Annihilation of Hazaras: The State Sponsored Jihad in Afghanistan

The world remained a mute spectator when the Taliban took over Kabul without firing a single shot. The NATO troops were busy leaving the war-torn-nation, unbothered by the loss in the advancement that they made after two decades of war on the terrorists. International news channels went one step ahead and started normalising the ‘fighters’ playing in the park and flipping pages of books in a library. A large number of helicopters, machine guns, rocket launchers and advanced weaponries were left over by the withdrawing western forces which were inherited by the Taliban. The Taliban was supposed to respect international conventions and treat all the Afghan nationals as equals, but everything is back to square one- the Islamist organsiation has launched a Jihad against the members of Hazara community.

Hazaras are the ethnic minorities in Afghanistan who follow Shi’ite Islam and are roughly ten percentage of the total population. They have a history of being persecuted by the majority Pashtuns in Afghanistan due to which many of them fled to Balochistan and Khorasan in the first half of 20th century. They were systematically targeted during the first Taliban regime (1996-2001) when Taliban terrorists went from door to door to murder Hazara men and enslave their women. After the fall of the Taliban regime, their condition improved but attacks on the community continued to occur. In 2011, attack by suicide bombers on the day of Ashura killed  59 Shi’ites in Kabul and four in Mazar-e-Sharif. In November 2015,  Taliban butchered seven Hazara travelles in the Zabul province and in November 2018, Hazaras in Jaghari and Malistan were selectively targetted and were killed. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded that more than 500 Hazara civilians were killed in various attacks by the terrorists in 2021 alone.

In a recent suicide attack targeting the Hazaras, 53 people were killed including 46 girls and young women and 110 people were injured in the Hazara quarter of Kabul city. Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), an offshoot of IS, claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to condemn the attack by saying, “The Islamic Emirate does not believe in the religious, ethnic, or political divide of Afghan nationals and considers itself accountable for the lives of all Afghans.” At the same time the ‘Taliban police’ brutally assualted women who protested against the attack on students  and demanded justice for the victims. This is not the first time that ISKP is targeting the Hazara community, but the state (read Taliban) has turned a blind eye towards them. There is also an allegation that the Taliban is using its own proxies to carry out large scale attack on the Hazara population .

Ever since its re-entry to the throne in Kabul, Taliban had been sending strong warnings to Afghan’s Hazara population. The statue of Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari in Bamiyan was destroyed by the Taliban within days of coming to power. Mazari was murdered by the Taliban in 1995 and his body was mutilated and thrown from a helicopter in Ghazni. In the district of Balkhab, Hazara civilians were ruthlessly attacked and killed by the Taliban when their commander Mehdi Mujahid, who was himself a Hazara rebelled against them. Mehdi was killed by the Taliban along with with 200 fellow fighters and around 27,000 Hazaras were displaced in the conflict.

The entire governanc structure of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is deprived of Hazaras at the top position. Even in the Hazara majority districts of Bamiyan, Ghazni and Daikundi, the Taliban has appointed hardliner-Sunni Islamists as its Governors. Similarly, hazard are also removed from civil and government services without giving any reasons in almost all the provinces. This shows that the Taliban has not moved a bit from its perception on the Hazara minority.


The Taliban is transforming Afghanistan to a state exclusively for ‘Male Pashtuns’. The handful of Afghan Hindus and Sikhs who were left in the nation are given long term visas and are brought to India by the Central government. The women irrestepctive of their community identity are granded only secondary status and are now deprived of education, healthcare, job opportunities and a free life. The ethnic minorites inlcuding Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimak and others are being persecuted by the Taliban regime.

Even when human rights violations are reported on a massive scale in Afghanistan, more nations are coming forward to do business with the government led by Taliban. But this time, unlike their first term, Taliban is handling the situation in a way that the global community cannot blame it directly for the attacks on Hazaras and other minorities.

All the little advancement that the Hazara community could make from 2001-2021 are now being annulled by the Islamic Emirate. The community members are being eliminated throughout the country and this is nothing but a state sponsored pogrom happening against the largest group of  ‘infidels’ in Afghanistan.

Ganesh Puthur
Ganesh Puthur
The writer is a political analyst and holds a masters degree in History from the Department of History, University of Hyderabad, India. He writes articles on topics pertaining to International affairs, History and Indian politics.