Kuchi, a term referring to a lifestyle, ethnicity, cultural identity and political, humanitarian confusions, existing since last century but has been the pursuit of hot crossfire in Afghanistan since last couple of years.
Foreign and national media sources have been reporting about loss of 13 lives and over 30 seriously injured along with some abductions and detentions in Behsood District of Maidan Wardak Province last week. Member of Parliament Maidan Wardak Ismail Sadfari told newsmen the other day that armed-Kuchis have gunned down over 13 villagers of Hazara ethnicity. He added “over 7,000 Hazara villagers have been dislodged by force” the deaths included old men and school-children. He further added that 175 villages of draught-stricken Behsood ware attacked with heavy weaponry by Kuchis, whom are not bound to the law not to possess any kind of arm. There had been a tribal confrontation of Hazaras and Kuchis causing loss of several lives last month in Nahoor District of Ghazni Province also.
Haji Muhammad Mohqiq leader of the People’s Unity Party of Afghanistan and Chairman Parliamentary Committee for Education, Cultural and Religious Affairs in a press briefing regretted about urging the people of the area and his ethnicity laying down their arms to support the democratic process collaborating with DDR and DIAG, which Kuchis are unbound to act upon. He, Mustafa Zahir, grandson of late King Zahir Shah and UNAMA representative visited the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Behsood District living as refugees in Barchi District of Kabul kicked out of their own motherland Central Hazaristan. They termed the “incident” as human catastrophe and strongly condemned the Government keeping mum on such brutality repeatedly occurring every year with the beginning of summer.
Last year on 21st June 23, 2007 there was a giant peaceful public demonstration in Kabul against the Government to resolve the “Kuchi Headache” for ever on which a so-called typical formalization committee was formed which did nothing more than sitting, eating and leaving. Same is going to be experienced this time as The Ministry of Interior has sent a delegation to investigate the killings of innocent tribesmen of Hazaras in Behsood but it is quite predictable that nothing is going to be fair and just as it happened last year with the so-called committee.
Historically and geo-politically Kuchis are nomads of Pashtun ethnicity. In 1892, the late bloody dictator Abdul Rahman who massacred about 60 percent of Hazaras, granted Pashtun Kuchis grazing rights in the Hazaristan, which was almost with an independent status by then.
It is as clear as broad day light that how the biased and dictatorial rulers of Afghanistan belonging to Pushtoon ethnicity had been playing Kochis Card in the geo-political scenario of Afghanistan for power sharing benefits. Kochis population shown as 9.5 % of the total population in 1960-61 was raised out of the blue to 18.10 % within seven years which was nothing rather than a fruitful attempt to marginalize other ethnicities shrinking their already nil role in The Government. Kochis’ population was estimated at 2 – 2.5 million in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, but has shrunk to 1.3 – 1.5 million today according to a recent study by the UN’s World Food Program. They have been moving across Afghanistan and Pakistan since long ago but were disallowed to do so in Pakistani territory when India was partitioned and Pakistan came into being, border conflicts emerged between two neighboring countries and the Kochis were disallowed entering Pakistan. Seeing the sensitivity of the situation late King Zahir Shah planned for permanent settlement of Kochis and their large number was settled down in fertile lands of Northern and Western Afghanistan on permanent basis through government support.
According to the UN, none of their children attend school and literacy rate is almost nil. Kuchis were strong supporters of the Taliban, both ideologically and pragmatically providing a big portion of the human resource of Taliban Jihadists and Al-Qaeda terrorists across Afghanistan. They enjoyed much beneficiaries during the brutal Taliban era who allowed them to enter anywhere in Hazaristan using the pastures and living belongings of local people against their will under the paper “Farman” of the Amir-ul-Momaneen, who perceived Islam with ONE EYE.
Kochis are not bound under DDR and DIAG to submit their weaponry to Government. They move across the country and border during the year playing a major mean of hereon and poppy supply across the country and its transportation benefiting from their social and legal indulgence to move around freely anytime possessing arms.
The question here rises if Kochis move across the country why tensions echo annually in Hazaristan causing many deaths? The fact is that Kochis never move towards Northern lands residing by Tajiks and Uzbuks due to the reason that they have been disallowing Kochis to raid on their lands and loot masses’ living belongings and fertile lands, which the local people cultivate and harvest after and hardship of the entire year bearing the climatic conditions. Hazaristan is a mountainous belt situated in Central Afghanistan where the only mean of the livelihood for the centuries’ suppressed, ethnically prejudiced and massacred peace loving local people of Hazarajat—termed as the future of Afghanistan by National Geographic—is agriculture and natural pastures. Hazaristan is a mountainous rocky land hard to cultivate but the suppressed, discriminated and deprived down trodden people of the belt have been making infertile lands harvestable at the cost of deadly hardships. If pasture, the only mean of livelihood of the rocky hill dwellers is being sacrificed for some livestock, as UNAMA says favoring Kochis entrance in Hazaristan, then the far-flung villagers of Hazaristan totally cut form the rest of the world would have to die of hunger. Why should Kochis be allowed to only enter Hazaristan? It is question for the stakeholders to explain why only the downtrodden people are sacrificed for the Al-Qaeda backed terrorists.
Dear readers as you all are well aware that the mass genocide of 60 percent Hazaras by Amir Abdul Rehman Khan was result of the geographical shrinkage of the Hazara motherland during the ethnically prejudiced rulers of Afghanistan during the past century. In such a human catastrophic situation if again the downtrodden war-ravaged religious minority is deprived of their ancestral lands’ pastures by some handful groups of terrorists of Taliban and Al-Qaeda under the veil of nomads than it would be a slap on the face of democracy, human rights and western ideology of social justice.
The international community, NATO led coalition forces, United Nations and Human Rights’ organizations are needed to look into the matter and get rid of the “headache” meeting the human rights of the downtrodden people of Hazaristan, who have been discriminated for centuries on their own motherland. If such social unjust continued in today’s globalization and rebuilding of Afghanistan under the US forces then it would be a great failure for them to harmonize the country. The US led forces in Afghanistan are immediately needed to come up to the expectations of downtrodden people of Hazarajat who have been victimized long for just their being. The NATO led coalition forces are needed to implement DDR and DIAG on Kuchis disarming them and bringing them in the national mainstream observing social justice. The only permanent resolution to this headache is to disarm the Kuchis and allocate special funds by International Community for bringing them in national mainstream.
Mr. Karzai articulates to pursuit Taliban militants across Pakistani border. He calls upon to save the Pushtoons of Pakistani side. Mr. Karzai good on you for such fearless statements but to your dismay you have to extend your control outside your presidential palace and hit the Taliban and Al-Qaeda backed militants veiled by the name of nomads in Behsud rather than chasing them in Pakistan.
Government is also needed to send National Army in the invaded areas of Hazaristan by Kuchis in order to avoid any ethnic confrontation. Today there are independence movements across the neighboring countries for the self-respect of the ethnics. PKK and PJAK are fighting for freedom of Kurdistan in order to get rid of the prejudices and suppression of the alien rulers. Baloch Liberation Army is fighting in neighboring Balochistan. “Our” power sharers are needed to consider such complicities across Hazaristan which is already burning in the flame of alienation, discrimination and deprivation.