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Total population
(several millions)
Regions with significant populations
Afghanistan, Pakistan
Pashto, Urdu, Dari
Related ethnic groups
other Pashtun tribes, other Iranian peoples

Sarbaṇī (Pashto: سربڼي‎) are the largest[1] tribal group of Pashtuns. They are situated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Sarbani include many Pashtun tribes, among whom the most numerous are the Tareen, Durrani historically Abdali, Barakzai, Alakozai, Achakzai, Gigyani, Yusufzai, Momand, Khalil, Ghoryakhel, Shinwari, Kasi, and Muhammadzai (Hashtnagar).[2] According to the Pashtun legend of origins, the members of the Sarbani group all descend from Sarban, who was the first son of the legendary founding father of the Pashtun people, Qais Abdur Rashid.


The name Sarbani is similar or identical to the name of an historical tribe on Caucasus that was also named Sarbani (the Caucasian tribe was recorded under this name in the 10th century). Pashtuns are believed to be of Scythian descent[3] and their language is classified as East Scythian (Sarmatian language is also grouped within Scythian branch).[4]


The origin of the Sarbani, might be connected with Hephthalites,[5] who had a large nomadic confederation that included present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 5th-6th centuries AD, as well as with Scythians,[6] who are known to have settled where most of Pashtuns live today.

The Durrani Empire that existed in the 18th-19th centuries and that was centered in the territory of present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan was founded by the Ahmad Shah Durrani, a Pashtun military commander under Nader Shah of Persia and chief of the Abdali Sarban tribe. Since that time, the Abdali tribe is known as Durrani.

Geographic distribution[edit]


In Afghanistan, Sarbani mainly inhabit the provinces of Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, Helmand, Nimroz, Farah, Herat, Badghis, Balkh, and Kunduz, as well as the provinces Nangarhar and Kunar in the eastern part of the country.


In Pakistan, Sarbani are living throughout the city of Peshawar, northern and eastern parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas regions. Additional large settlements are found in Multan, Quetta, Hazara KPK (Mansehra .Abbottabad, Haripur and in the northern parts of Balochistan.[7]

Sarbani tribes[edit]

Abubakar Siddique writes that "Under the prevailing classifications, Pashtuns are divided into four main tribal groupings: the Sarbani, Bhittani, Ghurghust and Karlani... The Sarbanis are divided into two branches: the Sharkbun and the Kharshbun. The most significant tribes of this branch today are the Sherani, Tareen, Urmer (an adopted tribe), Durranis, Khalils, Mohmands, Daudzai, Chamkanis, Yousafzai, Shinwari and Tarkalani."[8]

See also[edit]


  • External links