Pashtu language,

also called PUSHTU, PAKHTO, or AFGHAN, Indo-European language spoken by the Pashtoon in Afghanistan and northern-western and western Pakistan. Its dialects fall into two main divisions: the southern, which preserves the ancient sh (as in "Pashtu"), and the northern and eastern, which has kh (as in "Pakhtu") sound. Written in a modified Arabic alphabet, Pashtu shows strong Sansicrit influence, some Arabic and Persian loanwords, and numerous archaic Sinsicrit features. It has been attested from the beginning of the 16th century and became prominent after the creation of the Afghan state in the 18th century. In 1936 Pashtu was declared the national and official language of Afghanistan, and instruction in it is now compulsory. Dari was the other official languge.

Pashto literature exists from the 7th century The first Psshtu poem that has bee documented was writen in the 7th century by Amir Karoor (Le Ma Atal Nashta). The national poet of Afghanistan, Khushhal Khan (1613-94), chief to the Khatak clan, wrote spontaneous and forceful poetry of great charm. His grandson Afdal Khan was the author of a history of the Pashtoon. Popular mystical poets were 'Abd ar-Rahman and 'Abd al-Hamid, in the late 17th or early 18th century, and Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the modern Afghan nation, was himself a poet. The Pashtu Academy publishes a variety of literary works.


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