Updated: Oct 22, 2022
The Hazaras are an ethnic group predominantly composed of Shia Muslims, unlike the Sunni Muslim majority, among which they live and by which they are governed. While this minority group is scattered across Afghanistan—and to an even smaller extent across Pakistan and Iran—they are native to the Hazaristan region (Hazarajat) in central Afghanistan, where they still make up most of its population.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, 13 attacks against the Hazara have been perpetrated by the Islamic State affiliate, and three further attacks remain unclaimed. Often carried out in places of education, work, and prayer, the number of victims in some of these attacks reaches the hundreds.
Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, a specialist in genocides and founder of Genocide Watch, recently explained that “Hazara [have] been victims of genocide for at least a century” due to their distinct culture, language, ethnicity, and religion. Richard Bennett, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, has also stated that the attacks against this ethnic minority are “becoming increasingly systematic in nature and reflect elements of an organizational policy, thus bearing hallmarks of crimes against humanity.”
In the most recent act of targeted violence, one suicide bomber shot his way into an education centre in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in Kabul. Once inside, he detonated his explosives, killing at least 19 people and injuring another 27.
It has become evident then that the commitment to protect the country’s religious minorities, expressed by the Taliban’s Interior Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khosty back in October 2021, is far from being fulfilled.
We urge our readers to keep the #StopHazaraGenocide going to increase awareness of the risks of death and torture faced by this population, especially under Taliban rule.
Photo © AFP