Mujahideen as Local Rulers
Even in this early stage the mujahideen acted as local rulers. They replaced government officials and also local elders who acted as go-betweens for the government and the people and who settled disputes in accord with the system of jirga or consultation. The mujahideen extended control over areas with mixed population and to some extent over tribal areas. By April 1980 the province of Laghman was divided into a number of precincts (houza), each led by a commandant. In each precinct Shari’a became supreme, and disputes were settled on its basis. Local usage and conventions were discarded. Judgment was swift, involving heavy fines on both sides of the dispute. Theft became rare. The new rudimentary system of administration established by the Islamic party was in essence the nucleus of the Islamic republic that the Islamists intended to set up.
The success of the mujahideen meant an increase in their numbers. Since not all of them were from the area where they operated, and since jehad required large expenditures, the locals provided them with shelter, food, and clothes. But even with the best of intentions people were unable to accommodate large numbers of mujahideen. Nevertheless, since jehad required the Muslims to contribute toward it with fighting men and other necessities, the mujahideen expected them to perform their Islamic duty. Landlords paid them the Islamic tithe, while merchants paid them taxes. Another source of income for the mujahideen was a percentage from the pay of government employees, including party members who were on government payroll but who had property in the area under the control of the mujahideen.
A tragic aspect of the situation was the destruction of schools, which were destroyed with no remorse. This was because the Khalqis had turned schools into centers of communist indoctrination, espionage, and immorality, not of knowledge and education. To the Khalqis and the Parchamis, educational institutions were means for promoting ideology. Also, since the educational system was a part of the government, party members—most of whom were also party secretaries—administered educational centers. Being powerful, they played a role in eliminating government opponents. Although before the communist coup people had requested governments to open schools, as already noted, throughout the land the mujahideen now destroyed village schools, primary schools, and high schools outside provincial capitals and cities. Agents of the regime also destroyed schools with the intention of defaming the resistance groups. To infiltrate the resistance groups, some of them became overzealous in this act of vandalism. Thus, the cooperative accomplishment of governments and people over a long period of time was destroyed overnight. This was the second time in this century when modern education suffered on a major scale as a victim of politics.