Afghan Tajik in Iran

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The modern Tajiks descended from ancient Iranian peoples in Central Asia and northern Afghanistan. Historically, the Tajiks were an agricultural people prior to the Arab invasion and conquest of Iran.
Tajiks constitute the primary population of Tajikistan, with a major presence in Afghanistan, a somewhat lesser presence in Uzbekistan, and smaller populations in other Central Asian countries. Afghan Tajiks actually outnumber the population of Tajikistan.
Afghan migrant workers, pilgrims and merchants settled in Iran over the years. By the early 20th century, these migrants had become numerous enough to be recognized as their own ethnic group. By 1978, Afghan migrant workers numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 led to a new wave of migration from Afghanistan to Iran, coinciding with the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran began to recognize these migrant workers and refugees as legals, issuing them "blue cards," which gave them access to social services and education, but restricted them from some jobs.
By 1992, an estimated 2.8 million Afghans lived in Iran. The majority lived in or near urban areas; only about 10% lived in refugee camps. The international community did little to support the Iranian government in providing for the Afghan immigrants, and in 1992 with a change of government in Afghanistan, Iran began encouraging refugees to repatriate back to Afghanistan. Many who did not leave voluntarily were deported.
The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2021 led to a new wave of immigration from Afghanistan to multiple Central Asian countries, including Iran.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Tajiks speak an eastern dialect of Farsi, called Dari. Like other Afghans in Iran, their lifestyles vary widely, depending primarily on how recently they migrated to Iran.
Afghan Tajik families that have lived in Iran for several generations have generally been absorbed into the economic and cultural life of Iran. They still live primarily in urban areas and occupy several different kinds of jobs. These families have sometimes intermarried with Iranians. A recent change in Iran's citizenship laws enabled the children of such marriages to be granted Iranian citizenship. Previously, if the husband was not Iranian, citizenship was not an option for the children.
"Blue card" and refugee Tajiks may face an uncertain future. During efforts to repatriate the refugees, many had their blue cards confiscated and were forced to leave. Some of those deported reported abuse and torture during the process.
Refugees legally permitted to work in Iran are restricted to dangerous and poorly paid manual labor jobs. Undocumented Afghan children in Iran are often denied access to education. Additionally, recent surges in nationalism have led to violence against Afghan immigrants; the Iranian government does little to prevent this. Afghan nationals are not allowed in several provinces in Iran and restricted in several others.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Prior to the Arab conquest, Tajiks variously followed Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. Today, the vast majority follow Sunni Islam, though some minority pockets adhere to branches of Shia Islam.

What Are Their Needs?

Both the Bible and the JESUS Film have been translated into Dari. An audio Bible and gospel recordings in Dari supplement the resources available. As a frontier people group, the primary need for Afghan Tajiks is for workers to take the gospel to them.
Materially, Afghan Tajiks in Iran need government protection from violence and racism, and they need acceptance as members of Iranian society. Those who are being repatriated to Afghanistan need direction and safe passage. Recent refugees fleeing Taliban rule need basic provisions such as food, shelter and medicine.

Prayer Points

Thank God for the resources available in the Dari language!
Ask God to give the church in Iran a vision for reaching the Afghan Tajiks with the gospel. Pray for relationships with Afghan Tajiks to develop.
Ask Jesus to reveal himself to Afghan Tajiks through dreams and visions, and to show them that he is the only way to salvation.
Pray for a disciple making movement among Afghan Tajiks.
Pray for favor in the eyes of the government and of Iranian citizens, for protection from violence and discrimination, and for opportunities for good jobs.

Scripture Prayers for the Afghan, Tajik in Iran.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Afghan, Tajik
People Name in Country Afghan, Tajik
Natural Name Afghan Tajik
Pronunciation AHF-gahn TAH-jeek
Alternate Names Fars; Irani; Persian
Population this Country 425,000
Population all Countries 12,097,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 8
People ID 14372
ROP3 Code 107989
ROP25 Code 306674
ROP25 Name Persian
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 9  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South Khorasan province.   Source:  Ethnologue 2020
Country Iran
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 9  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country South Khorasan province..   Source:  Ethnologue 2020

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.99 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Dari (425,000 speakers)
Language Code prs   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Dari (425,000 speakers)
Language Code prs   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Dari

Primary Language:  Dari

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1974)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1982-1985)
Bible-Complete Yes  (2008)
FCBH NT ( Online
YouVersion NT ( Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories Story Runners
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Love Story General / Other
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Dari Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Rivka video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Dari YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Dari YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Bible Gateway scripture Bible Gateway
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
Photo Source Steve Evans - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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