As the Taliban took control of the country, hundreds of families in Daikundi’s Pato district have been forced to flee their homes and lands. In the first phase, about 400 families fled the village of Kindir in the district. A total number of about 740 families from several villages in the same district were forcibly evicted, some of whom, according to locals, spend their days and nights in the plains and deserts.
However, following the media coverage of the forced migration of Hazaras in some parts of Daikundi, Taliban officials and the local administration came under sharp criticism from the public, politicians, and human rights advocates. Several political parties and figures issued statements at the time, calling on the Taliban to stop the forced evictions of people from their forefather lands.
The Taliban announced on September 27 that the eviction process had been postponed until next spring. According to the Taliban, no one will be evicted until the judiciary takes office. Subsequently, the Taliban’s court in Daikundi wrote a letter to the Gizab district, calling for the return of villagers to their areas. The letter stated that the displaced families should be allowed to return to their villages, stressing that this was according to the Supreme Court’s order. According to the Taliban police chief for Daikundi, the Gizab district governor said in a response to the court that the controversy was not related to Gizab, but was located in the Pato district. Then another similar letter was written from the court to the Pato district official.
A few days after the verdict was handed down, not only has the verdict not been carried out, but Mahmod Mosafer Khalid, the Taliban’s district governor for Pato, has insisted that the case must be heard by three courts. “The Pato district informs the Kandir elders that the issue has not been resolved and you, the elders, must come to the district office,” Khalid said in a letter to Pato residents.
Gizab used to be one of the administrative units of Uruzgan province, but in the first days of its arrival in Daikundi, the Taliban annexed it with Pato district in Daikundi. It is now said that a separate order has recently been issued for Pato district to become an independent administrative unit.
“You should not quarrel with the Pashtun people who came from Gizab, and you should come to the district and file a lawsuit with the Pashtun elders in the court of the Islamic Emirate,” in another part, the letter addressed the Hazara villagers of Kindir. “Because the Pashtuns who came from Gizab have a history of provocation, if you have settled any controversy or hostility without a court decision, you are responsible for its consequences.”
Locals say they have lived in the area for about 40 to 50 years and no one has claimed ownership of their land so far. However, when the Taliban came to power, some Pashtuns close to the Taliban and armed nomads claimed ownership of the area.
A public source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Hasht-e Subh that the Taliban district governor had told Pato residents that the land should be occupied by Pashtuns and that Kindir residents had no right to return to their land. According to the source, the Pato district governor emphasizes that the dispute should be decided in three courts, through which the return or non-return of the forced refugees should also be decided.
However, according to the source, there are no legal disputes, but this is an obvious occupation of the Hazara lands. The source stressed that the main goal is to seize people’s lands by force.
Additionally, another document has been sent to Hasht-e Subh by local sources, indicating that the lands belong to the Hazaras of these areas. A local said that Hazaras in the Kindir area of Pato district obtained the document by contacting the Kabul General Directorate of Real Estate. The writing of this leaflet shows that the lands of Kindir, Shaghalja and Kharkag villages, since 1353 SH, during the presidency of Mohammad Dawood Khan (1973-1978), belonged to the native Hazaras of these regions and it has been registered in the book of the Kabul Central Property Office.
However, the Taliban district governor for Pato wrote in a letter to influential people in the village of Kindir: “It goes without saying that the land is in the possession of the Pashtuns, until you, the Persian speakers and the Pashtuns, have settled the issue of Kindir land in three courts.”
Earlier, Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that “the Taliban forcibly evict Hazaras and others to reward Taliban supporters.” According to Gossman, these forceful evictions, without any legal process have been carried out as a form of collective punishment.
Siddiq Ullah Abed, the Taliban’s police chief for Daikundi province, also confirmed the issuance of a letter from the Gizab Court of Appeals to Hasht-e Subh, saying that the displaced people belonged to Pato district. He added that Pato district officials have now been told to make a decision. According to Abed, the Taliban are not doing anything wrong and are carrying out what has been decided according to their law.
Earlier, some locals told our reporter that about 15 villages in the Loreshio and Tagabdar villages of Daikundi’s Pato district were claimed by Pashtuns. According to sources, the aim is to grab the lands of the indigenous Hazaras. According to locals, the families who have been forcibly displaced so far have not even been able to harvest their one-year crops, including wheat, corn, almonds, so on and so forth.