130 years ago, on September 25, 1893, Amir Abdul Rahman Khan, the then King of Afghanistan, issued an order to massacre the Hazaras of Uruzgan Province and its suburbs. “When the Hazara tribe’s acts of rebellion, including residents from Daia and Folad, Zawoli, Sultan Ahmad, and other regions, escalated to the point where all government forces were branded as infidels, His Excellency [Abdul Rahman Khan, the former king of Afghanistan] issued orders for their suppression. His directive was clear: erase any trace of their presence in these territories. Their lands and possessions were to be distributed among the Ghiljayi and Durani tribes. He commanded government forces to encircle them from all directions, ensuring that every Hazara group was cornered within the heart of Hazarajat. No Hazara would be allowed to escape the battle and flee. Simultaneously, any captives and servants taken during this conflict from the Hazaras would become the property of the government soldiers.” (Seraj Al-Tawarikh) After that, the persecution of Hazaras and the seizure of their lands continued for eight years. Two and a half decades ago, the end of the 20th century was very bloody for all Afghan people due to the Taliban’s domination of Afghanistan. However, certain ethnic groups were more targeted and killed. On August 8, 1998, the Taliban group defeated Hezb-e-Wahdat-e Islami Afghanistan in Mazar-e-Sharif and took control of the city. A week later, the massacre of the Hazaras began, where 2,000 to 10,000 Hazaras were reportedly massacred. In the same period, when the Taliban defeated Hezb-e-Wahdat in the Yekawalang district of Bamiyan, they again committed massacres there. Amnesty International, which documented this massacre in 2001, obtained the profiles of 170 victims stating that the total number of victims might surpass 300 people. In the first emirate of the Taliban, Kandiposht was also turned into a slaughterhouse for Hazaras. It was rare for a Hazara to cross that area in Zabul province alive.
With the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, people were optimistic that their sufferings would end and a new chapter and a bright horizon would be opened in their lives. Shortly after the US-led coalition attacked Afghanistan and defeated the Taliban, that clear horizon was visible and a horizon of hope was observed. However, that peace was followed by a raging storm. The fleeting peace that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan had brought to the people was eroded after a few years with the resurgence of the Taliban. Soon, the roads and some remote areas of the country came under the control of the Taliban. Since 2005, when the Taliban made their insurgency more serious, some of the roads in the Hazara residing districts of Ghazni province towards the center of this province fell into the hands of this group. Since then, the Taliban have sporadically taken hostage Hazaras from Ghazni, shooting them in some cases. Later, when the control sphere of this group expanded, the Jalriz Valley of Maidan Wardak province became known as “Death Valley” due to the massacres of Hazaras by the Taliban. This group even took women and children hostage during the republic and released them in exchange for money. Once, they directly attacked passenger cars with rockets killing all five passengers. They did not care whether the passengers were military or civilian. On May 17, 2020, the Taliban fighters targeted a car carrying Hazaras with a rocket in Ghazni’s Qiyaq valley of Jaghato district.
The resurgence of the Taliban in the Hazara residing areas was also very bloody. In 2021, when they took control of the Malistan district of Ghazni province, after the end of the war and the withdrawal of the military forces of the republic, they deliberately killed a number of civilian residents looting their property. At that time, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) declared that it could only obtain information on 27 dead and 10 wounded, while several others remained unknown until the publication of the report. However, the media reported that at least 42 residents of Malistan were killed by the Taliban. A similar incident occurred during the Taliban attack on the Pato district of Daikundi province. There, the Taliban did not only fight with the republican government but also attacked the civilian population.
Yesterday, some citizens of Afghanistan commemorated the defeat of the Uruzgan Hazaras against the army of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan on September 25, discussing the tens of thousands of deaths and seizure of lands, and documenting the enslavement of the men and women by the king and his troops. Now that 130 years have passed since the September 25th incident, a difficult situation prevails in Uruzgan, which could be the continuation of massacres and land grabbing. During the last two years, 17 individuals have been killed either by the Taliban or with the support of this group from only one Hazara village in the Uruzgan Khas district. The last case is the beheading of a father and son. The Taliban have adopted silence concerning the events of Uruzgan Khas. This came while they readily filed an urgent case for the false claims of the nomads regarding the events of 40 years ago and got involved or dispatched forces to save a child who fell into a well in Zabul. Instead of sending machinery, they sent the Minister of the Interior with his photography teams. They neither issue statements nor take certain actions to pursue the murderers. They do not file a case and there is no news about their “Omari justice”. Why is a portion of the people of Afghanistan treated like this? The reason lies in the ethnic and religious discrimination of the Taliban. The Taliban group is an ethnic-religious regime that has divided society into insiders and outsiders while considering “outsiders” deserving of death and seizing their territory and shelters. The Taliban group does not take action against the consequent persecution of the people of Uruzgan Khas because its own commanders commit these crimes. The Taliban do not take action, because the persecutors help this group to achieve their goals. The Taliban adopted silence since the group itself is accused in those cases. As soon as this group dominated the country, it displaced dozens of families from Daikundi, Panjshir, and Takhar usurping their lands and houses.
Moreover, in the last two years, the nomads, with the support of the Taliban, have started many fights against the Hazaras claiming that their herds had disappeared 30 or 40 years ago. The Taliban have always forced the Hazaras to pay heavy compensations in these fights. A video is circulating on social media where a nomadic man in the Malistan district states that his sheep were eaten by wolves, but the “engineer” told him to file a complaint against the people of the district. Then he appealed and got compensation. These are the manifestations of the Taliban group’s prejudice against Hazaras and Shiites.
The issue of demographic change is pursued by the Taliban as a sinister, slow, and continuous policy. The transfer of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters and their families to the northeast, the transfer of some nomads to those areas, the distribution of identity cards to foreign fighters in Badakhshan and Kunduz, the displacement of some residents of Takhar from their homes and the distribution of their houses and land to non-native residents, and in the last case, the termination the fruit trees and the killing of Uruzgan Khas men are all in line with this policy. After the Taliban took control, the threshing fields of the people of Uruzgan Khas have been set on fire many times, their fruit trees have been cut with 17 men from one village having been killed thus far. It is believed that these persecutions and cutting of trees are carried out in order to put pressure on the native inhabitants of Uruzgan and force them to leave the area and thus fill their place with other people. To this end, the lands of these people are given to others freely and they themselves are displaced. These pressures are carried out due to the ethnic-religious tensions of the Taliban with the aim of advancing the land policy. Considering that no nation or group can be completely destroyed, such actions can only ignite the fire of hypocrisy and sedition among the people of Afghanistan and further fuel ethnic conflicts. The consequences of such policies and behaviors are not in the interest of any party. A society in which a part of the people is humiliated and subjected to pressure to be dragged into misery also puts itself at risk. In a society where part of it is miserable and poor, the whole society is miserable and poor. The prosperity and happiness of a society is not in the misery of others. Afghan people can live comfortably together and develop the country when they overcome such policies and nervousness and respect each other’s rights.