Sure, and it’s not due to the Taliban because Pashtuns cannot be held to what a foreign-produced, foreign-funded group has done. It is because of societal and historical privilege. Hazaras have been historically disenfranchised because they are an ethnic and a religious minority.
With that said, it is important to not export and import notions of privilege and identity politics from elsewhere. The ANA has large amounts of Hazara members, and the vast majority of media is not in Pashto but Dari and other languages. Don’t get me wrong, I completely support the representation of various linguistic groups. I just think it’s important to keep the context in mind and the fact that societal power structures depend heavily on region. Pashtuns are not “privileged” everywhere; there are places where they straight up can’t go by virtue of their ethnicity.
This is not a personal attack, I just feel like there are more things that need to be taken into consideration in such discourses, so I hope you’re okay with me sharing my thoughts.
I think it’s so weird when people try to apply privilege politics on Pashtuns because it completely ignores that they have been targeted because of their ethnicity. I’ll take an example that has been documented by HRW but little in social media: violence against Pashtuns in northern Afghanistan by non-Pashtun militias.
In a 2002 report on abuses against Pashtuns in northern Afghanistan, HRW documented “widespread looting and extortion of Pashtun communities” as well as “killings, rapes and abductions”. One of the report’s findings is crucial to understanding the nature of the anti-Pashtun activities in areas where Pashtuns are a minority, like in northern Afghanistan. The report points out that atrocities against Pashtuns “[took] place against the background of a legacy of Taliban atrocities”. [x] So it appears that non-Pashtun militants target Pashtun civilians in revenge against the Pashtun-dominated Taliban. Nevertheless, the goal to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Pashtuns from northern Afghanistan has discplaced tens ouf thousands of Pashtuns, who are now mostly sheltered in IDP camps around Kandahar. [x]
This notion of “privilege” that Pashtuns “supposedly have” completely ignores how Uzbek, Hazara and Tajik militants (Junbish-e Milli, Hizb-i Wahdat and the Northern Alliance) have raped, displaced, murdered and looted Pashtun civilians in northern Afghanistan for the past decade as “payback” for what the Taliban did to ethnic minorities. 14 year old Fatima was not “privileged” when she, her mother and her two sisters were targeted because they were Pashtun and then gang-raped by Dostum’s Uzbek militia for eight hours in Balkh [x]; the Pashtun women of Urozgan were not “privileged” when they were gang-raped by Hakim Shujoyi and his Hazara militia (they lash out in the wake of any Taliban violence against the Shia/Hazara minority), having their breasts ripped off with bare teeth while they were being raped [x]. Keep in mind that they were subjected to this because they were Pashtun.
Pashtuns have been targeted for their ethnicity and held accountable for the atrocities of foreign-produced militants for years. Their so-called “privilege” has not granted them any exemption. You have the fact that Pashtun-dominated provinces have experienced much more violence in the War on Terror than in the rest of Afghanistan [x]; that drones in Pakistan only operate in Pashtun districts of KPK and FATA (which are two regions dominated by Pashtuns to begin with); [x] that the PK army has been targeting Pashtuns in KPK and FATA for years [x] (which has been breeding the Pashtun separatist movement, along with U.S. drones) and much more. So if Pashtuns really are privileged, then why do they experience some of the most grusome violence that is very much genocide?
- People have stood in line in the rain for hours and don’t care. This is their chance to vote and they’re taking it.
- Checkpoints in Kabul city every 500 meters.
- Kandahar’s streets so empty that kids are playing cricket all over the city. What will they grow up to remember this day as?
- Kabul shopkeepers decided to keep their shops closed today.
- Taliban losing their shit and literally no one is taking them seriously; no one is even reporting on their nonsense.
- Elderly voting is moving me to tears.
- Prisoners allowed to vote.
- People showing up even without voter registration cards, with just their IDs and are asking to vote, and are denied.
- They’re running out of ballots in so many places with at least 3 hours left.
- Many have shared that this day feels like Eid. Music in the streets, people wearing their best clothes.
- Don’t know where people are getting this hope for but observers have said that they’ve never, in their entire life in Afghanistan, seen this many Afghans in line. Against the odds, against the threats, against it all, Afghans are coming out to vote and that courage is something else.
Some of you might know that the Presidential and Provincial Council elections in Afghanistan are on April 5, 2014. As elections day gets closer day by day, insurgents increase the number of attacks to prevent people from voting and to disrupt the elections.
Today insurgents killed nine civilians in Sar-e Pol province and six policemen were killed in a suicide bomb in Kabul. Yesterday a suicide bomber in Ghazni turned against his own Taliban commanders and killed 15 of them in the blast, to keep them from carrying out plans to disrupt Saturday’s elections.
Insurgents have publicly stated their intent to derail the elections. The Taliban has also threatened voters with violence, yet over the course of the past week there has been a major surge in voter registration. Many Afghans have said they plan to participate in the elections as a way of defying the militants.