Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

In Search for Power, Afghanistan’s Hazara Community Vows to Fight On

2 min

The Wire, 2 September 2016

This article in an Indian web magazin with the self-explanatory title has some quotes from AAN’s Thomas Ruttig:

Thomas Ruttig, co-director of AAN, noted that the Enlightening Movement was certainly the largest social protest movement in terms of its mobilisation, but “there is also the issue of ethnic politicking, political hijacking attempts and wavering political Hazara leaders”.

“Some of the movement’s leaders also play up ethnic feelings, not recognising that at least on the legal field, past discrimination has been abolished. Of course, on the other side, there are also many nasty anti-Hazara statements, feeding fears that discrimination is not over in the minds of many, including some in government,” he said.

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Ruttig, a veteran scholar on the country, disagrees with the Hazaras that have not gotten a share of the power pie in the post-2001 scenario. “The Hazaras are well-represented, but they are also fragmented. And maybe, a non (or not only-) Hazara reform movement would be better than concentrating on ethnic policies only.” He feels that there is a “still a gap between the legal and real situation,” but “progress also needs to be recognised.” “Yes, I agree, Bonn has only been implemented very superficially in many aspects. But the problem is larger – there is a lack of de-militarisation of the entire Afghan society and that includes the Hazara part of it. There is also discrimination (or marginalisation) of non-Hazaras in Hazara majority areas”.

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The Hazaras’ view on Tehran, said Ruttig, is shaped by “both the ongoing experience of discrimination in Iran and the feeling of being used as political tools – although the leaders also never really said no to Iranian support”.

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Ruttig describes the prospects of the movement sustaining itself for a long crusade [I actually gave that answer, but to another question, whether there was the chance that the TUTAP route could still be changed] as being “very dim”. “But it needs to be added that the question is whether the just demand of Bamiani and other Hazaras – that they want to have electrical power – is directly linked to the TUTAP line. There are some in Bamyan who know that such a line also carries dangerous consequences for the environmentally vulnerable central region,” he said.