Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Another Attack in Barchi

Yesterday, on April 22, a suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in Dashte Barchi neighborhood. The attack resulted in death of around 57 people including at least five children, and injury to over 100 others. The attack was not only an attempt to discourage the voters to register themselves but also threaten Hazaras, so that they are not able to carry out their social, political and religious activities. The responsibility of the attack was claimed by ISIS – Daesh in Afghanistan – that said in its statement: “our ‘martyred’ brother targeted a group of Shias outside the voter registration center in Dashte Barchi.” It is important to note that it is not first such attack by Daesh. It has targeted Hazaras in Afghanistan on various occasions.
On Nauroz day this year, ISIS also targeted people near Sakhi shrine which resulted in the death of 29 people and injury to 52 others. Whereas, in August last year, an attack was carried out in Qila-e-Najara neighborhood in Kabul by 4 to 5 attackers who entered the mosque by throwing grenades at the entrance and then started shooting people during Friday prayers, killing more than 40 innocent people, including women and children. The attack was even termed as war crime by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Afghanistan. During the second week of August last year, more than 50 people were killed in Mirza Olang village of Sar-e-pul province; the victims were mostly Hazara Shia.
On August 01, more than 20 Hazaras were killed in an attack on Shia mosque in Herat province. As a matter of fact, the list of such attacks seems to be getting lengthier; unfortunately, there is no serious arrangements in place to stop such attacks. In June 2017, Al-Zahra Mosque, situated in Dasht-e-Barchi, where mostly Hazaras reside, was targeted by a suicide bomber. The attack resulted in the death of at least 10 people and injury to 15 others.  
In Novermber 2016, 27 Hazaras were killed and more than 30 others were wounded through a suicide attack at the Baqir-ul-uloom mosque in District 6 of capital Kabul, where the people were commemorating ‘Arbaeen’. That had in fact followed the tragic attack on the Sakhi Shrine in the capital which was carried out during Ashura procession and had killed 18 people. A similar type of attack was carried out in Balkh province that had also targeted Shia Hazaras who were worshipping during Ashura and had resulted in deaths of 14 innocent people. 
In July 2016, three attackers with suicide vests attacked the Hazara protestors who were raising their voice for changing Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) power project route through Bamyan. Two of the attackers blasted themselves among the protestors while the third one was killed by the security forces. The attack resulted in death of more than 85 people and injury to over 400 others and thus marked one of the most tragic incidents in Afghanistan’s history. The attack was also claimed by Daesh.
Moreover, who can forget the tragic incident when seven innocent civilians belonging to Zabul province were kidnapped on a highway and later killed brutally, which included the 9-year old girl Shukria, whose throat was slashed by the kidnappers.
Just few months earlier to that incident, at least 13 Hazaras were killed by gunmen in Zari district of Balkh province, while they were travelling in a minibus. And in February same year, 31 Hazara passengers were abducted from Zabul province while they were travelling from Herat to Kabul, most of whom were later released.
Most of these incidents have been linked to Daesh, and mostly they have even claimed the responsibility but, unfortunately, there have not been tangible measures to stop the situation. The government authorities have kept on insisting that the threats of Daesh are not serious and Afghan forces have control over them; however, the claims have not proved to be right until now. And if the security arrangements remain as they are, Hazaras will keep on suffering such brutal attacks.
As the government authorities are not able to secure different parts of the country and important highways, the insurgents create their own check-posts, stop the vehicles, search the passengers and even loot them on various occasions. On some occasions, Hazara passengers have been selectively segregated from others and then taken away or later killed.
With such a situation prevailing, it is really tragic to find the government authorities unconcerned. They mostly claim that they make efforts to ensure the security of the civilians without any distinction but different incidents, every now and then, show that they either do not have the capability to do so or they lack the motivation. Their efforts are mostly observed after the incidents take place and the poor civilians are killed.
Thus, the government requires taking practical and tangible measures to control the security situation and ensure the security of everyone without any distinction of ethnicity or race. There are fears that if the security situation remains fragile another civil war may erupt in the country and may once again push Afghanistan towards a quagmire of instability and chaos.