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The tragedy and valor of Afghan - 5 -Party and religion, Islam was too tough for PDPA

Alexander Antonovich Lyakhovsky

The tragedy and valor of Afghan

Party and religion, Islam was too tough for PDPA

Problems of religion occupied an important place in the practical activity of the PDPA. Afghanistan is a Muslim country, and Islam, which has deep and firm roots in Afghan society, during a long stage of historical development, to a large extent determined the entire spiritual life, and also shaped the way of life and traditions of the Afghan people. And although among the population there are adherents of different interpretations, directions of Islam (Sunnis and Shiites), which, in turn, have different currents, for example, among the Shiites: "Asna Ashar" and "Ismailis", but in relation to the Gentile, they are all united, regardless of what kind of Islam they belong to.

According to the information of the Soviet embassy, ​​there were about 300 thousand servants of the Islamic cult in the DRA (2% of the population), the number of operating mosques and places for prayer exceeded 40 thousand, there were thousands of mausoleums, tombs (mazars) and other holy places (ziyarats), where millions of believing Afghan citizens came daily. A characteristic feature of Afghanistan was that there was no supreme religious head in the country. All mullahs completely acted at their own discretion and did not obey anyone. The existing councils of ulema in the provinces and in the center gave only general interpretations of the Qur'an and issued various recommendations that were not binding. Every tenth Afghan made a pilgrimage to Mecca, Medina or Najef. About 20 thousand Afghans were constantly studying in religious educational institutions in the country. The Faculty of Theology at Kabul University trained Sunni theologians. The study of Islam was compulsory in all schools in the country.

Every day in the country began and ended with the call of thousands of clergy to perform namaz.

Afghan Koran reciters have repeatedly been recognized as the best in Islamic readings in Mecca.

Sunni Islam is predominant in Afghanistan. Before the Saur revolution, Islam of this trend was the official religion. Only Sunnis could hold leading government posts. They are officials and officers. Only Sunnis could get higher education. Shiism, which was preached by the Hazaras and the mountainous Tajiks, was in the position of a secondary, almost heretical direction in Islam. Shiites were discriminated against in various ways. Some of their rituals (the so-called "Shahsey-Vakhsey") were prohibited. Many Shiites were forced to resort to using the principle of taqiyya (mental renunciation of what is said aloud), etc.

As you know, a person's religious feeling is an extremely delicate and subtle part of his spiritual life. When invading it, it is important to observe the principle - do no harm. "And ask people who know, if you don't understand yourself!"

The author of the book, Major General A.A. Lyakhovsky, served for a long time in the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces and at the final stage of the stay of Soviet troops in Afghanistan was the closest assistant to the head of the Operational Group of the USSR Ministry of Defense in the Republic of Armenia, Army General V.I. Varennikov, who was actually an adviser Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the RA Armed Forces Najibullah. This allowed the author to shed light on many white spots of the war in Afghanistan and to present a fairly complete picture of the events that took place there.

On the basis of previously unpublished little-known, secret, and top-secret information, as well as the memories of direct participants in the events, the difficult and contradictory process of making a decision by the Soviet political leadership on direct military intervention in the internal affairs of Afghanistan is revealed, and the history of the entry and hostilities of Soviet troops in this country is shown. The author reveals the deep reasons for the fatal miscalculations of the top Soviet leadership, as a result of which the army was held hostage to the "Afghan war", and it is not its fault that this action did not bring glory to the Soviet Union. The role of the Islamic factor and its influence on the course of events in Afghanistan are revealed. An analysis of the actions of Soviet troops and the reasons that led the PDPA regime to defeat is given.

The book is intended for the general reader and is also of undoubted interest for researchers and specialists in the problems of local conflicts that have claimed the lives of many thousands of our compatriots, as well as in terms of UN peacekeeping activities in various regions of our planet. says the Quran. But the “revolutionaries” who came to power in Afghanistan did not follow this precept.

Although in an address to the people in April 1978 it was proclaimed that the revolution in Afghanistan was carried out in the name of "protecting the principles of Islam and democracy", and the patriotic clergy were called upon to cooperate with the new government, in practical terms, steps were taken to strengthen control over activities clergy and content of sermons. The fact that criticism of Islam and the desecration of holy places was tolerated was regarded as a state disrespect for the religious feelings and traditions of believers. Without carrying out the necessary explanatory work, the PDPA declared the number one enemy the Islamist extremist organization "The Muslim Brotherhood". Without exposing the anti-government activities of individual mullahs, the regime began to carry out harsh repressive measures against them. At the same time, many clergymen were shot in front of the faithful. This practice elevated them to the ranks of "martyrs", which directly damaged the authority of state power and repelled a significant part of the people from participating in government reforms, and also multiplied the number of its opponents. After all, Islam was the worldview of the majority of the population, in whose eyes the priests were the servants of Allah on earth. In addition, the authority of the religious leader as a wise advisor and active participant in the Afghan struggle for independence was very high.

To oppose Islam, or even more so to fight it in Afghanistan, meant to oppose our own people. The ignorant treatment of him, the manipulation of Islam for selfish purposes turned out to be the most serious consequences. Islam was taken by the opposition as a unifying ideology as opposed to the ideology of the PDPA.

By a special government decree in October 1978, women were given equal rights with men. It also provided for the abolition of kalym, the prohibition of early marriages (the so-called marriage reform). In the struggle for the elimination of illiteracy, forced education of women was allowed (and the Muslim clergy always preached that literacy was useless for a woman and even harmful to her), mixed educational groups were created: old people, women, children. From the point of view of a civilized person, these were progressive measures. However, by illiterate and religious Afghans, especially in the kishlak zone, all this was regarded as interference with personal life, an encroachment on traditional foundations and way of life. But even in such conditions, the proclamation of the equality of women played (especially in large cities) its role.

The Shiites were dealt with especially cruelly. Indicative in this regard is the fate of the family of the leader (feast) of the "Ismailis" Sayd Mansoor Naderi. His three siblings Said Rounaga (poet), Said Anwar and Said Hasein were killed on the orders of X. Amin.

The repressive steps of the regime against the higher clergy and mullahs led to the fact that under the flag of Islam and speaking on its behalf, they led all the forces hostile to the new government and moved to actively oppose the PDPA, skillfully using Islamic Values ​​as a weapon in the struggle for political power. That is why the party's ostentatious events showing respect for Islam (allocating funds for the repair and construction of mosques and prayer houses, the introduction of benefits for pilgrims to Mecca, an increase in the salaries of mullahs, etc.) did not give the expected results.

Practical and organizational measures taken by the DRA government to forcibly reorganize society have led to the severing of economic ties. This was especially felt in the central regions of the country, where previously there was a system for processing livestock products and supplying them to large cities, in which the Hazaras and nomads played the main role. This entailed a drop in the living standards of the population and, at first, latent and then explicit resistance of the population. The main slogan under which the party came to power - improving the life of the common people - turned out to be an empty phrase.

In June 1978, the first armed uprisings against the "democratic and anti-feudal measures" of the central authorities took place in the provinces of Badakhshan, Bamyan, Kunar, Paktia and Nangarhar. They were headed by the landlord-feudal circles, the comprador bourgeoisie and the higher Islamic clergy who consolidated with them. Unlike the PDPA, they skillfully used in their activities the almost complete illiteracy of the population, complex interethnic and tribal contradictions, religious fanaticism, and extreme nationalism. But the country's leadership was not particularly alarmed by this turn of events. It considered that it could easily suppress by force individual pockets of resistance, and gave the appropriate order to the army.

The actions of army units against the rural opposition, the use of artillery and aviation to suppress its armed uprisings resulted in civilian casualties, the destruction of villages and irrigation systems, and the destruction of crops in the fields. This led to the fact that the rebellious movement gradually began to expand. Under the influence of mullahs and landowners, the spontaneous resistance of the villagers acquired an organized character and assumed an Islamic tinge. But the government, continuing to rely only on force, put into operation more and more combat units, including using them in those areas in which traditionally the army had never even appeared before (the zone of settlement of free Pashtun tribes).

Punitive measures against internal opposition and the population caused a flood of refugees from Afghanistan. Rescuing children and relatives, people left the country with their families, and sometimes whole villages. As the hostilities escalated, the number of refugees increased, and soon this process took on a mass character. For example, if in 1973 several hundred people emigrated to Pakistan, and in 1978 - 110 thousand people, then only in September - December 1979 there were already 750 thousand people. Subsequently, the number of refugees began to number in the millions.

The external opposition also intensified its activity, the main base of which was Pakistan. Indeed, after the failed uprising in 1975, Islamic groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood international organization united under the leadership of G. Hekmatyar in Pakistan to form the Hezbeh Islami-e-Afghanistan (Islamic Party of Afghanistan) party and soon accepted the ranks of many members of the higher clergy and mullahs. Among them were Burhanuddin Rabbani, Muhammad Yunus (Khales), Said Mansur, Jalaluddin Khakani, Ahmad Shah (Masud) and others.

Strongly influenced by contemporary Muslim fundamentalist thinkers, including the founder of the Pakistani Jamite-Islami and the leader of the movement for a “more Islamic” Pakistan, Sayed Maududi, the founders of the Islamist extremist organization “The Muslim Brotherhood” Sayed Kutab and Hassan-ul-Bana, and also Iranian Ali Shariati, the leadership of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan (IPA) led the fight against the PDPA regime from extreme right-wing Islamist positions.

However, in one party, several leaders were cramped. Each of them strove to create his own party. The first to break away was B. Rabbani, who formed the Jamiat-e-Islam-e-Afghanistan (Islamic Society of Afghanistan). Several former IPA members followed, including Ahmad Shah Massoud. And although outwardly the leaders of the opposition acted as allies, gradually disagreements arose between them, which then grew into enmity, which intensified over the years.

By the beginning of the April Revolution in Afghanistan, the centers of two main fundamentalist opposition organizations, the Islamic Party of Afghanistan (IPA) under the leadership of G. Hekmatyar and the Islamic Society of Afghanistan (IOA), led by B. Rabbani, were already located, and operated on Pakistani territory. They were created after the collapse of the Muslim Youth organization from its surviving members. These parties took the positions of Islamic fundamentalists. But as the rebellious movement developed, the village Afghans involved fought mainly under the leadership of local mullahs who held traditionalist views and opposed new interpretations of Islam, considering them to be a deviation from true Islam. On this basis, the Khudam-ul-Furkan (Servant of the Quran) party arose.

In the second half of 1978, attempts were made to unite all these parties into a single party, which was to be headed by the religious authority Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi. However, this was contrary to the traditional Afghan social system based on individual freedom and equality. This association did not last long and soon fell apart.

In 1979, new opposition centers, parties and organizations created in Pakistan appeared in the political arena: Hezbe Islami Khales (Islamic Party of Khales - IPH), which broke away from the IPA due to personal differences between Hekmatyar and Khales; “Mahaz-i-milli Islami Afghanistan” (“National Islamic Front of Afghanistan” - NIFA), organized by a prominent religious figure, spiritual leader (feast) of the Qadiriya Sufi order S. A. Gilani, who advocated the restoration of the monarchy in the country; "Harakat-i-ikilab-i-Islami Afghanistan" ("Movement of the Islamic Revolution of Afghanistan" - DIRA), created on the basis of the group of Orthodox clergy "Servants of the Quran" under the leadership of M. Nabi. All these organizations were resolutely disposed towards armed struggle against the republican regime and began to form combat detachments,

The main efforts of all opposition forces were focused on working with tribes and refugees. The goal is to attract already trained militants from the self-defense units that are available in each tribe and have their own weapons to their side. In the propaganda of the opposition, a differentiated approach began to be applied to various strata of the population and national-ethnic groups. Special efforts were made to ensure that the religious and nationalist coloring of political slogans and programs corresponded to the established traditions, social and national psychology of the population and met the interests of those strata represented by the opposition leaders.

On the territory of Pakistan, in the areas of Peshawar, Kohat, Quetta, Parachinar, Miramshah, near many settlements bordering on the DRA, the centers of opposition organizations, their military camps, weapons depots, transshipment bases, and training centers for militants have settled. The opposition systematically began to create a bridgehead for the deployment of full-scale military operations on the territory of Afghanistan.

At the same time, opposition leaders carried out extensive propaganda work among the highest clergy, recognized tribal authorities and elders living in Pakistan. The emissaries of their organizations operated in almost all regions of the country, without encountering opposition from local authorities.

The appearance of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran has become "heavenly manna" for the opposition parties, since before that they did not have any serious "support base". With the formation of the refugee camps, the leaders of these parties were allowed by the Pakistani authorities to distribute among the refugees the aid received from other countries, mainly from the West.

After the appearance of refugees in Pakistan, IPA, IOA, DIRA, IPH, NFSA began to train, with the help of Pakistani military specialists, fighters from peasant youth, whom they recruited in camps for money or forced them under threat of death and punishment of their parents. By the end of 1978, a mass dispatch of armed detachments and sabotage groups trained in Pakistan began to the DRA. Since that time, the scale of resistance to the government of N.M. Taraki began to grow rapidly.

In early January 1979, the situation in the country deteriorated sharply. Armed resistance to the authorities developed in the central provinces - Khazarajat, where Kabul's influence was traditionally weak. The Tajiks of Nuristan opposed the government. The emissaries of the fundamentalists who arrived from Pakistan began recruiting men from the local population into the armed opposition units. Anti-government propaganda has sharply intensified, especially among the military, aimed at the collapse of the Afghan army, the creation of new armed opposition detachments from deserters, as well as an increase in emigration to Pakistan and Iran.

In many provinces of Afghanistan, sabotage actions of opposition groups have been launched to block roads, destroy power lines, and telephone communications. Terror against citizens loyal to the government increased. The leaders of the IPA and IOA by such actions tried to destabilize the situation, undermine the new DRA regime. They tried to keep the government in constant tension, to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear.


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