KABUL, Afghanistan — Two and a half years ago, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest during an algebra class at the Mawoud Academy tutoring center. At least 40 students, most from Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic minority, died as they studied for college entrance exams.
Najibullah Yousefi, a teacher who survived the August 2018 blast, moved with his students to a new location. He has a plan for the next suicide bomber.
“I’m in front of the class and will get killed anyway,” Mr. Yousefi, 38, said. “So to protect my students, I will go and hug the attacker” to absorb the blast.
Perhaps no other minority group faces a more harrowing future if the Taliban return to power as a result of negotiations with the Afghan government — especially if they don’t honor a pledge under a February 2020 agreement with the United States to cut ties with terror organizations such as the Islamic State.
mosques, hospitals, voting sites and even a wrestling club. More than 80 people perished in a double suicide bombing at a Hazara protest in Kabul in 2016. At least 31 died in a suicide bombing in a Hazara area during a 2018 celebration for Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Most of these attacks have been claimed by Sunni Muslim extremists of the Islamic State, who consider Shiites apostates and heretics.
What progress has been made by the ethnic minority is threatened by such attacks, and now a possible return of the Taliban to government. As recently as 2018, Hazara civilians were killed and forced from their homes during a Taliban offensive in Hazarajat.
Taliban negotiators have said the rights of minorities, including Hazaras, would be protected under Islamic law. In some Hazara areas, local militias have formed to protect communities from attacks.
Marzia Mohseni, 18, a Hazara student, said she feared losing her rights to education and to the workplace if the Taliban returned to power. She said she wants to be a lawyer “and provide equal rights to all people in this country.”
But a Taliban return could mean that “all my gains and all my hard work would be wasted,” she said.
suicide bombing at the Kawsar e Danish tutoring academy in Kabul. At least 44 students and teachers died in the attack.
Ms. Mohseni said she had experienced insomnia and extreme anxiety after the bombing, yet she is back at her studies at the same academy. Her fear is a burden she carries into class each morning with her pens and books.
“Every minute in the class, I think about a suicide attack, an explosion,” she said. “But I will try my best, for the blood of all those killed and wounded and for the sake of their dreams and my own dreams.”
Ms. Mohseni said her father works in a restaurant and her brother, as a barber, to pay her tuition and board. She pleaded with them to allow her to return after the academy was bombed.