Kabul, Afghanistan – The Maiwand Wrestling club was attacked by suicide bombers from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group last September.
At least 20 people were killed and 70 wounded in the assault at the club in Dash-e-Barchi, a neighbourhood in Kabul’s west, home to a sizeable Hazara community.
Coach Ghulam Abbas lost his left arm in what he said was an attack on the ethnic Hazara minority – a group comprising mostly Shia Muslims and accounting for up to 15 percent of Afghanistan’s estimated 30 million population.
The Hazara have long suffered oppression and persecution in Afghanistan. In the 1990s, thousands were killed by al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. They are now often targeted by groups swearing allegiance to ISIL.
The Taliban, during their rule from 1996 to 2001, declared the Hazaras “non-Muslims“.
More recently, peace talks have gathered pace following a series of high-level meetings between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives over the past three months in Qatar.
The Hazaras doubt the negotiations will stop the killings.
In an act of resistance, Abbas has now returned to the wrestling club where he taught for 30 years.