Conflicts & War

Afghanistan’s Hazaras live in the shadow of fear as attacks increase

By Moncho Torres

Kabul, Dec 11 (EFE).- The fear of terror attacks has become a daily reality for Afghanistan’s Shia Hazara minority, and as they go about their daily lives, death can strike at the most unexpected times: while coming out of school, praying at the mosque or in an urban transport vehicle.

In order to protect themselves, the Hazaras live together in closely-knit neighborhoods, such as Kabul’s well-known western area of Dashte Barchi, but this has made them easy targets for attacks often claimed by the Islamic State terror group, which considers the community apostates.

On Friday, a sacred day when streets are full of people and the Taliban were keeping watch, twin bombings targeted two passenger vans within a span of 30 minutes.

Two people were killed and three injured in the first blast, while a woman was injured in the second.

An EFE correspondent arrived at the spot of the first explosion minutes later, and witnessed for himself the horror of seeing the burning vehicle as passersby tried to rescue a victim, while another remained trapped and two dead bodies lay on one side.

This was the second double bombing against passenger vehicles within three weeks, and the frequent attacks have triggered fear among the minority community.

The president of the Hazara Foundation, Abdullah Hemati, told EFE that even though the Taliban had pledged to provide security, the people were afraid of them and were also stripped off of the possibility of protecting themselves as their weapons had been taken away.

The lack of protection was evident in October, when at least 80 and 60 people were killed respectively and hundreds injured in suicide bombings against Shia mosques on two consecutive Fridays in the northern Kunduz and southern Kandahar province.

However, the deadliest attack in recent times took place in May at a girl’s school in the capital’s Dashte Barchi area itself, where 110 people, most of them young girls, were killed and around 290 were injured according to the Hazara Foundation.

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