Names from Afghanistan

I’m asking for a friend… [name_f]Do[/name_f] you know of any soft, pretty names for a girl that originate in Afghanistan? They want to use an Afghan name for their daughters middle name because that country has significance for them. They would love to know meanings as well if anyone knows the meanings of the names!

Any ideas?

My mom’s family is Persian/Tajik, from Afghanistan (and a neighboring country); while we’re Jewish, our naming customs in Central [name_f]Asia[/name_f] mostly reflected those of the people around us, so I can probably help you out a little.

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are a couple of really significant ethnic divisions within Afghanistan–the population is largely split between Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras, with lots of smaller minority groups. I’m not sure I know any “uniquely Afghan” names, largely because of shifting borders and the fact that each of these ethnic groups spans multiple countries, but also because a lot of the most well-used names are used throughout the Muslim world (and esp. in Iran and South/Central [name_f]Asia[/name_f]). Anyway, here’s a couple off the top of my head:

Afsana
[name_f]Ariana[/name_f]
Haniya
[name_f]Leila[/name_f]/[name_f]Leyla[/name_f] (my own name, popular enough to warrant a mention??)
[name_f]Maryam[/name_f]/[name_f]Mariam[/name_f]/[name_f]Meryem[/name_f]
Mahsa
Sumaya
[name_f]Zahra[/name_f] (potential pronunciation difficulties, but what a lovely name)
[name_f]Zaynab[/name_f]/[name_f]Zainab[/name_f]

Nameberry has incomplete definitions for many of these; if you’re really interested in in-depth meaning (incl. Quranic background, for some), I would check out baby name sites with a more specific focus on Islamic and/or Arabic, Persian, Urdu names.

I know girls whose families are from Afghanistan named [name_f]Ava[/name_f], [name_f]Leyla[/name_f], [name_f]Mariam[/name_f], [name_f]Sara[/name_f], [name_f]Salma[/name_f], Sohaila, Nasira and Shahla.

There are three ladies in my Adult ESL class from Afghanistan. They speak [name_f]Dari[/name_f] (the Afghani dialect of Farsi) and Pashto. There names are Nazia, Morsal (which she said her name describes a big type of rose from Afghanistan) and Nilofar (nee-[name_u]LOU[/name_u]-far) who goes by [name_m]Nilo[/name_m] (nee-[name_u]LOU[/name_u]) who said her name is a type of lily.