Gilzai - the self-name of one of the tribal associations of Pashtuns (Afghans), in its role in the country, taking second place after the Durrani tribe. They belong to the Indo-Mediterranean race of the large Caucasian race. They speak the eastern dialect of Pashto. They are Sunni Muslims by religion. They inhabit a vast, mostly mountainous territory in eastern Afghanistan , mainly in the areas of Kalat-i-Gilzai and Ghazni . The number is over 1.5 million people (data for 1988). They are divided into 2 branches: the western branch - Turan (Haroti tribes, Toki, Khotak, etc.) and the eastern branch - Ibrahimkhel Buran (Suleimanhel, Alichel, Sahak, Andarhel Nasar, Tarakhel, etc.). The western gilzai include the hotak or hotaki (approx. 80 thousand people), living northeast of Kandahar and southeast of the Ghazni oasis. Another Tohi tribe (approx. 150 thousand people) lives in the Kalat-i-Gilzai region, in the valleys of the Tarnak and Argendab rivers, north to Khazarajat. The third tribe - the Andar (130 thousand people) - lives in the Shilgar region. Of the eastern Gilzai, the largest is the Sulejmanhel tribe (about 350 thousand people), living south and southeast of Kabul, to the Jalalabad region. Suleimanhel is a large part of the nomads; part of the tribe is engaged in caravan trade. The tribe alihel (about 70 thousand people) lives mainly in the area of the city of Mukur, is engaged in agriculture (Kochnev, Logashova 1988: 134; Aslanov 1957: 58).
The ethnonym Gilzai is called the Khalaji Turks assimilated by Afghans in the Middle Ages. In the first half of the XVIII century. they managed to achieve political and military dominance in Afghanistan. In 1747 they became part of the Durrani state (Kochnev, Logashova 1988: 134).
Traditional occupations are arable farming and cattle breeding, including transhumance. Patriarchal-feudal relations are preserved. At the western gilzai by the beginning of the XIX century. formed a feudal system. Eastern Ghilzai still live in conditions of patriarchal-feudal life. At the head of the tribe is the khan, at the head of the clan is Malik or Mashr. The traditional culture is pan-Afghan. Gradually included in the process of ethnic consolidation of Afghans. The main types of dwellings are: for nomads - a tent made of woolen fabric, for settled residents - an adobe house or a house made of unbaked brick (Kochnev, Logashova 1988: 134-135; Aslanov 1957: 68-69, 74).
- Aslanov M.G. Afghans // Peoples of the World. The peoples of the front of Asia: ethnographic essays / ed. ed. : Tolstova S.P. - M.: Nauka, 1957.
- Kochnev V.I., Logashova B.-R. Gilzai // Peoples of the world: reference book / chapters. Ed: Bromley Yu.V. - M.: Soviet Encyclopedia, 1988: 134