The Hazaras of Afghanistan are concerned about their future as a result of the United States’ withdrawal.
As violence in Afghanistan rises in the wake of US and NATO troop withdrawals, the country’s Hazara ethnic community is preparing itself for what they expect will be a power struggle between rival factions.
At schools, marriages, mosques, sports groups, and even at birth, Hazaras are vulnerable targets. In 2014 and 2015, Afghanistan’s Islamic State offshoot vowed war against the country’s Shiites, and has claimed responsibility for recent Hazara attacks.
The Hazara population is particularly wary of the government because it has no financial interest to protect them. Some fear that the attacks are being carried out by government-linked warlords who are hostile to the ethnic community.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Running errands in west Kabul’s predominantly Hazara neighborhoods might be perilous. Adila Khiari and her two daughters went out to buy new curtains last week. Her son learned soon after that a minibus had been bombed, the fourth in less than 48 hours.
When his mother didn’t pick up the phone, he hurriedly looked for hospitals in Kabul. Hosnia, his sister, was found in critical condition with burns covering more than half of her body. Then he discovered that both his mother and his other sister, Mina, had died. Hosnia passed away three days later, on Sunday.
Hazaras have a lot to be afraid of.
Inside the Nabi Rasool Akram Mosque compound, protected by sandbags stacked against its ornate doors and 10-foot high walls, Qatradullah Broman was among the Hazaras attending the funeral of Adila and Mina this week.
The government doesn’t care about Hazaras and has failed to protect them, he said. “Anyone who can afford to leave, they are leaving. Those who can’t are staying here to die,” said Broman. “I see a very dark future for our people.”
Former government adviser Torek Farhadi told The Associated Press that within the political leadership, “from the top down,” there is a “sorry culture” of discrimination against Hazaras. “The government, in a cynical calculation, has decided Hazara lives are cheap,” he said.
Since 2015, attacks have killed at least 1,200 Hazaras and injured another 2,300, according to Wadood Pedram, executive director of the Kabul-based Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization.
Last year, gunmen attacked a maternity hospital. This is a brief summary.