Afghan Biographies


Name Hazara
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Ethnic and religious Minority
History and Biodata

The Hazara gains have already been rapid. Two Hazara-dominated provinces, Bamian and Daykondi, have the highest passing rates on admissions exams for the country’s top rung of universities, according to officials from the Ministry of Higher Education. In the high school graduating class of 2008, three-fourths of students in Daykondi who took the test passed, and two-thirds in Bamian, compared with the national rate of 22 percent. In a country that has one of the world’s lowest female literacy rates — just one in seven women over age 15 can read and write — the progress of Hazara women is even more stark, especially compared with Pashtun provinces.

In Kabul are living 2 Mio Hazara. History and Background: Afghanistan's rugged central mountainous core of approximately 50,000 square kilometers is known as the Hazarajat, Land of the Hazara. Others live in Badakhshan, and, following Kabul's campaigns against them in the late nineteenth century, some settled in western Turkestan, in Jawzjan and Badghis provinces. Estimated population in 1995 was one million. Physically the Hazara are Mongoloid, possibly of mixed Eastern Turkic and Mongol origin, although numerous contradictory speculations exist. Scholars agree that the Hazara were established here since the beginning of the thirteenth century.

Hazara speak Hazaragi, a Persianized language with a large mixture of Mongol words. A majority are Imami Shia, fewer are Ismaili Shia, while others, particularly in Bamiyan and the north, are Sunni. The leaders of Hazara lineages, known as mirs or khans, lost their powerful status in communities after Amir Abdur Rahman subdued them in 1891. The Pushtun state established a local administration, imposed harsh taxation policies and distributed lands to Pushtun, including fertile pasture lands in areas previously inaccessible to Pushtun nomads. The Hazarajat continued to be a neglected area. Services and physical infrastructure were practically nonexistent. Farming and animal husbandry are the principal occupations, there is no industry. Because of their meager resources, the Hazara seasonally sought work and services in other areas as low grade civil servants, shopkeepers, artisans, urban factory workers, and unskilled labour. In the 1960s an estimated 30-50 percent of Hazara males migrated to the cities where they were considered to be on the lowest rung of the social scale.

During the 1960s and 70s their economic and political status improved remarkably. During the war, contending groups within the Hazarajat achieved greater unity than ever before. Hazara political parties were excluded from the mujahideen alliances, however, largely because of rabidly anti-Shia prejudices held by some leaders, such as Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf and Yunus Khalis. It is doubtful if the Hazara will accept their former inferior status in the future.

The Hazara Khawari (Berberi) nomads originally immigrated to Iran in search of better pastures for their flocks. They also hoped to escape the consequences of a failed revolt against the Afghan government. In times past, the Hazara Khawari (Berberi) were primarily sheep and goat herders. The second generation had to rely on farming as a supplement to their shepherding. Their main crops are wheat, barley, beans, and milk, which are the staples of their diet.

Today, most of them had moved to the cities, mainly Mashhad and few to Tehran. The third generation had the opportunity to study, so today there is a social layer of educated person among the other layers of the people in Iran, mainly in Mashhad. There are engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and many others who running medium to large-scale factories and farms.

During the Iran-Iraq war, many Hazara from northeastern Iran fought in the war and showed their braveness on the battlefield. Many of them were killed. Approximately half of the numbers of causalities from Mashhad were Hazara, in spite of the fact that their population makes up only one tenth of Mashhad.

In Iran, due to their phenotypic similarities with the Mongols, the Hazaras are known as Khwaris or Barbaris (barbarians).  Many Hazaras in Iran live in Mashahd, Turbat-e-Jam, Nishaboor and Darrah Gaz. Despite the majority of the Iranian population being Shi’a and Iran being the host of a significant number of Afghan Hazara refugees, the Hazaras are a marginalised community who seek to protect their ethnic and cultural identity from state oppression. Persecution of the Hazaras in Iran began in a single incident in 1998, where more than 630 refugees (mostly Hazaras) were killed by Iranian forces in the Safed Sang Camp Detention Centre. 

Last Modified 2017-10-15
Established 2009-10-14