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History of Pactyan far eastern Arachosian

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Nick View Drop Down

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    Posted: 05-Jun-2011 at 16:08

The Pactyans


Pakhtika, Pakthia, and Khost are alike, until President Daud Khan’s era it was all a one single province as far as history is concern. Today politically divided, in fact the most recently created province was Khost in 2001. Pakhtika was made was formed from the Southern part of Paktia and joined with land of Ghazni, to make Ghazni smaller, during the PDPA government. Needless to say but Pakhtia was also divided by British during the late 1800s. As years past, parts of Paktia was further divided and given to other provinces like Logar. As population increases the regions further divided and gets complicated, although there are many reasons behind their division but not necessary. In old days it was carrying a single name “Pakiya”.




Pre-Islamic History


Paktia is neither a new name, nor Islamic, but God knows when. Mentioned in many older Gathas/Sanskriti sources could date as back to 1500 BCE to 1200 BCE, is resembling to modern Pakthia in many ways . However around 850 BCE mentioned in Sanskirt a group of people, was very much part of Kabul (Kampuja) administration, as Kabul empire grow stronger and Hinduism flourished. Between 650 BCE and 500 BCE Median mentioned the group was to be pro-Median and were bribed to invade north to their fire worshiping brothers in Balkh, and West towards their own former allies the local Sakas in modern Helmand/Kandahar.


According to many sources which mentions that Medians (Parsis) after losing two big wars while in their invasion of Balkh finally in the 3rd was not from Medians but by the forces of Paktyans. So it’s clear to us that Pakhtians were united with Medians, and after taking over Balkh and Loya Paktia it was now far easy for Medians to beat forces of Saka, which they did. By 550 BCE all of Afghanistan was to be under Persian rule, and Darius clean Saka land of modern Sistan was now under his administration.


However in 500 BCE Paktia broke out of Persian Administration as war continued, in 450 BCE the Paktians joined the Saka from Darangana up to Paktia was now fully under Saka control, and only Kabulistan was still to remain loyal to Medians. The Balkhis were also fighting the Persian forces stationed in Soghdiana made their administration many times but failed to maintain. In 390-350 BCE Persian Army with allies from Herat and Kabulistan attack Sakastan and by 350 BCE all of Afghanistan was under Persian rule until invasion of Alexander. The main religion of Paktia was fire worshipping sects, as well as some other minority religion.


Unlike Sakas tribes in the western region of Heriwathi who practiced many religions as signs of such religions were found i.e. Judaism, Mithraism, and Zoroastrianism. The Pakhtians were also different from Kabulistanis who were majority Hindus, and one can say that Pakhtians have much similarity and shared with Balkhis as they were both strictly fire worshippers.







Pre-Islamic religions of Pakhtian



It was first documented to represent a group of people worshiping fire dated far back as 1200 BCE. Although it’s well known from early Gathic sources of Indo-Aryanic religions that Iranian Zoroastrianism practice came far from Iran, from far Eastern lands close to Indus Valley (modern Kandahar) or from north of Afghanistan modern Balkh. It’s hard to say how many sects of Zoroastrianism were practiced, because the current Zoroastrian religion practiced widely in India and Iran seems to be from same sect of Sassanians's era.


If any older version of Zoroastrianism can be found should be from Balkh or Sistan, that latest mentioning of such religion was the Zunbils cult of the god Zun still existed in Arachosia/Zabulistan until advance of Islam, these fire worshippers or sun worshipers did not resemble Sassanian Zoroastrianism dominated in Pars nor Indian Hinduism which was dominated religion of Pakistan and India.


The main religion of Pakhtians was unclassified fire worshipping close to Ancient Zoroastrian sects. There were also some other minority religion as such as Judism, Mithrism, and Zoroastrianism. The religion of Pakhtians were also different from Kabulistanis who were majority Hindus, and similarity was very much shared with Balkhis as they were both strictly fire worshippers.






Geographical location and its people.



The geographical location of Pakhtika is situated in western land of loy Paktia, or old Paktia. Loy Paktia was always part of Sakastan, or Arachosia, later during Sassanians the Greek name Zarangana (Saranga also modern Zaranj) was used. During early Islamic era the word Sistan was used and later Zabulistan was also used, reference may very but one looking at modern Afghanistan’s geographic location it makes sense to why Paktian were majority of Arachosian as noted by Greeks. Because they separated Arachosia into west the Zarangana, and the east as Arachosia. Since looking from Topography of Afghanistan the most flat inhabitable of Eastern Afghanistan is where Ancient Pakhtians ruled might been populated then southern Deserts of Kandahar.



Region of Arachosia/Zabulistan/Sistan




The regions of Arachosia/Zabulistan/Sistan




1. Ghur

2. Rudbar (Oruzgan)

3. Ghazni

4. Pakhtia famously known as Dawar

5. Sibi or Savi “Sapi” also known as Balis and Walistan

6. Ram Shahristan sometimes known as Zabul

7. Rukhkhaj sometimes known as Kandaharand its main city was Banjaway “Panjwayi district ”

8. Nih (area of modern Quetta, Zhob and Kalat)

9. Zamindawar its capital was Bust region of Zamindawar was famous and well-populated area from North East of city of Kandahar to Farah city.

10. Faiah same as province of “Farah”

11. Zaranj (Also known as Dhabulistan since the translation of “Daranga” from Darangana still remained noticed might explain the share commonality in all of Zabulistan)

(region 10 and 11 is missing in the map sorry)




The Population of loya Pakhtia (Region number 4 in the above map) may very but I counted a be total of 1.8 Million in Khost 638,849 (2002),in Paktia 415,000 (2004), and in Pakhtika 809,772 (2005), Wazeristan 791,087 (1998) and if we are to combined these number we would be getting 2,654,708.


Since Population increases I would estimate total Pakhtiwals to be 3 million in Afghanistan and 1.5 million in Pakistan. Total of people from all of Loya Pakhtia or Pakhtiwals may be around 5 million maximum. The Pakhtians have their own confederacy which is not as famous as the other 3 Afghan tribal confederacy. Pakhtiwal are also sometimes known as Khostiwal as well, and it may have other name depending on location. The tribes of Wazeris, Kakar, mainly ghalzai as well as Durrani are also adjoined to this confederacy.


The Tribes (To be continued)

Famous individuals (To be continued)

politics (To be continued)

Edited by Nick - 05-Jun-2011 at 16:18
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