In The Kite Runner the reader can see how badly the Hazara people are treated in Afghanistan. The purpose of this post is to give you a little background information on the Hazara people. The information is from The Hazaras.
Hazaras are among few races on the face of the earth about whose origin so little is known. Some research done on Hazara background suggests that they are the descendants of Genghis Khan, the great Mongol warrior of 13th Century. This theory is supported by the similarities in the language and words that Mongols and Hazaras use even today. Another plausible theory is that Hazaras were Buddhists that actually lived in Afghanistan for the known history at least since the time of the Kushan Dynasty some 2000 years ago prior to the arrival of Islam. During the time of Kushan Dynasty, Bamyan was the home of one of the biggest Buddhist civilisations. This is obvious from the two of the World’s tallest Buddist statues that is carved in the mountain in Bamyan, Afghanistan – the heart of Hazarajat region inhabited by Hazaras for at least 2000 years.
The Hazaras speak Farsi and are mostly Shi’i Muslims. Hazaras have always lived on the edge of economic survival. As a result of Pashtun expansionism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries which was fueled by Sunni prejudices against the Shi’i the Hazaras were driven to the barren dry mountains of central Afghanistan (the Hazarajat) where they live today separated into nine regionally distinct enclaves. The Hazaras are primarily sedentary farmers practicing some herding. Many Hazaras also migrated to the major towns, particularly Kabul where they occupied the lowest economic rungs.
The Hazara suffered under the rule of the Taliban.The Taliban had Hazarajat totally isolated from the rest of the world going as far as not allowing the United Nations to deliver food to the provinces. During the years that followed, Hazaras suffered severe oppression and many large ethnic massacres and rapes were carried out by the predominately ethnic Pashtun Taliban.These human rights abuses not only occurred in Hazarajat, but across all areas controlled by the Taliban. Particularly after their capture of Mazar-e Sharif in 1998, where after a massive killing of some 8000 civilians, the Taliban openly declared that the Hazaras would be targeted. Mullah Niazi, the commander of the attack and governor of Mazar after the attack, similar to Abdur Rahman Khan over 100 years ago, declared the Shia Hazara as infidels:
|“||Hazaras are not Muslim, they are Shi’a. They are kofr [infidels]. The Hazaras killed our force here, and now we have to kill Hazaras… If you do not show your loyalty, we will burn your houses, and we will kill you. You either accept to be Muslims or leave Afghanistan… wherever you go we will catch you. If you go up, we will pull you down by your feet; if you hide below, we will pull you up by your hair.|