According to Funk and Wagnall’s New Standard Dictionary of the English Language, the definition for a Hazara is “one of a race in Afghanistan, supposed Mongol origin.” There are an estimated 6 to 10 million Hazara people (“Hazara”. Web). The Hazara people make up an estimated 9% of Afghanistan (Ethnic Groups of Afghanistan). A large number of Hazaran people are found in Pakistan, and as refugees in Iran. Most Hazara people live in an area known as Hazarajat in Central Afghanistan (“Hazara”. Web). The majority of Hazaran religion is Shiite Muslim and they speak a distinct dialect of Persian, with certain Turkish and Mongol influence in the language. Until recently there have been a small population of Hazara people that spoke the original Mongol language, but the language has now disappeared among these people (Ethnic Conflict--- Afghanistan).

In the novel ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini, the main character Amir is a Pashtun. His father Baba is also a Pashtun. Though these characters are Pahtun, they are wealthy and have money. Thru-out the novel, they do not really put too much attention to the religion, and Baba smokes and drinks a lot. The majority of characters seem to be Pashtun, and they have a lot more power than the Hazara people. The characters Hassan and Ali are Hazara, and they practice their religion a lot. Since the Hazara people do not have lot of power, they seem to rely on their religion a lot because it is about the only aspect in their lives that they have some control over.

The Hazara people look Asiatic and almost appear to look Chinese or Mongol. Hazarans look like they descended from Mongolia. The original Pashtuns did not get along with the Mongolians because they had been brutally conquered by the Mongols previously. Long ago, Afghanistan was once part of the Mongol empire, and now since the Hazara are Shiite Muslim, their faith is linked to the Shiite Iran, who are an enemy of the Pashtun people. This is another reason why the Hazara and Pashtun people have conflict with one another (Ethnic Conflict--- Afghanistan).

A Pashtun is “A member of the predominant ethnic group of Afghanistan and parts of western Pakistan” (Pashtun, Pashtun culture is very different than the Hazara culture. There are an estimated 42 million Pashtun people. The Pashtun people clearly out-number the Hazaran people. The Pashtun people are located in Southeastern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan (Pashtun. Web).

The majority of Pashtun follow the Sunni Muslim religion (The Pashtun World). The difference in Religion of the Pashtun and Hazara are two different branches of Islam which is one reason for the conflict with one another. The language of the Pashtun people is Pashtu, which is one of the two official languages in Afghanistan. Generally Pashtun people do not live very well, and most are fairly poor. Many groups of Pashtun people are nomads. When it comes to their diet, it is prohibited for the Pashtun people to consume pork and any alcoholic beverage. This is actually a rule for all Muslims (Pashtun. Web).

When it comes to family life, the oldest male in a family takes control of the rest of the family in a household. When a man marries, his wife moves in with him, making her husband’s family her top priority then. Pashtun families are also economically one unit also. Everybody depends on one another for support, and when a child goes away to school, it is up to the entire family to help out with the cost. Traditionally when the Pashtun people got educated, education took place in religious places including religious institutes and schools. But education has been disrupted throughout Afghanistan in previous years due to welfare and Russian invasion. Since the late 1990’s there are now boy and girl schools in most villages for Pashtun children (Pashtun, Web). The Pashtun culture have the concept of living/honor code which they abide by called Pashtunwali. It is an honor code which includes abiding by concepts such as faith respect, unity, family ties, and hospitality among many other concepts (The Pashtun World).

The Pashtun and Hazara people have had an ongoing conflict between them for a long time. The two kinds of people are very different in means to their religion, culture, and ethnic appearance just to name a few.

By: Ashley DeRosa