Behind The Massacre In Mazar-i-Sharif
The intrepid Terry Glavin in Dissent Magazine with more insight on what led up to the Massacre in Mazar-i-Sharif:
Mazar has survived as a rebuke to the Islamist orthodoxies that have stultified civilized life from Persepolis to Peshawar. It is the epicenter of everything that jihadists hold to be heretical. During the late 1990s, the city put up an especially fierce resistance to Taliban tyranny. Since 2004 the province’s bare-knuckle governor, Atta Mohammed Noor, has cleaved to a law-and-order ferocity that terrifies the Taliban-friendly Pashtuns who form Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s base of power.
It was not in spite of these things but precisely because of them that about three years ago, Shia Khomeinists and Sunni Wahhabists teamed up in their efforts at subversion in Mazar. During my visits in the city last June, the smartest young Afghans I spoke with were worried that it was just a matter of time before these efforts would spill out in blood.
From accounts of last Friday’s massacre that I’ve received from several Afghan human rights activists and journalists, what emerges is a picture of an opportunity that was just waiting for a pretext. What happened did not simply result from a protest march that began at the Blue Mosque and got terribly out of hand.
The protest began with an Iranian propaganda initiative that was set in motion more than a week earlier, on March 24. Hamid Karzai himself played a central role in the affair. The bloody skirmishing that has left at least two dozen people dead across Afghanistan has gone so far as to cast a shadow over the future of the UN’s operations in the country. In other words, it’s working.