Shi’ite Resistance Groups
The Afghan Shi’ite minority of Hazaras and Qizilbashes were for the first time as active as the Sunnis against an invasion. Among their educated, however, a considerable number sided with the Kabul regime. The Shi’ite leaders were more divided than the Sunnis. As Shi’as, their loyalty to Iran was a major reason for disunity. Some followed the Ayatullah Khomeini of Iran as a political as well as a religious leader, while others followed him only as a religious leader. With the rise of Khomeini the Afghan Shi’as became more militant. The Shi’ite faith obliges every Shi’a to follow a mujtahid (an authority in the interpretation of the faith), wherever he may be, an injunction not in line with principles on which a nation-state is based.
The Ayatullah Sayyed Ali Bihishti had in 1979 set up in Waras in Hazarajat the United Islamic Council (Shura-e-Ittifaq-e-Islami), comprising traditional, secular, and religious Hazaras. Through the efforts of its commander, Sayyed Mohammad Jagran, the council liberated Hazarajat from the regime following the invasion. The Islamic Movement (Harakat-e-Islami) led by Ayatullah Shaykh Mohammad Asif Muhsini was another significant organization set up in 1978. It centered around followers in Kandahar and Kabul. From the outset Muhsini’s relations with Iran were strained. In 1980 Iran expelled Muhsini’s followers because he followed Khomeini only in religious affairs. By contrast, the first pro-Iranian organization, the Organization of Islamic Victory (Sazman-e-Nasr-e-Islami), was set up in 1979 and received financial and military assistance from Iran. Nasr was the continuation of the New Mughal group, founded as early as 1966, which was subsequently renamed the Youth of the Hazaras (Shabab al-Hazara). Nasr has served as a mother organization from which smaller groups have sprung. Under the leadership of Karim Khalili, Mier Sadiqi Turkmani, and Abdul Ali Mazari, it was composed of ideologically committed fundamentalists. Khalili says of himself, “I do not know what part of Afghanistan I am from; my father and grandfather would tell us we are from Ghazni. I was born in Iran.”
Another organization set up in late 1979 was Strength (Nairo), with Qazi Safa Karimi as its leader. They all were “very successful,” but the Iranians did not think so. According to one observer,
The Iranians consider the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the most favorable situation for the consolidation and extension of their influence in the country. In the beginning they decided to help all the Hazara groups without discrimination. When it did not work according to their wishes, they changed their policy and decided to federate the groups under their umbrella of one organization, Nasr. But last year  the Iranians sent a delegation to Hazarajat to investigate the activities of Nasr and to see how their military and financial help was being used. The Iranians were deeply disappointed and convinced that it was impossible to accomplish anything with the Afghan parties. Then they decided to operate through their own Iranian party inside Afghanistan, and [in 1983] created the Sipah-e-Pasdaran [under Shaykh Akbari]; it has the same structure and the same organization as the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Party, only the members are Afghans.
Smaller and more rigid groups emerged from Nasr in Iran, among them Thunder, the New Generation of Hazaras, Organization of the Toiling People, and the Party of God (Hizb Allah), which was set up in Mashhad in 1981 under Qari Yakdist. Some of these attracted educated persons with conflicting extremist views, such as Maoism, racism, and religious fundamentalism. Another group, Mujahideen-e-Khalq, was founded under the influence of Iran’s Mujahideen-e-Khalq. Afterward infighting became common, resulting in the death of about 26,000 Hazaras, a number higher than that the Hazaras lost in clashes with the Soviets. Hazarajat was not the scene of many clashes with the Soviets and the regime, which did not carry out major expeditions there. In the infighting the United Council was ousted from many areas, including its headquarters in Waras. Also, the Hazaras became disillusioned with Iran. Among the disillusioned ones, those who were forced to seek refuge chose Pakistan, not Iran. Any hope of forging a united front among them became more unrealistic than among the Sunni organizations. However, in 1985, under the supervision of Iran, the Islamic Movement, the Islamic Victory Organization, the Revolutionary United Front, and Guards of the Islamic Jehad declared a cease-fire among themselves.