Ashkuni Nuristani in Afghanistan

The Nuristani, Ashkuni have only been reported in Afghanistan
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Expanded PDF Profile

Introduction / History

Ethnically, the Nuristani peoples cluster embraces eight groups. Often, a language spoken in one valley is largely unintelligible to a near neighbor in another. None of their languages are in written form and their literacy rate in other languages is very low. Oral traditions testify to longstanding interaction between groups through the centuries despite language barriers. Geographically, as early inhabitants of the Nuristani region in northeast Afghanistan, most still reside there.

The Nuristani peoples have lived the same way for hundreds of years. Their ancestors were very good at fending off invaders. For over 800 years they held out against the Muslim tide that threatened to sweep into their valleys. Traditional prestige was marked by how many Muslims a young man killed in raids. But in 1895-96 these valleys were conquered and were forcibly converted to Islam. The numerically dominant Muslims changed their name from infidels to "Ashkuni," that is "Land of the Light."


What Are Their Lives Like?

Perched high on steep mountainsides, Ashkuni villages maintain an ancient adjustment to difficult circumstances. Mountain trails are not suitable even for mules, and one must walk almost everywhere. Villages range from 30 to 300 households surrounded by terraced fields fed by miles of tortuous irrigation channels.

Located in 5 main valley systems with a number of tributaries, each drainage area speaks its own dialect (Kati, Waiqali, Ashuni, Paruni). Suspicious of outsiders, even Ashkuni from a few miles away, everything is regulated by village level consensus based on centuries of experience that have ensured survival. Strict rules enforced by public opinion and an elected village group specify the order in which fields are irrigated and when the men must move goats and sheep to different pastures.

Until a few years ago, the way to gain status in the highly competitive Ashkuni society was to stage a raid or give a feast. Today, raids have been replaced by oratory since Ashkuni culture also respects skillful public speakers. Ashkunis also like to be known for honesty, impartiality, and wisdom. An Ashkuni who is considered successful possesses several sons, many goats, and a generous nature.

In 1970, gospel recording teams discovered 26 distinct Ashkuni dialects as they visited the isolated valleys and mountains of Nuristan. During the Russian invasion, Afghan refugees flooded into Pakistan. Believers brought them food, tents and clothing. These workers also used gospel recordings effectively with Ashkunis who stayed in their own tribal groups in the refugee camps. Although there were no known Ashkuni believers in the camps many were prepared to believe in the Savior.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Sunni Islam triumphed in these mountain villages in the late 19th century. Each village is made up of several named wards, each with its own mosque and its own leader who acts to mediate disputes and to deal with the government.

There is no known evangelism taking place in the area and none would be openly permitted in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Across the border in Pakistan, some of the animistic Kafirs are beginning to respond to the gospel. Pray that as they come to know Jesus as Savior, they will reach out to their Muslim cousins in Afghanistan.


What Are Their Needs?

The Ashkuni people need to accept the warm embrace of the only Savior so they can enjoy life to the full, as Jesus promised in John 10:10.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Nuristani, Ashkuni in Afghanistan.

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Expanded PDF Profile

The Nuristani
Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

People Name General Nuristani, Ashkuni
People Name in Country Nuristani, Ashkuni
Natural Name Ashkuni Nuristani
Population this Country 51,000
Population all Countries 51,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Nuristani; Wamayi
People ID 10453
ROP3 Code 100556
Country Afghanistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 1  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Nurestan province: Wama district, Pech valley; Duab and Nurgaram districts, east side of lower Alingar valley; Bajagal, Kolatan, Malil wa Mushfa, and Titin valleys; Konar province: Chapa Dara district.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Afghanistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 1  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Nurestan province: Wama district, Pech valley; Duab and Nurgaram districts, east side of lower Alingar valley; Bajagal, Kolatan, Malil wa Mushfa, and Titin valleys; Konar province: Chapa Dara district..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Ashkun (51,000 speakers)
Language Code ask   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Ashkun (51,000 speakers)
Language Code ask   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Ashkun

Primary Language:  Ashkun

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
100.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
Unknown
Independent
Unknown
Orthodox
Unknown
Other Christian
Unknown
Protestant
Unknown
Roman Catholic
Unknown
Video Source Asia Harvest
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more