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I have been asked to provide an expert opinion on the safety of return to Kabul for members of the Hazara minority in Af hanistan. I am Professor and !ire"tor of the Asia#Pa"ifi" $olle e of !iploma"y at the Australian %ational &niversity. I have published extensively on Af han politi"s for over t'o de"ades( and am author of Rescuing Afghanistan )*ondon+ Hurst , $o.( -../0 and The Afghanistan Wars )*ondon and %e' 1ork+ Pal rave Ma"millan( -..-( -..20. I have also 'ritten a study of The Foreign Policy of the Taliban )%e' 1ork+ $oun"il on 3orei n 4elations( -...05 "o#authored Regime Change in Afghanistan: Foreign Intervention and the Politics of Legitimacy )6oulder+ Westvie' Press( 12210 and Political Order in Post Communist Afghanistan )6oulder+ *ynne 4ienner( 122-05 edited Fundamentalism Reborn! Afghanistan and the Taliban )%e' 1ork+ %e' 1ork &niversity Press( 1227( -..105 and "o#edited The "oviet Withdra#al from Afghanistan )$ambrid e+ $ambrid e &niversity Press( 12720. I authored the entry on Hazaras in 8ohn *. 9sposito )ed.0( The O$ford %ncyclo&edia of the Islamic World )%e' 1ork+ :xford &niversity Press( -..20 ;ol.II( pp.<7=#<7/. I also 'rote the annual overvie' of events in Af hanistan in -.11 for the >ournal Asian "urvey+ see William Maley( ?Af hanistan in -.11+ Positionin for an &n"ertain 3uture@( Asian "urvey( vol.=-( no.1( 8anuary#3ebruary -.1-( pp.77#22. I visited Kabul most re"ently in :"tober -.1<( and in April -.1< "arried out intervie's in 'estern distri"ts of the "ity )notably in the !asht#e 6ar"hi distri"t( s"ene of violent atta"ks on 1< Au ust -.1.0 in 'hi"h members of the Hazara ethni" roup are "on"entrated. -. 3irst( it is essential to appre"iate that the situation in Af hanistan is extremely fluid( and assessments of the situation made even a year a o do not ne"essarily provide an a""urate pi"ture of the situation at the be innin of -.1A. Bhe failure of the Karzai administration to si n a se"urity a reement 'ith the &nited Ctates has led to a reat deal of apprehension about the future of the "ountry( and there is a rave risk that Af hanistan 'ill fall vi"tim to 'hat so"ial s"ientists "all a ?"as"ade@( 'here even people 'ho despise the Baliban de"ide to shift support to them be"ause they think they are oin to "ome out on top any'ay. Bhis is a 'ell#re"o nised phenomenon )see $ass 4. Cunstein( La#s of Fear: 'eyond the Precautionary Princi&le )$ambrid e+ $ambrid e &niversity Press( -..=0 pp.2A#270 and it 'ould likely "reate espe"ially rave risks for people of Hazara ethni"ity sin"e tar etin Hazaras "ould be a devi"e by 'hi"h other roups mi ht seek to establish their "redentials in the eyes of the Baliban. <. In my vie'( it is a serious mistake to "on"lude that Kabul is safe for Hazaras. Bhis 'as tra i"ally demonstrated on / !e"ember -.11( 'hen a sui"ide bomber atta"ked Chiite Af hans( most of them Hazaras( at a pla"e of "ommemoration in do'nto'n Kabul durin the Ashura festival that marks the anniversary of the 6attle of Karbala in /7. A!. Almost simultaneously( a bomb in Mazar#e Charif also killed Af han Chia. Bhe Kabul bomb killed at least == people( and the Mazar bomb four more )see Hashmat 6aktash and Alex 4odri ues( ?B'o Af hanistan bombin s aimed at Chiites kill at least =2 people@( Los Angeles Times( D !e"ember -.110. Bhe Af han
photo rapher Massoud Hossaini 'as a'arded the -.1- Pulitzer Prize for his photo raph of the aftermath of the Kabul atro"ity+ see E'''.pulitzer.or F'orksF-.1-#6reakin #%e's#Photo raphyG. 4esponsibility 'as "laimed by the Pakistani Cunni extremist roup Lash(ar e )hangvi( 'hi"h has a lon history of se"tarian violen"e a ainst Chia )see Muhammad Hasim Iaman( ?Ce"tarianism in Pakistan+ Bhe 4adi"alization of Chi@i and Cunni Identities@( *odern Asian "tudies+ vol.<-( no.<( 1227( pp./72#D1/0. Bhe key point to note is that no one 'ith any kno'led e of Af hanistan "ould seriously doubt that Hazara Chia 'ere spe"ifi"ally tar eted on this o""asion. In the li ht of the !e"ember -.11 bombin ( any ,country information- suggesting that .a/ara "hia are not at ris( of &ersecution for reasons recognised by the 0120 Convention is outdated and irrelevant . 3urthermore( to depi"t this atta"k as an isolated in"ident misses the underlyin history of anta onism to'ards Hazaras that is pertinent to assessin 'hat the future holds. It is the kind of reasonin that 'ould have defined the 12<7 3ristallnacht experien"e as an isolated in"ident. Safety of return to Kabul A. Bhe issue of an internal fli ht or relo"ation alternative )I3AFI4A0 'as addressed by &%H$4 in the 45.CR %ligibility 6uidelines for assessing the International Protection 5eeds of Asylum see(ers from Afghanistan )Jeneva+ H$4F9JFA3JF1<F.1( / Au ust -.1<0. Bhese stated )at p.DA0+ Bo assess the reasonableness of a proposed I3AFI4A outside areas "ontrolled by AJ9s or affe"ted by a"tive "onfli"t( parti"ular attention must be iven to+ )i0 the availability of traditional support me"hanisms( provided by members of the appli"ant@s extended family or members of his or her ethni" roup5 )ii0 a""ess to shelter in the proposed area of relo"ation5 )iii0 the availability of basi" infrastru"ture and a""ess to essential servi"es in the proposed area of relo"ation( su"h as sanitation( health "are and edu"ation5 )iv0 the presen"e of livelihoods opportunities( in"ludin a""ess to land for Af hans ori inatin from rural areas5 and )v0 the s"ale of internal displa"ement in the proposed area of relo"ation. Bhe -.1< 45.CR %ligibility 6uidelines offered the follo'in "omments )at p.D=0 on relo"ation to urban areas+ Where the proposed area of relo"ation is an urban area 'here the appli"ant has no a""ess to pre# identified a""ommodation and livelihood options( and 'here he or she "annot reasonably be expe"ted to be able to fall ba"k on meanin ful support net'orks( the appli"ant 'ould likely find him# or herself in a situation "omparable to that of other urban I!Ps. Bo assess the reasonableness of su"h an out"ome( ad>udi"ators need to take into a""ount the s"ale of internal displa"ement in the area of prospe"tive relo"ation( and the livin "onditions of I!Ps in that lo"ation. 4elevant "onsiderations in this re ard in"lude the fa"t that I!Ps are "onsidered to be amon the most vulnerable roups in Af hanistan( many of 'hom are beyond the rea"h of humanitarian or anizations5 as 'ell as available information to the effe"t that urban I!Ps are more vulnerable than the non#displa"ed urban poor( as they are parti"ularly affe"ted by unemployment5 limited a""ess to adeKuate housin 5 limited a""ess
to 'ater and sanitation5 and food inse"urity =. Bhe mere fa"t that an ethni" Hazara may have lived in Kabul in the past does not uarantee that relo"ation after a period abroad is free of risk. Indeed( a number of the ?elements@ identified in the -.1< 45.CR %ligibility 6uildelines in respe"t of internal fli ht or relo"ation "ould be >ust as relevant to people relo"atin from abroad. In my assessment( these 'ould make Kabul an unviable pla"e of relo"ation in many "ases. 3urthermore( a re"ent study of returnees to Af hanistan hi hli hts ho' diffi"ult reinte ration "an be even if people do have asso"iates in the re ion to 'hi"h they are returned )*iza C"huster and %assim Ma>idi( ?What happens post#deportationL Bhe experien"e of deported Af hans@( *igration "tudies( vol.1( no.-( -.1<( pp.1#120. :f "ourse( an Hazara returned from abroad 'ith no ties in Kabul 'ould be in an even more perilous position. /. Bhis ties in dire"tly 'ith the issue of livelihood opportunities. A ain( serious resear"h in this area hi hli hts the importan"e of so"ial relations. A re"ent study by Kantor and Pain emphasises the "entrality of relationships to livelihoods in rural Af hanistan( and the points they make apply eKually to urban areas )Paula Kantor and Adam Pain( "ecuring Life and Livelihoods in Afghanistan: The Role of "ocial Relationshi&s )Kabul+ Af hanistan 4esear"h and 9valuation &nit( !e"ember -.1.0. Bhe mere fa"t that there may be people of similar ethnic ba"k round livin in a potential relo"ation destination does not over"ome this problem( sin"e ethni" identities do not in and of themselves ive rise to the ties of personal affinity and re"ipro"ity that arise from family "onne"tions. )Indeed( one mistake that observers M even Af han observers M on o""asion make is to underestimate the de ree of differentiation amon st roups su"h as the Hazaras( in"ludin distin"tions bet'een elite and non#elite fi ures( distin"tions based on distri"t of ori in and tribe( and distin"tions based on values and ideolo y.0 An Hazara 'ho is returned to Kabul 'ithout so"ial "onne"tions is likely to end up destitute( or be exposed to ross exploitation or "riminal predation. D. 7oung .a/aras are es&ecially vulnerable in this res&ect. 1oun people@s survival skills may be underdeveloped( and their youth "an make them vulnerable to sexual exploitation. As a re"ent report noted( ?A ro'in number of Af han "hildren are bein "oer"ed into a life of sexual abuse N :ver the past de"ade( the phenomenon has flourished in Pashtun areas in the south( in several northern provin"es and even in the "apital( a""ordin to Af hans 'ho en a e in the pra"ti"e or have studied it N 6ut by and lar e( forei n po'ers in Af hanistan have refrained from dra'in attention to the issue.@ )9rnesto *ondon( ?Af hanistan sees rise in Odan"in boysP exploitation@( The Washington Post( = April -.1-0. A overnment that for"ibly returned vulnerable youn Af hans to su"h an environment "ould at 'orst be seen as "ompli"it in their exploitation. 7. %lderly .a/aras are e8ually vulnerable if returned to a &lace #here they lac( social net#or(s. &nemployment in Kabul is already hi h( and there is virtually no "han"e that an Hazara man in his /.s 'ithout net'orks on 'hi"h to dra' 'ould have any hope of se"urin even the most menial forms of employment. If su"h a person 'ere returned to Kabul in the 'inter( he 'ould most likely freeze to death in the street.
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