Abdul Ali Mazari’s Short Biography
Abdul Ali Mazari (1946 – March 1995) was a political leader of the Hezbe Wahdat during and following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.He belonged to the Hazara people. He said that the solution to the divisiveness in Afghanistan was in federalism, where every ethnic group would have specific constitutional rights.
In his speeches he repeated that his aim is to remove the discrimination against the Hazara’s because of biased policies of the central government and will strive to create a situation in Afghanistan where Hazara’s will be given access to justice and equality by the center.
An ethnic Hazara, Ustad Abdul Ali Mazari was born in the village of Charkent, south of the northern city of Mazari Sharif. Hence, his surname is “Mazari”. He began his primary schooling in theology at the local school in his village, then went to Mazari Sharif, then Qom in Iran, and then to Najaf in Iraq.
In Iran, Mazari was imprisoned and tortured after being accused of conspiracy against the Shah of Iran in assistance with Iranian Shi’ite clerics.
Simultaneously with the occupation of Afghanistan by the Red Army, Abdul Ali Mazari returned to his birthplace and gained a prominent place in the anti-Soviet resistance movement. During the first years of the resistance, he lost his young brother, Mohammed Sultan, during a battle against the Soviet-backed forces. He soon lost his sister and other members of his family in the resistance. His uncle, Mohammad Ja’afar, and his son, Mohammad Afzal, were imprisoned and killed by the puppet regime in Kabul. He also lost his father, Haji Khudadad, and his brother, Haji Mohammad Nabi, in the rebellion and resistance movement.
Hizb e Wahdat
Abdul Ali Mazari was one of the founding members and the first leader of Hezbe Wahdat Islamic Afghanistan (Islamic Unity Party). In the first Congress of the party, he was elected leader of the Central Committee. During the second Congress, he was elected Secretary General of the Wahdat Party. Mazari’s initiative led to the creation of the Jonbesh-e Shamal (Northern Movement), in which the country’s most significant military forces joined ranks with the rebels, leading to a coup d’état and the eventual downfall of the regime in Kabul.
The fall of Kabul to the Mujahideen marked the start of the Afghan Civil War between various factions, parties and ethnic groups. During this period, Mazari led the forces of Hizb e Wahdat who were based in West Kabul. More than twenty-six fierce battles were fought against Hizb e Wahdat by the forces of Shora-e-Nezar, Abdur Rasool Sayyaf and Taliban. Sometimes the relation of Mazari with the general Abdul Rashid Dostum was quite neutral, sometimes he was an ally, depending on the situation. The result was total destruction of Kabul city and the death of more than 50,000 civilians. More than 900 civilians were massacred in the Hazara dominated district of Afshar in Kabul and many more in Karte Seh by the invading forces of Ahmad Sha Masoud, and Abdur Rasool Sayyaf, assisted by traitors in Hizb e Wahdat.
The Massoud-Sayyaf triangle never considered Hazaras to be of significance in the Afghan government. This is what Mazari wanted: “We (Hazara people) must be an equal partner in this government and in its decision making processes. The Hazaras had been and have been targets of mass scale ethnic and religious persecution. They have never started any war, but defended themselves against the aggressions of Sayyaf-Taliban. The majority of the Hazaras are followers of the Shi’ite branch of Islam, in contrast to the overall majority of Sunnis in Afghanistan, regardless of ethnic group. It wasn’t until the battle for West Kabul that Hazaras came to global consideration as a potential power in Afghanistan – they have always been ignored in the past 200 years.
Taliban betrayal and death
Mullah Burjan, the Taliban leader, requested a personal meeting with Mazari. Mazari set off towards Chahar Asiyab in the company of a group of the Central Committee members in a convoy of two cars, whereupon they were betrayed, disarmed and arrested. His forces were disarmed, and soon the whole of West Kabul came under Taliban rule.
Mazari was tortured and later murdered by Taliban. They threw him out of a helicopter midair in Ghazni province, but later they claimed that Mazari and his companions tried to escape while being transferred in helicopters to Kandahar, the Taliban stronghold. His body was found in Ghazni.