Gawar-bati speakers live along the Kunar River, predominantly in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area near the village of Arandu in the Chitral District of Pakistan. The war in Afghanistan forced many people to move north into Chitral. The villages in the border area of Arandu, Barikot, Dokalam, and Pashingar are probably predominantly Gawar-bati speaking. Narai, about 10 kilometers down the Kunar Valley, and Nishagam and neighboring villages further down the valley may also have Gawar-bati-speaking inhabitants. The word bati means speech of, and some experts say that in Pakistan, Gawar-bati speakers call themselves Kohistani while in Afghanistan they are known as Nuristani. The estimated population in the area that is considered to be mostly made up of Gawar-bati speakers is between 1500 and 2500 people.

Most Gawar-bati speakers are farmers. Educationally, though most of the boys are reported to be going to school, the girls do not attend. Men under the age of 30 have mostly had some education, though few have reached matriculation. Instruction in schools is provided in Urdu, but with explanations in Gawar-bati (as well as some Pashto and Khowar for students from these language communities).