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Shias demand share in Kabul's power structure

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 28th August, 2021 11:15:06 AM
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Shias demand share in Kabul's power structure

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A prominent minority community in Afghanistan has demanded its participation in the government as the Taliban continued dialogue with the Afghan prominent leaders to give shape to the upcoming power structure.

The Shia Ulema Council has urged the Taliban to ensure that they will treat all faiths and ethnicities with equality and justice. The Council said the next government should ensure the participation of all religions and ethnicities.

The clerics addressing a press meet in Kabul on Tuesday called on the Taliban to ensure the safety and security of women and minorities. “The Shia people never support violence and war, they all support peace,” said Ayatollah Salehi, a Shia cleric.

The clerics also issued an 18-point declaration. “The declaration clarifies the working framework of the Afghanistan Shia Ulema Council,” said Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, a cleric.

Some other participants at the conference called on the Taliban to help protect the gains the country has made in the past 20 years so that all ethnic groups can work equally in government institutions.

“Everyone in Afghanistan wants security, they want peace and the formation of an inclusive government,” said Ali Ahmadi, another cleric.

The Hazara community in Afghanistan are Shias with strong links to Iran. There are about 38-40 lakh Hazaras estimated to be living in Afghanistan. This makes them about 10-12 percent of Afghanistan’s 3.8 crore population.

Under the new constitution of Afghanistan adopted in 2003, after the US-led forces drove out the Taliban from power in 2001, the Hazaras were given equality with the other communities in the country. Earlier several Hazaras were executed by the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998. They were also executed in Afghanistan’s central Bamian province in 2000 and 2001. The ISIS have also targeted Hazaras in recent years. Few days back the Taliban blew up the statue of Hazara political leader Abdul Ali Mazari in Bamian.

If Taliban continues with persecution of Hazaras it might become a major point of contention with Iran and Kabul.