The Hazara

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.

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.

29 thoughts on “The Hazara

  1. Glad to get more info on this subject. I am doing a paper on how the different muslim sects negatively effect the Hazaras treatment/lifestyles in Afghanistan.I read Kite Runner, deffinetly one of my favorite books. This topic is extremely interesting to me and I am looking foward to learning more about this unfortunate event.

  2. I’m currently reading ‘The Kite Runner’, which led me to find out more about Hazaras,the way they were portrayed in the book is heartbreaking and painful. Its such a powerful story, i cant wait to see the movie!

    • I just read the Kite Runner 2 days ago and am still so affected. It is heartbreaking indeed. My love for the book has led me here to research about this people group. The Hazara people look so beautiful and gentle it is beyond me why they are persecuted so much.

      • Thanks Ruby for the comments that you wrote
        i am hazara and i am living in the uk for last 3 years


      • Hmmm, you should meet my boyfriend who is Hazara. Of all the nice things I could say about him, gentle would never be one of them. Beautiful certainly would though.

  3. I served in Afghanistan. I mentored the ANA. I made lots of Hazara friends. Out of all the people who live in that country, the Hazaras are the most educated and most athletic people. They learn quick, they are humble people, and they are the future leaders of Aghanistan.

  4. I saw The Kite Runner last night – easily among the very best films I’ve ever seen. The story is a masterpiece in itself, but also touches on some big issues, including ethnic discrimination against the Hazaras of Afghanistan, which I wasn’t even aware of. I would recommend the film highly to anyone.

    Thanks for posting this further information about the Hazara people!

  5. the hazara people had very dark days befor and after the taliban, i was really happy that the taliban is out of power which killed thousend and thousend hazara during that time but i like to say that we are peopl who willing to build afghanistan is them that they are not letting as killling hazara for no reason.

  6. we Shiite people in Afghanistan have been always in target by some radical Sunni people. but now after America’s invasion to Afghanistan, we have a better life situation. i am Hazara but i am Shiite from Herat where at least 50 percent of people are Shiite. We suffered the same problems in Herat. Thank u for the beautiful article

  7. Thank you for posting this article. My parents are from Afghanistan and although I am not of Hazara descent I can openly say that I am ashamed of how the Hazara people in Afghanistan are treated. It is an outrage! Those who treat Hazaras in this manner are obviously ignorant people. No where in the Koran does it say that you are allowed to kill people if they have a different religion than you. The only time you can kill someone is if your life is in danger and if it is in self defense, or if the attacker is attacking your home and is trying to kill your family members.

    Those who murder Hazaras will receive justice by God. Nonetheless, I hope the discrimination and persecution of Hazaras in my parents country stops! Like it or not the Hazaras are a part of Afghanistans past, present, and future. They are embedded in Afghanistan, and are a valuable and beautiful asset. They will never leave. Nor do I want them to. Their people offer so much to our country. As victor mentioned earlier the Hazaras are absolutely the most educated, humble, and innocent ethnic group in Afghanistan! Those who persecute them are obviously ignorant and dare I say: envious. But those people will never admit it!

    I am so glad that currently the Hazaras are living somewhat in peace. I hope that greater peace and prosperity follows them! I hope one day soon Afghanistan recognizes what a great country it is and that it is lucky to have such beautiful diverse people who are loyal to Afghanistan.

    • It’s really great to see a comment that contradicts the media-portrayal of people from Afghanistan. Maybe if more forward thinking people like yourself were supported, more people would take action towards removing Western influence in Afghanistan and let the people rule their own country, because you’ll are more than capable.

      I was led to this article as we are studying The Kite Runner in school and noticed that in the overthrow of the monarchy it was a BLOODLESS coup. This is substantial proof that the people of Afghanistan are capable of running their own country once the West removes their corrupt interim government and withdraws their troops. As someone who has lived their whole life in a Western society I do not struggle to understand the Middle East’s hate for the West and am ashamed of the very minor difference we have made in comparison to all the bloodshed we have caused to innocent civilians.

  8. I am really apperciate of that person who make this article.However we do not care about other people who saying something about. but we are about our people.

  9. Thanks alot Amir jan for the Kite runner novel. It made know about the Hazara people. What a breath taking book!

  10. I’ve read the Kite Runner, and yesterday I saw the film.
    The book got me really emotional, but also the film did.

    A hard, realistic story but with also heartwarming parts and scenes…

    Thank you, Khaled Hosseini for this beautiful masterpiece!

    • hi i am from south africa and i also read the Kite Runner as well as a Thousand splendid Suns and the books are so Amazing….can anyone plse help me find the movies as we dont have here in our country…in you tube i only get the trailers not full movie plse any website also…
      its the best books i have ever read and its true abt hazara pple they way those pple have to live???i cannot beleive!!

  11. omg the taliban should just leave Afghanistan they’re making everything alrady worse than what it is. -_-
    I feel so sad for these people that are treated poorly because of their race and ethnicity.

  12. I had just read A Thousand Splendid Suns also by Khaled Hosseini, after reading this book i thought i would never understand the people from such a distant land. My heart ached for the women, for the children and even the men, the good men. I cried and cried. depressed for 2 weeks, And i thought of my own life and the things we take for granted, and what it would be like for me if i were to walk even a mile in their shoes. And i the only thing i can say is, I’m so fortunate to have been born where I have and when I have.
    I also just read The Kite Runner. (I am waiting to watch the movie with the rest of my book club.)
    I wasn’t sure I even wanted to read it after a thousand splendid suns, but when my book club did, of course, i had no choice.
    I have found myself drawn to people of Afghanistan, and attached to the Hazaras in a way i thought i’d never be. i immediately did what so many of you did, i looked up all i could find out on Hazaras, I wanted to be able to tell myself that the tragedy in the book was conjured up and didn’t really happen. Now I’m no dummy and don’t live in Lala land! I was hoping what was written about the massacre on the Hazaras was an Idea taken from the many similar tragedies from other parts of the world. i was sorely disappointed but knew from the start of my research that i would be. In the states we seem to be oblivious to the world. I had never had a political stand on the war in afghanistan and all my reactions had ever been was hurt with innocent bloodshed, but now it is so different. Its personal!
    I don’t hurt, I ache. When i read what that land could have been, what was developing into, the peace and prosperity, it reminded me of what we have here in the states, Freedom, control of our bodies, a choice likes and dislikes… to say what and how we feel and how ever loud we want to shout it. I can imagine the day when soon all we know here will also be saddened by the realities of prejudice and fear. I hope that will never happen, but who’s to really say? Look at how we have to lock our doors, fear that someone is following us, or it is even as small as holding on to your purse so tight your arms are sore and trembling when you finally reach your destination. (this isn’t an every day occurrence for me, I relate to this feeling only when i walk the streets of New York. ) But most importantly we all have a fear that children will not keep their innocence. I have to tell my 2 year old to “Stay with me”, ” don’t touch that”, “you cant run over there.” or “if any one ever tries to do something you don’t want to do, KICK AND SCREAM”!
    What I am getting at is there are some Insane people in this world with Ideas of the Perfect World, or How Much they can get away with. Im just sad for our children, all of them…and the ones who are and yet aren’t, because they don’t know how to be. This isn’t the real Life. I know its not…its pathetic and sad.

    I know that God doesn’t fail to take account of peoples actions and he says “vengeance is mine.” And that is my how i Find my comfort. His eyes are on all his people all humans, doesn’t matter your race or ethnicity. He does care and the time is coming when true justice will be carried out on the righteous and the unrighteous.

  13. after going through the Kite Runner, its natural for curiosity to be aroused of the Hazaras. I am saddened that why its always the straight, the gentle, the humble, everywhere to be suppressed , exploited, persecuted! Perhaps Darwin was making scientific statement of survival of the fittest, then all these civilization, culture etc. are but futile giant leap of humanity

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