A global wave of protest has developed in response to an attack on Hazara school children in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 30. More than 50 students, mostly young women, were killed and more than 80 others wounded.
The bomb went off as the students were sitting for a university entrance practice exam.
Green Left’s Susan Price spoke to Fatima*, a Hazara woman living in Kabul, about the explosion, the protests, the response by the Taliban and the situation for Hazaras in Afghanistan.
“My husband has been missing for two years. I was a teacher in one of the private schools. I live in Kabul province. My father died due to COVID-19, I have two brothers, two sisters from my family live in the village. They are six hours away from me and I haven't seen my family for eight months.
“When my husband disappeared due to a Taliban explosion, my father-in-law threw me and my child out of the house. Currently, my father-in-law is looking for my children and wants to take my children away from me. In our country, when a person dies, their children are taken by their relatives, they are not given to the mother.
Fatima lives only a few streets away from the Kors Kaj educational centre. She said that on the day of the explosion she was at home with her children. “A terrible noise came and the windows of several neighbours’ houses and my room broke.” Glass fell from the window, injuring Fatima’s leg.
Fatima described the carnage at the school: “Girls and boys were pulled out of the class by people who had blood on their bodies. They didn't have hands, they didn't have legs, they didn’t have heads.”
A few days after the bombing, women took to the streets of Kabul in protest. Fatima joined them. “After the explosion, we had a demonstration at the state university. We were 50 girls, but [the Taliban] did not allow us [to protest].
“When we continued the demonstration, [they] whipped the girls.
“We were shouting at the demonstrations ‘Stop Hazara genocide!’.
“They told us that if we protest the next day, they will expel us from the university.”
“The Taliban's response to the protests has been very violent. Women were beaten for protesting.”
Fatima said the situation for Hazaras is unbearable.
“Hazara people are flogged and imprisoned for theft. In the villages, the Taliban forcibly take the houses of the Hazaras. Taliban do not allow Hazara people to work.
The Taliban harass Hazara people who own shops every day and demand large sums of money from them, Fatima said.
Bombings targeting Hazaras happen all the time, Fatima said. Many victims die because of the Taliban’s brutality.
“When there was an explosion, the Taliban did not allow people to give blood to the wounded,” Fatima said. “They perished because of blood [loss].”
Families of the wounded were also beaten.
Fatima said Western governments need to provide financial support to the Hazaras. “We ask the Australian government to save our country.”
Many Hazaras like Fatima would like to leave Afghanistan, however, the Taliban has stopped issuing passports. Fatima appealed to the Australian government to grant her and her children a visa and to protect the Hazara people.
“I want the Australian government to grant visas to Hazara Shia people and accept them as refugees.”
[*Fatima is a pseudonym.]