KAFIRISTAN, (Pers., land of the infidels). A political dependency, but prac tically an independent State in the northeast corner of Afghanistan, situated on the southern slope of the Hindu Kits'', and bounded on the south by the Kabul River (Map: Afghanistan, 1\1 3). Estimated area, 5000 square miles. Toward the south the surface consists of undulat ing and of level ground, but the north is a region of valleys, glens. ravines, and mountains. The soil is fertile. and along the valleys cereals and fruit are oultivated, especially grapes, from which a wine of great local repute is manu factured; the chief occupations, however, are pastoral. and there are large herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. Since 18'95 the region has been under the nominal control of the Amer of Afghanistan, who maintains military stations at various points. The inhabitants, numbering about 200,000, differ from their neighbors in features and complexion, customs, and creed, and claim to be descendants of troops of Alexander the Great. They are divided into three principal and some minor tribal communities often at internecine variance. They are independent and warlike, and their simple patriarchalism may be compared NV it 11 the earliest known governmental institutions of the Aryans of En rope. As the
term 'Kafir' (Arabic, infidel) implies, they have retained more or less of their primitive religion and resisted the advances of Islam. They are not nearly so Orientalized as the Hindus, etc., but have preserved many traits of un-Asiatie Aryan character. Some have seen in the Ka firs, unnecessarily, a large Creek admixture, both in their physical make-up and their arts, customs, etc. Their language, which has no written lit erature, is apparently midway between the Indian and the le:titian divisions of the Indo-Iranian dialects. Of the literature about the Ka firs, the may be referred to: Tribes of the Hindu liush (Calcutta, 1SSO) ; 1 either, Kafiristan ( Lahore, ISS1) ; Ujfalvy, its dens westliehen Himalaya (Leipzig, 1884) ; Robert son• The lialirs of the Hindu Kush, (London, D.;90). Almost our sole sources of information regarding the language are articles by Leaner in the Journal of the 17-nited Service Institution of India (Simla, 18811; and by Trumpp in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, xix. (London. 1802), and in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenkindisehen Gesellschaft, vol. (Leipzig, 1800).