The Aimaq (Persian: ایماق‎), also transliterated as Aimak and Aymaq, are a collection of Persian-speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.[1] Aimaqs live mostly in the West Central highlands of Afghanistan, immediately to the north of Herat, in Pakistan in the Kyber and Balochistan region and also to a much lesser amount in the Khorasan Province of Iran.[2] They speak a number of subdialects of the Aimaq dialect of Persian, however some southern groups of Taymani and Maleki Aymaqs have adopted the Pashto language.[3]

Total population
650,000[citation needed]
Aimaq dialect of Persian
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups

Aimaks were originally known as chahar ("four") Aymaqs: the Taymani (the main element in the population of Ghor), the Firozkohi, the Jamshidi and the Temuri.[4] Other sources state that the Aimaq Hazara are one of the Chahar, with the Temuri instead being of the "lesser Aimaqs" or Aimaq-e digar[5] ("other Aimaqs") along with the Tahiri, Zuri, Maleki, and Mishmast.

Origin and cultureEdit

The Aimaqs claim to be descended from the troops of Genghis Khan.[6]

Aymāq is a Turkic-Mongolic word that means "tribe" or "grazing territory". Aimaq Hazara and Temuri are the most Mongoloid of the Aimaqs. The Temuri and Aimaq Hazara live in yurts, whereas other Aimaqs live in traditional Afghan black tents.[7] The Aimaq are largely nomadic to semi-nomadic goat and sheep herders. They also trade with villages and farmers during migrations for pastures for their livestock. The material culture and foodstuffs of the Aimaq include skins, carpets, milk, dairy products and more. They tend to trade these products to settled peoples in return for vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, and other types of foods and goods.[6]

Classification of tribesEdit

Aimaq tribes

Name Tribal kind Origin
Aimaq Hazara Aimaq-e digar Hazaras
Chagatai Aimaq-e digar Turco-Mongols of Chagatai Khanate (the ethnic origin of the Chagatai Tajiks is unknown, but their name is from descendant of Genghis Khan, Chagatai Khan. Based on the fact they are Tajiks, it would seem they are a Persian people.)
Changezi Aimaq-e digar Named after Changez khan
Damanrigi Aimaq-e digar
Durzai Aimaq-e digar Pashtuns
Firozkohi Chahar Aimāq
Ghori Aimaq-e digar Ghor
Jamshidi Chahar Aimāq Arabo-Persian[8]
Kakar Aimaq-e digar Pashtuns
Kakeri Aimaq-e digar
Khamidi Aimaq-e digar
Kipchak Aimaq-e digar Kipchaks
Maleki Aimaq-e digar
Mishmast Aimaq-e digar
Mobari Aimaq-e digar
Tahiri[circular reference] Aimaq-e digar Arabs?
Timuri Chahar Aimāq Turco-Mongols
Taymani Chahar Aimāq
Zuri/Zohri Aimaq-e digar


CIA map showing the territory of the settlement of ethnic groups and subgroups in Afghanistan (2005)

Estimates of the Aimaq population vary between 250,000 and 500,000. They are largely Sunni Muslims--except for the Jamshidi who are mainly Ismaili Shia in the main--and in contrast to the Hazara, who are mostly Shia Muslims.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tom Lansford -A bitter harvest: US foreign policy and Afghanistan 2003 Page 25 "The term Aimaq means "tribe" but the Aimaq people actually include several different ethnic groups. The classification has come to be used for a variety of nonaligned nomadic tribes"
  2. ^ Janata, A. "AYMĀQ". In Ehsan Yarshater (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica (Online ed.). United States: Columbia University.
  3. ^ Vogelsang, Willem (2002). The Afghans. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 18. ISBN 0631198415. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  4. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Aimak". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 439.
  5. ^ Willem Vogelsang (2002). The Afghans. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 37–. ISBN 9780631198413. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b Winston, Robert, ed. (2004). Human: The Definitive Visual Guide. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 432. ISBN 0-7566-0520-2.
  8. ^ Alastair Hull; José Luczyc-Wyhowska (October 1993). Kilim: the complete guide : history, pattern, technique, identification. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-0359-5. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Afghanistan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008.

Further readingEdit

  • Macgregor, Central Asia, (Calcutta, 1871)

External linksEdit