A feature of the people of Logar is their solidarity. Nowhere in Afghanistan is the leveling effect of Islam as conspicuous as it is among the people of Logar, where among the well-to-do it is a custom to give to the needy the Islamic zakat (one-fortieth of one’s property) and other donations on a regular basis. Bilingualism also influences solidarity, as does the similarity in physical appearances and clothes. Those who do not know the people may be unable to differentiate between the Dari-speaking Tajiks and the Pashto-speaking Pashtuns. The more numerous Pashtuns—Stanizays, Ahmadzays, Abdurrahimzays, Alozays, Mohmands, Gadaykhel, and Zhalozays—live in the hilly areas, and the Tajiks, Khwajas, and Sadat live in the plains together with Pashtuns, mainly in villages on both sides of the main road. In some areas of the plains the Pashtuns predominate, while in others the Tajiks predominate. Also, in Logar the Shi’ite minority and the Sunni majority are on good terms with each other. Neither the PDPA nor other leftist groups had made any significant inroads among them. The absence of disgruntled minorities has also contributed to solidarity among the people.
Before the disturbances, Logar had many madrasas (traditional religious seminaries) and mawlawiyan (religious scholars). As in the rest of the country, each of the regions’s 338 villages, which together contain more than 300,000 inhabitants, had (and still has) one or more mosques where mullas lead the Muslims in prayers and teach children the essentials of Islam. Logar also had four high schools and about one hundred secondary (through ninth grade) and primary schools. Like the people of other regions, the people of Logar also cooperated with the government by volunteering labor, plots of land, and money for the construction of schools for both girls and boys. On this point the people pressured the government, but the latter was unable to meet the demand for financial reasons. Also, sons and daughters of the well-to-do studied in higher civilian and military schools in Kabul.
Because of improvements in transportation, the daily contact between Kabul and Logar had begun to change the lifestyle of the people. As in other districts around the city, the daily transport of cash crops from Logar into Kabul had brought them closer together. A number of individuals from some distinguished families from Logar had served the government in various periods as senior ministers and officers, while some had become famous as generals and leaders of the resistance movements in wars against the British. Before the communist coup the people of Logar were adopting modern ways of life more rapidly than the peoples of the districts around Kabul. But the coup and the invasion changed this trend. The change was apparent in the attitude of the people in the domain of politics.
Following the coup, the people of Logar were disturbed, just as were the people of other regions. They feared the ascendance of atheists in the government. Some councils of elders and mullas decided that they should be the first to wage jehad against the communists, even if they had to oppose their own relatives. The Logari officers in the army in Kabul planned to rise against the government, but before they could do so many were executed or imprisoned. Thus, the first planned but unsuccessful uprising in the army was the work of officers who were all or nearly all from the province of Logar. Then, in May 1979 the people of Logar rose and overthrew the provincial government.
It was, however, the Soviet invasion and the policies of the new rulers that changed the attitude of the people. Their attitude was changed not only toward the regime but also toward modern education and local leaders. As one observer writes:
On this point an elderly man from Zadran of the province of Paktia is more eloquent. According to him, during the reign of King Mohammad Zahir the government introduced two projects in the province of Paktia: roads and schools. At first the people of all the valleys of Zadran opposed the projects, but later they acquiesced. To continue the story in the words of the elderly man himself:
The Soviet interference and the Soviet invasion provided powerful incentives to the mullas in their opposition to modern education. The Soviets, through the Parchamis and Khalqis, deceived students in schools, and in the name of a revolutionary ideology spread atheism, a sense of obedience to foreigners [ajnabiparasti] and of treason to the fatherland [watanfiroshi]. They employed sons against fathers by sending them in tanks and warplanes to destroy their homes and villages. [Seeing this], the common people took spades and destroyed schools from the foundation. The educated persons became discredited, and the mullas became unrivaled rulers.
Advised by a great mulla, the people of our valley opposed the two projects of schools and roads. Thus, neither Khalqis nor Parchamis appeared among us. But from among the schools of other valleys there emerged Khalqis and Parchamis who later, as pilots, bombarded their own people and villages, while the Russian tanks, which arrived along the roads, did much the same. But the people of our valley were immune to such destruction. May God bless the great mulla. He was so right.