"a face like a Chinese doll chiselled from hardwood"

Hazara Boy
Creative Commons AttributionHazara Boy - Credit: Steve Evans
The Hazara come from the central region of Afghanistan, called Hazarajat or Hazaristan. Hazara are predominantly Shi'a Muslims and speak the Hazaragi dialect of the Persian language. They have been the victims of discrimination for many years, based on religion and ethnicity.  

Hazaran origins are much debated. Their name comes from a Persian word meaning "thousand". Current theory favours descent from Mongol soldiers left behind by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, with considerable Turkish admixture. Prior to the 19th century, Haraza were 67% of the total population, the largest Afghan ethnic group. More than half were massacred in 1893 when their autonomy was lost as a result of political action. Later fundamentalist governments, including the Taliban, attempted to dismiss them historically, politically and culturally. Estimates today number the Afghan Hazara at around 2.6 million, about 20% of the country's population.