The Hazaras ethnic in Afghanistan are deliberately being killed and injured based on their religious beliefs and ethnic identity. In recent years, the mass massacre against Hazaras has increased throughout Afghanistan. For well over a decade, Hazaras are targeted in their religious Centre, education canters, culture canters, and forcibly displaced from their homes. These attacks are deliberately organized by Taliban groups against Hazaras because of their religious beliefs and ethnicity. Thus, this essay argues that the recent attacks on Hazaras are based on their ethnical and religious beliefs and examines if this is crimes of genocide based on article II of the Genocide Convention 1948.
The Taliban group committed to genocide act against Hazaras ethnic group throughout Afghanistan. In recent years, the Taliban group deliberately being killed and injured the Hazara civilians in cities and provinces based on their religious beliefs and ethnic identity. The intensifying of the target killing of Hazaras in recent years, has increased extremely and has targeted every aspect of Hazaras life from wedding party to education centre, football stadium, bus transportation, social gatherings and mosque prayer (Hakimi, 2022). For instance, “in the first six months of 2021, the U.N. documented 20 incidents targeting Hazaras, resulting in 500 civilian casualties (143 killed and 357 wounded)” (Hakimi, 2022). In addition to this, “from January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021, the U.N. documented 67 incidents targeting Hazaras resulting in 2,458 civilian casualties (756 killed and 1,702 injured)” (Hakimi, 2022). The longstanding target killing against the Hazaras community likely continues today, systematically targeting nearly everywhere in Afghanistan. The recent attack on an Hazara girl school, is a clear example of such atrocities. For instance, “On May 8, 2021, a suicide bombing of a high school killed 85 Hazara civilians, mostly schoolgirls, and wounded more than 240” (Jaffari, 2022). This trend of deadly attacks against Hazaras are worth underlining at this stage. First, the organised crimes against Hazaras are systematic, and deliberately target every aspect of Hazara society throughout Afghanistan. Secondly, the brutal act of violence against Hazaras presents another aspect of crime against a specific ethnic group, to destroy completely or partially, based on their religion beliefs and ethnic identity. For instance, [on] “June 2022 Taliban offensive in [the] Balkhab district against a former Hazara official in the de facto Taliban government has given rise to reports of atrocities and other serious violations of human rights targeting civilians in the region, including summary executions, property destruction, and communication/internet blackouts” (Donine, 2022). Indeed, certain aspects of target killing against Hazaras in recent years, which have deliberately targeted every aspect of Hazaras life demonstrate a clear violence against specific ethnic group. For example, “as of July 2022, more than 25,000 primarily-Hazara people have been forcibly displaced from their homes by the Taliban’s military campaign and currently face intolerable conditions as aid organizations have encountered difficulties in reaching them due to the mountainous landscape”( Donine, 2022). Additionally, on August 2021, the Afghanistan government has collapsed and the Taliban group established their own government. “It significantly affected the situation faced by the Hazara and reversed the 20-year progress made in addressing the marginalisation and discrimination experienced by this minority group” (Jafari, 2022). The ongoing attacks have been conducted against Hazara civilians in Afghanistan for many years, this is not a new development, Hazaras were literally targeted and killed because of religious beliefs and ethnic identity. The Hazaras were regularly targeted at their place of worship, social gathering, wedding party and culture centres. Furthermore, the Taliban group forcibly displaced the Hazaras from their homes and land across Afghanistan. Thus, there is clear evidence available to illustrate, that the attacks against Hazaras community are due to ethnic and religious beliefs. Consequently, the current trends and scale of violence against Hazaras with the intent to destroy completely or partially the Hazaras ethnic group, clearly signifies the genocide crime under article II of the Genocide Convention.
Taliban groups have systematically massacred Hazara civilians in Afghanistan in recent years. The mass killings of the specific ethnic group by Taliban can clearly constitute the genocide elements. “Article II of the 1948 Genocide Convention, which Afghanistan acceded to Genocide Convention on March 22, 1956.i Genocide was define as committing any five acts ‘with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.’ ii The five acts included: 1) killing members of the group; 2) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; 3) deliberately inflicting conditions of the life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction; 4) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; 5) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group iii” (Collective, 2022). Thus, this essay will now discuss the two elements of genocide, causing serious mental harm to members of the group and killing members of the group.
Taliban groups have caused physical and mental harm to Hazaras in Afghanistan in recent years. Hazaras civilians have been attacked and killed by Taiban groups over the past few years due to their ethnic and religious beliefs. The genocide crimes have been clearly committed against the Hazara community in Afghanistan. In recent years, the Taliban group have killed and injured thousands of pure civilians deliberately. The Hazaras ethnic group are a clear example of crime of genocide in Afghanistan. For instance, “A senior Taliban commander of the time, Mullah Manan Niazi publicly expressed his intention of ‘wiping out’ the Hazaras because they ‘are not Muslim.’ In the following years, the dehumanization and massacre continued in Bamyan, Ghor, Kabul, between Baghlan and Samangan provinces, and the Hazarajat region” (Altaf, 2022). The crime of genocide clearly constituted with intent to cause mental and physical harm against this specific group. First, the public declaration against this specific group constituted the element of genocide due to their religious beliefs. Secondly, it is clearly understood in recent years, that the mass killings of this specific group the ‘Hazaras’ are faced with widespread and systematic violence due to their ethnic identity and religious beliefs. For instance, “On August 3, 2017, Taliban and Daesh/ISIS-KP fighters launched a joint attack against the Hazara-populated Mirza Olang village in Sayyad district, Sari Pul province, during the three-day assault, the [Taliban] insurgents killed at least 36 civilians and persons hors de combat, the majority of the killings occurred whilst families were escaping” (Hakimi, 2022). There is reasonable evidence to believe that the attacks on Hazara civilians are committed to destroy this group either completely or partially which meet the elements of the genocide convention. In addition, there are several reasons indicating that Hazaras are deliberately targeted based on their ethnic identity and religious beliefs. Most of the attacks against the Hazara civilians are at schools, wedding ceremonies and places of worship. Although, the Taliban group are claiming responsibility of these attacks. The Taliban group consistently declared their intent to kill Hazara civilians across Afghanistan. The killing of specific ethnic groups, in particular the Hazaras group, is due to their identity and inflicts physical harm and mental harm. Thus, it is clearly meets the element of genocide crime. Therefore, killing of innocent civilians based on ethnic identity and religious belief constitutes the genocide elements according to Genocide Convention.
To sum up, there is clear evidence available to believe that Hazara civilians in Afghanistan are deliberately being killed by the Taliban group in recent years. Hazaras of Afghanistan face atrocities due to their ethnic identity and religious beliefs. It is clear, that innocent civilians are being killed on their every aspect of their lives in the community, such as wedding parties, worship, social gatherings and forcibly displaced from their homes. Consequently, killing innocent civilians and causing them physical and mental harm constitutes genocide under the Genocide Convention 1948.
Author: Mukhtar Ashuri
- Altaf, M. (2022). “Why the Hazara Genocide Matters” The Geopolitics, [Online]. Available at: https://thegeopolitics.com/why-the-hazara-genocide-matters/ [Accessed 19 March 2023]
- Collective, H. (2020). “International Relations and Defence Committee” The UK and Afghanistan, Call for Evidence, [Online] Available at: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/11165/pdf/ [ Accessed 22 March 2023]
- Donine, T. (2022). “Urgent Action Needed: Hazaras in Afghanistan Under Attack” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum [online]. Available at: https://www.ushmm.org/genocide-prevention/blog/urgent-action-needed-hazaras-in-afghanistan-under-attack [Accessed 21 March 2023]
- Hakimi, M. (2022). “Relentless Atrocities: The Persecution of Hazaras”. Michigan Journal of International law, 35(4),pp. 18-20, [online] Available at: file:///C:/Users/Mukhtar%20Husaini/Downloads/SSRN-id4121751%20(4).pdf [Accessed 17 March 2023]
- Jaffari, A. (2022). “The Situation of Hazara in Afghanistan”. The Hazara Inquiry, [Online]. Available at: https://www.hazarainquiry.com/_files/ugd/525f48_c697e483f02c4c10a7eb04947eefb72b.pdf [Accessed 21 March 2023]