Only weeks after schools in Afghanistan were reopened for the first time since the Taliban took control of the country last August, teachers in the eastern city of Herat are reporting a new practice by the new government.
Bordering Iran, Herat is Afghanistan's third-largest city and is mostly populated by Muslims. However, Afghan teachers in the city have been reporting a request made by the Taliban, requiring all teachers to state their religious affiliation.
Locals in Herat believe that the question aims at seeking out the city's Shiite minority, which could reach up to 15% according to American estimates prior to Afghanistan's fall in the hands of the Taliban in August 2021.
#Taliban asks teachers in #Herat to clarify their religion! This will help them to identify #Shia minority teachers, fire them from their position or even kill them! #Haqqani terrorist network conducted the deadliest attacked on Shias during 20 y of #Republic— Massoud Hossaini (@Massoud151) November 16, 2021
Online, many Afghans shared the news warning that this move by the Taliban might be one step closer to replacing Shiite Afghan teachers with Sunni ones, considering that the Sunni Taliban's hostility to Shiites might be back.
Taliban has officially started sectarian profiling of #Shia people in Herat province. This form distributed among teachers by Taliban admin requires them to fill in their sect. They fear expulsion, demotion and/or imposition of strict Talibani-Sunni laws. Pic v @AFIntlBrk pic.twitter.com/lkRan51Doa— Saleem Javed (@mSaleemJaved) November 15, 2021
During the 1990s reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan, people from the Shiite sect reported extreme violations by the militant group, against them, most of whom are Hazaras. They had already faced racial discrimination for decades by other racial groups in Afghanistan.
Last month, an investigation by Amnesty International accused the Taliban of unlawfully killing 13 Hazaras in Afghanistan's Daykundi. The killings are believed to have taken place during August 2021, as the US was withdrawing its troops from the country.
Almost 120 Shia Afghans lost their lives in a series of explosions aimed at their mosques during Friday prayers throughout this year. The attacks have been linked to IS-K, while the Taliban's official stance was to condemn the attacks and pledging to restore security to the country.