Afghanistan Between 1978 and 1990 Part II

By | December 16, 2021

On December 27, 1979, Soviet troops invaded the Afghanistan Amin was deposed and killed, and was replaced by B. Karmal, leader of the Parcham faction . The governments of Western and Islamic countries reacted with official positions: from the American president J. Carter to the regime of the ayatollah Khomeini, to that of General Zia-ul-Haq’s Pakistan. The United Nations from 1980 onwards regularly condemned the foreign invasion of the country, while continuing to accept the seat of the regime, and without expressly mentioning the Soviet Union. In 1980 the Wakhan was occupied militarily, the geographical corridor of the Pamir plateau that joins the Afghanistan to China, via Sinkiang, and the borders modified by a special treaty. The first steps of the new regime showed a more flexible face than the previous one and many political prisoners were released; but the reaction within the country was general. In the name of Jihad, the holy war of Islam, the resistance groups, the Mujahidīn, were formed . The regime qualified them as Dushman-i-Inqilāb (“enemies of the revolution”), while the Mujahidīn used the term Shuravi Kāfir (” Infidel Soviets”).

The resistance seemed to organize itself more organically in the detribalized and linguistically more homogeneous areas (Badakhshān, Panjshir, Hazarajat, Nuristan), but it was also successful in the North more directly threatened by expansion, in areas where already in the 1920s and 1930s emigration from Soviet Turkestān had been constant. The resistance of the Pashtun tribes is more difficult and fragmented, where traditionally each valley was represented by a clan or a tribe. In areas even merely suspected of resistance, the Soviet air force intervened with carpet bombings to remove all logistical support from the resisters. It is estimated that during the period of occupation (1980-89) 60% of the cultivated land was abandoned,

The civilian population fled the country en masse, mainly from the Pashtun border areas. While refugees were regularly counted in camps controlled by the Pakistani army and managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in Iran they tended to mix with the local population. For Afghanistan 2001, please check

In 1980 the number of refugees reached three and a half million in Pakistan and more than two million in Iran, for a total of about 1/3 of the country’s population. It was also estimated that another two million were internal refugees headed to Kābul and the main cities, more than half a million dead, as well as a very high number of injuries due to the thousands of mines scattered in the areas adjacent to the main communication routes and city. There was a real change in the ethnic and linguistic composition of the country. Many Pashtun tribal groups were inclined to leave the more recently colonized northern areas, the nomads to settle down; the countryside was depopulated.

The conflict also tended to radicalize according to ideological approaches: on the one hand the communist regime, on the other the Muslim religion. The propaganda of the former mainly attacked Islamic Fundamentalists, thus giving them greater relevance than their impact. The land redistribution program was interrupted, but at the same time the Afghan economic integration with the USSR was strengthened, in particular of the mining and energy structures in the north of the country. From the province of Jozjan the. it supplied the USSR with its natural gas at special prices through a pipeline connected to the Soviet network.

On the educational level, the literacy process was strengthened, according to the programmed ideological lines. Simultaneously there was a certain formal change in relation to religious institutions: the Koranic schools were restored and placed under government control, the red flag became green again, the color of Islam, Muslim delegations from Soviet Central Asia were invited into the country. On the military level, compulsory conscription increased to three years from the age of 16, but desertions represented about 2/3 of the conscripts; the police forces (tsarandoy) and those of the Khad, the secret police placed under the control of the head of the government, were strengthened. The occupying Soviet army averaged between 120,000 and 150,000 men.

With Zia-ul-Haq remaining in power, the links between the resistance and the Pakistani government became closer. On the other hand, India, in antithesis to the Pakistani regime, and due to the pro-Soviet policy of the governments of I. Ghandi continued by his son Rajiv, maintained an attitude of support for the Afghan regime. The Islamic Conference, which brings together Muslim countries, had already recognized the Mujahideen a seat among its representatives in February 1980, but in practice only Malaysia and Sudan subsequently recognized a government in exile.

After alternating vicissitudes of detachments and splits, two groupings of alliances were formed among the Mujahidīn of Sunni origin: the so-called Moderates and the Fundamentalists. The more moderate component, also considered the most ” secular ”, underlined the relevance of the Pashtunwali code of honor, that is, the customary social behavior of Pashtun tribal groups, and at the same time the need for a national state with a monarchical constitution. Politically, he supported the convening of the loya jirga, the assembly of tribal leaders. Leading this group, the Mahaz-i-Milli Islami (National Islamic Front of Afghānistān) was SA Gailani, nakib (head) of the Qadiriya brotherhood. The other traditional component, the Jabha Nijat-i-Milli Afghānistān (Afghān National Liberation Front), was headed by S. Mujaddidi, grandson of the agha (head) of the Nakshbandiya brotherhood, executed under the khalqi regime. The Nakshbandiya, with a wide diffusion throughout Central Asia, was considered the most orthodox brotherhood. The third moderate component was the Haraqati-Inqilāb Islāmī (Islamic Revolutionary Movement), supported by the mullahs and maulvi more traditional. It was the most widespread movement in the area of ​​the great Durrani and Ghilzai Pashtun confederations in the south of the country, and also the first to intervene in the armed struggle during the Taraki regime. Its president was Maulvi Nabi Muhammadi.

Afghanistan Between 1978 and 1990 Part II