Uzbek ethnicity of Afghanistan.
Ancestors of the Altaic (Turkic)-speaking Uzbeks emerged in Central Asia as early as the 3rd century B.C. when nomads - possibly Hun descendants - began invasions that continued for centuries. Turks swept through in 1 A.D., followed by wide-ranging assaults by Mongol hordes in the 13th century. Uzbek genetic studies indicate Turkic-Mongoloid ancestry - reflected by lighter skin and flat facial features - with lesser Iranian admixture. Centuries before any country borders were drawn they settled in the Uzbekistan/Afghanistan region.
The group designated as Southern or Afghan Uzbek formed from waves of ancient migrations, as well as more recent ones in the 1920s-1940s from Russia when that government’s atheistic policies persecuted their Islamic religion and customs. Speaking Uzbeki, their own Turkish dialect, Uzbeks identify themselves as Hanafi Sunni Muslims, although this is largely a cultural identity now rather than a religious one. As Afghanistan’s fourth largest ethnic group (2.5 million) and nearly one-tenth of her total population, Southern Uzbeks still reside primarily in mountainous northern regions, particularly the Fariab Province. They live simply in small villages, often with Tajik neighbors but are averse to the Pushtan who moved into their homelands in numbers sufficient to render them a minority by the 1960s in territory they once controlled.
Afghan culture has been undeniably impacted by Uzbeks, particularly in music, carpet making and sport. Buzkashi, a violent game played by teams on horseback with a headless goat carcass and now synonymous with Afghanistan as its national sport, was introduced by Uzbeks / Mongols. A creative people, Uzbeks love poetry, music and playing unique instruments, such as the Uzbek 2-stringed fretted lute. Culture is preserved through folk dances and traditional hand crafts like metal working, wood carving, leather craft and wall or textile painting. Many urban Uzbeks are businessmen, others are skilled craftsmen. Women are noted for their exquisite rugs, an area of significant contribution to Afghanistan’s textile heritage.
Western dress is worn by younger or city-dwelling Uzbeks although men may add a skullcap with embroidery indicative of their home region. A yoked dress worn over long pants is traditional women’s attire while that of men is the Chapan - a loose, quilted cotton coat worn over a shirt and trousers, completed with the skullcap.
Many of the uzbek traditions are same whether they live in Afghanistan or uzbakistan. Uzbeks are very nice people overall and provide great hospitality to guests. Uzbeks have their own great music such as Koshuk, Lapar, and yalla etc. and The dances of uzbeks distinguish softness, smoothness and expressiveness of movements, easy sliding step, original movements on a place and on a circle.
Uzbeks are mainly skilled in Handicrafts, Uzbek craftsmen nowadays still practice ancient jewellery making techniques for cutting gemstones, grain filigree, granular work, engraving and enamelling. Embroidery is one of the most popular trends among the uzbek people. The art of carpet weaving is also a very ancient tradition amongst the Uzbek.
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