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Nuristani, Ashkuni in Afghanistan

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
52,000 Ashkun Islam 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Nuristani, Ashkuni in Afghanistan

People Group Video [7]
Source:  Asia HarvestWatchDownload
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Introduction / History
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 Today, raids have been replaced by oratory since Ashkuni culture also respects skillful public speakers.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?
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 1895-6 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." Islam had finally triumphed in these mountain villages. 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. After the end of the war against Russia, one million refugees were reported back in Afghanistan. The Ashkunis in their homeland will be less isolated than in the past. Agricultural and medical teams, among others, will be welcomed.

There is no known evangelism taking place in the area and none would be openly permitted. It may be possible to evangelize among the "Ashkuni", the Kafirs of Pakistan, and through them eventually have a basis for evangelization in Afghanistan. Evangelism is not openly permitted in Afghanistan. Therefore, probably none is taking place in Nuristan. 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.

Prayer Points
Our Father, today thousands of us lift up the Ashkuni, praying that thousands of them will come to know and obey You as Savior.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.

View Nuristani, Ashkuni in all countries.

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The Nuristani
  Submit Update:
Country: Afghanistan
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Central
Persecution Rank:9 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
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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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Nuristani, Ashkuni
People Name General: Nuristani, Ashkuni
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 100556
Joshua Project People ID: 10453
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 52,000
Population all Countries: 52,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
People Cluster: Nuristan
People Name General: Nuristani, Ashkuni
Ethnic Code: CNT24d
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Ashkun (52,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ask    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Sub-division:Sunni
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam100.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Nuristani, Ashkuni in Afghanistan

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Nuristan     Asia, Central    
      Nuristani, Ashkuni Afghanistan    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Nuristani, Ashkuni in Afghanistan          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Ashkun  
    All Religions                              

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