Language of Afghanistan


Afghanistan has two official languages – Pashtun and Dari.

Like everything in Afghanistan, language, not surprisingly, is a sensitive topic. Although the largest percentage of people in Afghanistan speak Pashtun, being ethnically Pashto, Dari is actually the most widely spoken language, and is the preferred way for different groups to communicate with each other. To put it very simply – Dari is kind of like the English of Europe, or Russian in Central Asia.

Other than Pashtun and Dari, Afghanistan is home to over 40 languages, with hundreds of dialects. The biggest regional languages are Uzbek, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashayi and Nuristani.

Being the language most used for different groups to communicate with each other, Dari of course is the most useful language to know when in Afghanistan. For that reason we'll focus on Dari here, as this is the language you should use if you don't know either.


What is Dari?

Dari is a variant of Persian. It is also known as Afghan Persian or Dari Persian. Although the written language is almost identical to Persian, the spoken language can have some significant differences. “Dari” was first made the legal name of the Afghan variation of Persian in 1964. Before 1964 it was also just called Farsi, the same as the language of Iran.


English language in Afghanistan

English on the whole is fairly uncommon in Afghanistan. Most people you will come across will know a few phrases or words, however not many will be able to have conversations with you. This is especially the case when travelling around, as you're unlikely to find the upper and middle classes out on the streets. Those who speak English will usually be the ones who have been to university and had the opportunity to travel abroad.


What writing system/script do they use in Afghanistan?

Dari is written using the Perso-Arabic script, the same as you would see in Iran. Pashtun also uses a variant of the Perso-Arabic script.


Some useful phrases in Dari

Hello Salaam سلام
How are you? Chi tor hasti? Chi hal dari? چي حال داري؟
Fine, thankyou Khob, tashakor خوب تشكر
What is your name? Nametan chist? نامتان چيست؟
My name is _____ Naame ma _____ ast نام من _____ است
Nice to meet you Khoshaal Shodom az mulaqat e shuma خشحال شدم از ملاقات شما
Please Lotfaan لطف
Thankyou Tashakor تشكر
You're welcome Qabele tashakor nest قابل تشکرنيست
Yes Baleh بله
No Ne نه
Excuse me (getting attention) Bebakhshin بيبخشين
Excuse me (begging pardon) Mebakhshen ميبخشين
I'm sorry Mazrat Mekhwaham محذرت ميخواهم
Goodbye Khuda Hafez خدا حافظ
Goodnight (informal) Shab ba khayr شب بخیر
I can't speak Dari well Ma dorost dari yad nadaraom من درست درى ياد ندارم
Do you speak English? Aaya Shuma Englisi Yaad Daren? آيا شما انگريسي ياد دارن؟
Is there someone here who speaks English? Aaya da inja kase hast ke englisi yaad dashta basha? آيا انجا کس است کە انگليسي ياد داشتە باشه؟
Help Komak! !کمک
I don't understand Mann namefahmam من نميفهيم
Where is the toilet? Tashnab kojast? تشناب کجااست؟


Numbers

Afghanistan uses Persian numerals, the same as we do in English.

One Yak
Two Doo
Three Say
Four Chahhahr
Five Panj
Six Shahsh
Seven Haft
Eight Hasht
Nine Nou
Ten Daa
Twenty Beast
Thirty Si
Forty Chehel
Fifty Pinjaa
Sixty Shast
Seventy Haftaad
Eighty Hashtaad
Ninety Nawad
Hundred Sad
Thousand Hazaar




Example Tours

Afghanistan July Summer Tour
Heading into the mountains to escape the heat, Bamiyan is a highlight of this tour.

July 13, 2024
9 days
US$2495.00
Afghanistan July Summer Tour
Afghanistan October Autumn Tour
Come and see all the best spots in this wonderful and unique country.

Oct. 16, 2024
9 days
US$2495.00
Afghanistan October Autumn Tour
Afghanistan April Spring Tour
This tour offers the best of old and new. We head south to areas previously too dangerous to explore such as Kandahar, while also heading north to old SAIGA favourites like Mazar i Sharif, Balkh and Samangan. Of course no tour to Afghanistan would be complete without exploring Kabul.

April 5, 2025
9 days
US$2495.00
Afghanistan April Spring Tour
Afghanistan July Summer Tour
This is the tour for those wanting to explore the natural beauty that is Bamiyan and Band e Amir. Escaping the summer heat in the cool mountains, you'll see traditional village life, while also experiencing the bustling cities of Kabul and Mazar i Sharif.

July 12, 2025
9 days
US$2495.00
Afghanistan July Summer Tour
Afghanistan October Autumn Tour
Cities, History, Nature? This tour has it all. Starting in Kabul, then heading south through Ghazni and Kandahar, we'll then head north where we see the oldest mosque in Afghanistan as well as buddhist caves dating back thousands of years.

Oct. 18, 2025
9 days
US$2495.00
Afghanistan October Autumn Tour
Afghanistan March Spring Tour
An early spring tour this year, to get in before Ramadan, we'll explore everywhere from north to south.

Feb. 29, 2024
9 days
US$2495.00
Afghanistan March Spring Tour
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