Pashtun and Dari (Persian) are Afghanistan’s official languages. The Turkic languages (Uzbek, Turkman and Qirghiz) with about 1,000,000 speakers constitute an unofficial third language group. Most newspapers are printed in Dari and Pashtu, although during the Soviet time other languages were supported. Today there is some scholarly interest in studying minority languages and the Ministry of Information and Culture has set up a Living Cultures Department to document, publicise and preserve them.
The level of literacy has been estimated at between 20% and 30%, although in some southern provinces 5% female literacy has been estimated.