Pashto, Southern


A language of Afghanistan

Alternate Names
Kandahar Pashto, Qandahar Pashto, Southwestern Pashto

6,000,000 in Afghanistan (2008). Population total all countries: 7,590,100.


Kandahar area; Zabul, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Helmand, Nimroz, Farah, Herat, and Badghis provinces. Also in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom.

Language Status

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


Durani. Lexical similarity: 80% between northern and southern varieties of Pashto.

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.
Other Comments

Muslim (Sunni).

Also spoken in:

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