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Afghanistan's Marginalized Populations

Afghanistan's Beautiful Cultural and Ethnic Diversity is at Risk of Disappearing

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The main religion of Afghanistan is Islam which is comprised of the majority Sunni sect, and minority sects such as the Shia, Ahmadi Muslims, and _______.

 Other religious minority groups in Afghanistan include Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahá’í, Zoroastrians, Christianity, and Atheism. 

Since the Talibans take over in August, 2021, there has a massive increase in attacks targeting religious minorities. Afghanistan's Jewish population has completely disappeared, Sikhs are on the verge of disappearing as well after the last Sikh temple was targeted by ISIS-K in June, 2022.


Afghanistan is still largely a tribal society, divided into many tribes, clans and smaller groups. The main ethnic groups are dispersed throughout the country as follows: Pashtuns, the majority group, are concentrated mainly in the south and south-east but also live all over the state; Tajiks inhabit mainly the north and north-east, and the Kabul region; Hazaras live in the centre (Hazarajat) and in Kabul; Uzbeks in the north; Aimaq in the west; Turkmens in the north; Baluchis in the west and south-west; and Nuristanis in the east.

Nomadic ethnic groups in Afghanistan continued to be sidelined politically and economically. 

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Afghanistan, and others who do not conform to rigid gender norms, have faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety and lives since the Taliban took full control of the country on August 15, 2021.

Afghanistan was a dangerous place for LGBT people well before the Taliban recaptured Kabul in 2021. In 2018, the government of President Ashraf Ghani passed a law that explicitly criminalized same-sex sexual relations, and the previous penal code included vague language widely interpreted as making same-sex relations a criminal offense.[2] LGBT people interviewed had experienced many abuses because of their sexual orientation or gender identity prior to the Taliban’s return to power, including sexual violence, child and forced marriage, physical violence from their families and others, expulsion from schools, blackmail, and being outed. Many were forced to conceal key aspects of their identity from society and from family, friends, and colleagues. However, when the Taliban, which had been in power from 1996 to late 2001, regained control of the country in August 2021, the situation dramatically worsened.

The Rights of Women and Girls

Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are banned from going to high school and effectively barred from political participation, as the Taliban has an all-male cabinet and there is no Ministry of Women’s Affairs. 

Afghan women are now mostly restricted from working outside the home, they must cover their faces in public, and they have to be accompanied by a male chaperone when they travel. Furthermore, they continue to be subjected to multiple forms of gender-based violence. 

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