Afghan names of Hebrew and Biblical Origin

Note: all references from books and texts are italicized and bulleted.


Afghans, more precisely Pakhtuns, are descendants of the Assyrian exile from Ancient Israel thus called the Bani Israel or the Children of Israel. This is a basic statement that is ubiquitously observed from texts, scrolls and books from as far back as Herodotus in the 5th Century BC to internet articles today. Some of these claims are absurd and laughable, for example, Afghans are Bani Israel because Lex Luger an American wrestler (of Jewish descent) and the Afghan province of Logar sound familiar. On the other hand the multitude of places, names, facts, rituals, customs and ancient references from Morocco to Ceylon collectively point towards an undeniable plausibility.

In short any of these facts viewed separately can be the result of random occurrences. More likely however, from their sheer number, existence within a concise narrow region, references from the cultures around them and their own oral and written history indicates towards an oft overlooked mystery of human history. The Afghans or more precisely the Paktuike within the Karlani Tribes are most probably the children of the Assyrian Exile that never repatriated with their homeland. In a region marred by continuous warfare between countless civilizations, it is not surprising that the most lasting history of the Afghans is their own Oral Traditions carefully preserved from father to son like echoes of the past.

The Assyrian Exiles

Many sources have different conclusions as to what happened to the Assyrian Exiles after their flight out of Israel and centuries of captivity. All are conflicting. The more reliable point to a general migration towards modern day Afghanistan. Others, towards the South of the Caspian, the Caucasus, South Eastern Europe. Some stretch the imagination as far as modern day Germany and even into the depths of Africa.

A point to remember here is that, these exiles were treated even less than slaves as rebels, deprived of basic citizenship and education the mere adherence to their old religion was considered an act of treason. Israeli Monotheism was a great heresy to the ancient Assyrians.

Also, only a small fraction of this exile living in the western parts of the empire ever relocated back to Israel and that too after years of struggle went badly for the Assyrians. The major part of the exile however was exiled to the furthest reaches of the empire, the mountains beyond western media which is modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan.

A convincing reference to this fact comes from Herodotus.


Afghana is a Hebrew word for valor and represents bravery.

The Maḫzan-e Afġān’ by Nematullah, written in 1612 at the Mughal Empire (Mughal court), traces the Afghan or Pakhtun origin from the super-Patriarch Abraham down to one named King Talut or Saul. It states that Saul had a son Irmia (Jeremia), who had a son called Afghana. Upon the death of King Saul, Afghana was raised by David, and was later promoted to the chief command of the army during the reign of King Solomon. The progeny of Afghana multiplied numerously. Some four centuries after Afghana, in the sixth century BCE, Bakhtunnasar, or Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babil, attacked the Kingdom of Judah and exiled the descendants of Afghana to Ghor located in the center of what is now Afghanistan.

However, Neither Afghana nor Jeremia son of Saul figure in the Hebrew Bible.

According to several scholars such as Vladimir Fedorovich Minorsky (V. Minorsky, W.K. Frazier Tyler and M.C. Gillet), the word Afghan first appears in the 982 AD Hudud ul-‘alam, where a reference is made to them as:

  • [Willem Vogelsang, ”The Afghans”, Edition: illustrated Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2002, Page 18, ISBN 0631198415, 9780631198413]

Saul (somewhere in Ghowr and Ghazni), a pleasant village on a mountain. In it live Afghans

In the writings of the 17th-century Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak, the equation of ”Afghan” and ”Pashtun” is further confirmed:

  • [extract from “Passion of the Afghan” by Khushal Khan Khattak; translated by C. Biddulph in ””Afghan Poetry Of The 17th Century: Selections from the Poems of Khushal Khan Khattak””, London, 1890]

Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashtun and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans.


Regarding the modern Sovereign state|state of “Afghanistan’, the Encyclopaedia of Islam states:

  • [M. Longworth Dames, G. Morgenstierne, R. Ghirshman, ””Af<u>gh</u>ānistān””, in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Online Edition]

Afghanistan (Af<u>gh</u>ānistān) has borne that name only since the middle of the 18th century, when the supremacy of the Afghan race (Pashtuns) became assured: previously various districts bore distinct apellations, but the country was not a definite political unit, and its component parts were not bound together by any identity of race or language. The earlier meaning of the word was simply “the land of the Afghans”, a limited territory which did not include many parts of the present state but did comprise large districts now either independent or within the boundary of Pakistan.


‘Zabulon’ or ‘Zaboules’, was, according to the Book of Genesis and Book of Numbers:

  • [Genesis 46:14]
  • [Numbers 26:26]

the sixth son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelites (Israelite Tribes & Tribe of Zebulun).


Zabul is the Pushto & Arabic form of the Hebrew Zebulon. ‘Zabul’ (زابل ) is also a historic province of modern day Afghanistan.


Zabulistan (Pashto & Arabic زابلستان ),  also spelled Zabolestan, is a historical region in the border area of today’s Iran,  Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Babur records in his Babur-Nama that Ghazni Province  is also known as Zabulistan.

  • [Babur-Nama Translated from the original Turki Text of Zahirud’d-din Muhammad BABUR padshah Ghazi by Annette Susannah Beveridge Vol1 and 11 Published by Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers ,Page 217]

The name refers to a larger area in the past, as evident by the existence of a province in Afghanistan called Zabul at the foot of the Hindukush, (along the border with Pakistan).

Pahan / Pithon

The word Pathan is the written form of the original word Pathan from The Torah (Divrei Hayomin/Kings 2), noting their ancestor from the line of Saul ben Qish, the first King of Israel, who was King David’s father in law.

  • [Bani Israel in Pakistan; The Israeli History of the Pathan Tribes by Qazi Fazli Azeem.]


Oxford Companion to Military History: describes Pathans:

Pathans is a name given to speakers of Pashtu (Pakhtu) living in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • [O. K. Caroe, The Pathans, 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957 (1958, repr. 1965)]
  • [J. W. Spain, People of the Khyber (1963)]
  • [The Pathan Borderland (1963)]
  • [and The Way of the Pathans (2d ed. 1973).]

The Pathans are noted as fierce fighters, and throughout history they have offered strong resistance to invaders. The British attempted to subdue the Pathans in a series of punitive expeditions in the late 19th and early 20th cent. but were finally forced to offer them a semiautonomous area between the border of British India and that of Afghanistan.

After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the new nation annexed the Pathan border regions, and a Pathan independence movement, called the Redshirts, was born. In the early 1950s, Afghanistan supported Pathan ambitions for the creation of an independent Pushtunistan (also called Pakhtunistan or Pakhtoonistan) in the border areas of West Pakistan. Several border clashes and ruptures of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan ensued. In the early 1970s thousands of armed Pathan tribespeople pressed for increased autonomy within Pakistan, even demanding independence after the secession of Bangladesh (East Pakistan).

Assyria, Media & Arachosia


Greater Khorasan ( Persian/ Pashto خراسان باستان یا خراسان بزرگ ) (also written ”Khurasan”) is a historical region spanning northeastern Iran, northern Afghanistan, and the southern parts of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

  • [Britannica web url= ]

Khorāsān, also spelled Khurasan, historical region and realm comprising a vast territory now lying in northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Afghanistan. The historical region extended, along the north, from the Amu Darya (Oxus River) westward to the Caspian Sea and, along the south, from the fringes of the central Iranian deserts eastward to the mountains of central Afghanistan. Arab geographers even spoke of its extending to the boundaries of Hindustan (India)

  • [Encyclopaedia Britannica Online]
  • [The Encyclopaedia of Islam, page 55.]

In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the term “Khurassan” frequently had a much wider denotation, covering also parts of what are now Soviet Central Asia and Afghanistan; early Islamic usage often regarded everywhere east of western Persia, sc. Djibal or what was subsequently termed ‘Irak ‘Adjami, as being included in a vast and ill-defined region of Khurasan, which might even extend to the Indus Valley and Sind.

The name “Khorasan” is derived from Middle Persian ”khor” “sun” + ”asa” “literally, like or akin to, but usually meaning arising from”, hence meaning “land where the sun rises”. The Persian word ”’Khāvar-zamīn”’ (Persian خاور زمین ), meaning “the eastern land”, has also been used as an equivalent term.

According to Brittanica:

Khorāsān, also spelled Khurasan, historical region and realm comprising a vast territory now lying in northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Afghanistan. The historical region extended, along the north, from the Amu Darya (Oxus River) westward to the Caspian Sea and, along the south, from the fringes of the central Iranian deserts eastward to the mountains of central Afghanistan. Arab geographers even spoke of its extending to the boundaries of India.

In the times of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, the term Khurasan was used for the region comprising of modern day Afghanistan, the North Eastern parts of Iran, the Western parts of Pakistan and parts of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

  • [The Encyclopaedia of Islam, page 55.]

Arab geographers spoke of its extending to the boundaries of India as far as the Indus River (Indus valley) in what is now Pakistan.

  • [The Encyclopedia of Islam, Brill 1979, Vol.5, page 56]

Early Islamic usage often regarded everywhere east of western Persia, or what was subsequently termed ‘Irak ‘Adjami, as being included in a vast and ill-defined region of Khorasan, which might even extend to the Indus Valley and Sindh.

However, sources from the 14th to the 16th century report that Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul in Afghanistan formed the frontier region between Khorasan and Hindustan.

  • [Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354, Ibn Battuta, 2004 publisher Routledge, isbn=0415344735, 9780415344739, page=416]
  • [Baburnama]


In referring to the place of exile of the tribe of Ruben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh, the book of I Chronicles 5:26 states that:

“Pul … and Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria carried them away… and brought them to Halah and Habor, and Hara and to the river Gozan.”

The text of II Kings 17:6 also speaks of Gozan as a river:

“… the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river Gozan and in the cities of the Medes”

Similarly II Kings 18:11. In II Kings 19:12 Rabshakeh speaks:

in the name of Sennacherib: “How the gods of the nations have delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; (as) Gozan, and Haran

In Isaiah 37:12 Gozan can be understood as a region or a people of a region. The correct translation of II Kings 17:6 and 18:11 is:

“in the confluence of the river Gozan.”

Biblical scholars looking for the place of exile of the tribes of Israel by Tiglath Pileser, and then of all the tribes of Israel by Sargon upon the fail of Samaria, decided that the river’s name was Habor and Gozan was the region. This is a violation of the texts. They identified Habor with the confluent of the Euphrates mentioned in Ezekiel 1:3:

“The word of the Lord came … unto Ezekiel” in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.

The spellings Habor and Chebar are different, and the river Khvoz (Chebar) is not Habor, and the latter is not a river at all.

When the exiles of Judah arrived in Babylonia ca. 138 years after the inhabitants of Israel were removed from their land, they did not find the Israelites in Chebar (Khvoz). It is also said that the Lord removed Israel out of his sight—or to a country far away and without communication with the motherland.

The Assyrians spread their dominion to the south as far as Ethiopia and Aden (Eden). The Assyrians crossed the Caucasus—this is known from Assyrian inscriptions themselves.

Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, the Spanish Jewish traveller claimed to have found the Ten Tribes in the regions beyond then Persia in Medes and Arachosia. Even to the extent that this region upto distant Scythia abounds in Assyrian relics of the seventh century B.C.E.

2 Kings 17:6:

In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

2 Kings 18:11:

The king of Assyria carried Israel away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,

2 Kings 19:12:

Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden that were in Telassar?

1 Chronicles 5:26:

The God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath Pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river of Gozan, to this day.

Isaiah 37:12:

Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar?

  • [The Jewish quarterly review Volume 18 , Dropsie University, Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, page 93]

Thence it is four days’ journey to Tibet, the country in whose forests musk is found.

Thence it takes twenty-eight days to the mountains of Nisabur by the river Gozan. And there are men of Israel in the land of Persia who say that in the mountains of Nisabur four of the tribes of Israel dwell.

  • [War on Terror: Unfolding Bible Prophecy, Grant R. Jeffrey, page 57]

The territory mentioned -Jn.2 Kings lies northeast of ancient Nineveh in present-day southern Afghanistan. The River Gozan lies in northern Afghanistan.

Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews described the location of the ten tribes.

  • [The itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: critical text, translation and commentary, Benjamin (of Tudela), page 58]

He also substitutes Oxus for Gozan. In the Middle Ages the Oxus was known under that name. In each of the localities Benjamin was told that river (Oxus) was called Gozan.

  • [Median empire : 728 BC–549 BC did not involve the caucasus]


Hara is the ancient name for Herat Afghanistan.


A large and famous city, hub of economic activity for more than two millenia.


Ancient name which represents the root  Khyber. Alternately spelled as Chebar, Chebor, Havor or Habor.


Khyber is the modern usage of the word Habor, Havor or Chebar. Khyber is the historical and famous mountain pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Khyber is of Hebrew origin meaning fort.

Afghan tribes that inhabit the region are called Khybaris. These include Afridi, Khattak, Shinwari, Yusufzai, Mohmand and the Orakzai.

In the past, Khyber has also been referred to as Qilla Yahudi (Yahoodi), which literally means Citadel of the Jews. This was a term used solely by the Mughals because of their contempt for the Khybaris (Khattak, Yusfzai and Afridi Tribesmen) who looted and plundered Mughal convoys and supply lines. It was a reference to the Afghan’s stock belief of being the Bani Israel (Children of Israel).

Pesh Habor

Pesh means after or beyond and Habor means Khyber. Pesh Habor means the city beyond the Khyber pass which is the ancient biblical city of Peshawar. Peshawar was founded almost three millenia ago around 3000 BCE.


Modern usage and name for Pesh Habor or Pesh Havor.


  • [Genesis 46:11]
  • [Exodus 6:16,18]
  • [Numbers 3:17,19,27,29,30,]
  • [Numbers 4:2,15,18,34,37]
  • [Numbers 7:9,]
  • [Numbers 10:21,]
  • [Numbers 16:1,]
  • [Numbers 26:57,58,]
  • [Joshua 21:4,5,10,20,26]
  • [1 Chronicles6:1,2, 16,18,22,33,38,54,61,66,70]
  • [1Chronicles9:32,]
  • [1Chronicles15:5]
  • [1Chronicles23:6,12]


References from the bible as well as the multitude Hebrew names and the legend of the Afghans as the Bani Israel represent one origin while another claim states it to be the name of a Hindu Raja. The two compared however, the former theory hold more weight.

Sons of Joseph

Yousuf Zai

Yusuf means Joseph and Yusufzai means children of Joseph. They also call themselves Bani-Israel meaning children of Israel. Their tradition is that they were carried away from their ancient homeland, and through the ages eventually settled into what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan and some other countries.

Israeli Tradition in Afghan Royal Family

The Afghan Royal Family has a well known tradition placing its origin in ancient Israel, they came from the Tribe of Benjamin.

First of all, many Afghani people claim this to be so. Rabbi Avraham Hacohen, president of the Jewish community in the Afghan city of Harath, testified that he heard former Afghani king Habib Allah Han proclaim:

“I am from the tribe of Benjamin.” In similar testimony, an immigrant to Israel recalls his childhood memory of King Habib Allah’s horseback tour of Harath (Herat): “The Jewish dignitaries of the city gathered, among them my father. My father coerced me to join in greeting the king. The King asked the Jews, ‘What tribe are you from?’ ‘We have no tradition regarding that, so we don’t know, O King,’ answered the head of the delegation. ‘Well, we do know,’ said the king. ‘We, the Mahmad Zei family, are all descendants of the tribe of Benjamin from the seed of King Saul, from the sons of Yonatan Afghan and Pithon.’”

  • [Based on an article by Rafael Berelson]

The  former  monarchy  in  Afghanistan  has  a  widely-spread tradition according  to which  their origin was  from  the  tribe of Benjamin  and  the  family  of  King  Saul.  According to this tradition, Saul had a son called Jeremiah and he in turn had a son called Afghana.  Jeremiah  died  at  about  the  same  time  as Saul  and  the  son  Afghana  was  raised  by  King  David  and remained in the royal palace during the reign of Solomon too. About 400 years later, in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the Afghana family fled to the Gur region (Jat in our times). This is in  central  Afghanistan  and  here  the  family  settled  down  and traded with  the people of  the area.  In  the year 622, with  the appearance  of  Islam, Muhammad  sent  Khalid  ibn Waleed  to the  ‘sons  of  Ishrail’  to  spread  the  word  of  Islam  among  the Afghanistan  tribes.  He  succeeded  in  his mission,  returned  to Muhammad  with  seven  representatives  of  the  residents  of Afghanistan  and  with  76  supporters.  The leader of these people was ‘Kish’ (or Kesh or Qais).

According to the tradition, the emissaries succeeded in their assignment and Muhammad praised them for this. He (the Prophet) gave the name Abdur Rashid to Kesh, announced that Kesh was from the Royal line of the House of Israel and that through his seed God will strengthen his religion.

  • [“Lost Tribes from Assyria” by A Avihail and A Brin, 1978]

Afghan Tribal Names

Gadoon – Gad (also Jaji – Gad)
Rabbani – Reuben
Abdali or Naftali – Naphtali ( also Daftani – Naphtali)
Shinwari – Simeon or Shimon
Zamand – Zebulun
Levani – Levi
Afridi – Ephraim
Ashuri – Asher

Yusufzai – Tribe of Joseph

Khattak – Manasseh

The Pushtuns (or Pukhtuns) themselves point out that the differences between the original names of the tribes and their present are because of the differences in dialect, accents and local languages, so that, for instance, Jaji was actually called Gaji for the tribe of Gad and so on.


For a great part of two hundred years, the mainstream representation of the Karlani Paktuike tribes was represented by the Khattaks. These were the times of the downfall of the Mogul Empire and beginning of the British Raj. However it is interesting that being a prototype for the most probable descendants of the Assyrian Exiles, the Khattaks have not retained a more familiar tribal biblical name.

Referring to the Khattaks and Afridis, Sir Olaf Caroe The Pathans 550BC to 1957AD expresses:

This is not to assert that the ethnic or linguistic stock can be necessarily traced through to tribes of similar names today. The case would be rather that these were sub-stratum agglomerations of people who, through contact with later-comers, modified their language and were assimilated to later cultures, but retained in the more inaccessible places sufficient of their older selves to boast their original names. The theory does at least give a starting-point to Pathan history & the stock belief in the Bani Israel.

Ancient references to a Gandriori Nation states that the children of Isreal chief among them the sons of Joseph were living in Ghor. It is as this time that the 4 original Karlani tribes, namely Yusufzai, Khattaks, Afridis and the Zdazdi settled together as the Assyrian exile in Ghor. This is referenced by the account of Herodotus and the Darius Satrapies.

From the two accounts, it is deducible that either the Khattak might me a modified form of the tribe of Gad or the name might be a derivative title from the people of the original tribe. Herodotus refers to them as the Guddai or the Satta Guddai.

Pathan – Pithon

Pathan a derivative of the Hebrew personal name Pithon is both the collective name of the ethnic Afghans (Pashtuns/Pakhtuns) and also an alias of their legendary ancestor Kish/Kysh (Qais Abdur Rashid).

In the lineage of Qais Abdur Rashid, Pithon is also the name of a descendant of Prohpet Yaqoob (Jacob / Israel).

Hebrew personal names

The occurrence of pure Hebrew names among the Pushtuns is common place, even though; such names being those of the ancient prophets of Israel, and common to both Jews and Muslims are nowhere to be found among other Muslims. Of these, the specifically Pushtun kept include, Israel, Zabul (from Zebulon or Zabulon), Afghan (Afghana), Amran etc.

Similarly, whereas other Muslims usually prefer names of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, the usage of more Hebrew prophets is predominant among the Pushtuns. Hebrew names that are thus commonly used both by the Pushtuns and other Muslims include: Salman (Persian version of Shlomo or Solomon), Musa (Moses), Ibraheem (Avraham), Aazar, Yaqoob (Jacob), Yusef (Joseph), Shoaib (Jethro) etc.. One name, exclusively Pushtun is Natha; as in Natha paired with Khan, which may have its origins in the same root from which Nathan is derived.

Hebrew place names

There are also many Pushtun areas & locations, neighborhoods and villages, with names reminiscent of ancient Israel, the Torah and Hebrew origins. Infact, these are so common place and in all the regions of the Pushtuns (a great region spread over many countries and thousands of square miles) that their occurrence only in the Pushtun homeland and in all its entirety is more than pure coincidence.

The mountains the Pathan’s have been living in after the exile, are called by them, the Suleiman (Solomon) mountains.

The popular places that trace their origin in Hebrew include:

– Koh-e-Suleiman – Solomon Mountains
– Takht-e-Suleiman – Throne of Solomon (the highest peak in the Solomon mountains)
– Afghanistan – Afghana (the grandson of King Saul)
– Kohat – or Kohath, a city in NWFP, Pakistan, means assembly in Hebrew and it is also the name of the second son of Levi and the father of Amram or Amran.
– Zabul – A province in present day Afghanistan and in the days of Mahmood Ghaznavi the whole region of Afghanistan was known as Zabulistan – Zebulon was one of the sons of Prophet Jacob (AS).
– Khyber – a place near the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. In the time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, Khyber was an ancient Jewish Citadel city near Yathrab (present day Medina).

– Peshawar – The Capital of NWFP province of Pakistan – PESH means the Pass and HAWAR means City i.e. The City after the Pass. Peshawar is a short drive from Khyber Pass. A Place named Habor or Havor is mentioned in Torah as the place of the exile of the tribes. The city of Havor is, they say, peh-Shauor (Pash- Havor’) which means  ‘Over Havor’.

Ten Lost Tribes in Khurasan (Afghanistan & Pakistan)

According to the Bible (Kings 02:17:06, Kings 02:18:11, Chronicles 01:05:26)

  • []

The ten tribes were exiled to Halah and Havor and the river Gozan and to the cities of Maday.  According  to  the tradition  of  the  Jews  of  Afghanistan and old Afghan historical texts, the river Amu in entirety was called Gozan. Therefore Historian Saadia Gaon states:

  • []

“ River Gozan ” is the river north of the city of Balach in the north of Afghanistan. The river is known today as the “ Amu Darya ”, and is the border between Afghanistan and Russia. Afghanistan tradition states that the whole river was once known as the Gozen River.

“Habor” is located in the pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan , and is called Pesh-Habor in Afghani (Pesh means Pass) after the city of the pass. The city is known today as Peshawar.

“Hara” is the city of Harat near the Persian border. It is the third largest city in Afghanistan . The prophecy of Isaiah states that the exile will bring the tribes to the land of Sinim”:

“Behold , these shall come from far, and , lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim “

  • [( Isaiah 49:12).]

Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela

In the year 1165, about 300 years after the travels of Eldad Hadani, Benjamin ben Jonah departs from Tudela on a journey in search of Jewish communities. In 1171 he returns to Spain and writes his memoirs, the famous “Journeys of Benjamin of Tudela.”

Regarding the tribes of Dan, Zevulun, Asher and Naftali he writes:

“…And it is said that in the Nasbor cities there are four tribes of Israel, Dan, Zevulun, Asher and Naftali… and the distance of their land is twenty days, and they have provinces and cities. On the one side they are surrounded by the river Gozan, and the yoke of the non-Jews is not upon them, and among them are scholars, and they sow and reap and go to war in the Land of Cush through the deserts.”

The area describes by Rabbi Bejamin, as the home of the Ten Tribes, is a mountainous area, divided by steep valleys. The cities of Nisbor are found in northeastern Iran, close to the border with Afghanistan. Rabbi Saadia Gaon in the 9th century and Moshe ben Ezra in the 11th century mention Afghanistan – then known as Khorasan – as the home of the Ten Tribes.

The Different places described by Benjamin are:

Nisbor – Nishapour (Iran)

Gozan – Oxus or Jehoon (Afghanistan)

Land of Cush – Kish or Qais Abdur Rashid in Zhob, Balochistan (Pakistan).

  • []
  • [Lost Tribes from Assyria” by A Avihail and A Brin, 1978]

Gozan (Gozen)

The historical name of Amu River in Afghanistan, hence the Torah says:

The God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul King of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath Pilnesser King of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Ruebenites, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, and Habor, and Hara and to the river of Gozan to this day.

  • [Kings II, 17 and 18; Chronicles 1:5:26)]

Kerak (Karak)

A City in Jordan and another in NWFP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan), the ancient home of the Khattak tribe.


A province in Afghanistan and a localized form of a famous Jewish family name.

Kabul (Cabul)

In Hebrew Cab means dirty and Bul means city hence a dirty city, whereas others suggest, it means Cain and Abel.

Herat (Hara or Hala)

The pearl of Khurasan – a city in Afghanistan, Hara is one of the places of the exile along with Habor and Gozan.

Kash/Kish/Cush or Kesh

Name of numerous personalities in Chronicles of Hebrew Bible – and a Dasht-e-Kash north of Helmand, a City of Kash mentioned in map of Afghanistan 1912 of the Library of Congress. There is also a Kash Rod in Nimroz Province of Afghanistan.

Kish is also the Biblical form of Qais Abdir Rashid (or Rasheed) the legendary Afghan leader during the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H.

Dasht-e-Yahoodi (Yahudi)

The Jewish Plain – a famous place in Mardan district of NWFP, Pakistan.

Killa Yahoodi (Yahudi)

or Jewish Fort – a place on Afghanistan Pakistan border.

4 Responses to Afghan names of Hebrew and Biblical Origin

  1. danieulate says:

    The Lost Ten Tribes are in both western Europe & Af-Pak.

  2. danieulate says:

    Just to name a few coincidences with other Israelite claims. Skande (Similar to Skandinavia or Skania, bearing the name of Isaac in their first consonants.), Ishakzai (Isaacson), Sakzai (Isaacson. In the Two-Houser movement they consider the Saxons to be Isaacsons. The Saxons were called anciently Saxoi, very close to Sakzai. The Two Housers believe the Saxons are the offspring of the Sakasunis & Sakas, the very ancestors of the Pashtuns. They quote different historians to support it like the celebrated Flavius Josephus), Swabi (The very name of an ancient Germanic tribe that settled Spain. Celts & most Germanic peoples like British, Swedes, Danes… are Israelites according to Two-Housers), Dotani (Datan, biblical personage), Kayan (It’s interesting that has the very name of the Karen or Kayan Israelites of Myanmar), Haro (Anything to do with the Igbo, Israelites too, clan called Aro that live in Nigeria? How about the Aro Gadites of the Bible?), Shakarzai (Ishakarson), Kabul (A Palestinian village has the same name)….

  3. danieulate says:

    Yaqubi, in Swabi, pakistan, is a name clearly based on the forefarther of the Pashtuns & all of Israel.

    Lund is another toponym found in Scandinavia & Pashtunistan.

  4. Pingback: Are the Pashtun People the “Lost Tribes of Israel?” – Hira Cumorah

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