“A Resurgence of Troubles for an Afghan Minority”
The Washington Post, April 9, 2015, p.A10
“Inside the two seized buses, terrified passengers prayed to remain in their seats. The masked gunmen had collected their identification cards and snatched their cellphones, survivors would later recall. Next, they separated males from females and Sunni Muslims from Shiite Muslims. Finally, they ordered the Shiite males — all ethnic Hazaras — off the buses. The kidnappers then vanished into the harsh terrain of southern Zabul province with 31 men and boys, sparking concerns of a potential fresh wave of sectarian tensions in Afghanistan. … In interviews, Afghan officials and Hazara leaders said they suspect that a rogue Taliban faction that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State is behind the abductions in Zabul. For the nation’s minority Hazaras, the kidnappings, along with other recent attacks, are grim reminders of the persecution they endured under the rule of the mainly ethnic Pashtun and Sunni Taliban, which viewed Shiites as apostates. Since the abductions in late February, there have been at least three more mass kidnappings of Hazaras in three other provinces, according to Afghan officials and Hazara.net, a nonprofit Web site focused on the community’s rights and culture. … Since the Taliban regime collapsed in late 2001, however, the Hazaras have experienced a communal rebirth. Many returned from exile in Iran and other countries to forge a future here. A new generation entered universities and later found jobs with the United Nations and international firms and aid agencies. Economically, many flourished. Politically, they gained more clout. Attacks against them had grown rare. … Now, a familiar anxiety is boiling up again within the community.”
Quickie analysis: Hazara fighters played a key role in defeating the Taliban the first time around. How long until they start fighting back?