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Break Up Of Afghanistan for Independent Hazaristan

1951 0

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During the late 19th Century when the Amir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman, was plotting a full-scale invasion on the independent Hazaristan, he wrote to the khans (chiefs) of Uruzgan, “I am the Amir, and on our four neighboring countries which are Kafiristan, Russia, China, and the British Raj, you are the enemy of us. If we fight with each other, then they (Russia and the British Raj) will take advantage of our fight. So being Muslim, you people and your territory is under my command and control, as I am the Amir, I hope that you people cooperate with me in this regard.” The Hazara khans responded, “You ruler of Kabul declared yourself the Amir, there was only one Amir, Al Hazrat Imam Ali Ally Slam, the holder of the Zulfiqar sword. How dare you claim that you are the Amir of Islam. Secondly, you Abdur Rahman in your message described four neighboring countries. Why did you not count our country (Hazaristan) as the fifth? Why did you not say, ‘five neighboring countries’? With the grace of God, the world hopefully knows the fifth nation’s voice. And thirdly, we advice you Pashtuns that it’s for your bitterness to keep distance from us, the Hazara Turko-Mongols, otherwise you will face worse consequences”. A full-scale war erupted in 1891 and by late 1893, the Hazaras eventually suffered a defeat and all of Hazaristan became subjugated into the Afghan State by the British puppet, Abdur Rahman. In addition, he separated the region into three provinces (Ghor, Dai Kundi, and Bamiyan) in order to prevent the Hazaras from regaining independence.

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The Exile Central Committee of United Hazaristan was established in the year 1893 by the commanders of the Uruzgani, Dai Zangi, Polada, Besudi, and Naiman tribes of the Hazara ethnicity. Even few leaders were taking oath to the Holy Quran and signing on it as a witness for the struggle to fight for the liberation of their homeland and to cleanse it from all foreign occupiers. After the fall of Hazaristan, many Hazaras declared guerilla war on the occupiers from the Afghan State, which was a puppet of the British Raj. The high commanders of the Hazara forces had fled underground in different areas of that region while the majority of the forces retreated to Persia and sheltered in Mashhad where Nasir-ud-din Qachar provided every kind of help to the families of the retreating forces. Even then, Persia provided a piece of land to every family in Pasa Koh, a suburb area in Mashhad. Emperor Qachar also protested to the British Raj government on behalf of the massacre of Hazaras in the Afghan occupied Hazaristan. In Mashhad, the Hazara tribes began to reorganize their force to reclaim Hazaristan. Muhammad Amir Khan Alkhani was a general once loyal to the Kabul rulers in 1890, but rebelled and allied himself with the Hazara force in 1892 and contacted the Russian ambassador at Mashhad requesting to assist the Hazara force. However, in Samarkand, Mir Azim Baig received a message from the Russian government that they are not able to support the Hazaras since Russia had already signed a pact with the British Raj during 1873 to not threaten or extend into Afghanistan.

After the last rebellion in 1899, the Uruzgani, Dai Zangi, Dai Kundi, and Polada tribes gradually began to shift to their main settlements from Hazaristan and Mashhad to the British Raj city of Quetta where they once again began to reorganize their force. In 1904, a Hazara commander named Mashal Sultan Khan negotiated with the British Raj to establish the Hazara Pioneer Group. The British Raj offered him to command that group as a captain but he refused to become a servant of the British army stating that, “Now I, sultan of Hazaristan put the uniform of the British army and march before you English.” On behalf of the refusal, the British Raj government appointed him as a member of the Jirga with a monthly scholarship though, he still failed to gain the required numbers for reorganizing the Hazara force. He recruited Hazaras, many without military experience and even recruited people from Gilgit Baltistan. In the meantime, due to constant protests of the newly Afghan puppet state, the British Raj banned all activities of Mashal Khan and prevented him from interfering inside that region. Despite that he failed to gain the required numbers, his force was still capable of reclaiming Hazaristan however, due to several years of British Raj involvement in the Afghan State, Mashal Khan was unable to achieve his goal to reclaim Hazaristan. It was obvious that the British Raj avoided to threaten the Afghan puppet state that they themselves created. The constant protests represented how the British Raj favored the Afghan State instead of the Hazara Pioneer Group.

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The struggle to reclaim Hazaristan started to decline but it did not get disbanded. Mashal Khan’s force in Quetta and the Afghan rulers in Kabul kept a close watch on each other. The Afghan State sent several spies in Quetta to monitor Mashal Khan’s activities and his future arrangements. The Afghan State eventually succeeded through its spies to manipulate Ali Dost Dai Zangi, a captain of the Hazara Pioneer Group to appoint him as a general of the Afghan army by offering him a charming package. After just one year of his service, the Afghan government retired him which shows that they continued to fear the Hazaras in exile. In the coming years, the activities of the Hazara Pioneer Group was slowing down but it did not yet get disbanded. The command of that group was gradually handled to Sultan Ali Beg Uruzgani and Arbab Asif Ali Uruzgani, though they both faced difficulties of uniting all the Hazara tribes under one banner. Since the Hazara Pioneer Group was a British regiment, it gradually lost its purpose of reclaiming Hazaristan and began to serve British interests more than its own, especially during the First World War.

Due to non-cooperation by other Hazara tribes without any logical reason, the independence movement continued to decline. A Hazara group by the name of Showra struggled for a sovereign Hazara state under the leadership of Syed Mohsin Ali Beheshti, who faced difficulties by both Hazara and non-Hazara ethnic groups that were against him, including the disputed communist regimes. This led Syed Beheshti to immensely fear the Hazaristan Independence Movement. The Qalandar and other Jaghuri Hazara sub-tribes were tenants of the Afghan Kabul rulers but later rebelled against them during 1891 and 1892 and rejoined the independent Hazaristan. This signifies that the Jaghuri Hazaras were not willfully the tenants of the Afghan Kabul rulers, except for their elders who were awarded the title of “Sardar” with an annual salary of 1000 to 2000 thousand rupees by the Afghan Kabul rulers. The book of “Siraj Al Tawarikh” states that after the fall of Hazaristan, the inhabitants suffered brutally and were pillaged by Kochi Pashtun tribesmen and Afghan government forces.

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The 47 Hazara girls fearlessly chose to commit suicide instead of surrendering to Afghan rule.

Habibullah Khan, son of Abdur Rahman, addressed a letter in November 20th, 1904 to the Hazaras, requesting them to return back to their lands in Hazaristan. This letter was supposedly a “confession” of the Hazara genocide from 1891-93 and distribution of Hazara lands to Pashtun refugees and the thousands of Hazaras who were sold as slaves. The letter says, “Let me make it clear to all Hazara mirs, arbabs, intellectuals and other subjects that it has always been my wish to develop the government and people of Afghanistan. I have therefore made efforts to the best of my abilities to focus on this objective, so that the people and government, by the grace of the Almighty, may prosper and both may benefit from this highway of progress and prosperity. You are also part of the Afghan government but since you offered opposition and defiance to this government, this resulted in some punishment to the Hazara people. But since you have disassociated yourself from such past activities, I entrust your future acts to God Almighty and to you.

Hazaristan Archives - Hazara International

I have released the Uzbeks and others incarcerated in the capital and allowed them to proceed to their ancestral lands. I have also allowed the Pashtun people, who had escaped to the tribal areas, to return to their native lands. I therefore do not want you Hazaras who are also my subjects, should be deprived from my kindness and generosity. Consequently, I order through this decree that your lands and properties, which were until now distributed among the Pashtun refugees, will no longer be given to them, provided you cultivate such lands. Secondly, I also order those Hazaras who have fled to neighboring countries to return to their native lands with complete confidence. All Hazara nobility should also return so that their needs could be assessed. If their lands have so far not been given to the Pashtun refugees, they would henceforth not be so given. They should reoccupy their own lands and begin their prosperity. But the lands which have already been given to Pashtun refugees will not be returned to Hazaras. In their place, the Hazaras will be given lands which have recently been made arable as a result of new canals having been dug, so that they could live a life of prosperity and progress, God willing. I warn those who have fled to neighboring countries that if they do not return to their native lands by the lunar month of Mizan (September 1905), their lands will not be kept abandoned. I hereby order that such lands be given to the Pashtun refugees. This decree is for all the Hazara tribes. If the Hazaras of Taala wa Barfag and the Hazaras of Char Sid and Qaom Sultan who have fled Afghanistan should return, they will be given lands in other parts of the country in accordance with their needs. They will never be given lands in the three areas mentioned above. I pray to God Almighty for the prosperity of the people of my country and the continued progress of this Islamic state. Wassalam.”

VicksWeb Afghanistan

Habibullah Khan, son of Abdur Rahman, addressed a letter in November 20th, 1904 to the Hazaras, requesting them to return back to their lands in Hazaristan. This letter was supposedly a “confession” of the Hazara genocide from 1891-93 and distribution of Hazara lands to Pashtun refugees and the thousands of Hazaras who were sold as slaves. The letter says, “Let me make it clear to all Hazara mirs, arbabs, intellectuals and other subjects that it has always been my wish to develop the government and people of Afghanistan. I have therefore made efforts to the best of my abilities to focus on this objective, so that the people and government, by the grace of the Almighty, may prosper and both may benefit from this highway of progress and prosperity. You are also part of the Afghan government but since you offered opposition and defiance to this government, this resulted in some punishment to the Hazara people. But since you have disassociated yourself from such past activities, I entrust your future acts to God Almighty and to you. I have released the Uzbeks and others incarcerated in the capital and allowed them to proceed to their ancestral lands. I have also allowed the Pashtun people, who had escaped to the tribal areas, to return to their native lands. I therefore do not want you Hazaras who are also my subjects, should be deprived from my kindness and generosity. Consequently, I order through this decree that your lands and properties, which were until now distributed among the Pashtun refugees, will no longer be given to them, provided you cultivate such lands. Secondly, I also order those Hazaras who have fled to neighboring countries to return to their native lands with complete confidence. All Hazara nobility should also return so that their needs could be assessed. If their lands have so far not been given to the Pashtun refugees, they would henceforth not be so given. They should reoccupy their own lands and begin their prosperity. But the lands which have already been given to Pashtun refugees will not be returned to Hazaras. In their place, the Hazaras will be given lands which have recently been made arable as a result of new canals having been dug, so that they could live a life of prosperity and progress, God willing. I warn those who have fled to neighboring countries that if they do not return to their native lands by the lunar month of Mizan (September 1905), their lands will not be kept abandoned. I hereby order that such lands be given to the Pashtun refugees. This decree is for all the Hazara tribes. If the Hazaras of Taala wa Barfag and the Hazaras of Char Sid and Qaom Sultan who have fled Afghanistan should return, they will be given lands in other parts of the country in accordance with their needs. They will never be given lands in the three areas mentioned above. I pray to God Almighty for the prosperity of the people of my country and the continued progress of this Islamic state. Wassalam.”

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Habibullah’s letter to the exiled Hazaras

VicksWeb Afghanistan

Again, that letter from Habibullah was not actually a confession. The real reason why he requested the Hazaras to return back is not because he pitied them, but because he feared that if the Hazaras remained in exile in Mashhad, Samarkand, Tashqand, and Quetta, the Hazara force such as the Hazara Pioneer Group would have been significantly more bigger and powerful enough to reclaim all of Hazaristan from Afghan occupation. Habibullah predicted all this and had to prevent it from happening which is why he requested the exiled Hazaras to return back and start their lives from scratch under Afghan “assistance”. Most of the war affected families in Samarkand and Tashqand returned back to Balkh and Mazar-e Sharif. Although, most tribes in Quetta such as the Uruzgani, Dai Zangi, Dai Kundi, Foladi, Besudi, and Qalandar chose to remain since they were aware that Habibullah’s request was only a trick to dismantle their force. The Hazara Pioneer Group eventually got disbanded in 1933 due to minimal reinforcements and because it was obviously a regiment of the British Raj – the same empire that used Abdur Rahman to subjugate Hazaristan.

Several decades before the War of Hazaristan commenced, there were numerous wars amongst Pashtun tribes where one side associated with Abdur Rahman backed by the British Raj, while the other side opposed Abdur Rahman and were well aware that he served foreign interests rather than the interests of his own country. As soon as Abdur Rahman defeated much of the sovereign Pashtun tribes that opposed him, he turned his attention towards the independent Hazaristan during the mid 1880s. By late 1893, the Uruzgani tribes were the last tribes in Hazaristan that were fully independent from the Afghan State. This explains why out of all Hazara tribes, the Uruzgani suffered the highest casualties to the point that some of those Uruzgani tribes such as the Dai Khitai, Qarluq, and Polada have completely vanished from existence. Just as how the British Empire used the Afghan government as a puppet to seize its own benefit, the same concept applies today where the American government takes the same role of the 19th Century British Empire.

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At present, the remains of those in Hazaristan and those of exile in Iran and Pakistan have long negotiated of uniting the Mongol, Turk, and Turko-Mongol tribes of the Hazara ethnicity. We have long negotiated of establishing the Hazaristan Independence Movement and to convey our forefathers’ message of reclaiming our homeland. People around the world, especially Afghans, must know that we Hazaras declare independence NOT because we are against Afghanistan, but because it is a historical fact that Hazaristan was its own independent nation and ever since we lost our independence, we suffered from endless genocide and assimilation. This as a result had led us to forget our identity such as our Hazaragi language and culture. And according to the Word of God, every ethnicity has the right to preserve its identity but of course, we should still love and respect all other ethnicities and nations and to treat each other as equals, including the people of Afghanistan.

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Sources:

-War and Migration: Social Networks and Economic Strategies of the Hazara, Alessandro Monsutti, 2012, p. 60-68, Link

-The Pacification of the Hazaras, Hasan Kakar, 1973, Link

-Divide And Rule: State Penetration in Hazarajat From the Monarchy to the Taliban, Niamatullah Ibrahimi, 2009, Link

-Setting Uruzgan’s Violent Stage, Tribal Analysis Center, 2010, Link

-Diaries of Kandahar, M. Gulzari, 1994, Link

-Official letters of the British Raj corresponding from Kandahar to Quetta during the War of Hazaristan 1892 (2nd phase of war page 1), Link

-Official letters of the British Raj corresponding from Kandahar to Quetta during the War of Hazaristan 1892 (2nd phase of war page 2), Link

-Taj al Tawarikh, Abdur Rahman Khan, 1901

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Seema Shah

Full time mother, part time blogger.

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