Crime Justice

UN expert decries 'systematic' attacks on Shia minority in Afghanistan

By Salaam Times and AFP

Locals gather around a minibus that was targeted by an ISIS bombing in May 25 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province. [Social media]

Locals gather around a minibus that was targeted by an ISIS bombing in May 25 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province. [Social media]

GENEVA -- The Hazara and other Shia communities in Afghanistan are facing what seem to be "systematic" attacks that could amount to international crimes, a United Nations (UN) expert warned Monday (September 12).

Minorities have been "arbitrary [sic] arrested, tortured, summarily executed, evicted, marginalised and in some cases forced to flee the country", Richard Bennett, the special rapporteur on the rights situation in Afghanistan, wrote in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

They are also the frequent target of attacks carried out by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

"These attacks appear to be systematic in nature and reflect elements of an organisational policy," Bennett wrote in his report.

The attacks bear "hallmarks of international crimes including crimes against humanity", he wrote.

International crimes cover the most serious crimes of concern to the global community: war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Earlier in August, ISIS claimed responsibility for a series of bombings that killed at least 10 people.

The explosions occurred in a west Kabul neighbourhood that is mainly inhabited by members of the ethnic Hazara community, who are mostly Shia.

The blasts came just days ahead of Ashura, when worshippers gather at mosques and take part in processions marking the death of the Shia Imam Hussein Ibn Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Human rights crisis

The rights situation in the country has deteriorated across the board, Bennett, who began his work in May, warned.

"Afghans are trapped in a human rights crisis that the world has seemed powerless to address," he told the Council during his presentation.

Women and girls in particular have seen a "staggering regression" in their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights since last last year August, he wrote in his report.

"In no other country have women and girls so rapidly disappeared from all spheres of public life, nor are they as disadvantaged in every aspect of their lives," he wrote.

The overall humanitarian situation was dire, with almost half the population facing acute levels of food insecurity, he wrote.

"Children are suffering from hunger at alarming rates ... Many families are utilising harmful coping strategies, including the sale of children, child marriage, child labour and decreasing spending on healthcare and education," he wrote.

Despite an amnesty, those who served in the Afghan army, security forces and government before August 2021 still face "ongoing extrajudicial and reprisal killings and forced disappearances", he wrote.

Bennett called on the international community to do more to address the situation and to ensure accountability.

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The United States betrayed Afghans and put Afghanistan in a challenging situation. The Taliban rule the people brutally and cruelly and do not adhere to any rules or regulations. These people think that, their government will end if they don't create terror and fear among the people. They put people in jail for simple objections and do not tolerate any criticism. However, ruling like this in the 21st century is quite problematic, if not impossible. The Taliban must wake up from the past 25 years' dream. Afghanistan and the world have changed. The Taliban has no plan to build a government that will serve and support its people.


Dividing Afghanistan's currency reserves and offering them for consumption is a historical affront to the Afghan nation. There are other ways of keeping Afghanistan's economic situation alive and giving loans, but they should be considered. Those against Afghanistan should take a stand against this decision and protect the national wealth from this kind of looting. The United States government has announced that half of Afghanistan's frozen assets ($3.5 billion) will be sent to a newly created fund in Switzerland called the "Afghan Fund" to improve Afghanistan's economy.


I agree; this is an insult to Afghans.


Afghans were ungrateful. They offended the republic. Despite ISIS attacks on Shia and other religious minorities during the republic, there was a relatively responsible government. After every explosion and attack, from the president to the minister and the director, everyone ran to help and do something. The president himself was going to the hospital and was visiting the wounded people; however, the people were still not satisfied. They were insulting the president day and night. And now? Without the Taliban's permission, people can’t even bury their dead. They can’t go to the hospital to visit their wounded relatives. The Taliban beat those fathers and mothers who were trying to care for their wounded children several times. No one can protest or criticize the Taliban for failing to maintain security properly. Now that everything has vanished and Afghanistan is facing a looming disaster, People Sigh for Ashraf Ghani and the republican system, but it is no longer helpful.


I also condemn ISIS attacks on religious minorities in Afghanistan; I wonder if these condemnations heal any pain? Why does the world want to bypass its primary responsibility by playing with words? Please stop fooling us.


No one is safe in Afghanistan. People's physical, psychological, economic, and intellectual security is in danger, and day by day Afghans lose hope for the future. The Taliban do not have any idea and plan for building a government that serves and supports its people. They have only tried to achieve in three areas, so far: 1- Restricting women's role in society 2- Spreading extremist ideas 3- Stealing and looting of the public treasury If you have seen anything else from the Taliban in the past one year please let me know about it. These people think their government will last by creating fear and terror among the people. They imprison people with very simple criticisms and do not tolerate any kind of criticism. However, governing this way in the 21st century is very difficult and even impossible. The Taliban must wake up from their last 25 years' dream. Afghanistan and the world have changed.


They are stupid people. Why are the Hazaras being asked for and not other Afghans? These Hazaras were spying for Iran. These same Hazaras were acting as interpreters and spies with the Americans to bomb the homes and villages of Pashtuns. Meanwhile, on the one hand, the former government, which was led by the criminals of the former Northern Alliance, and the International forces bombarded the Pashtun populated areas and killed innocent people. On the other hand, terrorist groups supported by Pakistan attacked the Pashtun populated regions. They set off bombs, destroyed schools, destroyed hospitals, and killed Pashtuns; however, no one asked why the Pashtuns were being oppressed.


I completely agree that a small number of Hazaras are spying alongside the Masoudists; ordinary Hazaras are the victims of their terrorism. Pashtuns have been the most prominent victims of genocide and terrorism in the last century; why so much persecution is being done on these people?


Not merely the Shia minority but all the people of Afghanistan, Shias, Sunnis, Wahhabis, Sufis, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmens, and..., are under oppression. The United States betrayed Afghans and put Afghanistan in a very critical situation. The Taliban rule the people with cruelty and terror and do not adhere to any law or principle. All day long, the United States puffs about supporting human rights and democracy, but in reality, they care only about their own interests. During the past 20 years, the United States' interests have been secured under the name of democracy and the protection of human rights. Now the United States uses terrorist and radical groups to achieve its goals. We will never forget what the United States did to us, we will never forget the disloyalty and betrayal of the United States, and the world should remember this betrayal as an example until it lasts.