Systemic Discrimination against Hazaras in Afghanistan
by Ali Taqawi
Many, including friends, may accuse us and call us nationalist. However, some issues pertaining to the Hazaras needs to be highlighted.
I will not talk about how the Afghan Government under Abdul Rahman Khan that butchered 62% of Hazara people during 1890s.
During Zahir Shah’s rule, the use of words ‘Hazara’ or ‘Hazarajat’ in publications were prohibited.
During Daud khan’s rule, not even a post of ‘deputy’ in the Afghan government could be held by any Hazara.
The Hazara situation changed considerably after ‘Saur Inqilab’ (Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan). For first time, we had Hazara minister and even a Hazara held post of Prime Minister for next ten years — important to distinguish, not as a Hazara prime minister but a member of Khalq party that happened to be a Hazara.
During ‘Mujahedeen era’ (US-USSR cold war in Afghanistan), Hazara identity for the first time in Afghanistan was acknowledged — not due to Mujahideen but thanks to one man known as Abdul Ali Mazari. In the war known as ‘Gharb Kabul,’ Hazara civilians stood up and gave everything to defend themselves and their human rights in Afghanistan.
During the Taliban era, everything was clear.
- Denial of the Hazara identity and policy of systematic extermination of Hazaras
- Armed Kuchis (nomads) under Taliban flag to loot, plunder, murder Hazaras, with intent to confiscate the remaining of Hazarajat — a policy that every successive Afghan government has carried since 1890s
- Taliban, AlQaeda and Pakistan’s security agencies working together in ethnically cleansing Hazaras in Afghanistan under ‘Shia containment’ policy (labeling Hazara as Pro-Iran or ‘Agents of Iran’ – a policy formulated by Pakistan’s General Zia-ul Haq and carried forward since)
Post-911 Afghanistan: NATO & Hazaras (following 2001)
- Unconditionally supported and welcomed International community in Afghanistan
- Overwhelming participation of Hazaras, especially women, in the democracy in Afghanistan during presidential and parliamentary elections
- Voluntarily handed over their weapons and kept peace in good faith
- Unconditional support for elected governments of Afghanistan
- Helped keep Hazarjat completely free of drug and poppy cultivation
- Zero hostility towards foreigners and international forces in Afghanistan
What did the International Community and its partner Afghan government gave to Hazaras:
- Systematic marginalization of Hazarajat during economic development
- Hurdles in establishment of basic things such as educational institutions, hospitals etc.
- Bypassing Hazarajat during development of major highways (such as Kabul – Bamiyan – Herat) vital for the economic development of Hazarajat
- Allowed Afghan President Hamid Karzai (brought by NATO) to once again use Pashtun Kuchis to annually attack Hazarajat (This has been a tactic used by the Afghan government to allow its ethnic-kin to attack Hazarajat, and then be heavily compensated to stop their war)
- Lack of any interest in Hazarajat’s natural esources such as the ‘Hajigak Mine’ (any attempt that would give Hazaras economic viability and strategic importance has been avoided by International community to keep the Pashtun-govt in Kabul happy)
- Ignoring security of highways in and out of Hazarajat (known as ‘Highways of death’)
- Ignoring every request by Hazaras in providing security to Hazaras travelers pulled out of buses, slaughtered alongside highways like livestock or kidnapped for ransom
- No financial compensation to families of Hazara victims
- Completely ignoring tens of thousands of Hazara protesters to seek justice in the aftermath of savage attacks on Hazaras: Zabul beheading, Dehmazang Massacre, Muharram attacks on Karte-e-sakhi shrine and Baqir-ul-ullom mosque
- Re-routing and bypassing of previously-agreed TUTAP (500KV power transmission) route from Turkmanistan via Bamiyan to Salang Tunnel, and once again proving that the Pashtun-dominated Afghanistan will never allow any strategic project to go through the Hazarajat
These are just few minor points to highlight the systemic marginalization of Hazaras by Afghan establishment from time of Ahmad Shah Abdali to the so-called ‘Unity Government’ of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
In the 21st century, the Hazaras should no longer accept the status-quo of living as a ‘2nd class citizen’ as the acceptable standard in Afghanistan. The Hazaras masses should stand up and support the Enlightening Movement (Junbish Roshnai) inside Afghanistan and the World Hazara Council in the Diaspora during this struggle for the human rights of Hazaras in Afghanistan.
This is a translation (with added context) of Dari-article by Ali Taqqwi. Eid Mohammad Hakimi helped with the English translation and Ishaq Mohammadi provided the Urdu translation of the article.
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