Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Hazaras under Targeted Attacks: An Issue Needed to be Investigated independently

Sarwar Danish, 2nd VP, met UNAMA head Yamamoto yesterday, and discussed the need to protect Afghanistan’s minorities in wake of recent targeted attacks.
Throughout the 20th century, Hazaras have nearly always been targeted by different regimes in Afghanistan.  Also Hazaras as a religious minority have been massacred and tortured repeatedly during the course of history of Afghanistan. The Uprisings of Hazaras have been viciously crushed. Their religious leaders have been jailed; their women have been abducted. And Most Hazaras languished in poverty and humiliation, forced to take menial jobs for tens of decades in Afghanistan.
When The Taliban came to power in 1996, they carried out mass executions of Hazaras and drove them from their lands and meager livelihoods. Tens of thousands of Hazaras sought refuge in frigid mountain hideouts. And many of them left the country to save their lives.
Since the Taliban regime collapsed in late 2001, however, the Hazaras have experienced a communal rebirth. Many Hazaras returned from Iran, Pakistan and other countries to forge a future in their homeland. A new generation joined schools and universities and later found jobs with the United Nations and international firms, aid agencies and Afghan public administration. Indeed, Economically, many flourished. And Politically, they gained more clout.
New round of Hazaras Target Killings
Development of Hazaras both ethnically and religiously is not in the favor of certain ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan and even out of Afghanistan. As a result, they could not tolerate the progress of Hazaras anymore and attacks against them grown rare. In 2011, a suicide bomber in Kabul killed 56 Shiite worshipers, mostly Hazaras, on the holy day of Ashura in the bloodiest sectarian attack of the war. After this bloody incident, specific targeting of Hazaras has steadfastly continued. And  in 2012, gunmen in central Ghowr province executed 15 Hazara civilians traveling in a minibus. In a new round of specific target attacks, on 15 August, 2018 ISIS targeted a building where high school graduates were preparing to sit university entrance exams in Shia area of Kabul. The suicide bombing killed 34 students and wounded 57 students. And On Septmber 6, 2018, a double suicide bombing left at least 20 people dead and injured several others in the Dasht-e-Barchi area, located in the western part of Kabul.
Now, a familiar anxiety is boiling up again within the community. The dangerous spiral of sectarian bloodletting in Afghanistan has assumed alarming proportions since the advent of ISIS, also known by their Arabic acronym Daesh. ISIS has reportedly claimed that they attack Hazara Shias because of their involvement in the Syria war. However, the more plausible reason behind the unrelenting attacks on Hazara Shias is the fact that their religious beliefs clash with the radical Islamism propounded by ISIS ideologues.
Despite the target killings of the Hazaras by ISIS, Taliban and other terrorist groups, both the Afghan Government officials as well as the Afghan population, especially Hazaras elites, have not allowed these attacks to increase ethnic and religious tensions in the country. Furthermore, civil society groups, human rights organizations, victims’ families and the Afghan security forces have reiterated that, the attackers want to create ethnic and religious conflict in the Afghanistan and we should not let that to happen. The leaders of the Afghan National Unity Government have similarly called upon the Afghan people to not allow these attacks further aggravate ethnic and religious tension in the country. While the National Unity Government has tried to provide security to religious events including for the Sunnis and Shia’s events, still it has not been able to prevent the attacks against them completely. It is important to note that prior to the commencement of Shia religious ceremonies, the Afghan Government and the members of this group usually sit together and discuss better mechanisms on how to protect these ceremonies, yet these efforts have been inadequate at best and attacks take place against Shia and Hazaras ceremonies and education and other institutions.
Considering the previous measures taken to reduce attacks on Afghan Minority groups, especially Hazra Shias, the National Unity government shall fulfill its pledges and treat Dasht-e Barchi as a green zone and provide it all the necessary security and intelligence supports it requires. Full cooperation of the community leaders with government shall be ensured. In addition to this, community volunteers to provide security service, shall be used very cautiously due to religious and political sensitivities. Further, investigating attacks of a specific ethnic group in Afghanistan requires to be done independently; in other words factors such as Afghanistan security and political problems should not be involved in the investigation. If doing so, not only the real causes of such attacks will be clarified that can ease the ethnic and religious tensions in the country but it also helps the Afghan government and the International community to tackle this critical issue from a new perspective.