The Hazaras ( fa|هزاره, ''Hazāra''; haz|آزره) are a Persian-speaking ethnic group
native to, and primarily residing in, the mountainous region of Hazarajat
, in central Afghanistan
. They speak the Hazaragi
dialect of Persian
which is mutually intelligible with Dari
, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan
They are the third-largest ethnic group in Afghanistan
and are also a significant minority group in neighboring Pakistan
, where there is a population of between 650,000 and 900,000,
mostly in Quetta
. Hazaras are considered to be one of the most oppressed groups in Afghanistan, and their persecution
dates back decades.
The word ''Hazāra'' etymologically remains disputed. Babur
, founder of the Mughal Empire
in the early 16th century, records the name ''Hazāra'' in his autobiography
. He referred to the populace of a region called Hazāristān
, located west of the Kabulistan
region, east of Ghor
, and north of Ghazni
One of the conventional theories is that the name ''Hazāra'' derives from the Persian
word for "thousand" ( ). It may be the translation of the Mongol
word (or ), a military unit of 1,000 soldiers at the time of Genghis Khan
. With time, the term ''Hazār'' could have been substituted for the Mongol word and now stands for the group of people,
while the Hazara people in their native language
call themselves ( ) or ( ).
Although the origins of the Hazara people have not been fully reconstructed, Turkic
origin is probable for the majority. This is a result of common physical attributes,
facial bone structures and parts of their culture
resemble those of Central Asia
n Turkic tribes and the Mongols, although phenotype can vary, with some noting that certain Hazaras may resemble Europeans or peoples native to the Iranian plateau. Genetic analysis of the Hazara indicate partial Mongol ancestry. Invading Mongols and Turco-Mongol
s mixed with the local Iranian
population. For example, Qara'unas
settled in what is now Afghanistan and mixed with the local populations. A second wave of mostly Chagatai Turco-Mongols
came from Central Asia, associated with the Ilkhanate
and the Timurids
, all of whom settled in Hazarajat and mixed with the local population. These result in academics believing that Hazaras are ultimately a result of several Turco-Mongol tribes mixing with the local Iranics
sequencing studies demonstrates relatively high frequencies of West Eurasian mtDNA and partial descent from the indigenous Iranic
The first mention of Hazara are made by Babur
in the early 16th century and later by the court historians of Shah Abbas
of the Safavid dynasty
. It is reported that they embraced Shia Islam
between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, during the Safavid period.
Hazara men, along with those of other ethnic groups, were recruited to the army of Ahmad Shah Durrani
in the 18th century.
During the second reign of Dost Mohammad Khan
in the 19th century, Hazara from Hazarajat began to be taxed for the first time. However, for the most part they still managed to keep their regional autonomy
until the subjugation of Abdur Rahman Khan
began in the late 19th century.
When the Treaty of Gandomak
was signed and the Second Anglo-Afghan War
ended in 1880, Abdur Rahman Khan set out a goal to bring Hazarajat and Kafiristan
under his control. He launched several campaigns in Hazarajat due to resistance from the Hazara in which his forces committed atrocities. The southern part of Hazarajat was spared as they accepted his rule, while the other parts of Hazarajat rejected Abdur Rahman and instead supported his uncle, Sher Ali Khan
. In response to this Abdur Rahman waged a war against tribal leaders who rejected his policies and rule.
This is known as the Hazara Uprisings. Abdur Rahman arrested Syed Jafar, chief of the Sheikh Ali
Hazaras, and jailed him in Mazar-i-Sharif
These campaigns had a catastrophic impact on the demographics of Hazaras causing over 60% of them to perish and become displaced.
In 1901, Habibullah Khan
, Abdur Rahman's successor, granted amnesty to all people who were exiled by his predecessor. However, the division between the Afghan government and the Hazara people was already made too deep under Abdur Rahman. Hazara continued to face severe social, economic and political discrimination
through most of the 20th century. In 1933 King Mohammed Nadir Khan
was assassinated by Abdul Khaliq Hazara
. The Afghan government captured and executed him later, along with several of his innocent family members.
Mistrust of the central government by the Hazaras and local uprisings continued. In particular, from 1945–1946, during Zahir Shah
's rule, a revolt took place
against new taxes that were exclusively imposed on the Hazara. The Kuchi nomads
meanwhile not only were exempted from taxes, but also received allowances from the Afghan government.
The angry rebels began capturing and killing government officials. In response, the central government sent a force to subdue the region and later removed the taxes.
During the Soviet–Afghan War
, the Hazarajat region did not see as much heavy fighting as other regions of Afghanistan. However, rival Hazara political factions fought. The division was between the Tanzáim-i nasl-i naw-i Hazara
, a party based in Quetta, of Hazara nationalists and secular intellectuals, and the Islamist
parties in Hazarajat.
By 1979, the Hazara-Islamist groups liberated Hazarajat from the central Soviet-backed Afghan government
and later took entire control of Hazarajat away from the secularists. By 1984, after severe fighting, the secularist groups lost all their power to the Islamists.
As the Soviets withdrew in 1989, the Islamist groups felt the need to broaden their political appeal and turned their focus to Hazara ethnic nationalism
This led to establishment of the Hizb-i-Wahdat
, an alliance of all the Hazara resistance groups (except the ''Harakat-i Islami
''). In 1992 with the fall of Kabul
, the ''Harakat-i Islami'' took sides with Burhanuddin Rabbani
's government while the Hizb-i-Wahdat took sides with the opposition. The Hizb-i-Wahdat was eventually forced out of Kabul in 1995 when the Taliban
movement captured and killed their leader Abdul Ali Mazari
. With the Taliban's capture of Kabul in 1996, all the Hazara groups united with the new Northern Alliance
against the common new enemy. However, it was too late and despite the fierce resistance Hazarajat fell to the Taliban by 1998. The Taliban had Hazarajat totally isolated from the rest of the world going as far as not allowing the United Nations
to deliver food to the provinces of Bamyan
, Maidan Wardak
, and Daykundi
Hazaras have also been a significant role in the creation of Pakistan
. One such Hazara was Qazi Muhammad Essa
of the Sheikh Ali tribe, who had been close friends with Muhammad Ali Jinnah
, having had met each other for the first time whilst they were studying in London. He had been the first from his native province of Balochistan
to obtain a Bar-at-Law degree and had helped set up the All-India Muslim League
Though Hazara played a role in the anti-Soviet movement, other Hazara participated in the new communist government, which actively courted Afghan minorities. Sultan Ali Kishtmand
, a Hazara, served as prime minister of Afghanistan from 1981–1990 (with one brief interruption in 1988). The Ismaili Hazara of Baghlan Province likewise supported the communists, and their ''pir
'' (religious leader) Jaffar Naderi
led a pro-Communist militia in the region.
During the years that followed, Hazara suffered severe oppression and many ethnic massacres, genocides and pogroms were carried out by the predominantly ethnic Pashtun Taliban and are documented by such groups the Human Rights Watch
These human rights abuses not only occurred in Hazarajat, but across all districts controlled by the Taliban. Particularly after their capture of Mazar-i-Sharif
in 1998, where after a massive killing of some 8,000 civilians, the Taliban openly declared that the Hazara would be targeted.
Following the 11 September 2001 attacks
in the United States
, British and American forces invaded Afghanistan
. Many Hazara have become leaders in today's newly emerging Afghanistan.
Hazara have also pursued higher education, enrolled in the army
, and many have top government positions.
For example, Mohammad Mohaqiq
, a Hazara from the Hizb-i-Wahdat party, ran in the 2004 presidential election in Afghanistan
, and Karim Khalili
became the Vice President of Afghanistan
. A number of ministers
are Hazara, including Sima Samar
, Habiba Sarabi
, Sarwar Danish
, Sayed Hussein Anwari
, Abdul Haq Shafaq
, Sayed Anwar Rahmati
, Qurban Ali Oruzgani
. The mayor of Nili
in Daykundi Province
is Azra Jafari
, who became the first female mayor in Afghanistan. Some other notable Hazara include: Sultan Ali Keshtmand
, Abdul Wahed Sarābi
, Ghulam Ali Wahdat
, Akram Yari
, Sayed Mustafa Kazemi
, Muhammad Arif Shah Jahan
, Ghulam Husain Naseri
, Abbas Noyan
, Abbas Ibrahim Zada
, Ramazan Bashardost
, Ahmad Shah Ramazan
, Ahmad Behzad
, Nasrullah Sadiqi Zada Nili
, Fahim Hashimy
and more. The Parliament of Afghanistan
is 25% made up of ethnic Hazara, which represents 61 members.
Although Afghanistan has been historically one of the poorest countries in the world, the Hazarajat region has been kept even more poor from development by past governments. Since ousting the Taliban in late 2001, billions of dollars have poured into Afghanistan for reconstruction and several large-scale reconstruction projects took place in Afghanistan from August 2012. For example, there have been more than 5000 kilometers of road pavement completed across Afghanistan, of which little was done in central Afghanistan Hazarajat. On the other hand, the Band-e Amir
in the Bamyan Province
became the first national park
of Afghanistan. The road from Kabul to Bamyan
was also built, along with new police stations, government institutions, hospitals, and schools in the Bamyan Province
, Daykundi Province
, and the others. The first ski resort
of Afghanistan was also established in Bamyan Province.
An indication of discrimination is that Kuchis
(Pashtun nomads who have historically been migrating from region to region depending on the season) are allowed to use Hazarajat pastures during the summer season. It is believed that allowing the Kuchis to use some of the grazing land in Hazarajat began during the rule of Abdur Rahman Khan.
Living in mountainous Hazarajat, where little farm land exists, Hazara people rely on these pasture lands for their livelihood during the long and harsh winters. In 2007 some Kuchi nomads entered into parts of Hazarajat to graze their livestock, and when the local Hazara resisted, a clash took place and several people on both sides died using assault rifles. Such events continue to occur, even after the central government was forced to intervene, including President Hamid Karzai
. In late July 2012, a Hazara police commander in Uruzgan province reportedly rounded up and killed 9 Pashtun civilians in revenge for the death of two local Hazara. The matter is being investigated by the Afghan government.
The drive by President Hamid Karzai after the Peace Jirga
to strike a deal with Taliban leaders caused deep unease in Afghanistan's minority communities, who fought the Taliban the longest and suffered the most during their rule. The leaders of the Tajik
and Hazara communities, vowed to resist any return of the Taliban to power, referring to the large-scale massacres of Hazara civilians during the Taliban period.
File:George W. Bush meets Afghan politicians in Kabul.jpg|Karim Khalili, 2nd Vice President of Afghanistan (with turban) is standing next to Mohammed Fahim, George W. Bush, facing Hamid Karzai.
File:Laura Bush with Afghan National Police in 2008.jpg|Habiba Sarabi and Laura Bush meeting Afghan National Police commander in Bamyan, Afghanistan.
File:Nasrullah Sadiqi Zada Nili.jpg|Nasrullah Sadiqi Zada Nili is the representative of the people Daykundi province in the fifteenth and sixteenth parliamentary sessions of the Afghanistan Parliament.
File:Abbas Noyan in Kabul in 2018.jpg|Abbas Noyan is a politician, who served as a member of the Afghanistan Parliament, representative of the people of Kabul province from 2005 to 2010.
Genetically, the Hazara are a mixture of western Eurasian
and eastern Eurasian
components, i.e. racially Eurasian
. Genetic research suggests that the Hazaras of Afghanistan cluster closely with the Uzbek
population of the country, while both groups are at a notable distance from Afghanistan's Tajik
There is evidence of both a patrimonial and maternal relation to Turkic peoples
amongst some Hazaras.
East Eurasian male and female ancestry is supported by studies in genetic genealogy
as well. East Asian maternal haplogroups (mtDNA) make up about 35%, suggesting that the male descendants of Turkic and Mongolic peoples were accompanied by women of East Asian ancestry, though the Hazaras as a whole have mostly west Eurasian mtDNA. Women of Non-East Asian mtDNA
in Hazaras are at about 65%, most which are West Eurasians and some South Asian.
The most frequent paternal haplogroups found amongst the Pakistani Hazara were haplogroup C-M217
at 40%(10/25) and Haplogroup R1b
at 32% (8/25).
One study about paternal DNA haplogroups of the Afghanistan shows that the Y-DNA haplogroups R1a and C-M217 are the most common haplogroups, followed by J2-M172 and L-M20. Some Hazaras also have the haplogroup R1a1a-M17, E1b1b1-M35, L-M20 and H-M69, which are common in Tajiks
as well as Indian populations. In one study, a small minority had the haplogroup B-M60, normally found in East Africa, and in one mtDNA study of Hazara, mtDNA Haplogroup L
(which is of African origin) was detected at a frequency of 7.5%.
A recent study shows that the Uyghurs
are closely related to the Hazaras. The study also suggests a small but notable East Asian ancestry in other populations of Pakistan and India.
The vast majority of Hazaras live in Hazarajat, and many others live in the cities, including in neighboring countries or abroad. The latest World Factbook
estimates show that Hazara make up nine percent of the total Afghanistan population
but some sources claim that they are about 20 percent.
Alessandro Monsutti argues, in his recent anthropological
book, that migration
is the traditional way of life of the Hazara people, referring to the seasonal and historical migrations which have never ceased and do not seem to be dictated only by emergency situations such as war. Due to the decades of war in Afghanistan and the sectarian violence in Pakistan
, many Hazaras left their communities and have settled in Australia
, New Zealand
, the United States
, the United Kingdom
and particularly the Northern Europe
an countries such as Sweden
. Some go to these countries as exchange students while others through human smuggling, which sometimes costs them their lives. Since 2001, about 1,000 people have died in the ocean while trying to reach Australia by boats from Indonesia.
Many of these were Hazaras, including women and small children who could not swim. The notable case was the Tampa affair
in which a shipload of refugees, mostly Hazara, was rescued by the Norwegian
freighter MV ''Tampa''
and subsequently sent to Nauru
. New Zealand agreed to take some of the refugees and all but one of those were granted stay.
Hazara in Pakistan
During the British
expansion in the 19th century, Hazaras worked during the winter months in coal mines, road construction and in other menial labor jobs in some cities of what is now Pakistan. The earliest record of Hazara in the areas of Pakistan is found in Broadfoot's Sappers company from 1835 in Quetta. This company had also participated in the First Anglo-Afghan War
. Some Hazara also worked in the agriculture farms in Sindh
and construction of Sukkur barrage. Haider Ali Karmal Jaghori was a prominent political thinker of the Hazara people in Pakistan, writing about the political history of Hazara people. His work ''Hazaraha wa Hazarajat Bastan Dar Aiyna-i-Tarikh'' was published in Quetta in 1992, and another work by Aziz Tughyan Hazara ''Tarikh Milli Hazara'' was published in 1984 in Quetta.
Most Pakistani Hazaras today live in the city of Quetta, in Balochistan, Pakistan
. Localities in the city of Quetta with prominent Hazara populations include Hazara Town
and Mehr Abad
and Hazara tribes such as the ''Sardar'' are exclusively Pakistani. Literacy level among the Hazara community in Pakistan is relatively high compare to the Hazaras of Afghanistan, and they have integrated well into the social dynamics of the local society. Saira Batool, a Hazara woman, was one of the first female pilots in Pakistan Air Force
. Other notable Hazara include Qazi Mohammad Esa
, General Musa Khan Hazara
, who served as Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Army
from 1958 to 1968, Air Marshal Sharbat Ali Changezi
, Hussain Ali Yousafi
, the slain chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party
, Syed Nasir Ali Shah
, MNA from Quetta and his father Haji Sayed Hussain Hazara
who was a senator and member of Majlis-e-Shura
during the Zia-ul-Haq
Despite all of this, Hazaras are often targeted by militant groups such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
and others. "Activists say at least 800-1,000 Hazaras have been killed since 1999 and the pace is quickening. More than one hundred have been murdered in and around Quetta since January, according to Human Rights Watch
The political representation of the community is served by Hazara Democratic Party
, a secular liberal democratic party, headed by Abdul Khaliq Hazara
Hazara in Iran
Hazaras in Iran are also referred to as Khawaris or Barbaris.
Over the many years as a result of political unrest in Afghanistan some Hazaras have migrated to Iran. The local Hazara population has been estimated at 500,000 people of which at least one third have spent more than half their life in Iran.
The Hazara, outside of Hazarajat, have adopted the cultures of the cities where they dwell, resembling customs and traditions of the Afghan Tajiks and Pashtuns. Traditionally the Hazara are highland farmers and although sedentary, in the Hazarajat, they have retained many of their own customs and traditions, some of which are more closely related to those of Central Asia
than to those of the Afghan Tajiks
. The Hazara live in houses rather than tents; Aimaq Hazaras
in tents rather than houses.
Many Hazara musicians are widely hailed as being skilled in playing the dambura
, a native, regional lute instrument similarly found in other Central Asian nations such as Kazakhstan
. Some of the famous Hazara dambura players are, such as Sarwar Sarkhosh
, Dawood Sarkhosh
, Safdar Khair Ali
, Safdar Tawakoli
, Sayed Anwar Azad
Food and cuisine
The Hazara food and cuisine are strongly influenced by Central Asian
, South Asian
cuisines. However, there are special foods, cooking methods and different cooking styles that are specific to them.
They have a hospitable dining etiquette. In their culture
, it is customary to prepare special food for guests.
Hazara people living in Hazarajat (Hazaristan) areas speak the Hazaragi
, which is infused with a significant number of Turkic
and Mongolic loanwords
[Farhadi, A. G. Ravan (1955). ''Le persan parlé en Afghanistan: Grammaire du kâboli accompagnée d'un recuil de quatrains populaires de la région de Kâbol''. Paris.]
The primary differences between Persian and Hazaragi are the accent.
Despite these differences, Hazaragi is mutually intelligible with Dari,
one of the official languages of Afghanistan
Many of the urban Hazara in the larger cities such as Kabul
no longer speak Hazaragi but speak standard literary Dari (usually the ''Kābolī'' dialect) or other regional varieties of Dari (for example the ''Khorāsānī'' dialect in the western region of Herat
Hazaras are predominantly Shi'a Muslims
, with some Ismaili
and Sunni Muslims
[The Afghans, Their History and Culture]
The majority of Afghanistan's population
practice Sunni Islam
, this may have contributed to the discrimination against them
There is no single theory about the acceptance of the Shi'a Islam by the Hazaras. Probably most of them converted to Shi'a Islam during the first part of the 16th century, in the early days of the Safavid Dynasty
Some Sunni Hazaras, who have been attached to non-Hazara tribes are the Timuri
s and Aimaq Hazaras
, while the Ismaili Hazaras have always been kept separate from the rest of the Hazaras on account of religious beliefs and political purposes.
The Hazara people have been organized by various tribe
s. They include Sheikh Ali
, Muhammad Khwaja
, Qara Baghi
, Dai Mirdadi
, Dai Kundi
, Dai Zangi
, Dai Chopan
, Dai Zinyat
and others. The different tribes come from Hazarajat, regions such as Parwan, Bamyan, Ghazni, Ghor, Urozgan, Daykundi, Maidan Wardak and have spread outwards from Hazarajat (main region) into other parts of Afghanistan.
Many Hazaras engaged varieties of sports, including football
, martial arts
and more. Pahlawan Ebrahim Khedri
, 62 kg wrestler, was the national champion for two decades in Afghanistan. Another famous Hazara wrestler Wakil Hussain Allahdad
who was killed in the 22 April 2018 Kabul suicide bombing
in the Dashte Barchi
area of Kabul.
, won a bronze medal in Taekwondo
in the Beijing Olympics
2008, beating world champion Juan Antonio Ramos
of Spain 4–1 in a play-off final. It was Afghanistan's first-ever Olympic medal. He then won a second Olympic medal for Afghanistan in the London 2012 games. Afghanistan's first female Olympic athlete Friba Razayee
, competed in judo at the 2004 Athens Olympics
, but was eliminated in the first round of competition.
Other famous Hazara athlete Syed Abdul Jalil Waiz, was the first ever badminton
player representing Afghanistan in Asian Junior Championships in 2005 where he produced the first win for his country against Iraq, with 15–13, 15–1. He participated in several international championships since 2005 and achieved victories against Australia
. Hamid Rahimi
is a new boxer from Afghanistan and lives in Germany. Hazara famous football players are Zohib Islam Amiri
, who is currently playing for the Afghanistan national football team
, Moshtagh Yaghoubi
an Afghan-Finnish footballer who plays for HIFK
, Mustafa Amini
an Afghan-Australian footballer who plays as a midfielder
for Danish Superliga
and the Australian national team
, Rahmat Akbari
an Afghan-Australian footballer who plays as midfielder
for Brisbane Roar
, and others like Ali Hazara
and Zahra Mahmoodi
A Pakistani Hazara named Abrar Hussain
, a former Olympic boxer, served as deputy director general of the Pakistan Sports Board
. He represented Pakistan three times at the Olympics and won a gold medal at the 1990 Asian Games
. Another Hazara boxer from Pakistan is Haider Ali
a Commonwealth Games
gold medalist and Olympian
who is currently retired. Some Hazara from Pakistan have also excelled in sports and have received numerous awards particularly in boxing, football and in field hockey
. Qayum Changezi, a legendary Pakistani football player, was a Hazara.
New Hazara youngsters are seen to appear in many sports in Pakistan mostly from Quetta
. Rajab Ali Hazara, who is leading under 16 Pakistan Football team as captain.
File:Faiz Mohammad Katib Hazara.png|Faiz Mohammad Katib Hazara.
File:Hazara people of Kabul, Afghanistan.jpg|Hazara men in Kabul, Afghanistan.
File:Hazara military in Afghanistan.jpg|Hazara soldiers in Afghanistan.
File:Little girl listens to the lessons during a class in Bamyan, Afghanistan - June 2012.jpg|A Hazara little girl from Bamyan.
File:Hazara girl.jpg|Hazara girl in central Afghanistan.
File:Afghan Women Police Learn Marksmanship (4779668332).jpg|Over 60% of the women in Afghan National Police were Hazara.
* List of Hazara tribes
* List of Hazara people
* Aimaq Hazara
* Aimaq people
* Hazara diaspora
* Ethnic groups in Afghanistan
Hazara tribal structure
Program for Culture and Conflict Studies, US Naval Postgraduate School
Peril and Persecution in Afghanistan
Category:Ethnic groups in Afghanistan
Category:Ethnic groups in Iran
Category:Ethnic groups in Pakistan