Among the various ethnic groups residing in Afghanistan, the one that has faced extreme discrimination, genocide, deprivation and suppression throughout the history is the Hazaras. They form about 20% of Afghanistan’s population but have never been given their due rights.
In late 19th century, Emir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan exterminated more than 60% of literate Hazara population. According to Syed Askar Mousavi, author of the book “The Hazaras of Afghanistan: An Historical, Cultural, Economic and Political Study” published by Cambridge University, during 1980s thousands of Hazara men, women, and children were sold as slaves in the markets of Kabul and Kandahar, while numerous towers of human heads were made from the defeated rebels as a warning to others who might challenge the rule of the Amir.
Taliban were no less than Abdur Rahman Khan. The Taliban always considered the Hazaras to be one of their main enemies. Under Taliban rule, the Hazaras faced genocide for the second time in modern history. The November 1998 report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) documents the massacre of civilians and other serious breaches of international humanitarian law committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in August, 1998. At least 8,000 Hazaras were singled out and massacred by the Taliban regime only in Mazar-i Sharif, the capital city of Balkh province.
After Abdur Rahman and Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is the leader the Hezb-e Islami political party and paramilitary group is having heinous intentions towards the Hazaras. In his Eid-ul-Fitr message, he has shamelessly threatened to exterminate the Hazaras. He has claimed that the foreign forces of trying to partition Afghanistan and prolong the war with the help of minorities. He has also accused the US of supporting the Hazaras to usurp the lands of Pashtoon and Kuchi nomads. In a part of his message Hekmatyar threatening the Hazaras says, “The time will come when the oppressed people of Afghanistan will stand for taking their usurped rights and then the [Hazaras] will have no safe havens in any corner of the country.
The message of the Hezb-e-Islami’s leader Gulbadin Hekmatyar found wide coverage in social media, particularly from Hazaras who were the spearhead of his warnings. However, the letter was released on account of Eid-ul-Fitr, one of most revered religious festivals, but it contained remarkable obnoxious message. Mr. Hikmatiyar in his remarks, which found wide coverage in local media also naively covered various issues. It included from giving hope to his devotees to threatening a Hazara minority in the country due to what he called as community’s increasing presence in private and public sectors.
He expected the collapse of the government after the withdrawal of foreign forces in 2014, saying that those hope that the government will continue existing should notice that 2014 is different 2001. “In 2001, the government was supported by US jet fighters. But 2014 would be different because the domestic have increased on the militarily involved countries in Afghanistan. They had no achievements other the coffins of their soldiers”.
The other part of his Eid festival message was about the minorities’ rise on power. He particularly threatened Hazara community of supporting foreign countries, saying that they will not remain and you will pay the price of supporting them. He said that provinces like Bamyan and Diakundi have changed into independent provinces due to the support of Iran. However, he confessed to reality that Hazaras do not enjoy a better living standard rather persecuted and punished by Iranians meanwhile he allege that it supports the community in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, he did not strengthen his argument that why Hazaras are behaved differently?
Analysts think beside that his warning to the particular community should be taken serious; it is worthy to mention that unfortunately it is mistakenly considered that the community due to their religious ties with the neighboring country benefit from its financial support. It is neglected that some of the religious leaders support Iran but instead has done nothing except building mosques. In addition, the amount of money sent to Iran by individuals as part of their religious ritual is far larger than the amount sent back in support of particular individuals.
Unfortunately, such a religious sharing has largely affected the overall interest of the community. During past 12 years, billions of dollars poured into the country but still people die due to hunger in various parts of Hazara populated provinces. Hopefully, Human rights activists, civil society and government will try to erase such a wrong concept about the community because they were the only community who has been strongly supported government and democracy.