Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 26th, 2017

Insecurity Haunting Innocent Civilians

Insecurity continues in Afghanistan and keeps on haunting people in different ways. Though all the people suffer as a result of insecurity, the weaker strata within the society are the ones who undergo most of the consequences. Poor civilians and the women in this regard are the most prominent ones. And when these civilians belong to the groups that are marginalized, the situation becomes even more serious. The poor Hazara civilians form one of such groups. They have been victimized in so many ways in the prevailing insecurity and unfortunately the security arrangements to stop all these incidents are not satisfactory.
In a recent incident, 8 coalmine workers, who were Hazaras, were shot dead, and 3 others were wounded by a group of fighters affiliated to Daesh insurgents in Tala wa Barfak district of Baghlan province on Friday, January 06, 2017. According to a statement by district governor Faiz Mohammad Amiri the workers were on the way to their homes when they were attacked by the fighters in Anarak village in the district.
One of the survivors of the shooting, Mohammad Hussain, disclosed on Saturday that they had been targeted due to their religious beliefs as the shooters had called their killings just as they belonged to Shia sect and considered by them to be non-Muslims. Daesh has been active in Afghanistan recently and has carried out some dangerous attacks against Hazaras whom they consider to be non-Muslims. Moreover, as most of ISIS fighters have left Syria and Iraq where the war seems to have calmed a bit or some of them were expelled during the war, there are possibilities that they may get stronger in Afghanistan where they seem to have formed their strongholds.  
Just a couple of months ago 27 Hazaras were killed and more than dozens 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 this year, 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.
Last year as well 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, in some 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.