Hazara Wars in Afghanistan p1
A unique method of capital punishment was practiced during the reign of Amir Abdul Rahman. That is, a death row prisoner was thrown into a well. This well was already full of dead bodies of criminals and poisonous insects. The smell of dead bodies and the bites of insects made the prisoner’s life miserable. But he was not allowed to die, but food was thrown into the well periodically. The only purpose was for the prisoners to die a painful death in this stinking and poisonous swamp. Apart from this unique punishment, punishments such as amputating the hands and feet of death row prisoners and blinding them were also common.
At least 100,000 people were put to death as a result of these punishments. Due to these draconian punishments, crime in the country was temporarily reduced drastically. An English historian Jay Stewart writes that if the Taliban had seen the punishments of Amir Abdul Rahman’s era, they would have trembled with fear. Amir Abd al-Rahman was also called the Iron Amir or the Iron Amir because of the harsh punishments given to criminals and political opponents. Countless atrocities were committed during his time, but there were two atrocities whose effects are still present today.
The first was the genocide of the Hazara tribes and the second was the Afghanization. How did these two events happen and what was the impact on today’s Afghanistan and Pakistan? My Curious Fellows In 1888, Abdul Rahman Khan faced a major challenge when he became the Amir of Afghanistan. The challenge was how to bring the Hazaras in central Afghanistan under their control. The Hazaras are located in the heart of Afghanistan and comprise a large area of eight Afghan provinces.
Their importance for Amir Abdul Rahman was also high because these areas were very close to the capital Kabul. Then many important mountain passes connecting western and northern Afghanistan were also located in this region. Much of Kabul’s trade with Central Asia, and especially with Bukhara,Stv Urdu also passed through the same mountain passes that were located in the Hazaras. That is, the strategic importance of these areas was very high, but the problem was that these areas were not under the complete control of the Kabul government. Hazara tribes lived here.
Sheikh Ali, Bhasud and Day Zangi were their major tribes. The Hazaras belonged to the common ancestry of the Mongols and the Tajiks. Afghan Amir Abdul Rahman writes that it is well-known among Afghans that invaders going to India used to settle people here by giving them houses and lands so that their way to Afghanistan would be safe. For this reason, the Mongols settled the Hazaras on a large scale in Afghanistan. The Hazaras live in central Afghanistan, in the heart of Afghanistan, with the most defensively fortified valleys and hills.
Due to which their territories are impregnable. According to him, the Hazara tribes had been a symbol of terror for the rulers of Kabul for centuries. Even the great Nadir Shah who conquered Afghanistan, India and Iran could not subdue these troublesome Hazaras. According to Amir, Mughal Emperor Zahiruddin Babur also wrote that he could not compete with this powerful nation, Hazara, in the open field. Hazaras were different from Pashtuns both ethnically and religiously. Their language was also not Pashto but two local dialects of Persian namely Dari and Hazargi.
The majority of the Pashtuns belonged to the Ahle-e-Sunnat sect, while the majority of the Hazaras belonged to the Shia. These religious and ethnic differences had created an atmosphere of regular enmity between Pashtuns and Hazara tribes. Due to this enmity, the rulers of Afghanistan, who were obviously Pashtuns, kept killing the Hazaras. Amir Abdul Rahman’s grandfather Dost Muhammad also attacked the Hazaras. He sent Haji Khan Kakar, the chief of the Kakar tribe, to Hazara Jat with an army. Haji Khan arrested Mir Yazdan Bakhsh, a Hazara chieftain, and tortured him to death in chains.
The Afghan government had also confiscated many lands of the Hazara tribes. After being dispossessed of their lands, many Hazara tribesmen were forced to do hard labor in Kabul and other cities. But even in these cities Pashtuns treated them with contempt. Amir Abdul Rahman writes that there is a famous saying in Afghanistan that if we did not have Hazara donkeys, we would have to work like donkeys ourselves. This was the reason why the Hazara tribes were disappointed with the Pashtuns and started looking towards Iran and India for help.
The Hazara tribes also supported the British during the Second Anglo-Afghan War to protect them from discrimination by the Pashtuns. He also helped in the construction work in Sherpur Cantonment. You have seen the details of the battle of Sherpur Cantonment, Cantonment in the seventh episode of season two. So the help that Hazara had given to the British had fueled the prejudice that Pashtuns had against them. But still after the departure of the British, when Amir Abdul Rehman got the government, all the major Hazara clans recognized him as their Amir. In return, they only wanted that Amir Abd al-Rahman should not interfere in their territories and let them live according to their own traditions by collecting taxes etc.