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Languages of Afghanistan

Republic of Afghanistan. De Afghanistan Jamhuriat. 28,513,677. Population includes an estimated 2,500,000 nomads. National or official languages: Eastern Farsi, Southern Pashto. Literacy rate: 31.5% 15 years and older: male 47.2%, female 15%. Also includes Parsi-Dari (350,000), Tatar (350), Urdu, Western Panjabi (35,000). Information mainly from G. Buddress 1960; A. Farhadi 1967; A. Grjunberg 1968, 1971; T. Sebeok 1970; R. Strand 1973; G. Morgenstierne 1974; L. Dupree 1980; J. R. Payne 1987. Blind population: 200,000 (1982 WCE). The number of languages listed for Afghanistan is 47. Of those, all are living languages.

Living languages

Aimaq

[aiq] 480,000 in Afghanistan (1993). Population includes 1,000 Jamshidi (1978 MARC). Population total all countries: 650,000. West of the Hazara, central northwest Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and Tajikistan (Jamshidi and Khazara). Also spoken in Iran, Tajikistan. Alternate names: Barbari, Berberi, Chahar-Aimaq, Char Aimaq.  Dialects: Taimuri (Teimuri, Timuri, Taimouri), Taimani, Zohri (Zuri), Jamshidi (Jamshedi, Djamchidi, Yemchidi, Dzhemshid), Firozkohi, Maliki, Mizmast, Chinghizi, Zainal. Dialect names listed may be ethnic names. Dari Persian dialects with some Turkic and Mongolian elements, possibly quite distinct.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Arabic, Tajiki Spoken

[abh] 5,000 in Afghanistan (1967 Farhadi). Population total all countries: 6,000. Spoken in a few villages west of Daulatabad (Khushalabad), near Balkh (Yakhdan), Aq Chah (Sultan Aregh), Shibarghan (Hassanabad), and south of Talukan in Takhar Province; 4 northern provinces. Some in Uzbekistan. Also spoken in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. Dialects: Balkh Arabic. May be a mixed language. The language is close to Mesopotamian Spoken Arabic. Sharp dialect differences between Bukhara and Kashkadarya regions in Tajikistan. Bukhara is strongly influenced by Tajiki; Kashkadarya by Uzbek and other Turkic languages.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
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Ashkun

[ask] 1,200 (2000). Pech Valley around Wama, northwest of Asadabad in Kunar Province. Alternate names: Ashkund, Ashkuni, Wamayi, Wamais.  Dialects: Ashuruveri (Kolata, Titin Bajaygul), Gramsukraviri, Suruviri (Wamai).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Azerbaijani, South

[azb]  Afshari dialect spoken in small groups north of Kabul, Chandaul quarter of Kabul City, also some in Herat city. Alternate names: Azeri.  Dialects: Afshari (Afshar, Afsar).  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Azerbaijani 
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Balochi, Western

[bgn] 200,000 in Afghanistan (1979). Along Helmand River and Zaranj area, in the southwest desert region. Alternate names: Baluchi, Baluci, Baloci.  Dialects: Rakhshani (Raxshani).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Balochi 
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Brahui

[brh] 200,000 in Afghanistan (1980 Dupree). Among the Baluchi in the south, from Shorawak to Chakhansoor. Alternate names: Brahuiki, Birahui, Kur Galli.  Classification: Dravidian, Northern 
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Darwazi

[drw] 10,000 (1983). Town of Darwaz on the Amu Darya River, in the northernmost tip of Afghanistan. May also be in Tajikistan. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Domari

[rmt]   Dialects: Churi-Wali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Dom 
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Farsi, Eastern

[prs] 5,600,000 in Afghanistan (1996). Population total all countries: 7,600,000. Various Dari dialects in Khorasan Province (Iran), and provinces of Herat, Hazarajat, Balkh, Ghor, Ghazni, Budaksham, Panjsher, and Galcha-Pamir Mountains and Kabul regions. Also spoken in Iran, Pakistan. Alternate names: Persian, Dari, Parsi.  Dialects: Dari (Afghan Farsi, Herati, Tajiki, Kaboli, Kabuli, Khorasani), Parsiwan. Radio Afghanistan broadcasts are promoting a standardized pronunciation of the literary language which is based on the old dictional tradition of the country, with its archaic phonetic characteristics. Formal style is closer to Tehrani Persian (Farsi); informal style in some parts of Afghanistan is closer to Tajiki of Tajikistan. Phonological and lexical differences between Iran and Afghanistan cause little difficulty in comprehension. Most Afghan dialects are closer to literary Persian than Iranian dialects are to literary Persian. Zargari (Morghuli) is a secret language used among goldsmiths and perhaps others, based on a dialect of Persian. See also Balkan Romani in Iran.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Gawar-Bati

[gwt] 8,000 in Afghanistan. Population total all countries: 9,500 (1992). 8 or 9 villages in the Kunar Valley. Also spoken in Pakistan. Alternate names: Gowari, Narsati, Narisati, Arandui, Satre.  Dialects: Lexical similarity 47% with Shumashti, 44% with Dameli, 42% with Savi and Grangali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar 
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Grangali

[nli] 5,000 (1994). Grangali and Zemiaki in 2 small valleys on the south side of the Pech River at Kandai. Nangalami was in Ningalam village where the Waigal River meets the Pech River, but there may be no speakers left. Alternate names: Gelangali, Jumiaki.  Dialects: Nangalami (Ningalami), Grangali, Zemiaki (Zamyaki). Zemiaki may be related to Waigali. Nangalami had 63% lexical similarity with Shumashti, 42% with Gawar-Bati.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar 
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Gujari

[gju] 2,000 in Afghanistan (1994). Nomads travelling in the summer in the valleys of eastern Afghanistan. Alternate names: Gujuri Rajasthani, Gojri, Gojari.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Rajasthani, Unclassified 
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Hazaragi

[haz] 1,770,000 in Afghanistan (2000). Population total all countries: 2,209,794. Central Afghanistan mountains between Kabul and Herat (Hazarajat), in Kabul, in area between Maimana and Sari-Pul, in settlements in north Afghanistan and from immediately south of the IKoh i Baba mountain range almost all the way to Mazar e Sharif, and in the area of Qunduz, in Baluchistan and near Quetta in Pakistan. Some have moved to northern Iran. Many are refugees. Also spoken in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan. Alternate names: Azargi, Hazara, Hezareh.  Dialects: They speak a variety related to Dari; possibly distinct.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Jakati

[jat] 1,365 in Afghanistan (2000 WCD). Kabul (25 families); Jalalabad (50 families); Charikar (15 families). Alternate names: Jati, Jatu, Jat, Jataki, Kayani, Musali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Lahnda 
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Kamviri

[xvi] 4,000 in Afghanistan (1973 R. Strand). Population total all countries: 5,500. Lower Bashgal Valley, mainly around Kamdesh and Kishtoz villages. Also spoken in Pakistan. Alternate names: Kamdeshi, Lamertiviri, Shekhani, Kamik.  Dialects: Kamviri, Shekhani. Shekhani in Pakistan may be a separate language. Related to Kati.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Karakalpak

[kaa] 2,000 in Afghanistan. North of Jalalabad, also some south of Mazar-i Sharif. Alternate names: Qaraqulpaqs.  Dialects: Northeast Karakalpak, Southwest Karakalpak.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
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Kati

[bsh] 15,000 in Afghanistan (1994). Population total all countries: 18,700. Western Kativiri is in Ramgal, Kulam, Ktivi, or Kantiwo, and Paruk or Papruk valleys. Mumviri is in Mangul, Sasku, Gabalgrom villages in the Bashgal Valley. Eastern Kativiri is in the upper Bashgal Valley. Also spoken in Pakistan. Alternate names: Bashgali, Kativiri, Nuristani.  Dialects: Eastern Kativiri (Shekhani), Western Kativiri, Mumviri. Mumviri may be a separate language.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Kazakh

[kaz] 2,000 in Afghanistan (2000). Northern Afghanistan, especially Chahar Dara District west of Kunduz, and around Khanabad and Andkhoi. 500 in Herat city. Alternate names: Kazakhi, Qazaqi, Qazaq.  Dialects: Northeastern Kazakh, Southern Kazakh, Western Kazakh.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
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Kirghiz

[kir] 750 in Afghanistan (2000). 445 in the Great Pamir, plus a few in Badakhshan. Great Pamir Valley east of 73E, in the very northeast. It is spoken by a few Kirghiz who wander across the Chinese and Kyrgyzstan frontiers. All from the Little Pamir went to Pakistan and then Turkey in 1982. Alternate names: Kirghizi, Kirgiz.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
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Malakhel

[mld] 2,860 (2000). Southwest of Kabul in Logar, north of Baraki. Classification: Unclassified 
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Mogholi

[mhj] 200. Ethnic population: A few thousand. Two villages near Herat: Kundur and Karez-i-Mulla. Alternate names: Moghol, Mogul, Mogol, Mongul.  Dialects: Kundur, Karez-I-Mulla. Unintelligible to remaining body of Mongol speakers; linguistically relatively well explored.  Classification: Altaic, Mongolian, Western 
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Munji

[mnj] 3,768 (2000 WCD). Northeastern Afghanistan in the Munjan and Mamalgha Valleys. Alternate names: Munjani, Munjhan, Munjiwar.  Dialects: Northern Munji, Central Munji, Southern Munji, Mamalgha Munji. Lexical similarity 68% among 'dialects', 56% to 80% with Yidgha in Pakistan.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir 
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Ormuri

[oru] 50 in Afghanistan. Ethnic population: 2,000 to 5,000 in Afghanistan. Spoken by a few families in Baraki-Barak in Logar. Alternate names: Bargista, Baraks, Ormui, Oormuri.  Dialects: Kanigurami, Logar.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Ormuri-Parachi 
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Pahlavani

[phv] 2,100 (2000 WCD). Spoken in village Haji Hamza Khan of Karim Kushta in Chakhansoor Province. Dialects: Similar to Dari Persian.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Southwestern, Persian 
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Parachi

[prc] 600. Ethnic population: 5,000 to 6,000. Villages in Nijrau and Tagau (600 families), Pachaghan, Shutul (400 families), Ghujulan (100 families), Hindu Kush Valley near Kabul. Dialects: Shutul, Ghujulan, Nijrau. Close affinity to Ormuri. Dialect diversity seems to be slight.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Ormuri-Parachi 
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Parya

[paq] 1,300 in Afghanistan (2000).  Alternate names: Afghana-Yi Nasfurush, Afghana-Yi Siyarui, Laghmani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Central zone, Unclassified 
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Pashayi, Northeast

[aee] 54,412 (2000 WCD). Side valleys between the Kunar and Pech rivers, in Kunar Province, west of Asadabad. Dialects: Aret, Chalas (Chilas), Kandak, Kurangal, Kurdar. Unintelligible to other Pashayi language speakers.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashayi, Northwest

[glh]  From Gulbahar across Kapisa and Laghman provinces to Nuristan on the Alingar River, especially the Alisheng Valley and valleys north of Sarobi. Dialects: Gulbahar, Kohnadeh, Laurowan, Sanjan, Shutul, Bolaghain, Pachagan, Alasai, Shamakot, Uzbin, Pandau, Najil, Parazhghan, Pashagar, Wadau, Nangarach. Unintelligible to other Pashayi language speakers.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashayi, Southeast

[psi] 54,412 (2000 WCD). Upper and Lower Darrai Nur Valley, Damench, Shale (Shari). North of Shewa in Nangarhar Province, and adjacent regions of the Alingar Valley in southern Laghman Province. Alternate names: Pashai.  Dialects: Darrai Nur, Wegal, Laghman, Alingar, Kunar. Unintelligible to other Pashayi language speakers. In the upper Darrai Nur there are ten villages (including Bamba Kot, Lamatek, and Sutan) which form a single people group with their own dialect. Residents of the lower Darrai Nur (Nur River) are separate and perhaps not ethnically an organized people.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashayi, Southwest

[psh] 108,000 (1982). Population includes all Pashayi languages or dialects. Tagau (Tagab) Valley, north of Sarobi, northeast of Kabul. Dialects: Tagau, Ishpi, Isken. Not intelligible with other Pashayi languages.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar, Pashayi 
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Pashto, Northern

[pbu]  Central Ghilzai area. Alternate names: Paktu, Pakhtu, Pakhtoo, Afghan.  Dialects: Northwestern Pakhto, Ghilzai, Durani.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pashto 
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Pashto, Southern

[pbt] 1,088,248 in Afghanistan (2000 WCD). 8,000,000 all Pashto in Afghanistan. Kandahar area. Dialects: Southwestern Pashto, Kandahar Pashto (Qandahar Pashto).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pashto 
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Prasuni

[prn] 1,000 (2000). Prasun (Parun) Valley on the upper reaches of Pech River in Nuristan; villages of Shupu (Ishtivi, Shtevgrom), Sech, Ucu, Ushut, Zumu. Alternate names: Prasun, Veruni, Parun, Wasi-Veri, Veron, Verou.  Dialects: Upper Wasi-Weri, Central Prasun, Lower Prasun (Ushut). Very closely related to Bashgali but more archaic. The most aberrant of the Nuristani languages.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Sanglechi-Ishkashimi

[sgl] 1,000 in Afghanistan. Population total all countries: 1,500. Ethnic population: 1,000 in Afghanistan (1990 A. E. Kibrik). Sanglech Valley, Ishkashim area. Ishkashimi spoken in 17 villages; Sanglechi in 2. Also spoken in Tajikistan. Dialects: Zebak (Zebaki), Sanglechi, Ishkashimi (Ishkashmi, Ishkashim, Eshkashimi). Dialects listed may be separate languages.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir 
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Savi

[sdg] 3,000 in Afghanistan (1983). Sau village on the Kunar River. Some might still live in refugee camps in Pakistan. Also spoken in Pakistan. Alternate names: Sawi, Sauji, Sau.  Dialects: Lexical similarity 56% to 58% with Phalura.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Shina 
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Shughni

[sgh] 20,000 in Afghanistan (1994). Both sides of Afghan-Tajikistan border, some 30 miles north of Ishkashim, Pamir Mountains. Dialects: Roshani (Rushani, Rushan, Oroshani), Shughni (Shugni, Shighni, Shughnani, Shugan, Khugni, Kushani, Saighani, Ghorani), Bartangi (Bartang), Oroshor (Oroshori).  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir, Shugni-Yazgulami 
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Shumashti

[sts] 1,000 (1994). Chitral frontier, 60 miles up the Kunar River from Gawar-Bati, on the west side, Darrai Mazar Valley. Shumast village has two languages: Shumashti and a Northeast Pashayi dialect. Alternate names: Shumasht.  Dialects: Lexical similarity 63% with Nangalami (Grangali), 47% with Gawar-Bati. Heavily influenced by Pashayi.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kunar 
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Tangshewi

[tnf] 10,000 (1994). East of Darwazi on the Amu Darya, far northeast of Badakhshan. May also be in Turkmenistan. Alternate names: Tangshuri.  Dialects: May be Eastern Iranian. Probably closely related to Darwazi.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Unclassified 
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Tirahi

[tra] 100. Ethnic population: Possibly 5,000. Southeast of Jalalabad, and west of the Khyber Pass; village of Nangarhar. Not in Pakistan. Dialects: Most closely related to Kohistani languages of Pakistan.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kohistani  Nearly extinct.
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Tregami

[trm] 1,000 (1994). Nuristan, Tregam Valley, villages of Katar and Gambir. Alternate names: Trigami.  Dialects: Lexical similarity 76% to 80% with Waigali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Turkmen

[tuk] 500,000 in Afghanistan (1995). Along the border of Turkmenistan, especially the border regions of Fariab and Badghis provinces. Some in Andkhoi town and Herat city. Alternate names: Turkoman, Trukmen, Turkman.  Dialects: Salor, Teke (Tekke, Chagatai, Jagatai), Ersari, Sariq, Yomut.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Turkmenian 
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Uyghur

[uig] 3,000 in Afghanistan. Spoken in a few villages in Badakshan and Abi-i-Barik. Also possibly in Iran and Taiwan. Alternate names: Uighur, Uyghuri, Wighor, Uighor, Uiguir.  Dialects: Kashgar-Yarkand (Yarkandi), Taranchi.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Eastern 
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Uzbek, Southern

[uzs] 1,403,000 in Afghanistan (1991 WA). Population total all countries: 1,454,981. Many places in north Afghanistan, especially Fariab Province. Maimana town is largely Uzbek. Also possibly in Germany. Also spoken in Pakistan, Turkey (Asia). Alternate names: Uzbeki, Usbeki, Uzbak.  Dialects: Limited comprehension of Northern Uzbek. Differences in grammar and loanwords from Western Farsi.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Eastern 
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Waigali

[wbk] 1,500 (2000 Van Driem). Southeast Nuristan, north of Pech in central Kunar Province. Varjan is in north Waigal Valley, villages of Waigal, Zonchigal, Jamach, Ameshdesh, and eastward in the Veligal Valley and villages there. Chima-Nishey is in villages in the lower valley. Alternate names: Waigeli, Waigalii, Waigala, Zhonjigali, Suki, Wai-Ala, Wai, Kalasha-Ala.  Dialects: Varjan, Chima-Nishey. Lexical similarity 76% to 80% with Tregami.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Nuristani 
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Wakhi

[wbl] 9,566 in Afghanistan (2000 WCD). Ethnic population: 18,000 in Afghanistan (1990 A. E. Kibrik). East of Ishkashim, Pamir Mountains, in 64 villages on the left bank of the Panj River in the Wakhan Corridor, as far as Sarhad village (about 73E). Center is Khandud. Most have scattered as refugees in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Alternate names: Wakhani, Wakhigi, Vakhan, Khik, Guhjali.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Southeastern, Pamir 
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Warduji

[wrd] 5,000 (1994). Werdoge River area west of Ishkashim, northeast Afghanistan. Dialects: Probably a Western Farsi dialect. May be Pamir.  Classification: Unclassified 
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Wotapuri-Katarqalai

[wsv] 2,000 (1994). South of Waigali area in Nuristan in the towns of Wotapuri and Katarqalai. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Dardic, Kohistani 
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