Just days after the Taliban seized power in August, a statue of a prominent Hazara political leader was decapitated in Bamiyan, a city inhabited mostly by the Shiite community
The previous government of president Ashraf Ghani was the “darkest point” in the history of Afghanistan, said senior Hazara leader Jafar Mahdawi. Several bomb attacks in recent years have killed and wounded scores of Hazaras in Kabul and other cities. (Reuters) More than 1,000 Afghan Shia Hazaras have pledged their support to the country's new Taliban rulers.
On Thursday, community elders gathered in Kabul alongside Taliban leaders in a show of support.
Senior Hazara leader and former lawmaker Jafar Mahdawi, who organised the gathering, said the previous government of president Ashraf Ghani was the “darkest point” in the history of Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan had no independence and (foreign) embassies ruled every aspect of the government,” he said.
“Thank God, we have now passed this dark period.”
Since the Taliban seized power in August, the new rulers have put an end to the war, ended corruption and increased security, Mahdawi said.
He however called for a more inclusive government from the Taliban and urged the new rulers to reopen schools for girls.
“In the coming weeks or months we hope to witness an inclusive government that has representatives of all people,” Mahdawi said.
Taliban leader and spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the gathering that rebuilding the country was a priority.
READ MORE: Why are Hazaras so vulnerable under Taliban rule in Afghanistan?
The Hazaras, who make up roughly 10 to 20 percent of Afghanistan's around 38 million population, have been persecuted for centuries in the Sunni majority country.
In the last two decades they have been targeted in particular by the Taliban and Daesh militants, who consider them heretics.
The extremists have carried out several mass killings of Hazaras, including in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998, where Human Rights Watch says at least 2,000 mainly Hazara civilians were executed.
READ MORE: “Arm muscles sliced off': Nine Hazara men killed by Taliban in Afghanistan
Several bomb attacks in recent years have also killed and wounded scores of Hazaras in Kabul and other cities.
Just days after the Taliban seized power in August, a statue of a prominent Hazara political leader was decapitated in Bamiyan, a city inhabited mostly by the Shiite community.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the act, but the Taliban earned notoriety in 2001 for destroying two giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies