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Pastoral nomadism, subsistence mountain agriculture, and irrigation are practiced.At the end of the eighteenth century, Kabul became the capital.There has been a huge refugee population outside the country since 1978, numbering over six million in 1990—it constituted the largest refugee population in the world.Although many returned after the fall of the Communist regime in April 1992, several million Afghan refugees are still in Pakistan, Iran, and the Arabian peninsula.It is estimated that Pashtuns represent 38 percent of the population, principally in the southeast, south, and west, with some pockets in the north; they are divided between the Durrani and Ghilzay confederacies and among many tribes along the Pakistani border.The Tajiks (25 percent) live primarily in the northeast, the northwest, and the urban centers.
The great majority of people are rural (80 percent).The Nuristani languages are intermediate between Iranian and Indian groups, while Pashay is a conservative Indian language. Afghanistan has never had a strongly unified national culture, and war has led to further fragmentation.Turkic languages, represented by Uzbek, Turkmen, and Kirghiz, are spoken widely in the north. The old flag of green, white, and black horizontal strips has been abandoned, and there is no national anthem.Persian-speaking (Tajiks, Hazaras, and Aymaqs) and Turkic-speaking (Uzbeks and Turkmens) populations have been incorporated in the state.Since the Communist coup of 1978 and the ensuing civil war, those groups have sought for greater political recognition, but the existence of the state has not been seriously questioned.