Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Hazaras Attacked Again

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, Al-Zahra Mosque, situation in Dasht-e-Barchi, where mostly Hazaras reside, was targeted by a suicide bomber. The attack resulted in the death of at least 6 people and injury to 10 others. However, an eyewitness, Baqer, told that seven people including Kabul businessman Ramazan Husainzada were killed and 18 others were wounded in the attack which according to him was carried out by two suicide bombers. The attack was carried out at around 8:45 pm on Thursday, when the people were busy in prayers. It is not the first time that an attack has been carried out in a mosque; there have been several such incidents in Afghanistan. Moreover, it is also not the first attack on a mosque situated in a Hazara populated area. Mostly this sort of attacks are claimed by so-called Daesh.     
It is believed that 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.  
Only few 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 Hazaras who were worshipping during Ashura and had resulted in deaths of 14 innocent people.  
In July last 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.
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, 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.