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The Aimaq (Persian: ایماق), also transliterated as Aimak or Aymaq, are a collection of Persian-speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. Aimaqs are found throughout the West Central highlands of Afghanistan, immediately to the north of Herat, and in the Khorasan Province of Iran. They speak a number of subdialects of the Aimaq dialect of Persian, however some southern groups of Taymani and Maleki Aymaqs have adopted Pashto.
Aimaks were originally known as chahar ("four") Aymaqs: the Taimani (the main element in the population of Ghor), the Ferozkohi, the Temuri, and the Jamshidi. Other sources state that the "Aimaq-Hazara" are one of the Chahar, with the Temuri instead being of the "lesser Aimaqs" or Aimaq-e digar ("other Aimaqs") along with the Tahiri, Zuri, Maleki, and Mishmast.
Aimaks are closely related to Tajiks and Hazaras in varying degrees. In the Afghan census, Aimaks are classified as Tajiks. Aimaks live in parts of western and central Afghanistan, making up the majority in Ghor, and also live in large numbers in the western areas of Herat and Badghis, and to a lesser extent in Farah, Faryab, Jowzjan, and Sar-e Pol. The word "Aymāq" is Mongolian meaning "tribe" or "grazing territory". Attempts to link it somehow with Ancient Iranian semi-god patriarch Yima or Jamshid lack both linguistic and historical foundations.
Estimates of the Aimaq population vary between 250,000 and 2 million. They are largely Sunni Muslims, in contrast to the Hazara, who are mostly Shias. The Temuri Aimaqs are of Mongolian origin, apparent in their physical appearance and their housing (Mongolian-style yurts). However, the Taimanis, Ferozkohis, and Jamshidis are of Iranian origin, and refer to themselves as Tajik; the majority of the Aimaqs in Afghanistan are of these latter three sub-groups.
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