Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Turkmen are another Sunni Turkic-speaking group whose language has close affinities with modern Turkish. They are of aquiline Mongoloid stock. The Afghan Turkmen population in the 1990s is estimated at around 200,000. Turkmen also reside north of the Amu Darya in Turkmenistan. The original Turkmen groups came from east of the Caspian Sea into northwestern Afghanistan at various periods, particularly after the end of the nineteenth century when the Russians moved into their territory. They established settlements from Balkh Province to Herat Province, where they are now concentrated; smaller groups settled in Kunduz Province. Others came in considerable numbers as a result of the failure of the Basmachi revolts against the Bolsheviks in the 1920s.
Turkmen tribes, of which there are twelve major groups in Afghanistan, base their structure on genealogies traced through the male line. Senior members wield considerable authority. Formerly a nomadic and warlike people feared for their lightening raids on caravans, Turkmen in Afghanistan are farmer-herdsmen and important contributors to the economy. They brought karakul sheep to Afghanistan and are also renowned makers of carpets, which, with karakul pelts, are major hard currency export commodities. Turkmen jewelry is also highly prized.
Data as of 1997
NOTE: The information regarding Afghanistan on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Afghanistan Turkmen information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Afghanistan Turkmen should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.