Pashtuns people also referred to as Pushtuns, Pakhtuns, Pukhtuns), also called Pathans or ethnic Afghans, an ethno-linguistic group with populations primarily in eastern and southern Afghanistan and in the North-West Frontier Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. The Pashtuns are typically characterized by their Pashto language and adherence to both Pashtunwali (a pre-Islamic indigenous religious code of honor and culture) and Islam.
Pashtuns have rarely been politically united. Their modern past began with the rise of the Durrani Empire in 1747. Pashtuns played a pivotal role in the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–89), as many joined the Mujahideen. The Pashtuns gained world-wide attention with the rise and fall of the Taliban, since they were the main ethnic contingent in the movement. Pashtuns are also an important community in Pakistan, where they are the second-largest ethnic group.
The Pashtuns are the world's largest (patriarchal) segmentary lineage tribal group. The total population of the group is estimated to be at least 40 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the nomadic nature of many tribes, the practice of secluding women, and the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979.
- See Wikipedia article on Pathan for more information