Hazarajat, also known as Hazaristan, is the name given to a region in central Afghanistan that makes up the native homeland of Afghanistan's Hazara ethnic group. It is made up of the three central provinces of Bamyan, Daykundi and Ghor and includes large areas of Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Orūzgān, Balkh, Sar-e Pol, Samangan and Baghlan. The region has also been known as Paropamizan or Paropamise.
In the pre-Islamic period Hazarajat was made up of small autonomous Buddhist states such as Qandahar, Ghor, Bamiyan and Zamindawar. Ruins of the capital the ancient Kingdom of Babur Shah can still be found at Chel Burj in Yakawlang, Bamian. The Kushano-Hephthalite empire was followed by the Sassanians.
Subsequent rulers of the region include the Ghorids, Persians, Ghaznavids and Moghuls. They were followed by Chengiz (Gengez) Khan in 1220. Tradition has it that Gengez's son was killed in the fighting for the city of Gholghola in Bamian. Enraged, Gengez Khan ordered his forces to kill every living being present in the city, even cats and mice. These and similar historical records prove that the Hazaras put up stiff resistance against the invading armies of Changez Khan; which resulted in the devastation of their land and themselves. Later the region remained colony to the Ilkhanids, Chughtais and Khurasani Kingdoms. Hazaras enjoyed full autonomy after the breakdown of the Ilkhanid Empire until the Afghan invasion the late 19 century.
In the 1890s, rapid Pashtunization of the region under Amir Abur Rehman led to destruction of the region and its natives and ended up with the Hazaras losing approximately 60% of their population and land in the war of independence. Thus, Hazarjat was reduced to half its earlier size.
Situated high in the Hindu Kush and Koh e Baba mountains, the Hazarajat plateau has extremely cold and harsh climate dominated by heavy snowfalls, snow storms and short, hot summers. Winters span to over 6 months before snow melts. Like most of Afghanistan, Hazarajat also lacks greenery and is poorly covered with vegetation, there is no forest in the region and the slopes are bare.
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