people of Mongol descent dwelling in the mountains of central Afghanistan.
They number about 1,650,000, of whom about 1,500,000 live in Afghanistan,
and the remainder in Iran. One group, the Eastern Hazara,
inhabit the area known as the Hazarajat. There
are important communities of them also in Iran and Baluchistan (Pakistan).
The Western Hazara include those dwelling in the northern
foothills of the Safid Kuh Selseleh-ye (Paropamisus
Mountains); and a group on the border of Iran known as Hazara
in Iran and as Taimuri, or Timuri, in Afghanistan.
The Western Hazara are Sunnite Muslims and speak
dialects of Persian. Many of them were still nomadic or seminomadic
in the late 20th century. Some spend their summers in felt-covered
The Eastern Hazara speak a peculiar kind of Persian
with many Mongol and Turkic words. Most of them are Shi'ite
Muslims of the Twelver faith. They live in fortified villages of
flat-roofed houses of stone or mud built wall-to-wall around a central
courtyard, overlooking the narrow valleys in which they cultivate
rotating crops of barley, wheat, and legumes, as well as various
fruits and cucumbers. The vast, treeless mountains that dominate
the landscape are used chiefly for pasturing sheep.
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