Afghanistan’s Hazaras resist ISIS’s sectarian war

By Rohullah Yakobi – HSC

On November 21st at around 12:30pm a suicide bomber detonated his explosives among the hundreds of Hazara worshipers gathered inside the Baqir-ul-uloom mosque in the west of Kabul, Afghanistan. The attack left over thirty dead and many more wounded.

As the dusts of the deadly blast began to settle, ISIS’s Amaq news agency claimed that “A martyrdom soldier of the Islamic State targets a Shiite Husayni temple in Kabul city.” This was ISIS’s third mass casualty attack on the Hazara community since July.

There are two reasons for ISIS’s attacks on Afghanistan’s long persecuted Hazara community. First, ISIS refers to the Shiites as the Rafidah (Arabic: the rejecters) and views them as heretics worthy of death. Hence, the Hazaras are legitimate targets. Second, ISIS seeks to ignite sectarian violence in the country. It has succeeded on its first objective, but failed on the second. The Hazaras, with centuries old scars of persecution and oppression, have refused to engage in sectarian violence. And after each attack, they have pointed their anger at their political leaders and the Afghan government for failing to protect them.

With scattered footholds in either side of Afghanistan and Pakistan borders, it is difficult to approximate the number of ISIS fighters in the region. In 2015, ISIS formally endorsed the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) under the leadership of former Taliban commanders. The ISKP has since claimed responsibility for many attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Unlike in Iraq and Syria where ISIS uses Sunni political grievances against the Shiite and Alawite rulers to keep the flame of its extreme sectarian violence alive in order to sustain its Caliphate, the ISKP faces a dead end in Afghanistan.

The history of Afghanistan is awash with ethno-tribal war and bloodshed. In the late 19th century, Amir Abdul …read more

From:: Hazara People