is described this way by the Pashto writer Saduddin Shpoon:ìa non-rhymed two-lined catalectic verse with five anapestic paeon feet, two in the first line and three in the second, ending in MA or NA.î This pithy poem reminds one of the Japanese haiku in its brevity and punch. Here are two typical landai poems as translated by Shpoon: Golaab che pre she bea raa shin she Zzre che Zakhmi she tol wojood wer sara mrina You cut a flower, and another grows, as red, as tender as the first. This is not the way with hearts.Pe loyo ghro de Khudaay nazar dai Pe sar-ye waawre warawi chaaper goloona God has an affair [literally: an eye] with lofty mountains; With snow he caps them, and around them plants flowers. Particularly among the nomadic Pashtuns, or kuchi, Shpoon estimates that the overwhelming majority of the landai poems are composed by women, who traditionally worked alongside men, unveiled. One of my closest collaborators in trying to understand the music of the North was Baba Naim, a Pashtun from Badakhshan, in the far-off mountains. He came to Kabul, invited to join the Radio Afghanistan orchestra, where he played the northern fiddle called ghichak. He built a specially beautiful instrument with mother of pearl, sheep-bone, and camel-bone inlay, and arranged to have one made for me, the only examples of this type of instrument. Normally, the ghichak is made from a standardized, multicolored spike with pegs, built in the crossroads city of Tashqurghan, to which you only need to add wire strings, a wooden bridge, and a nail as a prop to rest it on. Baba Naim played regularly in the Spinzar Hotel in downtown Kabul for foreign visitors, so appeared on a number of early recordings of Afghan music in the 1960s and 1970s. I enjoyed his discourses on musical style and tapped his broad repertoire, including a set of landai songs he offered me. They are personal and unconventional, in terms of mainstream Pashtun practice, showing influence from Badakkhshani practice, and are very beautiful as sung to his plaintive ghichak. By contrast, I taped some mainstream, southwestern Afghan music on a short trip to Girishk and Lashkar Gah, beyond the largest Pashtun city, Kandahar. One lively number they allowed me to tape was a song for attan dancing, a pastime of Pashtun men. There are many variants of the attan; estimates go up to thirty. Most of them share the common feature of ring formation, in which all the men revolve in ever-increasing agitation, hair flying to the rhythm. The tempo picks up until the last man sinks to the ground in exhaustion. This recording, made indoors, conveys only a fraction of the excitement that marks the attan, especially since it happens at celebrations such as weddings, often prompting an impromptu burst of enthusiastic gunfire as accompaniment. The text, like many folksongs, references a particular locale, as translated by Mr. Jehani, now working at the Voice of America inWashingtonDCThe girls of Spairwan (a village southwest of Kandahar) are dancing. Their food is the green, sweet grapes, and the morning breeze touches and caresses them. Beautiful girls who wear sandals, you drove the boys crazy, So the other people cannot work and earn their livelihood.


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Pashtunwali / Pashtunwaali

Central to identity as a Pakhtun is adherence to the male-centered code of conduct, the Pashtunwali ( or Pakhtunwali). In the tribal model, conformity to Pashtunwali defines what it means to be "really" Pashtun. Their injunctions clearly point back to a nomade state of society, when a man depended on his immediate relations, not on laws, for protection, and when to refuse hospitality was equivalent to murder. Pashtunwali, a code good enough for wandering shepherds, when land and water were abundant for all, tended to foster the best virtues of barbarians, and probably produced a simple, hospitable, and spirited race. It has not kept pace with the increase of population, and the change from a pastoral to a settled life. Nang - honor / bravery - is foremost in this code. This is articulated in a starkly black-and-white, all-or-nothing manner. Without honor, life for a Pakhtun is not worth living. According to Pashtunwali, it is the absolute duty of men to protect the respectability of women and to protect the integrity of the homeland. According to the most approved Pashtunwali, every man defended himself and defied his neighbours. Honor demands the maintenance of sexual propriety. Complete chastity among female relatives is of the essence; only with the purity and good repute of his mother, daughters, sisters, and wife (or wives) does a man ensure his honor. Thus women are restricted to private, family compounds in much of the province. Census takers, invariably male, are constrained not to ask about the women in another man's home, and the number of men in a household is often overstated because sons and brothers are a source of strength. Accurate enumeration of the population hence is not possible. Badal - revenge - is closely related to the notion of honor. Badal revolves around zan (women), zar (wealth), and zameen / zamin (land). Offenses to one's honor must be avenged, or there is no honor. Badal is the most important, dominanat and greatest of all Pathan traits. The urge to take revenge on his enemy, is infused in the very blood of a Pathan. Although minor problems may be settled by negotiation, murder demands blood revenge, and partners in illicit sexual liaisons are killed if discovered. Even making lewd innuendos or, in the case of women, having one's reputation maligned may mean death. The men involved sometimes escape to other regions, where they may well be tracked down by the woman's kin. When a woman is killed, the assailant is, almost without exception, a close male relative. Killings associated with sexual misconduct are the only ones that do not demand revenge. Even the courts are accustomed to dealing leniently in such cases. The revenging wrongs encourages feuds more than it punishes aggressions. Two men quarrel in a field, and one strikes or wounds the other; the relations take it up. They meet on some occasion, fight and kill a man; from that moment the quarrel is deadly; if of different tribes and the quarrel important, the whole tribes go to feud. Semi-barbarians constantly quarrelling, have always feuds on their hands. Feuds are a system of petty warfare carried on by long shots, stealing cattle, and burning crops. Samson burning his neighbours' corn acted just like a Pashtun. When the harvest was nearly ripe, neither party dared sleep. Vendettas and feuds are an endemic feature of social relations and an index of individual and group identity. Revenge may take time: as one Pashtun proverb goes, “I took my revenge after a hundred years, and I only regret that I acted in haste.” Indeed, it may take generations to avenge the wrong, but retribution will be the focus of the family’s life until honor is recouped.Merana / Mairrana - bravery and Ghairat / zeal is needed to keep on one's own and his tribe's prestige. One has to be zealous, couraeous and somewhat headless. Ghairat and Mairrana are synonyms. Merana means an act of zealousness. Tura - swordrequire Pashtuns to answer a plea for help even if it involves risking their own life. Turzan is courageous. Possessing Tura means being courageous and warrior. Tura is sacred and disrespect for it makes one liable to pay nagha. One swears by Tura. If someone is engaged to a girl and is away from home his family can get the girl married to a Tura as with Topak. After the ceremony of such marriage the family of her husband takes the girl along. She lives there until her husband returns. When a coourageous act for guarding the grace of the tribe is done, it is said that Tura-i- wakrra i. e. he did Tura. The cover of Tura is called Teki. The meaning of a common Pashto proverb is "Dont take tura of its teki'but once you do, it must be reddened". Nanawati / nanawatey / nanawaty / Nanawate - refuge / reconciliation / repentance / sanctuary is the remedy of feuds, which the Afghans extol as the acme of their civil code. The word literally means "going in" or entering into someone's house or Hujra. When the enemies are distant, the feud often lasts for generations ; but when they are neighbors it becomes an intolerable nuisance. This is to let both parties fight till the same number are killed on each side, then their neighbours step in and effect a reconciliation called " Nanawati or Nannawatt. The party who first draws blood is looked on as the aggressor, whatever may have been his provocation ; he pays the expense of a feast and gives some sheep and cloth as an atonement to the others. But in case this beau ideal of equal justice cannot be procured by one party having more killed than the others, the price of the reconciliation is much higher, but it never exceeds a feast and a few virgins. These girls are not given as concubines (which the country Afghans seldom or never have), but are married and well treated. The expense of marriage being so heavy, to get so many of their young men well married without expense is a great object, and a real money compensation. The other party do not like it however, as to give Afghan virgins without getting presents is thought to show want of spirit.Teega / trucedeclared by Jirga to avoid bloodshed among two or more tribal factions. This is a sort of truce which is enforced upon the combating parties for a specified period in order to dissociate them from fighting between them, holding in abeyance their mutual jealousies and to avoid a bigger combat between them. 'Teega' literally means a stone which is fixed at a certain place across which both the combating parties make pledges to have no concern with life or property of the opposite party until the time a permanent settlement is carved out. Teega, in other words, is a temporary truce in a feud arranged by a tribal jirga or the jirga arranged by the goverment which is symbolized by the setting out of a Teega. Mashar / elderly, leader, actually this word comes from moshe-Moses the spiritual leader. The respect for elders is easily accounted for. Among civilised people, young men have the advantages the experience of ages has given in books; and better still, they are early obliged to act for themselves and form their own character. Before the body fails with age, they acquire perhaps all they will ever learn. The young Afghans, on the contrary, are as ignorant as beasts, they know nothing but their genealogies and the confession of faith. Without any means of education but their individual experience, they for many years plough the earth, and then commit the crimes and excesses I have described. By degrees their wild independent life makes them rely on their own judgment, and gives them an acquaintance with human nature, at least in its Afghan form. As they get old they are constantly employed about reconciling feuds or arranging marriages, in which they have to reason with some, flatter others, and browbeat a third ; their fine climate and temperate habits preserve their faculties for a long time. They are much superior to the young or middle-aged men, and are respected accordingly. In all half-barbarous countries the same respect for the old men is observed.Sparta, which was about the Afghan standard, preserved the feeling much longer than Athens, where education, assemblies, and debates made the mind bo quicker formed. Melmastia / melmasthia / melmastiya - hospitality is another major dimension of pakhtunwali. The commensalism of Melmasthia is a means of showing respect, friendship, and alliance. A complex etiquette surrounds the serving of guests, in which the host or his sons, when serving, refuse to sit with those they entertain as a mark of courtesy. Closely related to melmastia is the requirement of giving refuge to anyone, even one's enemy, for as long as the person is within the precincts of one's home. These codes, too, are related to the concept of honor, for the host gains honor by serving his guest, and the person who places himself under another's protection is weak, a supplicant. Refuge must extend to the point of being willing to sacrifice one's own life to defend one's guest, but a person who demeans himself so much as to plead for mercy should be spared. Among the Waziris a little child was said to be sufficient escort through the lands of the tribe, and they were said to protect men who have killed their brothers, if they come as guests. The method of insuring safety was to sit by a man's fireside and neither eat nor drink till he promises to convey you safely to any place you wish to reach; by the Afghan custom he must comply, and either go himself or send a near relation to prevent danger. If this ceremony be neglected, food and a pipe will be freely given, but it will depend on the character of the host whether he does not rob and murder his guest the moment he leaves the threshold. When they wish to rob a stranger, they either try to civilly hinder his entering the house, or make him eat before he asks for protection. The Achikzais were said to consider themselves as relieved from all obligation to hospitality when a guest had eaten his full, and to have a right to rob him or murder him when they please. Panah is to take someone in personal protection. Even if a notorious criminal or an outlaw asked for panah he will definitely be granted asylum and duly protected. It has happened many a times that a murderer after committing murder asked for panahfrom the family of the victim and they have him panah. During panah he enjoys equal rights and status but when he leaves thier house, he can be killed in revenge and his family cannot claim for any penalty of reward under the custom of badal (revenge). Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, there were about 600,000 Afghan refugees inPakistan by the summer 1980; 500,000 (largely Pushtuns) in the Northwest Frontier Province and another 100,000 in Baluchistan. By late 1980 the number was closer to one million. Observers credit the relatively minimal tension that initially existed between Pakistani Pakhtuns and the large number of Pakhtun refugees from Afghanistan to the deeply felt obligation of Pakhtuns to obey the customary dictates of hospitality. However, Pakistani Pakhtuns' frustration with the refugees escalated after the Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Many Pakistani Pakhtuns were upset that the internecine violence resulting from warring clans in conflict in Afghanistan was overflowing into PakistanOne major fault line running through Pashtun society has been termed by Akbar Ahmed the divide between nang and qalang cultures: nang referring to the honor code of the hillmen, and qalang referring to the superior, irrigated farmlands of the valley historically susceptible to taxation. This divide is the source of the Pashtun proverb that “honor ate up the mountains, and taxes ate up the plains.” 
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The following are some of the words that find common usage in Tribal society, explaining at the same time a Pathan's way of life, his custom, his culture and his thinking and approach towards his fellow beings:AEL
Ael means tame, obedient and subissive, it is opposite being yaghi (rebelious). When two tribes fight and the stronger defeats the weaker, the defeated tribe must comply with the terms of the victor and is said to be made ael. The word ael has another meaning too. When a member of tribe acts against the intrest of the tribe, then it is said that such a man should be made ael. There is a saying , " pa ael osa aw po ghra ke yaghi" which means " be tame in the city and rebelious in the mountains". 

Among Pashtun tribes, Ahmadzai tribe of Suleman Khel is very serious in observance of thier custom and usage. The procession of thier marakas shows the developed stage of customs and usage. When injury or harm is done to someone of this tribe, he will necessary take the por. The rules for sipute settlement though marakas of this tribe are very precise and the decisions reached thereby are irrevocable. The por of this tribe is also very heavy. It is said in every day usage that the Ahmadzai por will necessarily be taken. But all the rules and regulations of narkh will be strictly adhered as well. 
Tribal police man is called Arbakay. In paktia province, Arbakay supervises the implementation of tribal decision with the authority or punish those who do not obey the tribal decisions. The usual punishment is to burn down the house of the guilty man. Arbakay obeys the orders of the 'MIR'. 
Arbakay has peculiar immunity amongst the tribe. Nobody can inflict any harm on him and if any one does so, he wll be severely punished. Uptill recent times the Arbakay had special tasks to perform. 

Artina or mandina meaning a woman or wife , are inter changeable words and both of them have one and the same meanings. 
This word is usually used for the weak, inferior and subjected people, as one will say, you are not even my artina. Though artina and mandina are interchangeable but in western tribes, it is usually used to insult someone. In eastern tribes it is commonly used on behalf of Mandina denoting insult to someone. It is an adjective for the inferior as wife is inferior amongst Pakhtuns according to thier penal custom and usage. Artina is not an equal partner of the husband of a woman in th ematter of rights. ASHAR
To do colectively and tribal public work is ashar,. Some people think that this word has come from the Arabic asher, but it is an Aryan word. 
All working men of the village participate in ashar. Those unable to participate wll send thier drought animals to the ashar. The refusal to participate in ashar has a determined nagha and any one who refuses will be criticized. Public works such as canal construction, cleaning up of karezez, underground wells, drain construction, grain threashing etc etc, are done by ashar. Ashar was the collective activity of the ancient tribes. When all production activites were collectively performed in earlier times, land was sown by ashar and the produce was apportioned collectively. In the beginning of social stratification, the work of the elders of the tribe was done by ashar and the elder was to serve some food to ashargains (or asharbani) participating in ashar.  
They are persons chosen or demanded for ashar. The animals sent to ashar are also asharbani. The ahsarbani of the ashar called for the public work of the village will have thier own food to eat and thier won work-tools to use;but the asharganis called for the work if the khan may not have thier own food and tools. The Khan may supply both. 

It is a square type of dance performed by Pathan youths in one squar. Only in tribal combats the young men go to fight in Attan. When Chigha is called for, everyone has a duty to enter the sqare to Attan and go to the tribal combat. 
Attan is a element of pashtun's culture and has no instance in the culture of other nations, for in the rest of theworld. square dancing is done only for enjoyment but in pashtun tribes Attan is done on the battle ground too. However the dancing done for enjoymentis called gada or nasa. In the western part of Afghanistan, Attan is done for both battles and festivities. In In Kakar and Shirani tribes and in the planes of Suleman Koh (suleman mountains) there exists a kind of Attan called gadamay in which both men and women take part.
Access over a decision of the Jirga is called baberry. This term is usualy used in the cases of Walver (price fixed for the bride).
For example, if an amount is fixed by two parties as walvar but afterwards the family of the girl demands more than what was decided, it would be called Baberry. The word Baberry is also used for the reversal of a disease. In tribal customary law and usage, Baberry can also mean to increase the amount of Nagha previously dicided upon. 
BAdana is another word for the 'robe of honour'. When the decision of maraka is accepted by both sides of a dispute, then a badana is given to the members of maraka. It is a kind of bribe and is used when the members of maraka side up with the powerfull party to the dispute and try to enforce thier decision upon the other party by force. The word Bade is also used for Badana.
Badi means enmity. The man having enmity with someone is called Badi dar. Badi is used individually as well as collectively i. e. Two tribes may have badi between themselves. Badi is very close to trabgany, but trabgany is more exclusive concept. 
Badraga s the esort that accompaiens a traveler through tribal territory. If a stranger, say a resident of the kohat distric, has an occasion to visit Maidan, he must pass through Orakzai limits. Toprotect himself frominjury to person or property, he takes with him an escort from the tribe through whos limits he travels, and is then safe from any harm, as the violation of a badraga gives ris to a fued. A badraga often consist of a single man who is generally armed. The escort is paid by the man requiring it, according to the distance travelled. An escort will take a traveler safely through the limits of his own, as well as of other tribe, with which their section is on good terms. When a personn is under under the badraga of a tribe not concerned in the matter, then his enemy will not harm him. If tawan is done to him, then the badraga considers it a tawan to themselfs. In every Tribal Agency, the Political Agent provides such badragas to guests entering into his jurisdiction. 
In the eight Afridi tribes of Tirah, badraga carries great consiquences. It is a custom of these tribes that if a material arm is done to the one under badraga, then the badraga pursues the culprit and gets tawan from him. The man undr badraga may pay some cash amount to badraga but this is not a strict requirement. 
'Balandra' means collective work. It is synonymous t oashar. Its most usual meaning is 'joint attack'. In the Kharoti and Mangal tribes of Kurram Agency and that of the Orgoon region (
Afghanistan) , balandra is the collective dcision of a group to kill all the members of a certain family. Balandra is used in forest-covered regions. The collective work to clean up a piece of land from forest is also called balandra.
Baramphta means a pledge which both parties to a dispute will give to the maraka to enable it to implement a decision. If one or both of the parties to a dispute will not accept the settlement decision, the baramptha of the non-accepting party is forfeited. Usually rifles are given in baramptha. The baramptha which is forefieted is either given to the accepting party or kept by the marakachyan (members of the Concil) Baramptha is a kind of guarantee whcih is given to the maraka in alltribes. The kidnapping of a person for a certain purpose other than ransom is also called baramptha
Barkha literally means part or share. In Pashtun custom it means 'rights'. A person living in a tribe has barkha there. Such a barkha (share) in the tribe has its own economic and judicial implications. In Sheikh Mili's book, the law of tribal land distribution is based on the principle of barkha. The word is synonym to Nikat commonly used in Wazirs, Mehsuds, Mohamands and Afridis. 
Barkha is also the share for which one takes part in the public work. 
Allusively barkha means Eiman ? (faith, belif). When a pious man dies then it is said, he left with a great barkha, i. ei he died with a faith.
Bakhal means 'paradon'. Every member of a tribe had the right to Bakhal. Every individual or group of a tribe can grand it to the encroachers upon his rights. Usually bakhana is given in the cases of murder. However no cases of Bakhana in in the case of assault on a woman can be found in Pakhtun society. If someone were to grant bakhana in such a case, he would lose face in his tribe. In the Mohamand tribe, bakhana in case of murder is one of the four rights the murderer should have, The others are, Nikal, Kashanday and 'swara'. 

Batyaray is a professional cook engaged mostly for cooking rice in big copper mugs during marrige cermaonies. In tribal status batyaray is inferior. A proverd says, when the mother is a batyaray, her son will not become fateh khan (Fateh khan is a famous hero of Pathan folk-lore). In the social stratification batyaray like jola (weaver) and Eingar (blacksmith) belong to the lower stratum and they are not equal to asil. In tribal society an Asil man can marry a batyaray woman but not vice versa.
Bawar means trust. In tribal marakas and concil, both sides of the dipute are required to give bawar to some one as a surety. 
Bawar is given orally. Until bawar is no given, maraka will not sit. A tribal man is sincere in giving Bawar. When bawar is broken, the bawar-breaker has t opay sharam. The misuse of bawar is an unlawful act according to tribal norm. 

Bairagh is a tribal flag. Every tribe has a flag of its own and the tribe, clans or khels are counted with Bairagh. For example, it is said that the Afridi tribe has eight bairaghs. Bairagh is kept in a well secured place by the clans entrusted with. A tribe will take out his bairagh and hold it high only in bigger fights. When Afridis have grand Jirga they will bring black flags to it. The decision reached under the black flags is especially important and irrevocable. It is said that Amir Amanullah Khan gave the black flags to the Afridis. 
The bairagh of Umara Khan of Jandool is yellowish with a black strip which he flew in 1895 during his was with the British against the siege of Chitral. This bairagh is lying in the Mess of Chitral Scouts. 
Anything from among the stolen things found in someone's house. The one whose house it is found in, is considered either the thief or his accomlice. To store goods stolen by someone else bears tawan and the plea of the man hiding stolen goods is not accepted.
The terms is used for the amount taken by the culprits to recover a kidnapped person or to restore stolen articles to the actual owner.
Brid means attack. In a tribe 'Tak' of every member is known and the encroachment on some one's 'Tak' is Brid. 'Tak' means land, plot or share. Brid is an offence. If anyone alone or through the connivance of his tribe coommits 'Brid' he is to be punished according to "Narkh". The case goes untill the decision as to punishment of the offender of Brid is reached. Brid also means a boudary between two individuals or tribes. 
This is also a body of Qaumi lashkar raised spontaneously on the occasion of dacoity, robbery, lifting away of catle, and other offences of the sort. A man announces by drum-beat ot otherwise, to inform the people around, who come out of thier houses, fully armed and chase the offenders. 
This is a force raised by the tribe on a voluntary basis to deal with any eventuality regading a concerted action. Its aim and purpose is to help goverment implement its polices and implement works on self-help basis whenever occasion demands. During war, Jehad etc, the chalweshthai call the firghting youths from each house to join the team for the purpose. A certain number from each family volunteer to form a tribal force which then proceeds to act in conformity with the jirga decisions and oders issued by a Qaumi Jarnail (Tribal Gernal). The sanctity of action by a member of chalweshthai is respected and no retaliation allowed or penalty imposed on any member of the tribe. It is not uncommon ofr chalweshthai to have been engaged for constructive purpose like the digging of a channel, construction of a flood protection band (dam) and prevetion of crimes on a small scale. 
There have been several instances where chalweshthai have burnt houses, inflicted server injuries and even death on members of the same tribe, but thier action has not led to community of individual feunds. Some chalweshthais are employed to prevent murders and otehr heinous offences on main roads and in tehsil Head Quarters. 
chalweshthai worked for peace and order in some of the turbulent areas of Federally Administreed Tribal Areas (FATA). But of late it has attracted much criticism owing to its misuse of powers. Majority of the tribes have even called they great rascals. That is why it has now been stopped from operating in some of the Tribal Agencies. 
Chanrey is an assistant of the" Mullah"and a servent who works in the mosque. He collects bread from the village famillies for the Mullah which is called"Tuk" by the western Pashtuns. When some one dies in the village, the chanrey acts as a messenger to inform the dead one's relatives of the event. A chanrey may become Talib and a Mullah by gaining religious knowledge and become Pesh-Imam in a mosque. Chanrey may remain as such the rest of his life. As they say, chanrey cleans up Jumat in this world and in the other world, is servent in the heavens. 
During Maraka or Jirga, charey stands at the door of the mosque and gets what the village has donated to assist the Marakachyan.
Literally the drum for calling. In tribal life the job of a doolchi is a serious one. He shall use the drum which the people from the very sound recognize whether it is a call to warn them of any serious event. In some tribes, doolchi has many dooles but the chegi dool is the biggest. 
Da kat khapa niwal is an act of begging paradon by holding the leg of the charpai (kot) upon whci the body of the killed one is carried to the grave-yeard. This custom is similar to that of pa qabar ke samlastal and is resorted to by one who has killed someone inadvertently. After such an act, the killer is paradoned. The one begging paradon must be very careful to get the charpai, for there is no tawan if he is killed on he way before reaching the charpai. 

Means the time and the notice for Tiega. When such a Tiega is made, zamingarey (sureties) are appointed from each side. Each side may inform the zamingarey that the Tiega has been broken and is not in force any more. Also zamingarey may serve a notice on both sides saying that they are no more zamins (sureties) and thus the Tiega is broken. This custom is common in Afridis
To call the tribal army for launching a lashkar. It is done only when there is a big danger of a plan to attack. The dolchi stands on a high place beating his drum rushes up to the place where the dolchi is standing. DA lashkar chegha is done for chpaw too. In the lashkar chegha, great losses are incurred including killing of humans and house burning.. 
Dam means an instrumentalist or a singer. None of the tribal nobility will become a Dam, which has low social status. Thier tribal relations are mostly unknown. Dam play and sing in parties, weddings and other festive occasions. Dams have thier own customs and traditions. The grooms shall pay some amount to the Dam on the wedding day. If a tribal man harms a Dam, Nanawati is not done nor maraka called to investigate and hear the case;only a second or third rank mashar may sattle the case. 
Dama is the woman who acts as dancer and sings songs at the marrige functions. Dama belongs to the non Pashtun race ot so to say, lower starta of society. Pashtuns are extremely fond of engaging pretty Damas in thier marrige functions; that is why professional female dancers exited till tecent past and to some extent even now in swat, Mardan and 
Peshawar. Dama has a low social position. Dama is the property of the mashar of the tribe. he has rights to give her away in mirrage or get her divorced. Her living expensses are paid by the mashar. In tribes whose women are veiled, a Dama can go around unveiled. 

This means tawan for disrespecting a marakachi. The prestige of a spin giery of maraka is strictly safeguarded. If some one disrespectts a spin giery of maraka, he shall pay 1800 Afghanis as tawan (now perhaps more) according to the Esa Narkh. 

The revenge for kidnapping a married woman. The taking away of a married woman is a very serious crim and has serious por. The offender cannot be paradoned and shall be killed. The por is owwa sara, meaning that if the first offender dies, his natural death and some one else marries the woman, the second husband is to be killed and this goes on upto the 7th husband to be killed. 

To kill as to recive inheritance. The one doing this ignominous act is deprived of the inheritance and is liable to por and his house to be set on fire. 
Musa is the brother of Esa, the son of Ahmad. The Musa Narkh is named after him which till recent was in force, but now it is replaced by the Esa narkh. In MUsa Narkh much attention is paid to revenge epecially in the murder case. For example to paradon a murderer, the whole plarina shall grant it instead of only the heirs of the murdered. 
Means taking away by force, of one's betroth from her father's house to his own. whne the father-in-law is stubbon to arrange for the wedding, the fiancee has the right to take away his betroth from her father's to his own house;but when it is done he shall send nanawati to his father-in-law. The father-in-law is forced by the custom to respect such nanawati. This is an ancient custom mentioned in the story of Adam khan durkhanai, a famous Pashto folk-story of love and romance. 
Da spin gieri ghala (i. ei theft by an old man). When an old man is cought stealing, his beard, mustasches and eye-brows are shaved and then released. Such punishment is consider the worst tribal life and one will rather be killed than so punished. This insult is a peghor to his succssors. 

Means tawan of a dog. The dog watches the house and the properties of a tribal. Hence nobody shall kill it. If one kills some one's dog inadvertently he shall give the owner of the dog, one psa (i. e. lamb) and some amount of money being da spi tawan. If the killing is premeditated, the killer bears a por of a full khun upon himself and his killing by the dog owner as shuch has no tawan. 
Da toro bairaghuno jirga means the jirga convened under the black flags under the awe of imminent danger of foreign chpaw. such Jirgas are convened by the Afridi tribe. Those not obeying the verdict of such Jirgas are very heavily punished.
It means to take a dried wood chip. It is a kind of aoth-taking in every day common problems. The malamat (guilty) will take a small dried wood chip in his hand and take the oath. Taking oath by wach khali is considered a bad omen and it is believed that the one who does so, dries out like the wood-chip.
It means the common neck blood, i. ei the blood relationships. All those belonging to the same plarina are considered blood relatives. If some one of a plarina commits murder, all plarina are considered enemies by the murdered side. Any one of da da wormaig de wieni shrik wal may be killed by the victim party. 
Dodai means bread. It is also means melmasthia (enterainment of guests). The expenses of Jirga is als ocalled dodai. Oath may be takenon the name of dodai. The one who frequently enterains guest is called dodimar. When one offers dodaoi to someone, he should take it or at least a portion of itotherwise it is considered sidrespectful. Tribal men respect dodai and Dastarkhwan (tablecloth, the cloth on whcih food is served). When one takes out dodai in his hand to be paradon, the other side must kiss it and grant paradon. If he is not willing to grant paradon, he puts some moneyon the bread because of sharam to dodai.
Dol is a double headed drum. In tribal life it is a means of communication. When some trouble looms over a village, the dols are drummed up. The village people hearing dol will hurry to the place where Dolchi (the drummer) stands. All along the march to and the battlefield, a dol is drummed. In tribal customs dol is respected. The dol is kept in the house of a mashar (Elder). 

Dolchi or Dolzen is the dol-drummer. In some tribes Dolchi called Ghazi (the killer of a non-Muslim enemy and the winner of the battle). This title of respect might have been given to Dolchi in the 19th century when Pashtuns were fighting the British imerialism. 
A dolchi has some immunity in tribal disputes. Pegor is the lot of the killer of the dolchi on the battlefield. A dolchi goes to battlefield under the flag of the tribe. An exeperienced dolchi keeps the front line in order through the act of drumming. Tribal men are familiar to the commands issued through the drumming sounds by an exeperienced dolchi. 
Literally means to drum up the dol. In tribal customs it is the announcement of some imminent danger. When chapaw looms over the village or any nee arises to call in all the village people, the the dol is drummed up. Any tribal man hearing it knows that something has happened and hurries to the place where Dolchi stands. 
It means enemy. Dokhman is called Ghaleem (enemy) and to try to defeat him on every front is a tribal duty. To continue enmity with his enemy is a sign of manliness for a Pashtun. The Dushman of one person is the Dushman of all the members of his plarina. It is a saying, Dukhman, even if small and fire even if a spark, is always harmful. 

The word means th third ones, or a third party truted by both sides to a dispute for setting the matter. Driman gather information about the case from both sides and on the basis of his findings determine the malamat (guilty). Driman do not have the prestige of maraka for thier decision is not accepted, it has no nagha. 
Elchi is the middleman between two quarreling tribes. He brings about some understanding between them. Elchi has the privlege to enjoy security as it said, there is no prison or detection for elchi. To insult an Elchi is an offence and the offender must pay sharam, otherwise the elchi has the right to file suit before jirga. It has occured in tribal history of 
Afghanistan that an elchi once went to some hostil to his own, and was insulted there. Upon his return he field suit for attempted murder and the jirga settled the case in his favour. 
Ghach means revenge. (Ghach Prikhodal) means not to take revenge is considered cowardly and unmanly. In tribal life every man and every tribe has a very strong sense of (ghach). A tribal man may be very patient in Ghach Akhistal (revenge taking) but eventually he takes it. The proverb, (PAKHTUN SAL KAL WROSTA GHACH WAKHIST WAILY-OS-ME HUM TALWAR OKRA) means a pashtun took revenge hundred years later, but said even then had been in hurry, explains the patience and strenght of the pakhtun in taking revenge. 
It is a sort of joint movement of people who come out for commission of some crime like robbery, dacoity etc in settled or tribal area. The difference between ghadai and chaga is that the former is designed to commit a crime while the latter, to avert it. 
Ghairat means zeal. To keep on one's own and his tribe's prestige, one has to be zealous, courageous and somewhat heedless. The one who is not zealous and courageous may come under the chapaw of others. Ghairat is a part of namus and it is said that if one has no ghairat he cannot keep his namus. Calling one Beghairat (unzealous) is insult equal to calling names. Nobody has the right to call other one as Beghairat. Ghairat does not only concern men;women also must have Ghairat. Ghairat is often tinged with fanaticism yet it helps to preserve the tribal system and is an integralcomponent of Pakhtunwali. 
Gholay means the courtyard of a house. In tribal terms it is the track a tor (acoused) person adopts for himself through which he can walk with immunity to someone's house. The tor will walk along a certain path to the house of a certain man and kill a sheep there. This brings him under the protection of the said man. Then he walks to anohter's house and kill a sheep there and so on. He is then protected by all the people whom he crosses in such a manner. The path along which the tor thus walks, is called gholay. He has immunity while on this path, but he has to be very careful not to walk off this paht or else, he may be attacked. 
the word means beard. It is the sybol of manliness and is sacred despite the fact majority of the young shave beard in today's time. To harm someone's beard brings the liability of por. The pulling out of a beard in fight has a certain tawan of done deliberately. 
The word literally means bone. But in custom it means a member of plarina. All those having a common plarina are each other's had. When one of plarina is killed, it is a Hadmat for the whole plarina and all the members will act as one to revenge the death. (Hadmat means one whose bone is broken). The father and brother of the killed one are called hadmati. In every day conversatioan the plarina of the killed one is called hadmati for thier had (bone) is broken, meaning that a member of htier plarina is killed. 

When maraka decides that the killer side shall given a woman to the heir of the killed and a compromise is effected in this way, such a decree and rogha is called Had po Had ke that is, bone for bone. To accept the princile of had pa had, does not depend only on the members of the family of the killed but it is mutually discussed by all the members of the plarina and decision as to he acceptance made. It is not necessary to give only one woman in "Had pa Had ke". Instances have been noticedin which seven women were given in Had pa Had ke. 
Hamsaya lierally means sharing shadow. The one who is taken under shadow (or protection) by his naik (Master) , is called hamsaya. To allow a fellow being to share his shadow under his roof, is again reflective of a Pathan;s generosity, and is a testimony of his Pakhtunwali large. 
An individual, tappa or tribe of weaker influence are obliged to place themselves under the protection of a powerful patron to secure immunity from injury to life of dishonour. A person seeking such protection slaughters lambs (one or two) in front of the house of the person whose protection is sought. After preliminary negotiations, the naik accepts him as hamsaya even if he is a murderer, or guilty of other heinous offeces but not charged with the lable of Tor (illegal sexual relation with a woman) for tor persons are not considered worth negoatiation with the aggrieved parties or even as arbitrators. All other offences , if any, are invariably egotiated by the naik with the aggrived parties on his hamsaya's behalf to reach an amicable settlemet. It is worth nothing that in no case will the naik return or handover the hamsaya to his enemy until peaceful settlement, for it is considered against his 'pashto'. If during his hamsayagi his enemy causes him injury or insult or kill him, it will indariably be considered as if the injury has been caused to his naik who is bound to pick up arms against him. In some tribes the custom prevalent is that, to effect compromise, por is paid to he master in case of murder of his hamsaya by his enemy. 
Hamsaya is usually of two kinds, one is hamsaya of the land, the other, hamsaya of lamb. In both of the cases the right of protection is sacred, traditional and everlasting. Maliks in tribal areas are most often heard saying that such and such person or tribe had shed the lamb's blood in front of thier fore-fathers in time of yore, hence our hamsaya. Likewise a hamsaya is given lands by his master for cultivation on the settled terms. He is called 'land hamsaya'and his protection is equally sacrosanct upon his master. 
A hamsaya, in return for protection, is bound to support his patron and asist him necessary, even in his family feuds. Inprepartition times, quite a good number of Hindu families were hamsayas of Muslims naiks in tribal areas. They never joined in the actual hostilities but they were bound to supply meals and other articles to thier patrons on the eve of siege, war etc. Foreign hamsayas, such as members of another clan are rarely dragged into feuds of this kind. According to the usual custom, hamsayas of masters at fued are not subected to reprisal unless they engage in actual fighting. 
A hamsaya is barred from purchasing lands but if he does, he still remains as hamsaya ofa particular malik/clan. During his refuge with , the said hamsaya shall remain peaceful and if required by the political administation, his naik may even provide them a bond of good conduct, but he shall not be handed over to the goverment for arrest or otherwise. The following Pashto verse is most often heard from the mouth of Turis (CHE NAIK DE ZORAWAR WEE.. HAMSAYA DE GHACHAWI PARDI KATOONA) which means" a hamsaya who has a powerful naik, has a free access to the charpais of others". 
A body of hired assassins exists in every Agency but a Pathan's ego os satified only when he himself presses the trigger over his enemy.
A Hujra is a place for guests and for gatherings nad parties of the male population of the village. A Pakhtun must have either Hujra, big or small or baitak. 
In the Hujra of Khan festive gatherings are held. A Hujra is a safe place for any offender entering its premises and is protected there up to the time he gets out. Even the murderer of the hujra ownder's brother or son, when he gets into the hujra, can stay there in security and the Hujra owner will not do any harm to him. 
Hujra has special norms and etiquettes. The elder, will sit in the elders place and the youngster in the place for young ones, but the Hujra owners always sits near the door. The instiiution of Hujra amongst the Pathans is now unluckily dwindling fast.
The Mughals and later the British tried to abolish the land distribution system brought abut by Sheikh Milli in Momands and Yusafzais but there tribes did not comply and still distribute lands according to the old wesh system. However, the goverment have some lands to some people on permanent settlement basis who are called inaam khawara. 
The act of th goverment was t odestroy the wesh system but te tribes reached badly and hated all those acquired land from the goverment and called them by the insulting name of inaam khara which taking inaam (gratuity) for carrying out a shameful act. 

Jat belongs to the low stratum in the tribal society. The jat make double drums, sieves and work as tanners. The Pashtuns consider them as strangers and they are not equal. Their colour is dark in general. They seems to be the sudra (shuder) cast of the Aryans that had low social poisiton in that time too. The terms jat in this sense is commonly used in western part of 
Afghanistan. The Pashtuns in the Helmand province treat jats and toryan as being low. Dams and barbers are also thought equally low. No jirga is concerned to look into the complaints of jats, only one elder is enough to investigate the case. jats living within a tribe are given separated dwellings. A jat customs and traditions and marry inter se. No Pashtun will marry a jat woman. 
Jaba like khwla, means 'promise' indertaking or an agreement'. Not complying with jaba, bears nagha. A tribal man is very faithful in fulfilling jaba no matter how much loss he may incur. Pathans say Jaba is sacred because one reads Quran with it. 

A peculiar custom prevailing amongst Pathans, is Jhagh which means a unilateral declaration of claim over a girl. A man wishing a particular girl for his wife may declare unilaterally by means of fire shots, that he has jagh or claim on her, thereby announcing that anyone else having claim on her, will have to settle his accounts with him first. 
A youth making such proclamation obviously takes the risk of his life for there is every possibility of disapproval of the girls' father or guardians which may lead to utter animosity beween the two parties. If however, there is place for the girl amongst her relatives, the Jjagh-making youth is cooled down, otherwise the girl has to be bethroth to him or else he has to appeased by cash money. If the girl's father is comparatively more powerful, then the jhagh-making youth is bond to pay him sharmana (the amount recived as a result of his insult). Among the Wazirs, this amount is Rs. 1200/- cash plus lambs, one or two. In other territories of FATA the scores are settled with the jhagh-making youth according to circumstances and Rewaj. In some of the tribes they youth throws the head of saluhtered lamb, into the girl's house as a token of his claim over th girl intended to be bethrothed to himself. Among the sherani and Usthrana tribes of F. RD. I. khan, a custom prevails that a person having money dispute or broadly speaking, any claim other than sex matters, declares by proclmation that no body shall marry the sister or daughter of a particular person till his claim is settled. sheranis call it Arra. In fact this is am embargo placed on the girl's parents till the claim of the jhagh-making youth is satisfied but instead of the jhagh-making youth fails to prove his claim, then he is liable to pay por to the party against whom jhagh has announced. There are instances that on account of failure to reach as amicable settlement between the parties, the girls get old in thier parent's houses. A party in dispute in sherani tribe may proclaim before his rival, "your daughter is Arra to me" (. 
I. e you can not marry your daughter till you first settlemy claim). The opposite party may promptly retort"your daughter is also Arra to me". The enmity thus takes a start. In such a case, the Jirga consisting of elders, notables or Syeds etc intervene and thier first and foremost duty is to release the innocent ladies from the clutches of Arra on both sides. In order words the emabgo of Arra is lifed but the jirga continues its deliberations till it reaches some adjudication. In case a person is held par'h' (guilty' by the jirga, then he is directed to make Nanawati on the opposite party. In such a case both por and sharam as fixed by the jirga, may be paid to the party aggrieved. Cultivable lands are also attached unilaterally in this manner. A jhagh is spontaneously prolaimed that such and such land has turned Dakia to him. In this case, no one can have the liberty to cultivate tha Dakia land except of course the real owner until accounts are settled with him. Similarly a running tractor may turn Dakia in which case it shall remain barred from sale or being put to hire. A running grocery-shop, flour mill, saw-mill etc may likewise become Dakia in which case no one shall purches articles from the shop, bring grain to the mill for grinding or bring wooden logs to the saw mill for sawing, cutting etc. 
The term speena is also used for land put under Dakia which means that the very land shall remain Banjar (arid) till settlement of the dispute. This, in other words, is a stay order'in favour of the claimant. 
Khan is mashar (elder) of the tribe. He is defacto member of maraka. He may issue his own orders too. Khan has hujra and must serve the guests that coem to his hujra. In places where old customs have remain in force, the Mir is the ruling power and where these customs have weakened;the Khan is the ruling power. In western tribes, khan means Mashar of the tribe. khanate is a powerful tribal institution at the head of which sits the khan. At times when private properties did not exist, khan was elected by jirga. Later the khan was elected for his life and finally khani became inheritable. khan has absoluts authority over the men of whom he is the khan. khan keeps people as his kinsmen to strenghen and maintain his ruling power. 
Khan is a Mangolian word. During the time of Mangole rule, the word came to be used in china, 
KHurasanIndia and Khwarazm. When Pakhtun tribes were nomadic, they cultivated the land where they lived under the leadership of thier mashar. The mashar must have been courageous, ambitious and an adventurer. Adventures were admired by Pashtuns which paved the way for the institution of Khanate. 
The adventurism of the Pakhtuns is well pictured in such stories as Adam khan-Durkhanai which relates the juridical relationship of the time as well as tribal rivalries. 
In places where Khan's economic power permits he must pay the expenses of maraka and jirga. Khan has an influence over maraka and jirga which plays a great role in the limitation of the authority of the jirga. 

Literally khairat means sacrifice and devotion. It is a custom to slaughter a sheep, goat, cow or boffalo in scrifice to celebrate certain religious and other traditional festivals. The slaughtering of sheep or cow in maraka and jirga in prayer for the successful conclusion is also called khairat. To avert calamities such as draughte the Mullas will often advice people to do khairat. 
Khel is an ethnographic unit forming the central point around which tribe moves. Khel is a unit of tabar and a cluster of khpas (pshas) and khpa is composed of kuls and koranai i. ie. families. The khel is a unit based on kinsship. In the southern tribes the term khel and in the western tribes, the term Zai are suffixed to the name indicating the basic ethnographic unit. It is the authority of the khel to admit someone into the tribe or refuse him. 
The decision on such matters will be taken in Jirgas in which the representive of each khel casts a predetermined number of votes. The number of votes a khel can cast in the jirga, determines its tribal position in the tribal hierarchy. 

A bewasah (helpless) engaged in enmity unable to carry it to the end, will call on his khel for help and he is necessarilly to be helped. Such an act is called Khwla Kagawal. The act of Khwla kagawal is to diminish the tribal honour and may be rarely seen. 
The verdict in favour of one side contrary to the rules of narkh is called Kog-Narkh. If the openent does not have to accept the verdict he has the right to appeal to another maraka. If a wrong (KAGA) is proved at the hands of marakcheyan, they have to pay nagha, otherwise the oppenent has to obey the verdict and pay nagha. 
Kudala is a hut built from woods and stones to shelter both men and animals. The burning of Kudala comes under the same judiciary rules as the burning of a house.
Kul means family. IT is usually used to indicate an enlarged family. Koranai and Tabar is used for smaller family. koranai and tabar is used for smaller family. Sometimes Kul is used for a group of families closely related to each other. In this case kul may refer to khel as the pateh kul and Omar khan kul in Mangal tribe. 
A potter; the person who makes mud potteries. He belongs to the lower string of th esocial stratas. kulalan ar considered strangers and not th members of the tribe. Tribal nobility hinders the creative work, for the tradesmen are considered servants nd hence are treated by the tribal nobles as thier servants. 
Literally Laman means shirt. In custom, it means excuxe, forgiving and granting refuge. "pa laman de vor lwedal" plunting into laman means ' asking for refuge. Flankey loya laman lari means "Mr. so and so has a wide laman i. e. he has a great sense of forgiving and paradoning. 
In jirga and maraka when paradon is begged from someone then it is said' Staa laman loya da". pa kpula laman ke qabul kra. 
meaning u have a vast laman;accept him in your laman. A pakhtun takes pride in hearing that he has a vast laman.
The pirs and sayeds perpetuate this institution in tribal setup since long by collecting eharityfrom the well to do people. The word connotes the food as well as the place where food is served for visitors. A langar that servs cooked vegetables with bread and meat is clled chwarr langar that is fat langar. People in need for prayer and tawiz live in langar until they get the desire tawiz from the a pir concerned. In regions where piran and sayeds are influential, rogha jorra are done in Langar. It is not customary have maraka or jirga convened in langar. Only the limmited maraka and jirgas will be called in langar and only when rogha jorra are certain to come about. 

This is a body of tribesmen raised or collected at the respons of drum beat to combat a large scale offensive. Its purpose is invariably to deal with a particular incident. The term is applied to dozen of men going to a nearby village for family feud and also to the fiftty thousand who poured into Kashmir in 1947-48. Since the Pathans are a warrior race, the lashkar is an inseparable part of thier life. The best English equivalent of the Pashto Lashkar is probably War panrty as was found among the Red Indians of America. The Pakhtun outlook of life being what it is, th eword is one of the most common in thier language. Lashkar as used in he tribal sense can be employed as a crusade or a holy war or can even be out against a particular policy of the goverment. The tribal lashkar in the latter case continues until the political authorities see it appropriate to sit with them across the table and carve out an amicable settlement. In Momand Agency particularly Safis, the lashkar is known by the name Amr-bil-maaruf party. As in the case of jirga, size is irrelevant. 

Lokhay is the psa (sheep) given in nanawati. When someone tries to come under the protection of a tribe, he puts Lokhay with it. Anyone asking for th eprotection, will slaughter a psa in the tribe, and the tribe grants him membership. From then one, the tribe wil keep him in tsafety from any harm intended by any one. 
Lokhai sharikawal is another good practice followed in th etribal areas. A weaker tribe or individual slaughters a lamb in front of the house of an influential malik or in his hujra and expresses his desire for acceptance of his pot by the naik. Once he accepts the pot, his housemates as per tradition become the family members of his naik and vice versa. No ill will is nourished between the two afterwards. In pre-partition times, Hindus and Sikhs used to beg the Muslim naiks to accept thier pot in which the former offered them silver coins in the pot. It may be expained that Lokhai means a 'jar' in pashto and it is said that originally whne a Hindu wished to become any one's hamsaya, he sent him a jar of ghee as a declaration of such intention and its acceptance was the token of his consent. Lokhai denotes the means by which the relation of patron and client is established. 
Lootawal means 'to plunder'. The act of lootawal is at times committed by plundering the house of the enemy or ther carwan and plunder away what ever they can get. If plunder is committed in normal peace times, the maraka and jirga will levy the Tawan (damage loss) on the plunderer, and the plunderer has to take a psa to maraka or jirga in payment of Sharam over the Tawan. To loot a carvan involves the Tawan ofr disturbing the safety of path over and above the tawan for loot. Loot entails heavier punishment if committed at day than if done at night. 

Machalga is the surety given to the marakachyan by both sides of the case in dispute, ensuring unconditional compliance of the maraka's decision. Usually topaks, kalashinkoves, cash or ornaments may be given in machalga. Machalga is forfeited against the side not accepting the maraka sentence. Unless machalga is given the maraka will not be convened. When convened, the maraka will ask both sides to pledge orally that the side not accepting the decision will not request return of its machalga. 
Makhrunay is the guitless person. In this sense of the termit is synonym to spin. "Every man is born inocent and remains so unless proved otherwise", that is every ione is Makhrunay unless he commits an offence, is a command of the Afghan cutomary law. An acoused proved inocent is called Makhrunay and in such a case, he may demand Nagha under sharam from his accusers.
An offender of criminal but in particular, an adulterer. The irreligious ones and agnostics are also called makh toray. Makhtoray kedal, to become an adulterer, is an unparadonable crim. Every tor may become spin, (guuiltless) but makh toray cannot become spin. This proverd is in accord with the codes of narkh concerning adultery. Nanawate of makhtoray cannot be accepted, that he is cannot be paradoned, and has to be killed. His killing carries no por, if killed by his opponents. 
Malek is the elder of his tribe. He follows tribal events and sometimes inform others of them. The term Malak is current in tribes of both plains and hills where the central goverment is in authority. Malak is the mediator between his tribe and the political Agent in an Agency. The intitution has unluckily swindled wit hthe passage of time. 
Malamat means 'par'h. Anyone proved wrong n his suit is called Malamat and is duty bound to pay nagha. Par'h is used in the eastern and southern tribes while malamat is use in the western rtibes. One declared malamat has to accept the verdict otherwise the nagha is increased. 
Maraka means tribal customary law court. The marakacheyan issue thier sentence in accordance with the codes of narkh. The difference between maraka and jirga is that the former investigate and hears samll cases while the later, the big onse. 'Wak' is given to maraka and also jirga members and whatever the verdict, both sides have to accept. Mostly weapons, cash, jewellery etc are given to maraka/jirga members as guarantee which can be confiscated from the side not accepting the verdict. 
there are two kinds of maraka. One is the Zhabay sa khwarido maraka in which both sides to the case present thier cases to prove the case in thier favour and the Maraka hears them. The other is Da Wak maraka in which Wak is given to maraka and what ever the sentence, both sides have to accept it. 
Marakachi or Marakzan is a member of maraka. The member od maraka is called spin Gierai. Usually a marakachi is an influential man, Spin Gieri connotes mashar (elder) , bt the marakachi does not necessarily have to be elderly. A young marakachi is als ocalled Spin Gierai. A marakachi has security in maraka. Experienced marakacheyan do not issue any sentence unless advised by narkhyan that the sentence accords with th codes of nark. 
Marg, mrrina and khun are synonymous each meaning murder. In common usage premeditated murder is marg which carries a great tawan. Tawan. The por for Marg is not easily forgiven and if someone does forgive, he is called Be nagha (disgraced, coward). The por for Marg is Marg If nanawate accepted, paradon is granted. The nanawate in the case of Marg however not esily accepted. But if he gets hold ot the leg of the bedstead or lies down in the grave dug for the murdered, then this is a parda to the relatives of the murdered and nanawate is accepted. 
Mashar is a respected title given to one by his tribe. A mashar is the jure member of maraka and jirga. Genrally speaking mashar connotes Spin gierai. A mashar is not necessarily old, he may be young and still deemed as Mashar. In common usage every old man is a Mashar, but as a tribal title, mashar is to ensure him of his influenence and command. A young man beeing mashar has all the privilege of an old Spin gierai. 

Maina means home, homeland and country. Often is means a temporary camp of nomads (
kochi). The encroacher on maina is ounished according to narkh Kochis have two kinds of Maina. One is Da owrrey Mena (i.. e. The summer camp) and th eother is Da jami Maina (i. e. The winter camp). ' Da Nikano Maina' means the camp of grand fathers. The kochis leaves thier surplus belongings when they migrate in Nikano Maina. Nobody will steal anyhting from the Nikano maina. It is a belief that if anyone steals anything from the Nikano Maina, it will be exchanged for the head of one of his family male members. Such Nikano Maina are usually located along the road sides where Kochis go by.
The word means bravery, millitancy and courage to revenge his enemy. Ghairat and Mairrana are synonyms. The one not possessing Mairrana cannot protect his right in the tribe. Mairrana is the main element of Pashtunwali and the one known for Mairrana is greatly respected.
Any girl who leaves her father's house to search for a husband is called Mateeza. In particular sense, Mateeza is a girl who elopes wit hher finace before marriage. Mateeza is considered a bad woman, a vagrant. One will say that'Flankai sail di kawa, mateeza lare' meaning 'oh' miss so and so, you were around everyone and ran away as Mateeza. 

(inheritance) is the property of the dead one left to be distributed among legal heirs. Wife is not entoitled to Miras, but is herself a part of it. She must be married to her brother -in-law, or to her husband's Tarboor. Such a woman is called kunda (widow). There is proverb 'kunda de qam da' means the widow belongs to the tribe i. e. if there is no close heirs, then Miras goes to th tribe's mashar. The eldest son is the first Miras-khor heir and then any younger son. If the elder and the younger sons dispute over inheritance , it can be a a source of tribal enmity, continuing for a long time. Tribals give equal shares to son and nothing to widows and female heris out of heir inherited property. In some tribes. The eldest son gets comparatively more share that his brothers. This iscalled Mashri. In case the deceased is not survived by male issues, then his brothers or closest male collaterals inherit his prperty including the burden and cars of the widow and unmarried daughters if any. In case the deceased is survived by a minor son os sons, the widow becomes dependent on her brothers-in-law who may even take her in marriage in which case the minor son, on attaining age, is paid the marriage money. The nephews of the deceased will not e entitled to a share if thier father had died prior to his brother (the present deeased). This is known as pera by Mehsuds. Women are not entitled to inheritance. In Kurrum Agency the landd properties are mutated in daughters' names in the revenue record but not practically handed over. 

Meratha is an extreme form of enmity where all of the male memebers of a family including minors are killed, but women are left unhurt. As a common rule though not frequently, even women are saved, Pathans being brutal in vindicating thier enemies. The difference between Miratha and pagra is that in the former, women are not killed, but in the later, all including women are killed. In Waziers MIRATHA is called khay and satah. The tawan for miratha is great. It is one hundred thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand Afghanis plus 30 psoona to be killed and the house set on fire. In some places it may include expulsion of the offender from the tribe.
Mor means mother. Mother is respected and is second only to the father in the family hierarchy. In common usage an elder woman having children is called Mor by all. An insult to any elder woman is considered as insult to one's mother. A mother's complaint against her son to the tribal elders is accepted as truthful and proved without any further investigation, for it is suposed that the love of moter des not allow her to complain against her son without reason. Mother as a witness is not accepted in any event.
This term is used in 
KustAfghanistan. It means any married woman who is in love with someone other than her husband, having love affairs secretly and spending her husband money on her lover. The killing of Morezana is allowed in Narkh. The one killing his wife for this reason will not be nterrogated openly;only the Spin giereis for will interrogate him in secret. If the cause of the act is proved to be the aboved mentioned reason, the criminal act of the lover is automatically proved and he is immediately killed. His nanawate is not acceptable. 
Mrrina is murder and bloodshed. Premeditated killing is Mrrina. In Narkh, Mrrina is a serious criminal act which brings por upon the porawarey (the criminal) and a Tawan is to paid. The word is synonymons to marg which comes under the same code. Mrrina is paid for by Badal, but the relatives of the murdered one may grant paradon in case nanawate is done. 
A religious leader is called Mullah. He leads five times prayers and also namaz-i-Janaza including sermon at such occasions. Mullah accompanies nanawate as a Spin patkay. whne there is a hot quarrel between tribes, Mulayan put Quran on thier heads and run to the field of fight to bring about a truce. Sometimes Mullayan take part in Maraka and Jirga not as member, but as ons praying for success. In loya jirga (enlarged jirgas) teh Mullahs sit nearby. When verdict is anounced, the maraka will call for the Mullahs to pray for the successful enforcement of it. Mullah also superintends the khairats (charity) offered at the conclusion of marakas. 
Monkar is the one denying an act of offence. If one confesses tat he has committed the offence, the Tawan may be less than the Tawan for an offernce denied and latter proved. The more persistent the dential, the greater the tawan. Witnesses in the case will be first examined in Maraka for Jirga;in case of insufficient witnesses the accused must take oath. In this case the accused is called unguilty. 
Mlatarr means the one who cooperates. In common usage it means a body guard, any male member of the family who can use topak, a guard, a comrade-in-arms. An armed man under the command of an elder is also called Mlatarr. Lashkar is raised no the basis of Mlatarr. 
Mzaka means land in genral, but in particular it means agricultural plot of one man. In nomad tribes (the kochis) zmaka is warsho (the grazing port). Symbolically zmaka represents one's ancestors. If someone sells his zmaka, then the others will say that Da plar nikah haduki-ye- khars meaning he sold his father and grand father's bones which is pegor in Pashto. Witnesses are not accepted in disputes over zmaka;oaths are rather taken. Mzaka comes under namus, therefore the encroachment on someone's mzaka means encroachment on his Namus. Tribals symbolize with mor (mother) because zmaka is sacred to them. 

Nagha is a fine levied on an offender. The limits of the fine are determined in narkh. But if the offence is grave then narkhyan have the autority to determine how heavy the ngha shall be. For example the amount of nagha is known for cutting down forest trees and for thefts. The nagha for miratha , (killing all the male members of a family) is heavier. Not to pay nagha makes one liable for members nagha. The nagha for murder or miratha can be abated through begging pardon, but the tribal man will not do this for it is considered a disgrace for the whole tribe. 

Literally, namus means chatity but in common usage it means 'woman'. Guarding the chastity of women is guarding namus. Wife, mother, sister and daughter froms the sequence in the order of namus. Even a new born girl, still in the cradle, is included in the namus. Disrespect for someone's namus is a grave crime and cannot be paradoned at all. The oral insult to someone's namus brings charges of nagha and sharam. In the westerntribes the agricitural land is also considered namus. In this case namus implies great patriotism. All women of a Khel khana (plarina) are common namus;a cerntral point of tribal grade. Pashtuns say' maal de sara zar au sar da namusa' meaning ' scrifice wealth to save the head, sacrifice head to save namus'. 
Nanawate is the cermony of pardon begging, which occupies and important place in the pashtun's tribal customs. In every case, the par'h (blamed accused) sends nanawate to his opponent. Nanawate in he case of murder is very heavy. When one is killed, the killer shall send nanawate to the relatives of the killed and the later will honour nanawate as the narkh commands. No nanawate is acceptable in the case of an assault on namus i. e woman. 
For petty offences nanawate will be Spin patkey (mulla) taking as psa (sheep) to the plaintiff's house. For serious offences nanawate consists of sending sipn patkeyan (mullahs) , spin gieries and notables who carry psoona to the oppoenent's house. Tor saray (woman) also go to the opponent's house with Holy Quran on thier heads and implore his mercy through nanawate which is never rejected. In a case of murder, the killer is taken alongwith nanawate and put at the disposal of the relatives of the murdered whether to kill or paradon him. In such cases, the killer is usually pardoned. 
Narina refers to any male person or group of males. Naarina is the one possessing all the good qualities of Pakhtunwali__the one is who is generous, courageous militant, hopitable and so on. When recalling the ancestry, one will say 'pukhwani khalq tole naarina wo' meaning that all the people of the past were naarina. This explains the meaning underling the word Naarina. When one of both sides to a dispute express dis-satisifactionwith 'Maraka' or Jirga decree or take light its proccedings, one of the maraka or jirga memer replies 'Da Naarna-o-Jirga da' i. e. it is , Jirga of Naarina that is it may not be taken as joke and must be enforced. 
In simple terms, it means common customary law. Pakhtuns, covering penalties and punishment for all kinds of offences against the native customs, norms and traditions. It may simply, be called as Rewaj covering all norms of Pakhtuns society. No body in Pathan society is suposed to violate the rules of Narkh as contrarily, everybody's rights are fully protected. Some tribes have narkh of their own but the main standereds of all narkhs are similar. All known narkh is that of the Ahmadzais which consists of Esa narkh and Musa narkh of which the Esa narkh is very strict and precise. Narkh is a tribal law, and is binding on all members. Those refusing to obey narkh are refused tribal membership and rights. The Pakhtuns say" Da watana wooza kho de narkha ma wooza"meaning " you may leave your homeland, but you cannot leave the homeland narkh". This proverb explains the fact that Pakhtuns give utmost importance to the narkh. Tribal narkh is simple judicial system and serves the spiritual and material needs of the tribes. With the development of the tribes, narkh changes and an individual of influence may use narkh in his own favour through' maraka' and ' jirga'. In the Eastern and Southern provinces, every tribe has of the weathering away of its own. This difference indicates the process of the weathering away of the tribal life, nevertheless the two main narkhs prevail. The Ahmadzai Narkh and Razmak narkh do not only govern the judicial life of these people but other tribes refer to them for the settlement of thier disputes too. The area of the 'Ahmadzais Narkh' exends from Ghazni to Ningrahar including Laugar and some regions of Paktia province, and the 'Razmak Narkh' is in force in 
Waziristan and its surrounding areas. 
Nayee is the village barber. Nayee has low status in the tribal hierarchy. The village nobility pays him predetermined wage for the services he renders called Gand. Nayee has no equal rights compared to the members of the tribe. Nayan (plural of Nayee) are considered strangers. Their ancestry is unknown. In the Wesh system of Yousafzais, Nayan were also given a plot of land. This land was not subject to the Wesh system and was the permanent property of Nayan. 
Maraka or Jirga cannot be called in to hear the grievance of Nayan. Any village elder, even of no much repute, can hear such grievances.
Nika means grandfather. The ancestors of grandfather are called Nikan or Nikagan. Nika is sacred and respected in tribal life. The psha of a tribe is named after its Nika. Every tribe has legends about its Nikagan. Taking pride in the name of Nika is a common character of the tribal man. The sacred soul of Nika is prayed for to help in times of trouble. 
Marakas and Jirgas are held in the graveyard of the common Nika. A tribal man feels that his life is inseparable from that of his sacred Nika and therefore when acting on some important matter, will pray and call for help from the name of his Nika. Every family, psha, khel or tribe, respects Nika as a hero in metaphysical way. 
The word is dervied from Nika which literally means grandfather and is thus translated to mean hereditary rights and gebealogical filiation. The involves a set of laws or an organized system based on heredity which established the rights of each section down to the last sub-division and is rigidly adhered to by the tribesmen. It regulates the shares in benefits, awards, inams, services etc as recived from the goverment of derived as booty from a raid. It is infact the foundation on which the edifice of the rights of tribals is erected. As a result, no dispute or ill will exists among them as every one's share is fixed on the basis of Nikat. The reason why a tribe or a tappa has been possessing comparatively more share in profits, has its genisis in the manpower, weaponry, land etc which they contributed comparatively more than other tribes/khels during tribal wars, Qaumi Lashkars and on the occasion of Jehad etc against the infidels, in times of yore. 
Nmarrai means meal. In particular a meal served for marakacheyan is called nmarrai. This Marrai khuwaral does not mean the eating of a full meal but eating whatever is seved. Nmarrai like malga (salt) is sacred and Pashtuns swear by it. Spora nmarrai means dry meal and ghwara nmarrai is a fat meal. It is the charecter of a Pashtun to be thankful for a nmarrai served by another one and he considers himself bound to reciprocate. 
A bulk of disputes are adjudicated upon Holy Quran in the tribal areas. In case of doubt ot suspiction over a person involved in an offence, the accused is liable to be administered oath upon the Holy book to prove his innocence. In some cases, the accused, besides himself, is bound to produce a specific number of witnesses to swear on oath to absolve himself of the charge leveled against him. Tribales have a blind faith in Holy Quran because they know that the person showing readiness to swear does not at the risk of his Eeman' (faith) and religion. It is intresting to note that the Mali Khel section of Turis in Kurrum Agency if asked to swear on the Holy book, would, instead, make up the loss claimed but would avoid swearing on oath even if not guilty. 
One who denies the allegation of murder or usupation of another's rights has to take seven oaths. This act of taking seven oaths is called Owwa sara prekawal. Only those who are blood relations of the accused are to take oath. In a dispute over the land the maraka will demand the accused to go through owwa sara prekawal in which seven of his cousins or blood relatives will take part. Women do not take part in owwa sara prekawal.
It means casting lots. In Trakano , Momands and Yousafzai tribes, where land is redistributed according to the wesh system, pieces of land are demarcated and every one's piece is determind by pacha Achawal. In a place where sheep are owned in common, the wool sheared from sheep is allotted by pacha achawal. When one is drafted to military services, it is said, pacha-i-rakhatali da. which means his lot has come out. In rural areas the mullas (Muslim priests) cast lots on the meat they may have. In Yousafzai and Ranizai tribes of Malakand Division, the landed property owned by an individual pr tribe, is in terms of pacha which here means 'share'. 
To take someone in personal protection is called panah. Even if a notorious criminal or an outlaw asks for panah he will definitely be granted asylum and duly protected. It has happened many a times that a murderer after committing murder asked for panahfrom the family of the victim and they have him panah. During panah he enjoys equal rights and status but when he leaves thier house, he can be killed in revenge and his family cannot claim for any penalty of reward under the custom of badal (revenge). Different tribes are having different custom for giving panah. According to the custom of some tribes, panah sseker knots the edege of palao i. e. Parronai of a woman and only in this way, panah is granted to him. Azylum is not granted to the one accused of adutltery, i. e. having sexualt intercourse with a girl or woman. Such a man is called makhtori (literally meaning black faced). If the one under asylum is killed by his enemy, the grantor of the asylum has to take Por just as in the case of a member of his family.
This phrase litterally means putting rope around the neck. When a person of a tribe commits a grave offence against another and faears revenge that may be taken by one to whom he owes por, then be begs bakhana (pardon) by putting a rope around the neck, and presents himself in the form of nanawte. Parray pa gharra achawal symbolizes the fact that the man is in the sole possession of the one whose pardon is begged. At times this act is complemented by taking fodder in the mouth which symbloizes that he is a beast and can be slaughtered at once. When ever some one gets that low, he is necessarily granted' bakhana'. But very rarely a tribal person can be found to act so low. This is why the custom has now receded almost totally. 
It means lying down in the grave. If a killer, taking advantage of the people's unwareness, jumps in to the grave dug for the killed and lies down there, the heirs and the relatives of the killed must grant bakhana to the killer. This act is called pa qabar ke samlastal and connotes the same meaning as the act of da kat pkha newal i. e. holding the leg of the bedstead. Even in the case of intentional murder the killer tries to lie down in the grave to beg for bakhana. The heirs and relatives of the murdered pay great attention not to let the murdered avail opportunity to lie down in the grave. 
Palao, parronai and Tekray have one and the same meaning. All of these terms mean a shawl, which covers woman's head and face. In common usage, it connotes the pardon begged by a woman. When a man begs pardon then it is said' palao menz ke raghai' meaning palao intervened. And pardon is granted. 
In pashtun custom , and usage parronai is considered sacred and every body is duty bound to respect it under the narkh. When a woman puts palao over someone pursued by his enemy, the pursuers will not shoot him. They will say "palao-e-pe-woghwarawa", meaning she put palao over him'. If the opponenet shoots the man under palao he is liable to give nagha for disrespecting the palao. In ancient times, even the dacoits honouring parronai, used to avoid looting a carvan if there was any woman travelling with men. Even during a battle, if a woman protected someone, he was supposed to be forgiven. A woman begging pardon for someone will say" for the sake of my parronai pardon him" or ' pardon him for my parronai',Palao or ' Tekray' is also a symbol of dignity. The parrunai of a wrandar (brother's wife) is a unique term which means that protecting the dignity and honour of one's brother's wife is the responsibility of every brother. If during an informal meeting or during a formal Jirga, a woman asks to forgive someone, he is supposed to be forgiven or else it would be considered as dishonoring' parronai' and the offender will pay a fine fixed for this offence in some tribes. In the same way, if a woman guards someone under the "parronai" though most sinful or notorious criminal he may be, nobody will have the right to offened or killl him. If he is killed, the offender would have to pay to 'parrunai (i. e. woman) or Qaum , a fine fixed for this purpose. A person protected by a considered as disgraceful under the usual pashtun ego. 

Peghor means sarcasm. It implies shame too. In tribal language to accept peghor is to negate manliness. Peghor is the lot of all those who breach the tribal customs and usagees. Also it is the lot of par'h (guilty). When someone comes under peghor, he may migrateto some other place. If he remains where he is under peghor, he may get into a big fight should some one remind him of peghor. Peghor goes down through inheritance from generation to generation, in some casees down to the tenth generation. Peghor engendering from cowadice brings great shame to the guilty. 
The unit of te tribe that has common ancestral father (khpa). Those of common plarina have duties to guard the honour of each other. In tribal relations the basis of the closeness of relativeness starts from palrina upto khel and Tabar. In plarina the transfer of inheritance has particular importance which is regulated by the rules of narkh. 
When one having no son, brother or cousin dies, the inheritance left is distributed among the members of his plarina. The plarina of the one killed takes revenge and likewise may pardon a murderer. 
Its lieral meaning is debt in customary and usagees. It closely expresses tawan. Whoever commits an offence is liable to and must pay the corresponding por. It is a saying "por de bado barkha da" meaning por is the lot of the wrong doers which very well explains that whoever does a wrong, is liable to pay por. The proverb por pa warkrra khlasigi means 'debt is paid by giving it'. Por has determined limits in tribal customary law and usage. 
Poza prekawal means cutting nose. Poza prekawal is categorized as spin parrar. The offender is liable to pay tawan for it. In Ahmadzai's narkh the tawan for this crime is half that for murder. But the tawan for poza prekawal preceded by murder, is equal to the tawan for murder. Poza prekawal is synonymous to Buchay and Munjay. 
Prekrra means settlement. When a maraka and jirga reaches a decision to the satisfaction of both the parties to a sidpute, the settlement decree is called prekrra. Any breach of the prekrra has tawan which most often is to put his house on fire. The prekrra of greater importance is announced in the public for the information of all the members of the tribe. In offences of little consequence, the tawan for the non-acceptance of the prekrra is not to return the barampta. 
Psa means sheep. In pashtun's custom and usage psa warkawal i. e. giving a sheep and psa warwarral i. e. To take a sheep to someone, means to admit himself guilty before him and therefore to beg for pardon. It is the necessary stipulation of 'nanawate' (pardon for the convict) to take psa along with them. Sheep are necessarily killed in maraka, jirga and immolation. When nanawate or Jirga is mentioned, psa is invariably implied. 
PESHEMAN (or khpeman)
The word means penitent and sorry for. The one penitent for the offence he has committed, is called khpeman or psheman. Khpeman for the offence is granted bakhana or alternatively meted out with a light penalty. 
'pura pa pura' means equality or balance. When in a dispute or enmity the rival parties lay equal claims against each other, the jirga charges them with equal penalities. For example, when equal number of the men are killed on both sides of the warring parties, the jirga will decide that both parties will give equal number of girls in badal (i. e. exchange) to each other or the matter would be compromised on equal basis, that is, on the principle of pura pa pura. No penalty in other words is imposed on any of the two parties. When both sides are killed in duel it is pura pa pura. When both man and woman are killed in a duel it is pura pa pura.
No Qalang i. e. The system of forced tax exists in tribes, particularly in Wazirs and Masuds, as every body is fierce, aggressvie and powerful here.
Quran lwastal is to recite the verses of Quran. In some tribes it is a custom to open the Quran and read some verses from it wile taking the oath. That is why Quran Lostal means taking of oath. The reading of Quran over the head of dying person is also called Quran lostal. When it is said' Quran pre walwala' it means read Quran over his head so as to give up life with ease'.. 
Most pashtuns will recite SURA-I-YASIN over the head of the dying person to give up life with ease. During Jehad of Lashkar, the Quran is held high and people pass under it so as to succeed in fight and return home unharmed. 
In case where jhagh is made by th ehusband or a relative of the girl, the accused shall be liable to pay the por which varies according to the circumstances of the case. In case no jhagh is made then the girl need not suffer death or be handed over but instead, only sharam is paid to the party aggrieved. Even to rape is considered serious onslaught upon a Pathan's honour and is most often repaid in the form of death to the accused. 
Amongst T Turis tribe of Kurram Agency, the custom is that an amount of Rs. 85, 000 is paid as blood-money in addition to Rs. 85/- and one or two lambs. In eariler times in case of Tora, the woman's nos
e and the paramour's leg was t obe cut. This custom no longer exists. Today, only death is the panacea. SALAWATA
In tribal dispute when no one is left in a family except an unzealous, coward and unmanly heir, then the family is termed as salata. The tribals say that mirata kha da kho salawata bada da meaning "mirata is better than salawata"for in mirata every man, young or old , is killed and no one is left to keep the honor and prestige of the family. In salawata a heir is left who brings disgrace to the past prestige of the family. 
There are eight kheks in the Afridi tribe which are divided into two gunds. One of them is called samel. Samel is also ponounced as semel. Amongst the eight khels of Afridis, Malak DIN Khel, Zakha khel, Sepai, Aka khel and Kamar khel are members of samel.
Sarkhel is the mashar. Every 'kalay', every plarina , every khel and every tribe has a sarkhel. Sarkhel is very close to MIr in meaning. Sarkhel has the authority to call a maraka or Jirga. Sarkhel is a 
Kochi (nomad) word while mashar and Mir are words used among the settled Pathans. 
Sata like miratha, is an attack in which all male members of the family or khel under attack are killed and houses are put on fire. Sata is done in times of enmity and all kinds of weapons are used in it. Sometimes the women of the family or khel under the attack of sata are taken away. 
In the Momand and Yuosafzai tribes, serai-khwara are those people who have a premanent piece of land which are excluded from the wesh system. Sayeds, Mians, Mullahs, Akhunzadas, ahingars and nayan are serai-khwara. During the Mughal rule, nayan, trakanrs and ahingars were also included in the group.
Spay means dog. Dog is to watch his owner's house and belongings. That is why a dog has rights in narkh. No one shall kill any other's spay. If one does so, he is liable to por. The beating of a spay has tawan if not done in self defence. The stealing of a shepherd's dog has heavy tawan for such stealing implies harming the herd too. 
Spin gund is the opponent of tor gund. The terms have become popular in keeping with colour of the flag which the warring tribes used to fly during battles. The term tor and spin are commonly used in Marwats as each khel of this tribe has a separates social entity and each one takes pride of belonging to spin or tor gund. 
Spin patkey is a title for the mullah (the Muslim priest). A sayed or influential spin gierey is also called spin patkey. Spin patkeyan and psa are important components of nanawte. spin patkeyan serve in dispute too. When dispute gets too hot and at peak, then spin patkeyan will take Quran over thier heads and rush into the battle field to have it stopped. , and bring truce. In some places they will take katwai (cooking pots) over thier heads instead of Quran. The latter custom seems to be very ancient. 
When reasons for a certain accuation are obscure, then nonaligned people are called to take an oath and reveal the truth. Such people are called spin saruna. The spin saruna shall truthfully reveal whatever they know about the case. Any one concealing the truth or refusing to take oath to reveal the truth is considered assistant of the accused and is sentenced as such. Women can act as spin saruna. 
Staana means the God-favoured and holy. Sayeds and shahibzaadas are stana. All dead are stana. Sometimes a whole khel may be stana. Staana participate in nanawate and beg pardon for the guilty. 
Shamla is the upper end of the turban that stands erect over a Pathan;s head. Shamla connotes ghairat and mirrana. "Flankei the qaam shamla da" meaning Mr. so & so is the honour of the Qaam. Flankai da Qaam shamla khkatta krra means that Mr. so and so lowered down the shamla of his Qaam. Shamla here means Namus, honour. Insulting Shamla is calling names to someone and the ofender is liable to pay sharam. Da shamley khawand metaphorically means a noted, or a respectable person. The quality of respectability, ghairat and mairrana for a Pakhtun is also reflected from the following vers of pashtu poet, Khushal khan khattak but he has used the word Dastar (turban) for shamla, 
meanong "countless are the persons who keep turban on the heads, but few are the persons who are worth of keeping turbans on their heads. 
Sharam litterally means shame. In tribal customs and usagees it is a payment made by par'h (i. e. guilty) to his opponent. Mostly sharam is given for moral offences such as insulting a woman, disgraceing a maraka member or rejeceting nanawate or not houoring parrunai (women who begs pardon) etc. Money or psa is given in sharam. Sharam has no common standard in narkh; two or three spin giereys may determine it. One who refuses to pay sharam, may be forced to pay nagha as well as sharam.
This is a particular jirga convoked, usually by the offender or his representatives to seek a negotiated settlement of a quarrel or feud arising out of sharam relating to a woman. Compensation is agreed upon, sheep may be given, a daughter may be offered in marriage and so on. Daughter in this sens is termed as swara. When a jirga recovers compensation of this sort from the person delared as guilty, it is said they haverecoverd sharmana. 
SHKANZA (or kanzal)
Shkanza is 'name calling and abusing. The Zaziz call it ziarre. Shkanza is an offence and the offender of such an offence must pay sharam which difffers as to the age and social position of the offendered. Skanza to an unacquainted woman is the worst of such an offence. Shkanza to a woman and old man has a heavy sharam. In such cases the maraka pays great attention to the age and social position of the one so abused. 
In Afridi tribes Shuka means to rob a traveler of his belonging by force without wounding him. Shuka is an offence and punishable according to narkh. Shuka is considered a petty offence and that is why in customs and usages Nagunah tawan is levied on the offender plus Da laarey sharam, for in such a case, the safety of the laar (way , path , road) is disturbed. When a part of shuka is found in someone else's house, he is considered an accomplice and is punished under the customary law. 
Sur-lassai means a muderer. Every sur-lassai is liable to pay a por. The por can be sealed through nanawate. If sur-lassai escapes, every member of his family is porawarray and the heir of the murdered one may avenge any one of them. The validity time of granting refuge to a sur-lassai is for two years after which he shall leave;otherwise the granter of the refuge is considered an enemy by the opponenets. 
Syal means rival and syali is rivalry. To have equal prestige with a syal is very important in tribal life and is an indication of zeal and pride. Tarbroona (tarbooran) are the syalan of each other. In syali every syal tries not to remain behind his syal, both socially and economically. Neighbours are syals in hospitality. syali means a feeling to be superior over his fellow-beings. 
Tabar is a social formation of a group of khels into one unit. Tabar has come into being through the process of the development of a tribe under specific social conditions. Tabar has the authority to call for the jirga of relevant khels. Abdalis, marwat etc are the large tabars of the Pakhtun tribe. A tribal formation developed into the khel gives birth to tabar.
Tak means tribal territorial boundaries of each khel. Anyone encroaching on the tak is liable to pay tawan. Every one is duty bound respect tak. And whenever brid is done on tak, every member of the khel is duty bound to defend it by means of arms. In common usage encroachment of tak connotes encroachment upon rights. Tak is most commonly used in connection with warsho (grazing land of a khel). The warsho of every khel is well demarcated. The demarcation line is called karkha i. e. line. Encroachment on tak has tawan and the encroacher is called parr. 
Tap means injury and is of two types, tor tap (black injury) is the injury done to the covered parts of the body such as chest, belly, shoulders etc, and spin tap (white injury) is the injury done to the uncovered parts of the body such as ears, nose, eyes etc. The tawan for tap depends on the part of the body injured and the material or the weapons by means of which injury is inflicted. Tawan is determined in narkh (i. e. customary law). The tawan for spin tap is greater than for the tor tap. The standard tawans are well defined in the Ahmadzai Narkh, particularly Wazirs and Mehsuds. 
One having share in a common inheritance is called tarboor. Its plural is tarbooran. Relatives of the same khpa are called tarbooran. The cousin is also a tarboor. Rivalry with tarboor is a common charecter of the tribal Pathans but each one will help the other, when in enmity with someone from another plarina. The proverb goes badd tarboor pa bada wraz pakaregi meaning that Tarboor even if enemy, helps in need. 
Tarla is the daughter of uncle. In a tribe society, every women is the tarla of every man of the same tribe. A man's manliness can be proved when his tarla accepts him. This term is very common in the Kakar tribe and has important and mythical place amongst them. Tarla have special songs to keep th emorale of the tarboor, which are called kakarai ghare. 
Literally tawan means loss, harm, damge. In tribal customary law it is a payment for por. Whoever commits an offence is liable to por for which he has to pay the tawan stipulated in the relative narkh. Por is a convivtion and tawan is its compensation. Nagha and sharam are two types of tawan each one of which is meted out for a certain por according to narkh. In cases where tawan for a por is not stipulated in narkh, the Jirga has the authority to specfy it. This stipulation of tawan is also called narkh. If it is not accepted by a party to a dispute, he is called kog (bent to one side'not obedient). 
If the thief is caught red-handed or guilt proved upon him b way of enquiry, evidence etc, then the thief becomes liable to return the stolen articles (or equivalent to their price). Besides cash, penalty as fixed by the elder is to paid separely. 
The punishment for robbery, burglary, arson, cutting crops and damaging ttrees in a garden, is payment of compensation amounting to the value of the loss or damage, which is determined by a tribal jirga sworn to on oath by the person injured, in addition to fine which the jirga may consider proper under the cricumstance. 
This is a sort of truce which is enforced upon the combating parties for a specified period in order to dissociate them from fighting between them, holding in abeyance their mutual jealousies and to avoid a bigger combat between them. 'Teega' literally means a stone which is fixed at a certain place across which both the combating parties make pledges to have no concern with life or property of the opposite party till the time a permanent settlement is carved out. Teega, in other words, is a temporary truce in a feud arranged by a tribal jirga or the jirga arranged by the goverment which is symbolized by the setting out of a Teega. 
Teega matawunkay means ' the stone breaker' but in tribal custom it means the one who breaches the provisions of Teega. Anyone not obeying the Teega decided upon by jirga among the warring tribes, will be punished heavily. The starting punishment is to set his house on fire. sometimes Teega Matawunkay may be punished by expulsion from the tribe. No party to a teega even if temporary can breach it except upon a notice from the other side. Such Teega becomes ineffective upon the expiry of its validity times. The tribes that do no obey the provision of Teega are called Tige Matawunki which is a badrepute.
Tekray akhistal means the taking away of shawl of a woman. Whoever takes away the shaal of a woman or an unmarried girl, takes the risk of enmity of her relatives and must pay tawan as sharam or do Nanawate. The taking away of the Tekray of a married woman is considered a great followed by enmity and even death. 
Toigh or Togh means the expenses of maraka. It also means the act of contributing toward the living expenses of another one by the members of khel or plarina etc. The amount contributed is also called Toigh. All members of the plarina will share in Toigh. If only one person pays the expenses it is called Khairat. Both terms are most common amongst the Zadran tribe. In some cases the Jirga will take months to settle a certain dispute. During this time toigh may result in great and unbearable expenses to both sides. The Marakacheyan who do not settle a dispute for a long time are called Toigh khwara (toigh eaters) which is bad name. The Marakacheyan therefore try to settle the dispute as quickly as they can. 
Tol means weight and to weigh but in the tribal judicial systems it means law. Tol and Narkh are synonyms, both meaning a custom, rewaj of customary law. Only the Narkhyan well acquainted with the tribal Narkh can sit in jirga. when the term Tol is used for necessarily have to belong to the nobility, but must know the Narkh and Tol.
Topak means rifle. In tribal custom, a Topak is sacred because they swear by Topak. Topak is usually given for baramptha. An insult to Topak means one liable to pay nagha. The first thing the father of a new born male child does, is to bang a topak over his bed. This topak will be the revered one for the family. When a man engaged to a girl is away from home for a long time, the girl wil be wedded to his topak and taken to the husband's family where she will live until her husband returns. Such a wedlock to a topak of a Pakhtun women, shows her extreme faithfulness to her husband during his absence. 
Tor gund and spin Gund are opposing social groups of Pakhtun tribes. Mangal, Zazi, Mandozi, Chamkani and Maqbal of the karlani tribes, Tota khel, kharoti, Andar, Baozi and Sahak of the Ghaljai tribe, and Esak khel and Ghuzni khel of Marwat tribes are Tor gundis. 
Tor gund has limited and enlarge maraka in which the relationships with spin gund is reviewed and unity among the gund is strengthened. 
Torra is one of the marriage custom of Pathans. It is also a specific amount given to a tribal elder by non-tribal residing with him as hamsaya. It is paable at the time of Rukhsati (actual departure of the bride from the parent's house). It is also the amount payable to the bridegroom's father by his friends and collegus after arrival of the dooly, in order to enable him meet his partial marriage erpenses. A proper register is maintained to keep such accounts. 
The word ' Tora' means any woman labeled with charge of illegal sexual intercourse. While pronouncing Tora stress is laid on 'T' while in Torra, stress is on the "R", IT is only pronounciation that elucidates the difference. 
The word literally means ' Black Thief. IF a person is proved guilty by way of inquiry or direct evidence even after administering of oath on the Holy Quran, he becomes known by the name of Tor Ghal. Such a culprit, if he apologies and turns penitent, is liable to pay por as well as sharam to the person aggrieved. 
Tor sare literally means ' black headed ' and refers to woman. In some tribes when Tor Sare is sent on nanawate the accused is granted pardon necessarily, according to Narkh. Figuratively every woman can be called Tor sare. When a woman's hair turn gray, she is called spin sare. No matter how great the offence, pardon is granted through nanawate of a woman, But sending a woman on nanawate is humilitaing to the tribal pride.
Tra means uncle and Wrara means nephew. They are not friendly, for often tra encroaches upon the rights of Wrara, particularly when it comes to dividing an inheritance. At times tra will be at daggers drawn with his nephew for no cause of reason. The proverb " Khodai khabar dai, tra wal-e kafar dai" meaning , God knows why uncle has become my enemy, well explains the relationships ot Tra and Wrara. Figuratively every elder of the tribe is called Tra. After the death of the father, Tra is the executor of his estate, independently of the dead one's will. Tra also has authority over the dead brother's widows, and has some rights in the properties of his dead brother. 
Trabganey is the cut-throat rivalry and enmity among members of the same plarina. Somtimes the area of Trabganey is enlarged to involve two or more in Trabganey. In some cases the causes of Trabganey between two tribes are not known as the Trabganey may have come down through generations by inhertance. In some cases the causes of trabganey are even mythological. 
The word means sword. Figuratively it means courage. Turzan is courageous. Possessing Tura means being courageous and warrior. Tura is sacred and disrespect for it makes one liable to pay nagha. One swears by Tura. If someone is engaged to a girl and is away from home his family can get the girl married to a Tura as with Topak. After the ceremony of such marriage the family of her husband takes the girl along. She lives there until her husband returns. When a coourageous act for guarding the grace of the tribe is done, it is said that Tura-i- wakrra i. e. he did Tura. The cover of Tura is called Teki. The meaning of a common Pashto proverb is " Dont take tura of its teki'but once you do, it must be reddened". 
' Wadha ' means marriage. Each and every male and female member of the society has the rights to marry only under the rules set up by the tribe. A man can marry any adult girl but if she is already engaged to someone else, the question of engagement does not arise as it is considered a serious assult against namus. If this is done without the prior knowledge about the girls engagement then the man has to divorce the girl and give another girl to the tarboor (cousins and distant cousins) of the man engaged to the said girl. Forced marriage with the widow of a family member, mostly to younger brother is legitimate under " Narkh". If a man is outside his tribe and no one knows about his whereabouts, his parents or relatives have the right to bring the girl by force to their home. However majority of the tribes resist this attempt even to the risk of stark animosity as she is considered to be their property with no interference from without. A custom also prevails that an engaged girl whose expected husband is far away or his whereabouts unknown, may be wedded to his Topak or Tora and may be taken to the house of her husband;s relatives. 
Every tribe has it's own flags, having thier own colours demonstrated collectivelly by Lashkar. In the past these flags were flown at the time of any peril against a common enemy, or during a holy war (jihad). One such war flag flown by Umara khan of Jandul during siege of chitral in 1895, is lying in the mess of Chitral Scouts. They were common in British period. Now a days, warflags have almost vanished. 
Waak is the opinion given by rival parties to maraka or Jirga to settle a dispute. When someone gives his Waak to a Maraka or Jirga, it is called Da waak Maraka or Da Wak JIrga. The sentence of the Waak Maraka or Waak Jirga is irrevocable and all parties have to obey it. Waak is given by both sides of the case under hearing. When someone is persuaded against his own will, it is said (wak-ye-pradai dai) i. e. his will belongs to someone else. 
The maxim means putting fodder in one's mouth, i. e. To beg forgiveness. This is a customary cermony that a defeared one will perform in presenting himself to the victor. When a tribe is defeated in a fight its elders take fodder in their mouth and present themselves to the elders of the victor tribe. To really carry out such a cermony is very humiliating. Hence seldom seen. In the earlt stages of tribal life a weaker tribe used to perform such a cermony to save themselves from the attack of the stronger tribe. History has recorded many cases of the rebelious being presented to the king with fodder in his mouth. The peghor of such a cermony hoes down to the generations of a tribe whose forefathers performed the humiliating act of taking fodder in their mouth. 

Walja means booty. It is not contrary to the custom to take booty from the enemy. However, taking booty from one's enemy in the same tribe is contrary to the regional narkh. If one steals the belongings of a passer-by, it is not walja. Taking undue walja has tawan in narkh.

Wesh means distribution. The Momand and Yousafzai tribes, in the land distribution law of Shiekh Mili, use term in a specific way. According to this law, land is redistributed among the tribe members once in every ten years. This ten years cyclic distribution of land is called wesh. 
Wesh is very old custom, coming into existence when nomadic life gave way to settled agircultural life. We know from history that the ancient nomads fostered the wesh system from the very beginning upto the dawn of state institute. In the 15th century AD Shiekh Mili brought the wesh system into a new code of law which he called Daftar code. From then on, the ten year cyclic wesh system came into being. Shiekh Mili was a Yousafzai of the Khashi tribe who came to kabul from Qandahar and thence went on to peshawar. Sheikh Mili had great influence over this tribe which enabled him to bring into being his ten year cyclic wesh system. Mnay strygled against Shiekh Mili's ' Daftar" accusing him of inerference in God's working. When objective conditions were favourable to the development and consolidation of private property developed, the wesh system vanished by and by. Mr. Khushal khan khattak, the famous Pashto poet says:" There are two things in Swat
That exist either secretly or openly. 
One is the Treasure of Akhun Darwiza
And the other, the DAftar of Shiekh Mili". 
The wesh system is inherited from ancient Arya tribes, for it was in force over a vast area during the time of Alexander the Great. A detailed acount of wesh is reflected in my book on " MARWATS". 
Wisa means trust. Those who participate in marakas and jirgas are given wisa on behalf of their tribes who would then be trusted accordingly. This term is used frequently in the " Waak maraka". For example, both sides of the case will be asked whether they have wisa of their own and whether they have wisa in maraka. When they answer to both in the affirmative, then maraka is convened.
The one who loses wisa may have hard time to live among his tribe. In the Aryan cast system, wisa is the class carrying a third class status in the hierarchy after Brahman and Kishtury. 
Wraka means things stolen or lost. All the village people assist one in finding his wraka. With the permission of the village elders, the wraka may be looked for in the house of any one suspected for stealing. However, if wraka is not found there, the one looking out for his wraka, must pay sharam to the house owner. If the Wraka is found in the complainant's own house, then he has to pay sharam to Jirga along with the Tawan to the person unduly suspected. IF the suspicion was deliberate to ashame someone, then the tawan is very heavy and a nanawate has also to be sent to jirga apart from paying sharmana. 
Yarghal means attack by swarming up the opponents. yarghal is usually an attack without a prior notice. Famlies or tribes engaged in enmity will assign guards to call for chigha to push back the yarghal intended. Those doing yarghal are called yarghalgar. The captured yarghalgars are either killed or after putting a nanawate on them, are released alive. yarghal is mostly done at night, but during the fights, it is made t day time. 
The word means to mortgage a person; to give someone in liue of. According to professor Rasheed of Afghanistan, yarghamaal is a Turkish word andd means ' someone in trust'. 
when prekrra is arrived at the end of the fight between the two tribes resulting in nagha, there will be some provisional stipulations to be complied with by both sides. To trust each other in this provisional period, each side will gave the other some persons in trust-guarantee called yarghamaal. The British used to obtain one or two persons, mostly maliks as yarghamaal from a particular tribe in liue of fullfilling certain obligations through the Maliks concerning law and order or matters of national importance or ensuring truce etc. 
Zairay means good news or bringing good news. The one seeing the moon on the first night of the month of Eid, will call upon the village people and give zairay to them. In return, every one of the village people shall give him small cash or sweats. The word as such also denotes some inaam given in liue of bringing a good news which may be in cash or kind. In tribal life, the zairay of a new-born baby or his mother and sisters etc with words as, zairay me darbande i. e. i have brought a good news to you. And the one reciving such a news, is bound to give him inaam.
This is the amount recived by the Jirga from the offender as a result of bodily hurt caused to the complainant and paid to him as compensation. In waziristan, loss of one hand or one leg, is considered to be 1/4th of murder. The zakhmana for murder being Rs. one lakh. However this can be increased ot decreased according to the nature and circumstances of the case. The loss of one tooth attracks zakhmana of Rs. 300/-. The case may geerally be compounded and compensation made keeping in view the nature of the offence, intention involved and the circumstances under which offence was comitted.
When provisional Teega is effected, one or more families from each side give each other a pledge-bond. Those giving the pledge -bond are called zamingary who then superintend and implement the Teega (truce). Any one harming zamingary is liable to pay tawan. Any side accusing the zamingary of prejudice, has to prove it.
Zena means adultery, i. e. having sexual intercourse with woman without being married to. In the case of zena both man and woman are to be killed. An eye-witness husband of zena has the right to kill both his wife and the man. In such a case he does not become porawarrey either to his wife's or the man's relatives. Maraka or Jirga cannot be called in for zani and his nanawate is not accepted. He has only one punishment and that is, to be killed. 
If zani woman runs away from her husband house to his father's or brother's, the father or brother, whatever the case may be, shall kil her; otherwise he shall hand her over to her husband to kill.
Zere is spy-money, which is paid by a person to trace stolen property, or get a clue to the offender. The name of the reciver of zere is generally kept secret to avoid his getting into truble. The amount varies according to the value of the property stolen. zere rarely offered in petty cases of theft. 
Ziarre, shkanza and kanzal are different dialects of the same word which means insulting a man by calling names. Nobody shall insult another person in obscene words like ziarre. If one does so, he shall pay sharam. Ziarre to a woman implies to disgrace and disrespect her family. The one accused for this, shall send a nanawate to the man agrieved. Ziarre to spin gierey and maraka or jirga members, makes one liable to pay for sharam and nanawate. 
Ziarat is the graveyard of a tribe's ancestors. Also it is a holy grave that has the miracle power to enable one achieve what he wishes in case he appeals to the grave spirit. Ziarat is a holy place and hence the jirgas and marakas are convened therearound. Par'hs (guilty) are pardoned for the sake of ziarat. Each tribe has a ziarat of their nikahgan (ancestors). 
The Musa Darwesh Ziarat in Wazir is well-known where great tribal Jirgas are convened. Flags of different colours are usually put high over the tomb of a ziarat. 
Afghanistan  Population 
The last official census in Afghanistan was in 1979, when the population registered at 15,551,358. The 1993 population estimate was 17,691,000, though the effect of the war-with its casualties and refugees-has made it difficult to make a reliable estimate.

In 1979 more than 85 percent of the population lived in rural areas, with about 15 percent in urban settings. Of the urban dwellers, probably about half lived in Kabul, the capital city. The nomadic population was estimated to be about 2.5 million people. During the war with the Soviets the number of Afghan refugees outside the country escalated dramatically, with as many as 2.5 million to 3 million refugees in Pakistan and another 1.5 million in Iran. About 150,000 Afghans were able to migrate permanently to other countries, including the United States, Australia, and various European countries.

Afghanistan has a population growth rate of about 2.6 percent. The growth rate is 2.3 percent in rural areas and 4.7 percent in urban areas, reflecting migration to urban centers. In the beginning of the civil war, the population of Kabul swelled to 2 million people because of the extensive fighting in the countryside. Now that situation has reversed because much of Kabul has been destroyed by rocket attack and other combat. Afghanistan's infant mortality rate is the highest in the world; as many as 38 percent of all newborn children do not survive beyond their first birthday.

A more recent  population estimate is 25,838,797 (July 2000)

Way Of Life

Although the Afghan population is composed of many distinct ethnic groups, certain elements of their way of life are much the same. Characteristically, the family is the mainstay of Afghan society. Extremely close bonds exist within the family, which consists of the members of several generations. The family is headed by the oldest man, or patriarch, whose word is law for the whole family. Family honor, pride, and respect toward other members are highly prized qualities. Among both villagers and nomads the family lives together and forms a self-sufficient group. In the villages each family generally occupies either one mud-brick house or a walled compound containing mud-brick or stonewalled houses. The same pattern prevails among the nomads, except that tents replace the houses.

Settlements in Afghanistan with less than 100 houses number over 10,000 and those with 100 to 250 houses number about 1000. There are 53 urban centers that range in size from 2500 to 25,000 people. In the smaller villages there are no schools, no stores, nor any representative of the government. Each village has three sources of authority within it: the malik (village headman), the mirab (master of the water distribution), and the mullah (teacher of Islamic laws). Commonly a khan (large landowner) will control the whole village by assuming the role of both malik and mirab.

Baggy cotton trousers are a standard part of the Afghan villager's costume. The men wear long cotton shirts, which hang over their trousers, and wide sashes around their waists. They also wear a skullcap, and over that, a turban, which they take off when working in the fields. The women wear a long loose shirt or a high-bodice dress with a swirling skirt over their trousers; they drape a wide shawl about their heads. Many women wear jewelry, which is collected as a form of family wealth. When urban women leave their houses they usually wear a burka or shadier, a long tentlike veil that covers them from head to foot. Women in villages seldom wear the burka, and educated urban women discarded the custom, especially under Soviet domination where it was regarded as backward.

The diet of most Afghan villagers consists mainly of unleavened flat bread called nan, soups, a kind of yogurt called mast, vegetables, fruit, and occasionally rice and meat. Tea is the favorite drink.

Village men work in the fields, joined by the women during the harvest. Older children tend the flocks and look after the smaller children. The village mosque is the center of religious life and is often used as the village guest house.

Twice a year groups of nomads may pass through villages on their routes from summer highland grazing grounds to the lowlands where they camp during the winter. The villagers traditionally permit the nomads to graze their animals over the harvested fields, which the flocks fertilize by depositing manure. The nomads buy supplies such as tea, wheat, and kerosene from the villagers; the villagers buy wool and milk products from the nomads. For food and clothing, the nomads depend on the milk products, meat, wool, and skins of their flocks; for transportation they depend on their camels. Nomadic women are freer and less secluded than the village women.

A favorite sport in northern Afghanistan is a game called buzkashi, in which teams of horsemen compete to deposit the carcass of a large headless calf in a goal circle. Afghans also play polo and ghosai, a team sport similar to wrestling. The most important holiday in Afghanistan is Eid and Nowruz, or New Year's Day, which is celebrated on the first day of spring.


The culture of Afghanistan reflects its ancient roots and position as a crossroads for invading ethnic groups and traditions. Little the Afghans make is unattractive; even common grain bags to carry produce to market are often embroidered to make them more beautiful. A camel caravan of nomads often looks like a circus parade, with the animals decked out in woven finery. The Islamic traditions of fine calligraphy and graphic arts are evoked in the fine filigreed flourishes that decorate many buildings. Poetry and poets are revered. Although the people of Afghanistan may have been sorely stressed by centuries of warfare and a difficult environment, their arts have prospered nonetheless.



Afghan National Sport (Buzkashi)

Buzkashi, which literally translated means "goat grabbing" is the national sport of Afghanistan. Many historians believe that Buzkashi began with the Turkic-Mongol people, and it is indigenously shared by the people of Northern Afghanistan. There are two main types of Buzkashi, Tudabarai and Qarajai. Tudabarai is relatively simple compared with Qarajai, even though they share similar objectives.

In Buzkashi, a headless carcass is placed in the center of a circle and surrounded by the players of two opposing teams. The object of the game, is to get control of the carcass and bring it to the scoring area. Although it seems like a simple task, it is not. Only the most masterful players, (called chapandaz) ever even get close to the carcass. The competition is fierce, and the winner of a match receives prizes that have been donated by a sponsor. These prizes range from money, to fine turbans and clothes. In order for someone to become a chapandaz, one must undergo a tremendous amount of difficult training. In fact, the best chapandaz, are usually over the age of forty. Buzkashi, is definitely not a game for the weak.

The players are not the only ones who undergo arduous training; the horses that participate in buzkashi must train for five years before ever making it to the playing field. Buzkashi, is indeed a dangerous sport, but intensive training and excellent communication between the horse and rider can help minimize the risk of injury.

The different types of Buzkashi: Tudabarai & Qarajai

In Tudabarai, in order to score, the rider must obtain possession of the carcass and then carry it away from the starting circle in any direction. The rider must stay free and clear of the other riders.

In Qarajai, the task is much more complex. The player must carry the calf around a marker, and then return the carcass to the team's designated scoring circle.

In each version of the game, points are awarded for successfully completing the task of getting control of the carcass, and getting it to the proper scoring area. The winner of each match receives prizes which have been put up by a sponsor. The top prizes are usually money, or fine clothes.

To many Afghans, Buzkashi is not just a game, it is a way of life; a way in which teamwork and communication are essential to being successful.





II. Historical Background

Before it all started, the city was very much intact.  It was surprising to me that it was so intact.  Afterwards, of course, it was all destroyed.
—Jeremy Bowen, correspondent with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), discussing fighting in Kabul between mujahedin factions after the fall of the Soviet-backed government in 1992.5

The history of modern armed conflict in Afghanistan began in April 1978, when Soviet-backed Afghan communists took control of the government in a coup, overthrowing the president of Afghanistan, Muhammad Daoud Khan, the cousin of Afghanistan’s former king, Zahir Shah, who was earlier overthrown in a bloodless coup by Daoud in 1973.6

The “Saur Revolution” (named for the Afghan calendar month when it occurred) went badly from the start.  The communists who seized power in Kabul consisted of two opposed political parties—Khalq and Parcham.7  Each had little popular support, especially outside of Kabul and other main cities, and many segments of the country’s army and police opposed the coup.

The new government soon came to be dominated by a ruthless Khalq leader, Hafizullah Amin, who sought to create a communist economy in Afghanistan virtually overnight through purges, arrests, and terror.  An insurgency was launched against the new regime, and in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to support the failing revolution and government, and installed a new leader from the Parcham party, Babrak Karmal. 

But it was too late to put down the insurgency, which was already well-advanced and widespread.  The rebels included former officers and troops of the Afghan military, members of exiled Islamist groups in Pakistan and Iran, and militias of numerous other disgruntled political groups.  Loosely allied under a common theme—defenders of Islamic and Afghan values against Soviet occupation and ideology—these diverse parties enjoyed widespread support within and outside Afghanistan.  They came to be known as “the mujahedin” and their battle as “the jihad.” 

There was never any real unity between the mujahedin parties: some were openly hostile and occasionally fought battles with each other.  But for most of the 1980s, the mujahedin groups—with the indispensable support of the United States, as well as the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, and Pakistan—fought an effective and often brutal guerrilla war against Soviet and Afghan national forces, attacking convoys, patrols, arms depots, government offices, airfields, and even civilian areas.  The Soviet and Afghan national armies, for their part, regularly attacked or bombed mujahedin bases and villages, and harshly suppressed mujahedin organization and other anti-government activities.  Much of the countryside became a battle zone in the 1980s.

The war had terrible effects on civilian life in Afghanistan.  Both sides regularly committed serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. The Soviets often targeted civilians or civilian infrastructure for military attack, and government forces under their control brutally suppressed the civilian population.  Mujahedin forces also committed abuses and violations, targeting civilians for attack and using illegal methods of warfare.8  It is estimated that well over one million people were killed by conflict and violence during the Soviet occupation and over seven million people were displaced from their homes.9

Militarily and financially exhausted, and spurred on by perestroika, the Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. It continued to support the Kabul government, which was now headed by Najibullah, a former head of Afghanistan’s Soviet-trained intelligence service, KHAD.10 

The Afghan nation, however, had been shattered by communist rule and Soviet occupation.  By 1989 approximately one-fifth of its population had fled abroad and much of Afghanistan’s rural infrastructure was destroyed.  The cohesion of the Afghan nation and concepts of national identity were severely compromised, and there were deep social, ethnic, religious, and political divisions within and between the existing regime and mujahedin parties.  

The conflict also filled the country with weapons.  Afghanistan was not particularly militarized in the late 1970s, when the communist coup took place.  The mujahedin in 1979 were severely under-equipped to fight a standing Soviet army, and the communist Afghan government was severely disorganized and poorly outfitted.  All that changed.  In the 1980’s, the United States and Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent Iran and China, allocated an estimated $6 to $12 billion dollars (U.S.) in military aid to mujahedin groups, while the Soviet Union sent approximately $36 to $48 billion of military aid into the country to support the government.11  (Pakistan, where some of the mujahedin parties set up exile headquarters, arranged large military training programs for the mujahedin and controlled how much of the Saudi and U.S. assistance was delivered.)  During the 1980’s, Afghanistan likely received more light weapons than any other country in the world, and by 1992 it was estimated that there were more light weapons in Afghanistan than in India and Pakistan combined.12

Despite the Soviet withdrawal, through 1989-1991 battles between mujahedin and government forces continued.  The mujahedin parties made few attempts at compromise, and Najibullah stubbornly refused to step down as his power eroded.  The mujahedin—deeply divided with historical rivalries and religious, ethnic, and linguistic differences—also increasingly began to fight among themselves as they took more territory from the government.  The U.S. government began to turn its attention away from Afghanistan, even as it, along with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, continued to arm mujahedin forces.  The Soviet Union continued its support for Najibullah.  There were few international efforts to mediate to prevent the increasing fragmentation of armed groups in Afghanistan.  Peacemaking efforts were mostly put in the hands of the U.N. Secretary-General’s office, which lacked the political clout to force the parties to compromise.  The war—increasingly a multi-party civil war—went on.

A Soviet soldier in a military parade
in Kabul marking the start of the pullout of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1988.
© 1988 Robert Nickelsberg

President Najibullah, the last Soviet-backed leader of Afghanistan. Formerly the head of Afghanistan’s Soviet-trained intelligence agency, KHAD, Najibullah retained power for four years after the Soviet withdrawal. He agreed to resign in March 1992, three months after the Soviet Union cut off assistance to his government. He was killed by the Taliban in 1996. © 1990 Robert Nickelsberg

The disunity among the mujahedin—a key obstacle to peace-making efforts—was aggravated throughout this period by the continuing policy of the United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia to give a disproportionate amount of military assistance to one particular mujahedin party: the Hezb-e Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.13  Through the 1980’s, Hekmatyar received the majority of assistance from these countries, and in 1991, the CIA (with Pakistani support) was still channeling most U.S. assistance through Hekmatyar—including large shipments of Soviet weapons and tanks the United States captured in Iraq during the first Gulf War (weapons used by Hekmatyar later to attack Kabul in 1992-1996).14  Unity among the different mujahedin groups was made especially difficult because of Hekmatyar’s constant demands for a disproportionate share of power in a post-Najibullah government, and the resentment and hatred toward Hekmatyar in other parties, who believed they had fought against Soviet forces just as decisively as Hezb-e Islami (if not more) and with less assistance.15  As the Soviet Union collapsed, there were increasing signs that the war it started in Afghanistan would last for a long time, even as the regime it supported collapsed.

*      *      *      *      *      *

In September 1991, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed to a reciprocal cut-off in funding and assistance to Najibullah’s government and mujahedin forces respectively, starting January 1, 1992.  At this point, it was clear to all parties that the government’s days were numbered.  Whole sections of Afghanistan, including areas on the Pakistan border, were already in the hands of mujahedin factions, and without Soviet support the Najibullah government’s grip on Kabul was loosening.16 

Mujahedin leaders, however, were still in disagreement about a post-Najibullah power-sharing plan.  Through the spring of 1992, the United Nations, along with Saudi and Pakistani officials, worked with major Sunni and Shi’a parties to fashion an agreement.

On March 18, 1992, under strong pressure from the United States and Pakistan (via the United Nations), Najibullah agreed to resign as head of state as soon as a transitional authority was formed.  He appeared on Afghan television to make the announcement.17  The next day, the government’s main military leader in the north, General Rashid Dostum, defected from the government and agreed to form a coalition force with commanders from the Wahdat and Jamiat forces.  This unified force then took control of the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif and surrounding areas.18  With the border of Pakistan already held by other mujahedin forces, Kabul was now effectively surrounded. 

As the Afghan New Year of 1371 began at the spring equinox—March 21, 1992—it was clear that the communist era was over in Afghanistan, but it was unclear whether 1371 would be peaceful.  The government in Kabul stood, as the U.N. continued to try to work out a post-Najibullah power sharing plan.

On April 10, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali presented a plan to the mujahedin parties, which they in turn approved, to form a “pre-transition council composed of impartial personalities” to accept formal sovereignty from Najibullah and then convene a shura (traditional Afghan council) in Kabul to choose an interim government.19  The plan was for the U.N. to fly the council—mostly elder exiled community and tribal leaders—into Kabul the night of April 15 and then fly Najibullah out of the country to exile.  Mujahedin parties would remain outside the city throughout.

On the ground, however, events were already in flux.  Massoud’s forces seized control of the Bagram airbase north of Kabul and much of the Shomali plain north of the capital, along with forces working for Dostum, who had now formed a new political-military party: Junbish-e Melli-ye Islami (the National Islamic Movement).  Both forces were literally just outside Kabul.  Hekmatyar, meanwhile, had moved Hezb-e Islami forces just to the south of the city. 

Government forces en masse were beginning to defect to the different mujahedin parties, offering assistance to each of the parties entering Kabul.  Hekmatyar and Massoud had each worked to cultivate defectors among government security forces, and Dostum, as a former government official, already had links to officials in Kabul. 

The dynamics of these defections were heavily influenced by ethnic identity.  Most Pashtun officials and police officers in the interior ministry (mostly from the Khalq faction) now sought to build alliances with Hekmatyar, while Tajik officers in the military and government (mostly Parcham) were defecting to Massoud.  Turkmen and Uzbek officials were siding with Dostum.

On April 15, as Najibullah prepared to resign, some mujahedin parties balked at the U.N. arrangement, undermining the agreement.  That night, the chief U.N. mediator, Benon Sevan, flew alone to Kabul to pick up Najibullah.   But as Najibullah approached the airport, his car was blocked by militia forces.  Najibullah backtracked into the city and took refuge in the Kabul U.N. compound (where he was to remain for the next four years, until the Taliban took control and killed him).20  Sevan flew back to Pakistan to continue negotiations.  Meanwhile, Pashtun government officials in the interior and defense ministries were starting to allow forces from Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami party into the city, to prepare for his entrance into the city.  Massoud and Dostum remained north of the city while mujahedin representatives continued to work on a power-sharing agreement in Peshawar. 

On April 24, as Hekmatyar was about to seize control of the city, Massoud and Dostum’s forces entered Kabul, taking control of most government ministries.  Jamiat attacked Hezb-e Islami forces occupying the interior ministry and Presidential Palace, pushing Hezb-e Islami south and out of the city.  There was shelling and street-to-street fighting through April 25 and 26.

On April 26, the mujahedin leaders still in Pakistan announced a new power-sharing agreement, the Peshawar Accords.  The agreement provided for Sibghatullah Mujaddidi, a relatively independent religious leader with a small political party, to become acting president of Afghanistan for two months, followed by Jamiat’s political leader, Burhanuddin Rabbani, for another four months.  After Rabbani’s term, a shura was to choose an interim government to rule the country for eighteen more months, after which elections would be held.  According to the agreement, Massoud was to act as Afghanistan’s interim minister of defense.  Hekmatyar was entirely sidelined from the government.

By April 27, Hekmatyar’s main forces had been pushed to the south of Kabul, but remained within artillery range.  The city was breached, however, and all the mujahedin parties, including Ittihad, Wahdat, and Harakat, now entered the city.  Thousands of former government soldiers and police now switched their allegiances to the militias or to the Massoud-led forces in Mujaddidi’s new government.  Others just deserted.  Some of the Pashtun officials who had earlier sided with Hezb-e Islami now left Kabul and allied with Hekmatyar to the south; some others joined the predominately Pashtun Ittihad party.21  Kabul had suffered a few days of fighting, but was generally intact.  The Soviet-backed government had fallen, with minimal damage to the city.

Jamiat commander Ahmed Shah Massoud on April 18, 1992, speaking to commanders on a field telephone just north of Kabul, soon after meeting with Junbish commander General Rashid Dostum. Jamiat and Junbish forces moved into Kabul six days later, while Hezb-e Islami forces entered the city from the south.
© 1992 Robert Nickelsberg

Defecting soldiers from the Soviet-backed government greet Jamiat mujahedin on the Jalalabad road, east of Kabul, April 25, 1992. After Najibullah’s resignation, government forces put up no resistance to the mujahedin and Kabul was captured without fighting. The subsequent violence within the city was primarily due to rivalries among mujahedin factions.
© 1992 Robert Nickelsberg

Junbish troops in a street battle with Hezb-e Islami forces in eastern Kabul, April 25, 1992.
© 1992 Robert Nickelsberg

Junbish troops carrying rocket propelled grenades, south Kabul, April 25, 1992.
© 1992 Robert Nickelsberg

A civilian, wounded in crossfire between Junbish and Hezb-e Islami troops, south Kabul, April 27, 1992.
© 1992 Robert Nickelsberg

A boy wounded during street battles in Kabul in May 1992, treated at the Karte Seh hospital in west Kabul, May 1992. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed or injured in fighting in Kabul in 1992-1993.
© 1992 Robert Nickelsberg