Millennium Post

Fear stalks Afghanistan minorities after rare attacks

On March 7, gunmen stormed a Sufi mosque in Kabul, killing at least six people in an attack on the mystic order of Muslims that is seen as heretical by hardline Sunni factions.

And in late February, a group of 30 people from the Hazara minority group who were travelling by bus through southern Zabul province of Afghanistan were snatched by gunmen after returning from Iran.

The Taliban, who are waging an insurgency against the government of Kabul, distanced themselves from both incidents, which are more commonplace across the border in Pakistan.

But the rare attacks have sent shockwaves through both communities who see them as chilling reminders of the Taliban’s rule from 1996 to 2001, when minorities were heavily persecuted.

The number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan jumped 22 percent in 2014, the UN said last month, as NATO troops withdrew from combat leaving government forces to battle a raging Taliban insurgency.

At the Bahaduria Sufi mosque in the west of Kabul, worshippers gather around their new leader Abdul Waheed Bahaduri, the son of slain leader Agha Jan Bahaduri, who founded the order and who was killed along with his other son in the recent attack. The building is now both a mosque and a shrine with the bodies of the two men buried in the front yard, with several policemen standing guard.
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