Earthquakes in Afghanistan: Natural Disasters and Hate-Motivated Behaviors of People

The earthquake in Paktika and Khost provinces in eastern Afghanistan proved how vulnerable the people are to natural disasters and how incompetent the illegitimate rulers are to help the people in such a situation.

Afghanistan has witnessed deadly and devastating earthquakes in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Geologists define the causes behind earthquake as the movement of large geological massifs that are separated by an invisible boundary, and this boundary is known in geology as the fault line. Parts of Afghanistan, like many parts of the world, are on fault lines and are always vulnerable. But the case with developing and under developed countries like Afghanistan is different. In developing countries, in addition to specific construction standard that are being applied, the citizens are being trained specifically on how to react to such an events and national disasters.

But more dangerous than the activation of natural faults and the resulting earthquakes is the activation of social faults that got viral on social media, exposing the intense and growing ethnic hatred among the citizens of Afghanistan. These reactions indicated how deep gapes are between the different ethnics. If some people from a particular ethnic being victimized, instead of sympathizing and cooperating with the victims, the others on the other part of the country consider it a clear sign of divine wrath, which seems to be in response to crimes against humanity that a particular group affiliated with an ethnic commits in different parts of the country. The afflicted are not considered worthy of sympathy. Of course, such a reaction was morally wrong, and many condemned it, especially since natural events are subject to logic, and in addition, crime is an individual responsibility and cannot be generalized to an entire nation or region. This event, however, from a sociological point of view, showed a deep rift that has opened its mouth in this soil and exposes the failure of the nationalization process. A process that has divided the country into bloody, vindictive, and vengeful islands.

Why has Afghanistan fallen into this situation and who is responsible for this? A number of scholars trace the origins of this situation back to the early twentieth century. Once upon a time, post-independence Afghanistan decided to take the path of nation-state, but instead of turning to a mosaic structure that represented the identity of all the inhabitants of the country, it established a flawed nationalism based on which Large segment of the people of this land were eliminated and denied. Others argue that the Forty Years’ War made ethnicity the backbone of politics and that tribal claims outweighed all other claims. Some also blame the technocrats who returned from the republic during the Republican era, who, due to the lack of a social base, resorted to ethnic leverage and sought to gain votes and share power by fueling these tensions. Some believe that the rise of the Taliban, both in the 1990s and in the present, has been the strongest factor in escalating tensions and spreading hatred, as ethnicism has never been used by any party or faction to this naked and disgusting measure. All of these factors so significantly fueling the current situation approach of the people towards each other. Social faults are far more destructive than natural faults, particularly when the faults are argued based on ethnicity. They could turn Afghanistan into another Balkans. The nightmare is that the Taliban are increasing the severity and fuel these faults every day.