When I look at the absurd and comic election of Afghanistan, and at the same time at the upcoming Scottish referendum, I keep asking myself why Afghanistan should not have a referendum on partition? Why people in that country cannot talk more openly on unnatural borders made by Britain and Afghan tribal leaders at the end of 19th century? If it is a right in Scotland, why not have it in Afghanistan? There is no doubt for many that “Afghan” is not a common national identity for non-Pashtuns, and “Afghanistan” is a fake name given to that country. Before 1850, we cannot find any country with this name in trusted maps. After that up till Abdur Rahman Khan’s regime, it was a little area surrounded by non-Pashtun populated areas. In 1893, Britain and Afghan tribal leader Abdur Rahman Khan made an agreement on 2,640 kilometre border of British India (Pakistan now) and Afghanistan (Durand Line). It is not written in this agreement that Britain established Afghanistan, yes, but it was as if Britain gave non-Afghan land to Afghan tribes, and then by Her Majesty’s government recognized that as Afghanistan. They let Afghan tribal fighters fought against each other and move to the north, closer to Russia. Britain promoted tribal way of life, fighting, and mixing radical Islam to fight more. Tribal way of life mingled with radical Islam means no movement to change for better. It looks like todays suicide bombers are launched from 19th century, ready to kill more. I am not sure if Britain has lost control over tribes across the Durand Line, and I am not sure if British government does not stand behind the Talibanization and drug. However, I am not surprised when Scottish nation wants partition.
After Durand Line agreement, we can say exactly that a war-torn country with the name of Afghanistan had been established. Besides Durand Line agreement, in 1892 and 1893, Abdur Rahman Khan had started his great war against non-Pashtuns particularly the Hazara and then the Nuristani peoples. Thousands of Afghan/ Pashtun fighters have moved from northwest tribal areas of India to participate in war. They were promised the victims’ lands by Abdur Rahman Khan. It was a dark period that witnessed genocide, slavery and forced displacement.
After Abdur Rahman Khan, invading non-Afghans land, suppression, and systematic discrimination, beside Afghanization/ Pahtunization and destroying victims’ history and culture were still a part of the policy of Afghan regimes. For example in September 1923, Afghan king Amanullah Khan had approved a legal guideline (Nizamnama Naghelin be Sam e Ghatghan) on settlement of Pashtuns from south and east of Afghanistan in Uzbek,Tajik and Hazara populated areas in the north. Not-allowing Uzbek, Turkmen and Baloch people to educate in their own languages; burning Turkic books; destroying ancient Buddha sculptures of Bamiyan, Hazaristan; banning of Navruz celebration that does not belong to Afghan culture; and changing the name of cities, districts and villages are other examples.
Afghan regimes have always tried to change ethnic balance of the country by moving Pashtuns to non-Pashtun areas, and giving false information on ethnic quality and majority or minority groups. The results of such acts have been for example systematic discrimination, injustice distribution of national budget, limiting non-Pashtuns political rights, and giving ten extra parliamentary sits to Afghan/Pashtun Kuchis. In addition, international sources such as the World Factbook of CIA helps them to promote unreliable and untrusted data on people and ethnic quality in Afghanistan. Now in the 21st century, we do not even know the right number of the population and its ethnic quality. It has always been a policy of the regimes to count Pakistani Pashtuns as a part of the population in Afghanistan, and bringing Pashtuns up as the majority. We did not have any national census in the country. The results of the last census ran by Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin regimes in 1979, came out with fraud, exactly same as results of their farcical presidential election in 2014.
Almost a century, after Abdur Rahman Khan, when Taliban tribal military group kills thousands of non-Pashtuns and forces them to flee, it is based on the permanent policy of Afghan leaders that “Tajiks to Tajikistan, Uzbeks to Uzbekistan, and Hazaras to the graveyard”.
The war against non-Afghans that started at the end of 19th century is not over yet. Pashtun Kuchi attacks on local people in Ghazni and Maidan, claiming their lands as heritages of Abdur Rahman Khan, tells that Pashtun tribes are still in war against non-Pashtuns. Now, the main start points of the Taliban attacks on non-Pashtuns in the northern areas such as Faryab, Kunduz and Sar-e Pol are where the Pashtuns are settled by Afghan regimes. It was also reported by several human rights groups that Pashtuns settled in Balkh have cooperated with the Taliban in massacre of the Hazara in Mazar-e Sharif in August 1998.
Long-term ongoing war against non-Afghan/Pashtuns does not mean that the Pashtuns live in safety and security. Pashtun tribal leaders and their regimes in Kabul have kept their people in Middle Ages, using them for growing poppy and drug trade as well as war against non-Pashtuns. Among Pashtun tribes, there are massive human rights violations particularly against Pashtun women and children, and internal conflicts over poppy and tribal issues. This tribal system makes a considerable number of boys ready to become a new generation of the Taliban in war. Hamid Karzai was with the Taliban, and now he is not ready to support them officially and in public. He released thousands of Taliban dangerous prisoners based on his tribal interests. Most of the released Taliban are now fighting against civilians. Most corrupted country, the highest drug producer in the world and the funniest election are some instances of tribal regime’s achievements.
Of course, I do not want to ignore the influence of other countries, but I am not sure if Britain does have full control over tribes across the Durand Line. Tribal regimes do not accept human rights and democracy. We have experienced them for more a century. Do we really need to live together, when they do not end war against us?
I like Scotland Independence, and I wish a peaceful future for both Afghans and non-Afghans.
Kamran Mir Hazar is an exiled Hazara poet, journalist, activist and webmaster. He has published several poetry books including the anthology, Poems for The Hazara (125 poets from 68 countries), The Cry of a Mare About to Become a Butterfly, and Stream of Deer. He is also the author of the non-fiction book, Censorship in Afghanistan. Kamran is publisher and editor-in-chief of the on-line news site, Kabul Press