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The Hazara are an ethnic and religious group in Afghanistan making up 9% of the population.[1] They are of Mongol ancestry and speak Hazaragi, a dialect of Persian with Mongol words. While they are principally Twelver Shi'a Muslims, they do include Sunni.

In Afghanistan, their traditional lands are the central mountains, or Hazarajat. They were conquered, in 1891, by Amir Abdur Rahman. He distributed their better grazing lands to Pashtuns. Some moved to Turkestan.

Some Hazara fought with the Northern Alliance, but were always on the fringes due to anti-Shia feelings. One of their leaders, Abdul Ali Mazari allied temporarily with the Taliban, but died in their hands, resulting in Hazara hostility to the Taliban. [2]

He was succeeded, as leader of the Hazara Hezb-e-Wahdat (Unity Party), by Karim Khalili, who became Vice-President of the country under the Transitional Government, and Second Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on December 7, 2004.

Mohammed Mohaqeq is a current and influential leader, who ran for president in 2004.


  1. Afghanistan, Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook
  2. Ahmed Rashid (2000), Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300089023, pp. 34-35