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IIE-SRF Fellow Tawab Danish Speaks at SAP Event

Tawab Danish speaks at SAP event on March 25, 2024
March 28, 2024

Afghan Scholar Proposes Tactics to Address Minority Persecution

"We should use sanctions to force the Taliban to sit at the negotiation table. Otherwise, they have the power," said Tawab Danish at a March 25 event, Hazaras and Shias: Violence, Discrimination, and Exclusion Under Taliban Rule.

Tawab Danish is an Institute of International Education Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) fellow and a second-year visiting scholar at Cornell Law School. His research focuses on constitutional law and human rights law.

At the event, Danish began by delving into Afghanistan's demographics, characterized by a diverse mix of ethnicities and religions. Hazaras are the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan after Pashtuns and Tajiks, and Shia Muslims are the second largest religious community. Both communities have endured discrimination and violence under the Taliban, Danish said.

Tawab Danish speaks at SAP event on March 25, 2024
To secure long-term stability in Afghanistan, Tawab Danish calls for dialogue, sanctions, and sustained efforts toward justice and inclusion.

Danish described the period between the U.S. intervention and eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan (2001–21) as a golden age for Hazaras and Shias. For two decades, the nation shifted toward more inclusive governance, and Hazaras, Shias, and women increased their participation in the political, judicial, and ministerial spheres.

The Taliban's resurgence in 2021 saw a return to persecution for Hazaras and Shias.

"The Taliban's refusal to acknowledge sectarian differences and enforcement of Hanafi jurisprudence present serious dangers to religious and ethnic minority groups," Danish said. "This constitutes a breach of international human rights standards and fundamental Islamic tenets, potentially leading Afghanistan into ethnoreligious strife and undermining its stability and legal structure."

Looking forward, Danish underscored the necessity of combating the Taliban's extremist ideology on the global stage. He proposed a pragmatic initial approach for addressing the plight of Afghan minorities: initiating meaningful discussions with the Taliban while applying pressure to negotiate by imposing sanctions on travel and financial assets of Taliban leaders. He believes advocacy on social media platforms can help support the right to life and work for Hazaras, Shias, and other Afghan minority communities, including women.

The event was hosted by by the South Asia Program, part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Learn more about how Cornell supports scholars under threat.

Manju Smriti, MPA ’23, is global operations program coordinator for Global Cornell.

Additional Information


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