The Taliban hopes Maulavi Mahdi, a 33-year-old Hazara, will help win over the ethnic group

Born in a small village called Hosh in northern Afghanistan, Mahdi was 8 years old when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. Three years later, the Taliban bombed his Balkhab district. He fled with his family to Iran, like many Hazaras, and did not return until after the militants were driven out of power following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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