Anonymous: do you think pashtuns have privilege over hazaras (or other minority ethnic groups that have suffered under the taliban)? it seems like that, but idk, what are your thoughts?


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?

As of October 31, 2012, 1,615 drones were fired in Afghanistan, which makes Afghanistan the epicenter of U.S. drones. That was two years ago, but drone strikes in Afghanistan continue even today. [x]

Bagh-e Babur, Kabul, Afghanistan

Gardens of Babur, locally known as “Bagh-e Babur”, is a historic park in Kabul, Afghanistan, and also the last resting-place of the first Mughal emperor Babur, a native of Uzbekistan. The gardens are thought to have been developed around 1528 AD (935 AH), when Babur gave orders for the construction of an ‘avenue garden’ in Kabul, described in some detail in his memoirs, the Baburnama. Having initially been buried in Agra, India, where he died, Babur’s body was moved to the grave enclosure in the garden around 1540. 

But time has taken its toll on Babur’s original garden. By 2001, foreign occupation and fighting between militant groups caused them to be almost destroyed, especially under the civil war in 1992. Since the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, however, the gardens have been completely restored. Restoration of the site began in 2002 by the Aga Khan Foundation. Now, the gardens attract more than 300,000 visitors per year who pay 20 afghanis (25p) to enjoy the open spaces and picnic beneath shady trees.

Photographs by Jason P. Howe, Robert Nickelsberg, AFP, Delphine Renou, Asian Historical Architecture, Katya I.S., and Lalage Snow. Click on each photo for the source/photographer. 

Info sources: x, x, x, x.

AFGHANISTAN. On the the road from Kabul to Panjshir. 

Photographs by Calvin Wilhelm

Friday by lake Qargha. Kabul, Afghanistan. 
Photograph by Dariva on Flickr. 

Friday by lake Qargha. Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Photograph by Dariva on Flickr

According to the Afghanistan Interior Ministry, four civilians were killed and 43 were injured on election day. Nine police, seven Afghan army members and 89 insurgents were killed.

Afghanistan 2014: Presidential and Provincial Council Elections

A series of photographs showing preparations for Presidential and Provincial Council elections as well as enthusiastic Afghans waiting to vote at polling centers. In some remote areas, donkeys are used to transport ballot boxes to villages unreachable by vehicles. 

Read TOLOnews’ Frequently Asked Questions and Answers-page for more info.

Photographs by Ahmad Masood, Massoud Hossaini, Ahmad Nadeem, Mohammad Ismail and Rahmat Gul. Click on each photo for source.


  • 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. 

Buzkashi: The National Sport of Afghanistan

Buzkashi is a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players, called chapandaz, attempt to drag a goat carcass toward a goal. Once a chapandaz gets it, he tries to break from the pack and ride full speed to a pre-determined goal: it could be a rock, a pole, a small hill, a circle drawn on the ground. The winner is the rider that managed to get to the goal most. A minimum amount of riders could be 10 or so, and it goes above 100 of riders for the big buzkashi. The game is played among the Kyrgyz, Pashtuns, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Tajiks, and Turkmens of Central Asia. [x] [x]

Photographs taken in Afghanistan by Steve McCurry and Max Becherer. Click on each photo for source. 

Pashai Village Life in Eastern Afghanistan

Three photographs depicting the daily lives of Pashai villagers in eastern Afghanistan (exact location unknown).

Photographs found via Afghanistan: Chants des Pashai. Published by the Èquipe de Recherche 165 of the C.N.R.S., Department d’Ethnomusicologie, Laboratoire d’Ethnologie du Musée de l’Homme, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

The publication is in conjunction with the album “Chants des Pashai”, which includes seventeen Pashai folk songs from eastern Afghanistan, collected by Pribislav Pitoeff between 1970-71. You can listen to all of the songs for free here

Afghanistan photographed by Alex Treadway

Photos taken in the provinces of Panjshir, Bamiyan, Kabul and Herat. 

Saffron harvest in Herat province, Afghanistan. 

Photographs by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

PARWAN PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN. Snow covered mountains of Salang in January. 
Photograph by Sgt. Scott Davis.

PARWAN PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN. Snow covered mountains of Salang in January. 

Photograph by Sgt. Scott Davis.

Violence in Afghanistan Increases on Elections Week

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.

Iranian choreographic artist Rana Gorgani in traditional Pashtun clothes, worn at her Afghan dance performances. Photos via l’Oeil Persan. Rana Gorgani’s official website