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PostAfghanistan's Threatened Hazara Population (Massoud Malek, USA, 10/09/21 4:34 am)
In the late 1960s I was a student in France. One day I was eating lunch with some of my Iranian friends in the cafeteria. A student approached our table and asked us if he could eat with us. We all said of course you can sit with us. He spoke in Dari, with an accent that was very close to the Farsi of the Iranian Khorasan province.
He told us that he is an Afghan Shiite from Hazara, but all the Afghans in the university are Sunni and mostly Pashtun who consider him unclean; they told him that they don't want him to eat with them.
About 50 to 55 percent of Afghans are Pashtun. Almost the entire Taliban in charge of the government are Pashtun with a dislike for the Hazara population of Afghanistan.
Hazaras were once the largest Afghan ethnic group, constituting nearly 67 percent of the total population of the country before the 19th century. Today they only make up around 9 percent of the population. They mainly practise Shia Islam and have faced long-term discrimination and persecution in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan.
According to a report published in September 2020, the Shia Hazara are regularly subjected to targeted killings, violence, and discrimination based on their ethnic and religious identity. Increasingly, Hazaras are facing kidnappings from highways, indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and the bombing of their religious and cultural centers.
For over a century, the Hazara community has suffered from targeted discrimination, persecution, and massacres because of their ethnicity and religious sect. Identifiable by distinctive Asian facial features, Hazaras cannot hide their ethnicity from aggressors. In the 1890s, sixty percent of the Hazara population was slaughtered during genocidal campaigns and those who survived were dispossessed of their land, displaced from their homes and sold as slaves. Oppression continued throughout the 20th century, as Hazaras were denied access to education and political rights. Hazara areas in Afghanistan remain the poorest in the country.
This report demonstrates that Hazaras continue to face what amounts to genocide under international law. Over 8,000 Hazaras were systematically killed by the Taliban in the Mazar-i-Sharif massacre of 1998.
Last week, at east 1,200 residents of a Hazara-dominated community were ordered by Taliban fighters to leave their homes in Daikundi province, declaring the land as "disputed." Taliban fighters in pickup trucks descended on several villages of Afghanistan's Daikundi province and ordered people to empty their houses immediately, saying they were living there illegally.
After families are gone, the Taliban set fire to their homes or blow them up.
JE comments: It's always sobering to learn of (yet) another human rights crisis. Massoud, are the Iranians doing anything to assist their Hazara coreligionists? I presume many of them have fled to Iran as refugees. (I just checked: some 500,000 of them now live in Iran.)