Hazaras: target of mass murders in Afghanistan

Peaceful anti-Taliban protest composed of women against targeted attacks on the Hazara community Peaceful anti-Taliban protest composed of women against targeted attacks on the Hazara community INP via dawn.com

8 November 2022

The Hazaras have been the victims of persecution and terrorist attacks by the Taliban government for ages

Human rights organisations have recorded a number of war crimes and mass murders committed against the Hazara population for years. On 31 September 2022, 35 young Hazara women were killed and over 82 injured in a suicide bombing by the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) at the Kaaj Educational Center in the Dasht-e-Barchi district of West Kabul. Six months earlier, an attack in the same district was targeted at a Hazara school, where six individuals died and eleven were injured. In October 2021, terrorist attacks were directed at a Hazara mosque in the northern city of Kunduz. In response to these attacks, peaceful anti-Taliban protests in Herat, Bamiyan, Balkh, Panjshir, Balghan and Jalalabad have been brutally repressed, leading many civilians to be arrested and detained in prison.

For centuries, the Hazaras have faced oppression and persecution by Pashtun leaders in Afghanistan. The Hazaras differentiate from the latter by their Turkish origin and mongoloid characteristics. At the end of the 19th century, because of their Shiite religion, the Hazaras are the object of killing, exile, slavery and confiscation of their material goods (land and livestock). Until the 1970s, Afghan law prohibited them from becoming university students or holding public office. Because they are socially progressive, the Hazaras have increased a feeling of hatred from Sunni extremists, so much so that they have also been economically marginalized.

This historical treatment of the Hazaras has only served to highlight the unsuitability of the Taliban government’s inability to protect civilians and thus to maintain peace within the territory. To worsen the political, economic and social situation of the Hazaras, there is the insurrection by the IS-K and the possibility that public opinion will side with it, thus creating a higher risk of mass murders. In addition, there is also the policy of censorship that prohibits journalists and the media to indicate the victims of these attacks as Hazara. This reduces awareness that such attacks are planned within a large-scale agenda of ethnic cleansing and thus increasing the possibility that the international community is able to intervene with the just and necessary proportionality.

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by Alessia Bertola

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