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Destruction of the Bamian Buddhas

The ruling Taliban, mostly fundamentalist Sunni, ethnic Pashtuns, saw Hazaras as infidels, animals, other.

They didn’t look the way Afghans should look and didn’t worship the way Muslims should worship.

A Taliban saying about Afghanistan’s non-Pashtun ethnic groups went: “Tajiks to Tajikistan, Uzbeks to Uzbekistan, and Hazaras to goristan,” the graveyard. And in fact, when the Buddhas fell, Taliban forces were besieging Hazarajat, burning down villages to render the region uninhabitable. As autumn began, the people of Hazarajat wondered if they’d survive winter.

Then came September 11, a tragedy elsewhere that appeared to deliver salvation to the Hazara people.

Afghanistan’s Hazara – National Geographic Magazine

One thing that I didn’t know about Afghanistan, that came to the fore while watching the Kite Runner, is that its people are divided into two ethic groups, the Pashtuns and the Hazaras, an Asiatic ethnic group that form a minority in Afghanistan.

This National Geographic article, explains the tremendous persecution that the Hazara  faced under the Taliban and looks at their situation now that the ostensibly democratic government has found itself into power in Kabul.

Sadly it looks like not much has changed;  the exceptional opportunity offered by the overthrow of the Taliban, and the economic development of the country may not be enough to overcome the deep ethic and religious prejudices that divides the country.

The article is a good read, and if you’ve just seen the Kite Runner, as I have, an extremely informative piece.