Unsuccessful Uprising and Split
The Parchamis, as already noted, dominated the security forces of the new republic. When the constitution was suspended and President Daoud was dependent on the Parchamis, they began a reign of terror with a view to eliminating their opponents. They fabricated reports accusing their opponents of destroying the republic. Since President Daoud had usurped power in a coup and since his government was far from established, he accepted such reports. Suspicion led to official actions in this period. The first victims were former Prime Minister Mohammad Hashem Maiwandwal and about forty senior colleagues of his Progressive Democratic Party who served in the military and civilian departments of government. The Islamists were the next on the agenda. After President Daoud declined to accept Niazi and Rabbani’s offer of cooperation in return for his break with the communists, the suppression of the Islamists began. Some were killed; others, including Niazi, were arrested. The rest, including Rabbani and Hekmatyar, fled to Pakistan, the traditional land of refuge for Afghan dissidents.
Afghan Islamists in Peshawar lived in hardship, financed by the Jama’at-e-Islami of Pakistan under the leadership of Mawlana Abul A’la Mawdudi. But after Afghanistan’s relations with Pakistan deteriorated over the issue of Pashtunistan, both countries financed and incited each other’s dissidents. While Afghanistan harbored the Pashtun and Baluch dissidents of Pakistan, the latter incited Afghan Islamists. Olivier Roy states that Afghan Islamists decided to wage an armed struggle against the government of Daoud, but on this they were divided, and while the younger members stood for it with the support of Pakistan, Rabbani was against it. Roy further states that “the radicals, led by Hekmatyar, carried the day.” He cites no source for his statement, which is contradicted by Rabbani’s account. According to Rabbani, “Among ourselves we decided that Daoud personally was not a communist, but a Muslim, surrounded by communists, who should be eliminated. For that purpose we prepared a list of eighty military and civilian communists and instructed our companions to carry it out.…Surprisingly news of the failure of the uprising in Laghman and other regions reached us in Peshawar.” Rabbani is further quoted as having said that “leaders of the operation groups, in response to our investigation, told us that they did so on a second instruction, which they received from Hekmatyar. But the latter denied having issued such an instruction.” By waging the uprising, Afghan Islamists were now entangled in international politics, which affected their movement. Also, they had neither infiltrated the army nor enjoyed public support, and Pakistan had not given them a large quantity of weapons; instead, Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan intended simply to frighten President Daoud to change his policy toward Pakistan.
On 22 July 1975 armed Islamists attacked government headquarters in Badakhshan, Laghman, Logar, and Panjsher. Only in the districts of Panjsher were they able to occupy government headquarters for a short while. Elsewhere they were either defeated or arrested on arrival. Nowhere did the locals or the army support them. The failure became a disaster for the Islamists. Conversely, it provided an opportunity for the Parchamis in the security forces to arrest anyone who was suspected of being an Islamist. An unknown number of Islamists were arrested. Of the ninety-three brought to trial, three were executed and sixteen acquitted. The rest received sentences ranging from life imprisonment to a year in jail. Serious also was the dissension that appeared among the Islamists who escaped to Pakistan. Recrimination became common and splits unavoidable. The establishment of relationships with “some authorities” of the government of Pakistan, the acquisition of financial assistance and other concessions, personal ambitions, and scores of other points all played a role in this split. Among these other points was a split along sectarian lines between the Sunni and Shi’ite activists, “who suspected one another of the subversions that led to the uncovering of their various plots.” Until then the two sects had been united.
Serious also was the division among the Sunni leaders. The Jam’iyyat split. Hekmatyar and Qazi Mohammad Amin Wiqad formed a new party, the Islamic Party (Hizb-e-Islami), but Rabbani stuck to the old name. In 1978 they reunited under a new name, the Movement of Islamic Revolution, with Qazi Wiqad as its leader, but it did not last. The failed attempt made leaders of both parties wary. While it influenced Rabbani to move toward moderation, it induced Hekmatyar to adopt a long-term strategy, organizing his party on rigid lines. The Aims of the Hizb states, “The reformation of government is the pre-requisite to the reformation of society as well as that of the individual.” The Aims also states that the Hizb “stands for the Islamic reorganization of the state [through] its program.” Of all the parties, the Hizb is the most radical and Islamist. Some argue that from the onset Hekmatyar’s goal was to acquire power rather than to liberate Afghanistan. Over this issue Mohammad Yunus Khalis parted company with him and formed a party of his own under the same name, because in his view the liberation of Afghanistan was more important than the conquest of power. Khalis considers lack of trust among leaders a factor for the multiplicity of resistance organizations.
The split also revealed ethnic and regional tendencies. At the leadership level Pashtuns dominated the Hizb and Tajiks the Jam’iyyat, although both groups could be called mixed. In the latter group regional tendencies such as Panjsheri, Badakhshi, and Herati crystallized. The passage of time made the tendencies sharper. Regionalism and ethnicity thus made inroads at the expense of Islamic ideology, which disregards such parochial proclivities.
Another weakening factor was the Islamists’ loss of credit in the eyes of their patrons whose goodwill was essential for them, since they had to act from abroad inside Afghanistan. This point became serious when, following his victory over the Islamists, President Daoud took measures to distance Afghanistan from the Soviet bloc countries and to bring it closer to the Islamic world, in particular Pakistan and Iran. The policy was detrimental to the Islamists, so much so that by the end of President Daoud’s reign they had “run out of money, because Saudi Arabia and Iran, who were pursuing a policy of support for Daoud, did not help them, and Pakistan did not wish for an open confrontation with Kabul.” Until the invasion the Islamic parties were “more or less dormant.” Against the Khalqis, too, they did not receive any substantial support from outside. Only the Soviet invasion enabled them to come to the forefront of politics.
Part of the Islamic movement consisted of certain groups that took into account the actual situation of society. Loosely structured, they can hardly be called political parties in the modern sense, since they generally lacked sociopolitical platforms. Based on common traditional religious and secular notions, the organizations were open to persons with different shades of opinion. The ’ulama, community elders, the intelligentsia, army officers, and former government employees joined them in the spirit of jehad to expel the invaders. Their leaders were either members of religious families or religious scholars. A degree of tolerance, compromise, and democracy was also a feature of these organizations. Islamic, national, and to a certain extent democratic, they came to be known as traditionalist or moderate as distinct from Islamist. The emergence of the traditionalists weakened the hold of the Islamists over the Afghan refugees since the fold of the former was open to those whom the Islamists suspected.
The Islamic moderate organizations were set up in various times in 1979. They included the Front for National Liberation (Jabha-e-Nejat-e-Milli), the Revolutionary Islamic Movement (Harakat-e-Inqilab-e-Islami), and the National Islamic Front (Mahaz-e-Milli-e-Islami), led respectively by Sibgatullah Mojaddidi, Mawlawi Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi, and Pir Sayyed Ahmad Gailani. Mojaddidi and Gailani are heads of religious families as well as leaders of the Islamic mystic orders of Naqshbandiyya and Qadiriyya, respectively. They have many followers, particularly among Pashtuns. Whereas the Mojaddidi family in the past played a role in politics, it is the first time for the Gailani family to emerge in the forefront. Both families have a modern outlook on life. While the Mojaddidis are, as a mark of respect, known as Hazrats, the Gailanis are known as pirha or pirān (spiritual leaders; singular, pir). The Khalqis executed many Mojaddidis, some of whom were more influential than the present Mojaddidi. The religious scholar Mawlawi Mohammadi served as a member of parliament in the constitutional decade. For this as well as for his assault on Babrak Karmal in the House of Representatives in 1966, he became popular, particularly among the mullas in his own province, Logar.