American Diplomacy
Letters from Readers

July 2008

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“The New Face of Central Asia”

Kevin Litchfield

In "The New Face of Central Asia" (June 24, 2008), Michael W. Cotter writes that "Farsi-related Urdu is the dominant language in Afghanistan." In fact, Persian in its Dari dialect (Farsi is another dialect of Persian) is the dominant language in Afghanistan, spoken by about 80% of the population. Urdu has a negligible presence. Furthermore, Urdu is not a particularly close relative of Persian (Farsi); it has much more in common with the other Indo-Aryan languages, such as Hindi, Panjabi, and Marathi, than with languages such as Persian of the Iranian group, other members of which include Pashto and Kurdish.

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