Area: 652,225 sq km
Dry and mountainous but with fertile valleys. This strategic land has been fought over by rival foreign empires for nearly three thousand years.
Population: 29,117,489 Annual Growth: 3.51%
Official language: Pashtu (used by 50% of population), Dari (Afghan Persian, used by 70%) Languages: 41 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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Christian media have been developed in many formats audio/MP3, mobile phone memory, radio, video, literature and the Internet for evangelism and discipleship. This is an area of real growth and excitement.
Afghanistan is one of the least reached countries in the world. There are 48,000 mosques but not a single church building. Pray for the 70 unreached peoples of this land, especially for the following groups:
a) Pashtuns. They number over 40% of the Afghan population and are politically dominant. Pashtun on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border comprise what has been called the largest Muslim tribal society in the world as many as 46 million people in over 30 major sub-tribes. Christians among them remain few, though urban, educated Pashtuns in exile have shown some response. Pray that multitudes might be released from fear, prejudice, the strongholds of Islam and pride in pashtunwali (their tribal code of honour); there is evidence of an intense spiritual battle for breakthrough among this people.
b) Tajiks in the northeast. Speaking Dari (a form of Persian), they are closely related to the Pashtuns. Some Tajik groups were among the last people to resist the Taliban, yet they remain over 99% Muslim. Pray for their spiritual freedom.
c) Hazaras, Shia Muslims of Mongol descent. Being a Shia group, they have been severely persecuted through the years and were even massacred by the Sunni Taliban. They have demonstrated greater openness to the gospel in recent years.
d) Uzbeks and Turkmen of the north have shown encouraging responsiveness as refugees in other lands, but as in their namesake countries, only a tiny proportion are believers.
e) The six Aimaq tribes of the west, of nomadic background, and the Baloch and Brahui of the south. There are very few if any believers from these isolated groups.
f) The nine Nuristani tribal groups in the mountains north and east of Kabul. They speak five languages and 16 dialects; many of these are mutually unintelligible.
g) The five Ismaili Muslim Pamir people groups and the Kyrgyz living in the far northeast of Afghanistan, along the high Pamir Mountain range. These people groups are isolated in small valleys, far from good roads. Ismaili Muslims tend to be more open to the good news, and a small community of believers was birthed some years ago. Praise God for good distribution of gospel audio materials among the Kyrgyz.
h) The numerous Dardic people groups near the volatile border region with Pakistan. The largest of these is the Pashai, numbering in the hundreds of thousands of people.
i) The nomadic Gujar and Jugi/Kuchi/Ghorbat people groups.
For an additional 6 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Afghanistan.