Erroneous views on Afghanistan and the Hazaras by Pakistani writer

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Hazara International Network: Pakistani journalist Ahmad Rashid has recently published an article on Afghanistan titled “Afghanistan: A New Sectarian War?”on a literary website based in the United States,
Hazara International Network believes that the author of this article is not only ignorant about basic facts and information about Afghanistan in general but also about Hazaras in particular, the country’s oldest ethnic group.

Firstly there has been no real national census undertaken; so how does Mr. Rashid say Shias are 10-15 percent of the population?

He claims that Afghan Shias make up of the country’s three million Hazaras – an ethnic group descended from Genghis Khan and the Mongols who are concentrated in the Hazarajat, the highlands region of central Afghanistan. These numbers are completely erroneous when there has been not one national census to date as the Afghan (Pashtun) government of Afghanistan has no intention of clarifying the real figures of various ethnic groups. Rather, it appears that the Afghan government wants to continue the myth that the Pashtuns are the majority to retain absolute power .

Secondly, Hazaras are not only Shia. If they make up the majority of Shias in Afghanistan, the majority of Hazaras are Sunni. Some Hazaras are also Christian. Hazaras Sunnis are living in Badakhshan, Takhar, Konduz, Panjshir, Baghlan, Sar i pol, Jawzjan, Faryab, Ghur and Badghis.

An art work by Najibullah Mosafer
An art work by Najibullah Mosafer

Thirdly, Hazaras are not Afghan. We do respect all ethnic groups in Afghanistan. But we the Hazaras have our own culture and history. Afghan or Pashtun is another ethnic group currently living in south and east Afghanistan and a part of Pakistan.

Hazara people are Turkic people and descendants of the Kushans. There are also Mongol influences in less than ten percent of Hazaras. Hazara People are living in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and central Asian countries like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Millions of Hazara people were and are forced to leave their homeland, the country we call Afghanistan now.

It is significant to note that the Iranian government is a player in this situation . Just inside Iran, the Turkic peoples who make up more than 50% of the population are not allow to educate themselves in their native language. Most of refugees and asylum seekers in Iran are Hazaras but they suffer systematic discrimination. Iran has always supported anti-Hazara groups such as Harakat Islami belong to pro-Iranian Mullah Asif Mohseni and Ahmad Shah Masud, the leader of the Northern Alliance who was killed in 2001. Asif Mohsini is currently enjoying the Iranian government’s hospitality right now.

Yet author Rashid asserts, “As part of its anti-American policy, Iran also backs several Taliban groups that operate in western Afghanistan and has used its influence to warn the Taliban not to touch the country’s Shia minority.” This is totally wrong. Taliban have blocked the roads for Hazaras in Southern Afghanistan. They rob Hazaras and kill them. Hazaras are also facing the fully armed Kuchi Pashtun nomads’ attacks every year. More than three thousand Hazara families are forced to flee every year. Hazaras are suffering the systematic discrimination of Hamid Karzai’s tribal mafia regime. A good example of this is less than two percent of the national budget of Afghanistan for Hazara populated areas like Bamian and Daikoundi.

Furthermore, massacres of Hazaras or rather”genocide of Hazaras” did not commence during the Taliban regime. Hazara people have long faced violence in Afghanistan, suffering genocide, slavery, and forced displacement under a series of Afghan governments including the Taliban and Karzai’s current regime.
Or further into history there are reports from 1893 when more than 60% of the Hazaras were killed just in 5-10 years. This was reported in Australian newspapers at the time:


The Ameer of Afghanistan has sold ten thousand Hazara captives as slaves to pay the expenses of war.
Oct 1893/ The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860-1954)”

Back to contemporary times. The recent attack on Hazara people in Kabul is not only a attack on Shias. They main reason of the attack is ethnic cleansing. That attack is strongly connected to genocide of Hazaras in Pakistan. We believe terrorist groups such as LG, Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabian security forces have a hand in genocide of the Hazaras.

Perhaps Mr. Rashid should be reminded of the second article of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Clearly, Ahmad Rashid’s views on the region are blinkered and misinformed. Hopefully readers can look elsewhere for facts on Hazaras even if that means sourcing google for better information.

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  1. Milad Hussain Ferozi

    Ahmad Rashid is a racist and fanatic Punjabi who was one of the closest friend to former Pakistani PM Zia Ul Haq. we do expect these kind of comments from this guy.

  2. Adnan A A

    In this article you have raised the issue of Hazara link themselves with Mangol & Changaz, I agree with your thoughts but here i would like to raise two point.

    1. In 1221 Changaz send his grandson by the name of Mutugen that go to
    Gharjistan(Hazarajat). Gharjistan is old name of Hazarajat. Told the people of Gharjistan that weither you should accept Changaz empire otherwise we will kill you, In reply when the local deny that Changaz grandson try to impose his idiology on them, Hazara killed the grandson of Changaz in 1221.
    If Hazara belong to Changaz than who has killed the grandson of Changaz

    2. The alive example is present in Bamiyan, The shar-e-Ghalgol in reply Changaz use his power and kill the people of Bamiyan who are Hazara.
    Hazara don’t belong to Changaz or Mangol,

  3. Ebrahimi

    Thanks to Hazara people Network for such a logical respond to the racist journalist of Pakistan,,, it was a good , hope those who misunderstood the history of Hazaras in Afghanistan, they should come to know the truth,,
    and I request you ,, if there is any English website relating to history and background of Afghanistan Hazaras, please publish here till others should not misuse the name of hazaras. thanks

  4. Ali G


  5. FromCanada

    Thank you very much for providing this article in English. We need a strong network of translators that can translate all our high quality dari articles in English. This is very important strategically. Keep going.

  6. Zulaikha Rezaie

    Thanks so much for sharing this factual article. This article highlights the truth about the Hazara’s miserable situation in Afghanistan and neighboring countries. Is that possible to circulate and publicize this article through national and international Medias more broadly in order to make every one clear???

  7. ali


  8. farhad

    very good answer and article
    i hope you send a link of your article to pakistani correspondent.
    a link to the site which released his article

  9. Hazara youth

    Thanks Mr. Rashid I hope to continue your research and open the mind of our Nation, Zinda bad Jawanan Hazara ra ke hamesha ba fekar Ayienda Quam kho asta,


  10. liaqat gulzari

    well done hazara people website, it is the right thing to reply strongly, any comments comes, which demage the hazaragi history. ahmed rasheed is trying to make the situation controversial. Zindabad HAZARAGI

  11. Arman

    Well I am proud that our new generation are working hard and trying to put out the REALITIES about HAZARAS which are HIDDEN for many Years.

  12. Jahid

    Mr. Rashid’s ideas replicate pro-talibanization advocating the emergence of Taliban as the true rulers of Afghanistan. His information need to be updated about the life of Hazaras in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, where misery and genocide have left no option but to get scattered in Europe and Australia and over centuries they have been migrating from one place to another for their settlement.

  13. Hazara

    Thanks for prompt response to these irresponsible and ignorant articles.