Translated by Amin Wahidi
Note: This interview with the Hazara commander/general Alipur was actually conducted by ToloNews in summer 2020 but it was never broadcasted from that channel because it didn’t contain any superficial and commercial contents they were looking for. They would expect something that would satisfy their entertaining standards, something very light and superficial that would make people laugh, instead what they faced with were harsh truths of facts, facts about current affairs, about hard lives, about history of Afghanistan, serious demands, serious discourses about life, liberty, democracy and human rights values that they might not have expected from a Hazara revolutionary commander.
Perhaps ToloNews wanted something as a trap to blackmail or to use it against the HPRF (Hazara Popular Resistance Front) also known as (Resistance Front for Justice) but what they found through the sincere words of the commander of HPRF, was very challenging that questioned the whole Afghan Governmental system, its corrupt officials, its systematic discriminatory system against the ethnic and religious minorities that would reveal its failure and its rooted racism.
ToloNews is one of the most successful commercial television channels in Afghanistan, owned by MobyGroup a subsidiary of News Corporation owned by Australian-American media mogul, Rupert Murdoch.
Commander/general Alipur is known as Lion of Hazaristan, some people call him the Eagle of Central Highlands and some others call him with a nickname Shamsher, that means sword, it’s all because of his bravery. He’s loved by hundreds of thousands population in Behsud and other districts of Hazaristan or the Central Highlands of Afghanistan.
After the interview was not broadcasted by ToloNews, the HPRF’s supporters posted the backstage of the interview with its audio on YouTube, we’ve done the transcription of the following text from that version. The interview was conducted in Persian/Dari and was translated by one of our editorial staff members.
ToloNews Journalist: Why do you have problems with the Afghan Government?
General Alipur: In the name of God. We don’t have problem with the Afghan Government, it’s them that pretends to have problems with us. We’ve always been supportive to the governments of Afghanistan but they don’t like us, because we have always defended the dignity, the honor and the values of our people. Wherever the Afghan Government couldn’t win the battles against the terrorists, we’ve always interfered and supported them. We thought and still think that it’s the responsibility of every citizen to defend the existence of its government. Everyone knows that we’ve helped the governmental forces in Jalrez, in Bamiyan, in Malistan and in Jaghory. Even in Mirza Olang district of Sar e Pul province when it was attacked by terrorists, we went there with physicians and medicines to cure the injured victims. It’s been our humanitarian responsibility to act. But what the Afghan Government has done everybody knows. For example they tried to arrest me in Lal o Sare Jangal district in Ghor. It was me with my rifle and there was a bodyguard with me. For only two people, they sent the whole forces of a brigade from two different provinces to arrest me. The government forces shot at the civilians and there are many people who lost their members at that attack. There are a lot of eyewitnesses of the fact. And when I came out of their reach, I just forgot what the Afghan government did to me, I just thought it was a mistake of theirs. Then when we got to know about the war on Jaghory and Bamiyan, we went there with some of our forces to help the civilians. When we arrived in Mir Adina, about 300 members of the Afghan Special Forces were under the siege of the Taliban, we fought for two nights and broke the siege of Taliban to help free the Afghan Governmental forces out of terrorists’ hands. The reason I went to help the Afghan Government forces, was because I had just ignored what they had done to me in Lal o Sare e Jangal district. I had forgiven them for their mistake. We took part in different battles to support the Afghan Army but they’ve never seen us as their friends. I have always thought that the enemy of our government is our enemy but the Afghan Government doesn’t understand that. Then when I went to Kabul, I was arrested for the second time. The NDS (National Directorate of Security= the Afghan Intelligence) kidnapped me and took me for investigation. Then a lot of people demonstrated against their cruel action, in different cities of the country nationwide. Then in those popular demonstrations, the Afghan governmental army opened fire on civilians and killed many. It was the second time the Afghan government showed its enmity and cruelty to our people and with the Resistance Forces. As you (ToloNews) and all other media remember those days. We came back and didn’t show any reaction to Afghan Government’s cruelty. As long as we remember, the Afghan governments have always been hostile towards us, not only towards the Resistance Forces but towards Hazara people in general. They don’t miss any chance to attack on us and kill us. Many young protesters were massacred in Dehmazang Square of Kabul, you may remember. (A huge protest of the Enlightening Movement was bombed in July 2016). Our people were massacred in Qalai Najarha mosque. The praying people were massacred in Baqir ul Ulum Mosque. Men and women were massacred in Imam e Zaman mosque. Our sportsmen were massacred in sports complexes. Last year, even the year before last year and this year too, we are being massacred in big numbers but no one takes responsibility to protect us. Our numerous cultural and educational centers and schools were targeted but no culprits were captured yet. What is our fault?! Who do all these terrorist attacks on us and why?! After every attack a fake group appears and take responsibility as DAESH or others take responsibility as TALIBAN but no one is punished, prosecuted, captured or trialed for these horrible crimes against humanity so far. These senseless but horrible massacre of our innocent people doesn’t have any justification, nor religious, neither ethnic. Why our people are always targeted purposefully. The people who have always supported the government, who have opened the path of peace and democracy in this country, do they deserve massacre?! As the most civilized people, the most peaceful people, the defender of the Afghan Governments and the sincere friends of democracy, the most educated people, do they deserve to be massacred?! What’s their sin?! Even our newborn infants were massacred. You must have heard about the attack on the maternity hospital in Dashte Barchi where they shot at the newborn babies and mothers that were giving birth. Where is the dignity of Afghanistan?! Once the Afghans used to be the zealous people and now?! They used to be the men of honor and now?! Somebody should answer to these questions!! These is no justification to the massacre of our innocent people, neither from human rights point of view or from ethnic points of view nor from a cultural point of view, where is it written to kill a specific group of people because of their ethnicity?! The reason we pick up guns is to defend our people, to defend our dignity, we defend our burnt houses. If people say, there is a government, if there is one, it must be an ethnocentric fascist government that only thinks of its ethnic hegemony and nothing else. This government is revenging the other ethnic groups. So far we’ve always supported the government, but if things go on this way, we don’t support it anymore. Because this government doesn’t work for the interest of the whole nation, it’s just an ethnic government in the hand of some fascist members of one specific ethnic group. These were my reasons and words to say why we had to pick up guns and create the Resistance Front.
ToloNews Journalist: What is the war in Behsud about? Why doesn’t the Afghan Government want to interfere?
General Alipur: The war in Behsud is the war of Kochi nomads against the local inhabitants. Kochigari/or nomadic life is an excuse for the continuation of historical tyranny. It’s a process that was imposed by the tyrant kings of a century back on our people. They used the Kochi attacks to suppress and force our people to leave their lands and houses. It’s an historical oppression imposed on our people. As my forefathers said, once there was a fight between the local inhabitants and the Kochis invaders in our area and a camel of the Kochis was injured, the government of the time asked 40,000 Afghanis as the compensation for that injury and when a Hazara man was killed at the same quarrel they imposed only 4,000 Afghans as the blood compensation for a person, is it not tyranny, then what?! The tyrant regimes and governments in the past, had issued orders and decrees that gave a lot of freedom to Kochis to trample, loot, burn and whatsoever they wanted to the local inhabitant populations. The Kochis came from beyond borders from Pakistan and have more rights than our people who’re the owners of this land, who are taxpayers and citizens of Afghanistan. Where is justice?! Who would accept such an oppression?! Not only on Hazaras, but if they do the same tyranny on any other ethnic groups, will they accept it without reacting to the tyranny, I don’t think so! Our people are peaceful and like fairness. They cannot accept and tolerate tyranny and unjust situations. We don’t let anyone come out of the country and impose on us things that limit our liberty, our basic rights, and attack our dignity and integrity.
It’s our human, religious, moral, conscionable and civic reasonability to defend our people against harassments, attacks and tyranny. Whoever call us irresponsible forces, they themselves are irresponsible.
(He addressed the government looking into camera) You as the government, even if you had the responsibility towards us what have you done for us so far?! Where did you defend our people?! As peaceful and civilized people, we’ve protested through peaceful demonstrations with hundreds of thousands of people on the roads, but you killed them and frightened the others. Our political leaders like Ustad Mohaqeq, did a hunger strike for seven days to resolve the Behsud war, but no one in the government paid attention to him and no one took him for serious. Thousands of people came onto the streets to demonstrate but no one in the government heard that. Who’ve heard our cry?! No one!
Ustad Khalili another leader of the Hazaras who was a vice-president at the time, came here and said that the government would resolve the problem, but nothing changed, because he wasn’t able to resolve it, because the president didn’t want. The whole system didn’t want to eliminate the discriminatory pressures on Hazaras. Our leaders organized peaceful sit-in protests in Kabul but nobody in the government heard their voices. When no one heard our voices, I had to quit my job as a driver and picked up gun to defend the dignity of our people. Now I’m committed to defend our people’s liberty, dignity, rights and their values at any cost.
ToloNews Journalist: If the Afghan Government keep silent in replying to your people’s demands to resolve their problem, what would be your message?!
General Alipur: We are ready to defend our people in any situation. We are here. I don’t have any message for the Afghan Government, because it doesn’t have ears to hear us. A government that is an ethnocentric government and acts based on ethnic basis is not a national government.
ToloNews Journalist: How many forces do you have if you can tell us in numbers?!
General Alipur: I can have as many forces as needed. I count on my people and they count on me. I secure their security.
ToloNews Journalist: How many forces do you have?!
General Alipur: I have many soldiers and can mobilize many more as needed, but it’s not the case to reveal to media our classified military information. As a Resistance Force, we have our own military structure and forces. The government is trying to blackmail us by accusing us as the Fatimiyoun Forces and relating us to Iran and other foreign countries but they do not have any proof and any documentation for their baseless claims. They just want to eliminate us by fake propagandas. Hereby I just announce, if there is any proof of what the ethnocentric Government of Afghanistan is trying to show the people, if anyone can show a documentation or at least a small proof for their fake claim, I myself go and deliver myself to the law, but they are all fake propagandas. We don’t have any border to have a contact with our neighboring countries like Iran or Pakistan. It’s us with our rifles and the power behind us is the faith we have in our people’s support. Our people gave their religious charity or doles or the money such as Fitr at the end of Ramaddan month, they help us, because they know we protect them. We have all the documentation from every penny we receive from people. (he points out to his secretary telling him) Ustad please bring all the receipts we have issued to people who helped us economically. Here are the documents of all those who’ve helped us, people can see clearly that we are being supported by penny by penny help of our own people not other countries. The oppressed people who’ve suffered through the history now want to defend themselves by their own means. We’ve never been dependant on any foreign countries and will never be. As it’s my duty and responsibility to defend my house, my village, our people, the same thing every young man of our village think about such a responsibility.
The people who go to certain countries and get trained to commit suicide attacks, they ruin the infrastructures of our country, they kill thousands of innocent people, they stand against the Afghan Government but because they all belong to a particular ethnic group the same as president of the Afghan government nobody sees the fact, or if they see, they close their eyes on them, nobody even only accuses them of what they really do. Where is justice?!
ToloNews Journalist: We heard from people in Kajab that they have lost more than one hundred and fifteen people in Kochi attacks during the years, don’t you think, the government is biased based in this case?
General Alipur: As I said before, the Afghan Government is composed of an ethnocentric system with people who have sick minds who apply systematic discriminatory policies against other ethnic groups, especially against ethnic and religious minorities that’s why we pick up guns and defend our rights.
ToloNews Journalist: If there will be needed, will you oppose the Afghan Government?!
General Alipur: So far we’ve been very supportive to the Afghan Government, but hereafter we just don’t support them and leave them alone in combats. But if the Afghan Government would act against the Resistance Forces and against our people, we react then at that moment.
ToloNews Journalist: There were reports of Taliban attacks on Jalrez district, in case of the Afghan Government provide you with arms, will you help their forces to combat the Taliban?!
General Alipur: No, our military strategy is defensive, not offensive, we just defend our people. As I mentioned before, we’ve been very supportive to Afghan Government in the past, but wherever we went to help them, in exchange they’ve always rewarded us with hate, defamation and blackmailing. We don’t attack anyone. We don’t help the Afghan Government anymore, we just defend our families, our villages, our values, our dignity and our poor people.
ToloNews Journalist: What massage do you have for the central Government of Afghanistan?
General Alipur: The Afghan Government officials do not have ears to hear the cries of the helpless people. If they would hear people’s voices, there wouldn’t be need of us to pick up guns and defend our people. The government instead of curing our wounds, they pour salt on people’s wounds who’ve lost their dearest ones in Kabul and other provinces. All those newborn babies who’ve been killed or the mothers who were killed while giving birth at maternity ward hospital in Dashte Barchi are the evidences of helplessness of our people from Afghan Government’s side. No culprit terrorist is captured yet. So I don’t have any message for the government. The Government that doesn’t hear the cries of the people, it’s useless.
ToloNews Journalist: Thank you very much commander for your valuable time.
General Alipur: You are welcome. Here are the documents of people’s contribution to our Resistance Front for Justice. As a media, you should see them and film them, so that to show to all those who blackmail us as Fatimiyoun or Iran’s related group. We are from the people and it’s our people who give their contributions to support us.
General Alipur’s Secretary: These are documentations and receipts of people’s contribution to the Resistance Front for Justice. Whoever has paid even a penny, we gave a receipt and kept the documentation in our archives.
General Alipur: See these documents and film them to show to the whole world.
Do people contribute by their own will? Or there are obligations?
General Alipur: There are no obligations. We are a Resistance Front from the people and for the people. People love us. People themselves refer to us and contribute what they can.
General Alipur’s secretary: As you see, the contributions differ. There aren’t any fixed quotas. Whoever can and whatsoever amount, they themselves come to us happily and say you defend us, we support you. Then we give a receipt for that amount. Please look at some of them. There are fifty Afghanis, look this other one hundred Afghanis. Another five hundred Afghanis. The soldiers here don’t have monthly wages. They volunteers and what people can help, they buy food and cook here in their bases.
ToloNews Journalist: As the last question, can you tell us Mr. Commander how many active forces do you have?!
General Alipur: I have enough forces based on our need. It’s relative to the need of time. When we are under a lot of pressure, we gather more forces and when we are not under a lot of pressure, we have fewer active forces. Once they’d made another propagandistic fake accusation against us, that we took tolls from the drivers. I invited the Afghan Government to send a fair delegation to conduct research, I announced to the drivers if anyone has any complaints against me, deliver it to the delegation, but there was nothing, except fake propagandas. We even helped the district officials of tax office, providing their security in insecure areas where they went to collect taxes, but the government continues baseless fake propagandas against us.
ToloNews Journalist: One more question commander, some people accuse you of an illegal fight. What do you say about this claim?
General Alipur: All our activities are based on the values of human rights. We don’t do anything bad or illegal. We defend our people for their rights to live. They deserve to live peacefully. Even when we have captives of Taliban Terrorists, we treat them first as human beings then as war captives, based on the International War Laws, Regulations or any existent Conventions. We are aware of everything. You are not the first person who come here to visit us. Other journalists have also visited us here to see our front and activities; some of them have interviewed the locals as well to understand what these civilian people say about us, you can also ask people about us. Our presence is useful for them. We as an oppressed but peaceful ethnic of Afghanistan, don’t do and will never do anything that harm civilians of other ethnics. We live in a time when Afghanistan needs more unity, our suffered people need peace and unity. It’s been at least forty years we are in war. I can’t even imagine to harm anyone. I am here to defend my people against evil terrorists and anyone who wants to harm them.
You are a journalist, please go and find out yourself about our activities and compare them to those of Taliban Terrorists’ who force poor civilian people get off their vehicles and kill them; we are against those terrorists.