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Balochistan (Balochi: ) or Baluchistan is an arid, mountainous region in the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia; it includes part of southeastern Iran, western Pakistan, and southwestern Afghanistan. The area is named after the numerous Baloch tribes, Iranian peoples who moved into the area from the west around 1000 AD. All natives are considered Balochi even if they do not speak the Balochi language; Pashto, Hazaragi, Persian, and Brahui languages are also spoken in the region. The southern part of Balochistan is known as Makran.

The Baloch and Pashtun people constitute the two major ethnic groups; a mixed ethnic stock, mainly of baloch origin, forms the third major group (Sindhi Baloch). Balochistan is rich in mineral resources; it is the second major supplier of natural gas in Pakistan.

Landscape and ecology

Balochistan's landscape is composed of barren, rugged mountains and fertile land. During the summer, some regions of Balochistan are the hottest. Most of the land is barren, particurarly in the Iranian and Afghan side of the region, and it is generally sparsely populated. In the south Makran lies the desert through which Alexander the Great passed with great difficulty.

Agriculture in the region is based on the cultivation of kharif or winter crops. Cultivation is often located in alluvial fans, along river-courses, and in fertile areas which are maintained through artificial irrigation systems such as qanats (holes sunk in the ground to trap water) and gabarbands (low...
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