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Tortured, Flung from Helicopter: Who was Abdul Ali Mazari Whose Statue Taliban Blew to Pieces in Afghanistan?

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: August 18, 2021, 16:47 IST

The statue of Shiite militia leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who fought against them during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s, has been destroyed by the Taliban. (Twitter photo)

The statue of Shiite militia leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who fought against them during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s, has been destroyed by the Taliban. (Twitter photo)

The statue of Abdul Ali Mazari stood in Bamyan province in Afghanistan, where the Taliban infamously blew up two massive 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha carved into a mountain in 2001.

Kabul: The Taliban, who returned to power in Afghanistan last weekend after capturing much of the country in a matter of days, on Wednesday blew up the statue of Shiite militia leader Abdul Ali Mazari who fought against them during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s.

“So Taliban have blown up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari’s statue in Bamiyan. Last time they executed him, blew up the giant statues of Buddha and all historical and archaeological sites. Too much of ‘general amnesty’," tweeted Saleem Javed, a human rights activist.

Who was Abdul Ali Mazari?

Abdul Ali Mazari was a militia leader killed by the Taliban in 1995, when the Islamic militants seized power from rival warlords. Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shiites who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.

In March 1995, Mazari and some of his colleagues were duped into meeting Taliban leader Mullah Burjan near Charasyab for peace talks. But Mazari was abducted, tortured and later killed by the Taliban and his body flung from a helicopter in Ghazni.

However, the Taliban claimed that Mazari had killed because he had attacked them while being taken to Kandahar. He was buried in Mazar-e-Sharif, which was then controlled by Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum.

In 2016, he was posthumously given the title ‘Martyr Of National Unity’.

The Statue

The statue stood in the central Bamyan province, where the Taliban infamously blew up two massive 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha carved into a mountain in 2001, shortly before the US-led invasion that drove them from power. The Taliban claimed the Buddhas violated Islam’s prohibition on idolatry.

“It’s confirmed that Shaheed Mazari’s statue was blown up and vandalized yesterday evening, right after Taliban spokesman’s assurances of ‘amnesty’ and respect for basic rights of all citizens in a press conference in Kabul. #Hazara #Afghanistan,” Saleem Javed said in another tweet.

Fresh Promises

The Taliban now say they will prevent Afghanistan from again being used as a base for attacks, something that was enshrined in a 2020 peace deal with the Trump administration that paved the way for the American withdrawal.

Thousands of people have tried to flee Afghanistan in recent days as the US and its allies have struggled to manage a chaotic withdrawal from the country. The Taliban took over the civilian side of the Kabul international airport on Tuesday and have used force to try to control the crowds.

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  1. Taliban
first published:August 18, 2021, 16:31 IST
last updated:August 18, 2021, 16:47 IST
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