Abdul Ali Mazari was the head and co-founder of Hezbi Wahdat. Hezbi Wahdat, is a
Shia' political party that was formed from a coalition of several political parties
after the Soviet withdrawal. The government of Iran is believed to have played a key
role in its formation. Mazari considered his organization as one of the three main
groups who played a key role in defeating the communist regime lead by Dr. Najibullah.
Mazari was born in 1946, in the village of Nanwai, Charkent District, Balkh
Province. He studied in private religious schools in Mazar-i-Shariff, Qum (Iran),
and Najaf (Iraq). After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Mazari founded
the Nasr Party. When Wahdat was formed from the merger of nine Shia' factions, Mazari became the leader.
Mazari claimed that Hazaras formed 25 percent of the population of Afghanistan,
and that Hezb-i Wahdat was their representative. He demanded the one fourth of the
cabinet seats be given to his party. When Burhanuddin Rabbani, President of the
Islamic State of Afghanistan, refused to give the Ministry of National Security to a nominee of
that party, Khuday Dad Hazar, Mazari became extremely
angry and pledged to topple Rabbani's government.
Mazari who had formed an alliance with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Dostum against
the Rabbani government, began to negotiate with the Taliban as soon as Hekmatyar
retreated from Kabul. He tried hard to avoid military confrontation with
the Taliban, and hoped that the war between the Taliban and the Rabbani government
would provide him with an opportunity for survival.
Soon, Mazari invited the Taliban to occupy the
frontline positions held by his fighters. Things turned sour when the Taliban
started to disarm Mazari's men as soon they reached West Kabul. This resulted
in clashes between the Taliban and followers of Mazari. Exploiting the situation, Rabbani's
forces attacked and defeated both Wahdat and the Taliban.
Mazari was captured by the Taliban on March 12, and was taken to Charasyab, the Taliban base 25 kilometers
south of Kabul. A Western journalist photographed Mazari with tied hands and feet.
On March 13 1995, Mazari along with nine of his followers were murdered by the
Taliban. The Taliban said Mazari and nine other leaders of his party were being taken to
Kandahar on board a helicopter when he snatched one of his captor's guns, and
wounded the pilot of the helicopter. The plane made an emergency landing near
Ghazni and in the gunbattle which followed, Mazari, nine other leaders of
Wahdat, and six Taliban guards were killed. The Taliban's version of Mazari's
death was disputed by the leaders of Wahdat. They accused Mullah Borjan, the
commander of the Taliban in Charasyab, of torturing and killing Mazari.
The Taliban's behavior towards Mazari was shaped by
ethnic hatred and religious prejudice.
death of Mazari stunned his followers and allies. His followers carried his
body from Ghazni to Bamiyan on foot; from there it was flown to Mazar-i-Shariff
on a helicopter for burial. Dostum, representatives of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and
Mujahdidi attended the funeral services of Mazari. A statement issued by the
Foreign Ministry of Iran called Mazari, a martyr. Foreign Minister Ali Akber
Velayati condemned the killing of Mazari and blamed the Taliban for the
continuation of bloodshed in Afghanistan.