Party Members Terrorized in Provincial Cities
As noted above, professional terror attacks started in the summer of 1980 after religious scholars issued fatwas; until then, party men had been driven from the rural areas, taking refuge in cities where an uncontrollable process of urbanization had started. In the beginning the Khalqis more than the Parchamis were the target of attacks. The brutality of the Khalqis was fresh, and people were harsher with them than with the Parchamis, whose brutality was not yet apparent. Party members were attacked more frequently in big provincial cities than in Kabul. Even in a city like Mazar, which is situated in a flat plain and whose inhabitants are known to be relatively mild, party members were killed in numbers that rivaled and even surpassed those of other cities.
In the city of Kandahar the Khalqis became the target of attacks on a bigger scale. Terrorism also started there much earlier, following the fall of the Khalqi regime. During the course of thirty-four days in January and February 1980, 130 Khalqis were killed in terror attacks in the city of Kandahar and its surrounding districts. This was the work of common people, not professionals. The killings were in revenge for the men the people of Kandahar had lost at the hands of Khalqis when they were in power. Two examples will suffice to make the point clear. During the Khalqi rule about a hundred prisoners from the city and the Helmand area were thrown out of airplanes into the Arghandab reservoir. Also, forty-eight elders from the Karz district were killed in the presence of Engineer Zarif, the Khalqi governor of Kandahar. They were killed because they had protested that government officials should register only the number, not the names, of their female folk when they were taking a census of the population. In the Parchami period, Engineer Zarif and other Khalqis were executed for the crimes they had committed. In any case, following the invasion the Kandahar people killed the Khalqis more in revenge than anything else. They were successful in their revenge because they were more skillful in terror attacks than the people of other cities were.
Many Khalqis were killed in the city of Taluqan following the invasion, but information about them is not available. The story of the fallen Khalqis was more striking in Herat than elsewhere, because Herat had lost more men than any other city or province during the Khalqi rule, as noted earlier. In May 1980, in all Herat only the headquarters of the governor was under the control of the regime, and that was guarded by an armored force. During that time, and for an unknown period thereafter, ten to twelve party men were killed every day. The acts of terrorism in Kabul had many sides, since of all the cities this was the largest and had the highest number of party members.