Photo: Social Media

Hundreds of Hazara families risk forced eviction in Khas Uruzgan district

Locals sources in the Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province report that hundreds of Hazara families remain at risk of forced eviction in the district’s Joy Naw area.

Joy Naw is a Hazara-dominated area while the surrounding villages are largely resided by ethnic Pashtuns. Before the Taliban takeover two years ago, nearly 1500 Hazara families lived in Joy Naw, according to the sources, but today some 300 families remain as conflict and violence forced many to flee the area.

Sources accuse ethnic Pashtuns, who largely reside in the neighboring areas to Joy Naw, of abuse and violence against members of the Hazara community, saying their farms have been torched, homes damaged, lands grabbed, and several villagers tortured or killed in the last two years.

Hazara villagers remain skeptical of lodging complaints to local Taliban authorities, fearing they would support Pashtun Kuchi nomads.

They have also blamed incoming Pashtun Kuchis for involvement in such violence, which seems to have intensified since the Taliban takeover.

Hazara villagers in Joy Naw fear the escalating “systematic violent campaign” against them is an attempt to forcibly displace the remaining families from their native lands and homes.

Taliban authorities in the province have not commented on the matter.

Torching and Plundering Properties

A resident of Joy Naw told Kabulnow that in the latest event on Saturday night, nearly 200 fruitful trees belonging to Hazara villagers were forcibly cut down in the area, located 300 meters away from a Taliban checkpoint.

For most affected families, these were the only source of income to sustain livelihoods.

The source claimed that members of the Pashtun’s Kotahzai tribe, who resides close to the Hazara neighborhood of Joy Naw, were behind chopping the trees.

Trees in the Hazara village of Joy Naw were chopped down.

At least 20 homes of Hazara villagers in the area were damaged or destroyed in recent years. In spring, a local resident’s home, named Sher, was set afire.

The source added that Hazara crops have been burned down in several events and at least three vehicles belonging to Karbalie Qurban, Khan, and Mohammad Reza were also set aflame.

Looting and plunder of Hazara properties, according to the source, has surged in recent months, adding that their livestock are stolen in broad daylight.

Torture and Killing

One source told KabulNow that at least 13 Hazara residents of Joy Naw were killed in the last two years.

Among those killed are Mohammad Hashim son of Sayed Yusuf, Dr. Mahdi, Karbalie Ansari, Mohammad Hussain son of Swati, Mohammad Taqi Rohani, Musa, and Mohammad Ali.

The source added that several residents were also tortured, among them Asadullah son of Naseer, Sayed Mohammad, Sayed Shah son of Sayed Aqil, Khaliq son of Ibrahim, and Rohullah son of Mirza.

The source accused neighboring Pashtuns of killing and torturing Hazara villagers on ethnic grounds, adding that Kuchis have also been involved in this violence and plunder.

A recent report by Etilaat Roz shows that the heavy presence of Kuchis across the Khas Uruzgan district is threatening Hazaras villagers and has made livelihoods difficult for them.

Hazara villagers have complained that they can no longer graze their cattle as their rights to pasture lands have been curbed and their crops have been burned down.

Footages sent to KabulNow show the aftermath of several corps reduced to ashes by fire and a number of residential homes destroyed and abandoned.