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The name Nurzai, liguistically, is a combination of Arabic and Pashto meaning son of the light. The word "nūr" derives from the Arabic word for the light. While the word "zai" derives from the Pashto word for son or son of. Zai affixed to the end of Pashtun tribal names is the Pashto equivalent of the popular Persian "zada" often affixed to the end of names belonging to indigenous Persian peoples.

Nurzai Clan 2.jpg

The Nurzai that is actually spelled as "Noorzai" is the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. A clan of Durani Pashtuns and they are almost majority in provinces of Kandahar,Urozgan, Helmand,Nimroz, Herat,Badghis,Farah,and also they are living as a minority in provinces of Faryab, Ghor, jozjan, kunduz, Baghlan,Khost and Kabul city.The total population of Noorzai tribe is almost 6 million persons, Noorzais make 1/5 of the entire Afghanistan's population. Noorzais are historically known to be tough warriors and the guardians of Afghanistan's southern and Western borders. Among all pashtuns Noorzais are recognized as very generous and hospitable people, as well as the most civilized.

Large portions of the Nurzai, particularly those living in the Farah, Nimroz and Herat provinces are primarily Persian/Dari speaking, with little or no knowledge of the Pashto language. However, this linguistic shift has not compromised their ethnicity and the Nurzai in their totality remain Pashtun in identity and ethnicity. Nearly all Pashtun parliamentary representatives from the area and of Nurzai affiliation (such as the famed Malalai Joya, are exclusively Persian-speaking Pashtuns.