Pashto, Southern


A language of Afghanistan

Alternate Names
Kandahar Pashto, Qandahar Pashto, Southwestern Pashto

6,000,000 in Afghanistan (2008). Population total all countries: 10,780,000.


Kandahar area; Zabul, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Helmand, Nimroz, Farah, Herat, and Badghis provinces.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (2004, Constitution, Article 16(1)).


Durani. Lexical similarity: 80% between northern and southern varieties of Pashto. A member of macrolanguage Pushto [pus].

Language Use

Afghan government has worked since 1930s to standardize and publicize it. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Only those who are educated or have business in Dari-speaking provinces are bilingual in Dari [prs]. Some have spent time in Pakistan and are bilingual in Urdu [urd]; otherwise, speakers are monolingual.

Language Development
Pashto is one of two national languages taught in schools. Low literacy rate, especially in non-urban locations and among women. Taught in primary and secondary schools. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2011.

Arabic script [Arab].

Other Comments

Muslim (Sunni).

Also spoken in:

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