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Shia Islam in Afghanistan

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Shia Islam in Afghanistan

Shia Islam in Afghanistan is practiced by a minority of the population; estimates vary from 7% to 15% or 20%. Afghan Shia are primarily the Twelvers, while a minority are Ismailis.



The majority of Afghan Shia are Twelvers, primarily of the Hazara ethnicity. The next-largest Twelver community are the Farsiwan of the western Herat and Farah provinces. Other, far smaller, Afghan Twelver communities include the Bayat and Qizilbash populations, as well as some of those who claim to be Sayeds.


A smaller portion of Afghan Shia are Nizari Ismailis; these populations include many of the Pamir language speakers of the northeastern portion of the country (predominantly in Badakhshan Province bordering Tajikistan).

Baghlan Province is also home to an Ismaili community, the Sayeds of Kayan. Their leader is Sayed Mansur Naderi and his son, Sayed Jaffar Naderi. During the Soviet-Afghan War, about 10,000 Ismaili militamen defended the Baghlan Ismaili stronghold of Kayan. They have sided with the Soviets due to differences with the other groups of fighters. In 2003 it was reported that unlike other Ismaili communities in the region and worldwide, the Baghlan Ismailis did not defer to the spiritual leader of Ismailis worldwide, the Agha Khan.


Shia Islam in Afghanistan Wikipedia

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