Large groups of Sunni Arab living in the vicinity of Bokhara in Central Asiafled to northeastern Afghanistan following Russian conquests in the nineteenthcentury. By the 1880s they were, with the Uzbek with whom they established closeties, the second most populous ethnic group in present day Kunduz, Takhar andBaghlan provinces. Smaller groups settled in scattered communities as far westas Maimana, Faryab Province.
The Arab are pastoralists who raise sheep and grow cotton and wheat. Someamong the eastern groups make summer migrations of up to 300 kilometers to reachthe lush high pastures in Badakhshan. Government development schemes, especiallythose which brought large numbers of Pushtun to the area in the 1940s, relegatedthe Arab to a small proportion of the population and the Arab ceased to hold amonopoly on long distance migration. Bilingual in Dari and Uzbeki, but speakingno Arabic, they continue to identify themselves as Arab although they have hadno contact with the Arabs of the Middle East since the late fourteenth century.
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