4% of the population of Afghanistan[a]
|Aimaq dialect of Persian, Pashto|
|Predominantly Sunni Islam|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Hazaras, Moghols, Tajiks, and Pashtuns|
The Aimaq (Persian: ایماق, romanized: Aimāq) or Chahar Aimaq (چهار ایماق), also transliterated as Aymaq, Aimagh, Aimak and Aymak, are a collection of Sunni and mostly Persian-speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. They live mostly in the central and western highlands of Afghanistan, especially in Ghor and Badghis. Aimaqs were originally known as chahar ("four") Aymaqs: Jamshidi, Aimaq Hazara, Firozkohi and Taymani. The Timuri, which is a separate tribe but is sometimes included among Aimaqs, which is known as Aimaq-e digar ("other Aimaq").
The Aimaq speak several subdialects of the Aimaq dialect of the Persian language, but some southern groups of Taymani, Firozkohi, and northeastern Timuri Aimaqs have adopted the Pashto language.
The word "Aimaq" is derived from the Turkic-Mongolic word "Oymaq" that means "tribe" and "group of tribes". Aimaq Hazara and Timuri are closest to the Turco-Mongols since they are semi-nomadic tribes and some of them live in yurts, whereas other Aimaqs live in traditional black tents.[better source needed]
The Aimaqs claim different origins based on their tribal background. Some claim to be descended from the troops of Genghis Khan. Other tribes such as the Taymani and Firozkohi claim descent from Pashtun tribes.
The Aimaq are largely nomadic to semi-nomadic goat and sheep herders. They also trade with villages and farmers during migrations for pastures for their livestock. The material culture and foodstuffs of the Aimaq include skins, carpets, milk, dairy products and more. They trade these products to settled peoples in return for vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, and other types of foods and goods.
Estimates of the Aimaq population vary between 250,000 and 500,000. They are largely Sunni Muslims except for the Jamshidi who are mainly Ismaili Shia in the main and in contrast to the Hazaras, who are mostly Shia Muslims.
A Kākaṛ Pashtun from Baluchistan, Tayman, formed a coalition in Ḡūr around 1650. The traditional chiefs of the northern Fīrūzkūhī, Zay Ḥākem, claim descent from Ačakzay Pashtun ancestors.