The year 2017 has seen further escalation of both (a) the territorial war between insurgents (“Anti Government Elements”) and the Afghanistan Security Forces (supported by the remaining Coalition forces) and (b) locally targeted violence.
There has been a marked increase in sectarian violence, in particular targetting the Shia population, made up almost exclusively of ethnic Hazaras. United Nations reports continue to paint a bleak picture. These well-documented summaries are supported by substantial media reports and expert commentaries. The deterioration of the situation over the past years has now been documented in a series of 12 papers by Dr Graeme Swincer, beginning with a comprehensive overview in September 2012. The most recent update also highlights the humanitarian catastrophe occurring as a direct result of the flawed policies of European and Australian governments to deport thousands of Afghan Asylum Seekers to the danger from which they fled – adding to the social crisis already existing as a result of a combination of a burgeoning flood of internal displacements, now more than a million people, and unprecedented numbers of forced deportations from neighbouring Iran and Pakistan.
A related paper, “Mazar-e Sharif as a Relocation Venue for Deported Asylum Seekers” published in March 2017 challenges the Australian government’s contention that this city would be safe and viable for forced returnees.
The following is a list all papers:
Supplementary Update 0n Hazara Refugees from Afghanistan by Graeme Swincer: September 2017
Mazar-e Sharif as a Relocation Venue for Deported Asylum Seekers. Supplementary update by Graeme Swincer: March 2017
Supplementary update by Graeme Swincer: November 2016
Supplementary update: 10 February 2016 by Graeme Swincer: February 2016
Supplementary update: 14 September 2015 by Graeme Swincer
Supplementary update: 2nd March 2015 by Graeme Swincer
Supplementary update: 18th September 2014 by Graeme Swincer
Supplementary update: 28th February 2014 by Graeme Swincer
Supplementary update: 19th May 2013 by Graeme Swincer
Supplementary update: 12th February 2013 by Graeme Swincer
Collection of new material – 8th November 2012 by Graeme Swincer
Hazara Asylum Seekers from Afghanistan: the increasing dangers they would face if they return
by Graeme Swincer September 2012
A recent paper published by the Afghan Analysts Network: “Hazaras in the Crosshairs? A scrutiny of recent incidents”  by Qayoom Suroush has stirred up a great deal of discussion in Afghanistan. The detailed analysis is prefaced by a summary:
“Eight abductions of groups of people have been reported since late February by officials, activists or media as having targeted ethnic Hazaras. The first was also the biggest: the abduction of 31 bus passengers in Zabul on 23 February 2015. Other crimes ‘against Hazaras’ have been reported from Ghazni, Farah, Daikundi and Balkh. AAN’s Qayoom Suroush has been examining the incidents in detail to see if there is a new trend of targeting this ethnic group. He finds much of the reporting has been full of mistakes with assumptions relayed as fact. With the possible exception of the Zabul mass abduction, he finds little to back up a notion of a new trend of ethnic targeting, but does say the reporting points to how vulnerable many Hazaras feel.” [emphasis added]
It is known that the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) is using this paper as a source of “adverse information” to present to Hazara asylum seekers as possible justification for denying them Australian protection. A recent DIBP communication states:
“This article indicates that in spite of the fears of Hazaras, there is no current evidence Hazaras are being systematically targeted in Afghanistan. The exception appears to be the recent Zabul abduction, but those taken have been kidnapped rather than killed, and the goal of the kidnappers remains unclear.”
The plight of Tajiks in Afghanistan should be understood against the situation of the Hazaras. The Hazaras of Afghanistan are justifiably famous as the most persecuted people group in the world. The Taliban and their fellow travellers such as the Laskar-e-Janghvi are extremist Sunni Muslims and they regard the Hazaras, who are generally Shia Muslims, as infidels and therefore worthy of death. In Afghanistan the Taliban are derived from members of the majority Pashtun ethnic group.
Hazaras are also hated because of their participation in the so called Northern Alliance which resisted the Taliban from 1996 to 2001. They are especially vulnerable to targeted violence because of (a) their mongoloid features which make them easily identifiable on sight and (b) their traditional commitment to gathering for Shia ceremonies such as the annual celebration of Ashura Day.