Remembering Abdul Ali Mazari on his 28th death anniversary
A clergyman with progressive views by the late 20th century Afghanistan standards.
Abdul Ali Mazari was a prominent politician, military commander, and leader of the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan. Born in 1946 in the town of Charkint, in the northern province of Balkh, he spent his early years studying Islamic law and worked as a teacher before turning to politics in the late 1970s.
Mazari was a vocal critic of the Soviet-backed government that came to power in Afghanistan in 1978. He quickly became involved in the resistance movement, joining the mujahideen and fighting against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. During this time, he became known for his bravery and leadership.
After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, Mazari returned to Afghanistan and helped to establish the Hezb-e Wahdat party, which was dedicated to promoting the interests of the Hazara people. In 1992, Mazari found himself caught in the middle of a power struggle in Kabul, aka Kabul Civil Wars, and he was eventually captured and killed by the Taliban on 13th March 1995.
Abdul Ali Mazari, the Hazara leader and founder of Hezb-e-Wahdat, championed the calls for social justice in Afghanistan. He advocated for proportional ethnic representation in the government, calling for each ethnicity to be represented based on their population. His calls for democratic governance and elections were not welcomed by the mujahideen government, which eventually led to the Kabul civil wars.
Mazari recognized the importance of women’s rights, drawing on religion to argue that Islam is the religion of reason and that denying women’s rights is un-Islamic. He was aware of the growing political role of women in other countries and believed that it was illogical for Afghanistan to deny women their rights in the 20th century. Unusual among the religious forces, Mazari believed that women had a role to play in Afghanistan's political and economic development.
In addition to advocating for ethnic and gender equality, Mazari also believed in the principle of egalitarianism, in which all citizens are equal beneficiaries of the state and its economic policies. He did not believe in giving any privileges…