Afghan Languages - Dari is the official name for the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan and is a synonymous term for Parsi. There are different opinions about the origin of the word Dari. The majority of scholars believe that Dari refers to the Persian word darbār, meaning "Court", as it was the formal language of the Sassanids. This opinion is supported by medieval sources and early Islamic historians.In Afghanistan Dari is also called Farsi or Parsi. These different names have been used synonymously to refer to the spoken language. Iranian languages are widely used language in Central Asia both by native speakers and as trade languages. Many of these languages are frequently mutually intelligible. Dari is a branch of the Indo-Iranian (Indo-Aryan) languages, a subfamily of the Indo-European languages. There are three different phases in the development of Indo-Iranian languages: Old, Middle, and Modern. Old Dari/Farsi and the Avestan language represents the old stage of development and were spoken in ancient Bactria. The Avestan language is called Avestan because the sacred scriptures of Zoroastrianism, Avesta, were written in this old form. Avestan died out long before the advent of Islam and except for scriptural use not much has remained of it. Old Dari, however, survived and there are many written records of old Dari, in cuneiform called Maikhi, in Khorasan. Old Dari was spoken until around the third century BC. It was a highly inflected language. Dari is the major language of Afghanistan, and is spoken in the northern and western parts, and the capital, Kabul, in the east. Approximately 70% of the population of Afghanistan are native speakers.
Pashto Pashto also known as Pakhto, Pushto, Pukhto, Pashtoe, Pashtu, Pushtu or Pushtoo) is a language spoken by Pashtuns living in Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Pashto belongs to the Southeastern Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Other languages in the Eastern Iranian branch of languages include Sarikoli, Wakhi, Munji, and Shughni. Other notable related Iranian languages include Persian, Kurdish, Balochi, Gilaki, spoken in the Middle East, and Ossetic, which is spoken in the Caucasus.Pashto is spoken by about 15 million people in the western provinces of North-West Frontier Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Balochistan of Pakistan and by over 6 million people in the south, east, west and a few northern provinces of Afghanistan. Smaller, modern "transplant" communities are also found in Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad). Other smaller communities of Pashto speakers also thrive in northeastern Iran. Pashto is spoken by a large part of Afghanistan's population who are of Pashtun origin, as well as by ethnic Pashtuns who live in Pakistan.