The Hazara are one of the several ethnic groups in Afghanistan. Traditionally they inhabited the Hazarajat, the land of the Hazara, which comprises the mountainous central areas of Afghanistan. Since the majority of them are adherents of Shiite Islam and have a distinctly Mongoloid appearance, it is easy to distinguish them from the neighbouring populations. The name “Hazara” has been interpreted as meaning the Persian word for “one thousand”, standing for one thousand soldiers of the Mongolian army of Dschinghis Khan. Estimations regarding the Hazara population differ greatly, ranging from 1,000,000 to 7,000,000. With support from the British, the Emir Abdur Rahman occupied the Hazarajat in the second part of the 19th century and with the incorporation in the Afghan state a marginalization of the Hazara people began. In the modem Afghan state the Hazara were underprivileged politically, socially and economically and suppressed by the Pashtun rulers. During the resistance against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul a development took place that led to several changes within Hazara society and enabled the Hazara to play an important role in post-Soviet Afghanistan. Since the appearance of the Taliban movement in 1994 the Hazara, organized in the Hezb-e Wahdat (Unity Party), offer resistance. They are no longer willing to subordinate themselves to a Pashtun-dominated state.