‘Afghanistan’s Tatars are pinning all their hopes on Tatarstan’

The Muslim Patriotic Charity Fund has addressed the government of the republic

Tatarstan needs to create its office in Afghanistan to help local Tatars who are estimated to total 1,5 million. At the moment, they need flour, sugar and vegetable oil. A month is given to make a decision. Rustam Khabibullin, director general of the Muslim Patriotic Charity Fund, the only organisation from Russia to be registered now in Afghanistan, talked about this. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“Families are starving. There are two cases of death, children died”

The meeting named The Way of Cooperation between Afghanistan and Tatarstan: Economic, Political, Cultural was emotional. As Khabibullin said, the links between the republic and Afghanistan have been established in the last few years. Particularly, academies of sciences agreed on joint work. It was supposed to bring a Bactrian gold exhibition — objects found in 1978 during the digging of Kushan royal burials dating back to 1 century BC — to Tatarstan. It is one of the largest hoards found by archaeologists. Mullah’s Wife Tatar film was recognised as the best Muslim film from Russia at the Lajward National Film Festival. In 2019, the fund found the possible burial site of Khambal Gambarov who died at the Afghan War comes from Aktanysh District, Tatarstan. In February 2021, a memorable plaque was placed in his regional centre in his honour.

In March 2021, the government of Afghanistan added nationality to passports, and about half a million people wrote down Tatars. After the change of power, Tatar parents register their children as Tajiks and Uzbeks to receive aid from these countries.

“Families are starving. There are two cases of death, children died. There are constantly military actions, the USA blocked the accounts,” Khabibullin outlined the current situation in the country.

He said that the fund contacted the Tatarstan president offering to create the republic’s office in Afghanistan: “Afghanistan’s Tatars are pinning all their hopes on Tatarstan. It is necessary to urgently send them humanitarian aid.”

“Today Afghanistan is on the edge of famine-genocide. A big part of the population is beyond the poverty line, the lives of millions of Afghans are at threat,” indicated head of the analytic centre of the Russian Community of Political Experts, Director of the Centre for Afghan Politics Andrey Serenko. “We got used to that politicians deal with Afghanistan. But the events demonstrate that politics turn out to be bad. You cannot help but call the situation we see in Afghanistan as genocide.”

We can debate on the theme, recognise the new government of not, noted Serenko, but while the games are played, people are starving, dying in Afghanistan. He noted that calmness in northern districts of the country is the safety of both Central Asia and Russia itself.

“There is not even baking soda at home”

Now Afghan Tatars are staying home without a job, said Khabibullin, though they used to work both in the military sector and in the government, also, they used to run a business.

“There is not even baking soda at home. Flour, sugar and vegetable oil are first aid so that can make flatbread and eat,” Khabibullin said.

The fund develops the commercial and economic activity between Russian and Muslim entrepreneurs. Some exported goods were used for charity. After the accounts were blocked, the sellers don’t see money: cashless settlements isn’t working across the country now.

“We will report on the aid, we provide it first-hand, not via ministers and governors,” Khabibullin said and promised that the logistics inside the country was up to them.

Then winter will start, and the process will be complicated. A month is left to solve the problem. Afghan Tatars need a representative office. Nowadays they aren’t even permitted to officially bury at local cemeteries. There is nobody to protect them.

“I am against providing humanitarian aid with food,” Khabibullin admitted. “The case is catastrophic!”

Afghan Tatars, according to the director of the fund, live in unique places. Before the revolution, these sites could be called a Silk Way — Kazan Tatars exported commodities to other countries on this way. Local Tatars still live in those places located on the route. In other words, there is potential to develop relations. The fund organised Tatar language classes in two local schools — this process still goes on.

Radif Kashapov

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