The fall of the Taliban has done little to end religious discrimination against minorities in Afghanistan.
The Boston Globe (May 6) reports that official government persecution, such as the wearing of colored badges to identify minorities as either Hindu or Sikh (the two largest minorities in Afghanistan), ended when the Taliban was defeated four months ago. But Muslims still are not allowed any education, access to government jobs, seats on the commission setting rules for electing the new government, or protection from warlords who seized their property.
The strict law-and-order atmosphere of the Taliban rule kept violent attacks against Hindus and Sikhs at bay; now local extremists have burned down homes and businesses. While other ethnic groups have received relief, the Hindus and Sikhs have largely been bypassed and they are too poor to flee the country, reports Indira Lakshmanan.
Because of their small numbers and similar faiths, the Hindu and Sikh communities have merged, sharing temples and residential compounds. They also hide distinctive dress that might bring them unwanted attention.