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Formed by the political expansion of Pashtun tribes and unified in the 19th century, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan harbors a population that is almost entirely Muslim. The Pashtun ethnic group is joined by Persian-speaking Tajiks, Hazaras, and Aymaqs as well as Turkish-speaking Uzbeks and Turkmens, and Islam provides a unifying force for the disparate groups. Ninety-nine percent of Afghanis are Muslim, with 84% following the Sunn? tradition (mostly of the Hanafi variety) and 15% following the Shi'a tradition (mostly Hazaras in the Imami school, with smaller groups of Ismailis). In 1990, Afghanistan had the largest refugee population living outside its border, mostly in Pakistan, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula. Its people began leaving en masse following the coup of 1978 and the ensuing war, ...

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