In November, a number of news outlets reported on a huge protest in Kabul that was triggered by Taliban murders of seven individuals from the Hazara ethnic group. Somewhat lost in coverage of the larger problem of violence against the Hazara was the particularly appalling detail that one of the individuals who had been kidnapped and beheaded was a 9-year-old girl. Today the Washington Post has spoke to the father of that 9-year-old, whose name was Shukria:
“She was the smartest girl in her class,” Ali, a farmer who walks with crutches, recalled in an interview last week. After spending years in Pakistan as war refugees, he and his family had returned home in 2012 to work their land again. “When I hurt my leg, Shukria told me she was going to become a doctor and fix it,” he said.
Joshua Keating discussed Taliban attacks against the Hazara in an April post, writing that the increasingly brutal violence directed toward the group was being interpreted as a sort of horrific intra-jihadist competitive response to the gruesome, high-profile executions carried out in Syria and Iraq by ISIS.
Shukria was en route to Pakistan to visit an ailing grandmother when she was killed; while many Hazara live in relative safety in Kabul, those outside the Afghan capital are at high risk of being targeted for kidnapping and murder. “We are surrounded, with no safe way in and out,” one Hazara man in Kabul told the Post.