Tag: Shia

Before Ashura: Extra security measures in place for second year running

This year, the ten-day commemoration of Muharram by Afghanistan’s Shia Muslims follows a wave of bloody attacks directed against them, most claimed by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). In 2017, the government armed and paid guards at some mosques and other religious buildings in an attempt to thwart attacks. Those guards have stayed […]

Hitting Gardez: A vicious attack on Paktia’s Shias

Afghan Shia Muslims are feeling increasingly beleaguered after two massacres targeting their community this month. Both were claimed by the Afghan ‘franchise’ of Daesh, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). On 3 August, gunmen killed at least 38 men and boys during Friday prayers at a village mosque in the outskirts of Gardez city. […]

Murad’s War: An Afghan face to the Syrian conflict

In Syria, the Assad regime is running out of soldiers and is increasingly relying on mercenaries. Many are Shiites – Lebanese Hezbollah militiamen, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Yemenis. But no group is represented to the degree that the Afghan Hazara are. AAN guest author Christoph Reuter (*) has met two of them – recruited in […]

The Killing of Farkhunda (2): Mullahs, feminists and a gap in the debate

From ultra-conservative Salafis to secular-minded feminists, an astonishingly diverse range of voices have found their heroine in Farkhunda, the young woman who was lynched by a mob in Kabul on 19 March 2015. She has become the rare victim of violence to be almost unanimously called a shahid, a martyr. The consensus on her status, however, […]

A new Afghan Shia Leader: Return to quietism versus political Islam?

A new leader is emerging in Afghanistan’s Shia community, one who so far has chosen to abstain from any presence or involvement in the religious or political affairs of the country. Ayatollah Mohammad Eshaq Fayaz is being supported by Afghan Shia – among them rather influential figures such as Second Vice President Sarwar Danish – […]

Death in Aleppo: A group of Afghan fighters located in Syria

Are Afghans fighting in the war in Syria? There have been a few reports to that effect in the international news media over the past months, detailing recruitment efforts mainly by the Iranian government among Hazaras in order to bolster the Assad regime’s manpower. However, there has never been evidence of Afghan fighters actually present in […]