In August 1998 the Taliban captured the city of Mazar-i Sharif in Afghanistan. They began killing civilians and then started targeting male Hazaras. They went from house to house searching for and executing mostly Hazara men and boys. Women and girls were abducted and raped during the Taliban takeover and houses were looted. Governor Niazi made speeches threatening violence against the Hazaras for retaliation of the Taliban killings in 1997. He criticized the Hazaras for being Shi’a, then ordered them to become Sunnis, leave Afghanistan, or risk being killed. Thousands of Hazaras died.