The Force of Jehad
That the Afghans were in a state of jehad was obvious. Not only the Muslim Afghans but even the Hindu and Sikh minorities contributed to it. The tradition of jehad in Muslim Afghanistan has always been strong. The defense of country, of honor (namoas), and of cultural values—among which the demonstration of valor in a spirit of rivalry was conspicuous—turned jehad into a mighty force. Added to this was the marksmanship of the Afghans, who, even in time of peace, led the world in numbers of rifles per person. When the state of jehad was believed to exist, the Muslim Afghans, in particular the patriotic believers, felt duty bound either to take part in person or to contribute otherwise. In times of jehad the number of combatant Afghans was higher than normal in proportion to the population. In such times the noncombatant Afghans, including widows, supported those fighting the invaders. The defense of the country and the faith was not the responsibility of the armed forces alone but of every adult Afghan capable of carrying weapons. Every time the country has been invaded, the regular army has disintegrated and the ranks of the irregulars strengthened in the spirit of jehad.
The jehad against the Russians was more comprehensive than any other in Afghan history. “What was at first an uncertainty about the new [Khalqi] regime became anger and frustration as unrealistic, insensitive, and oppressive policies were introduced. When the Sovi-ets invaded, these feelings turned into widespread outrage, amongtraditionalists and progressives alike.” The combatant Afghans were determined to defend their values, while the noncombatant Afghans felt duty bound to support them. This meant that the noncombatant Afghans felt it to be their religious and patriotic duty to shelter, clothe, and feed the mujahideen, to meet their expenses for weapons, and to assist them in the problems that resulted from clashes with the enemy. The flight of the locals to Pakistan thinned this basis of support of the mujahideen.
True to their patriotic and Islamic duties, the Afghans supported the mujahideen despite the odds in fighting the army of a superpower. They paid the Islamic tithe (’ushr) on the produce of land and a number of other taxes to the mujahid commanders. But because of inexperience and the necessity of asserting their newly won power and of meeting the harsh requirements of jehad, the commanders often treated the locals in an authoritarian manner. Not all were harsh; some ruled in consultation with others. Nevertheless, authoritarianism generally marked their rule. There then began to develop between the commanders and the people the sour relationship that exists between the ruler and the ruled.
Like people of other areas, the Logaris were compelled to pay taxes to the financial heads not of one mujahid organization, but of all of them. Armed mujahideen would appear at the doors of the people and demand money. Although the Islamic tithe was lighter than what landowners had formerly paid the government, now they paid more than before and, in addition, they paid under the threat of Kalashnikovs. Also, supported by bands of armed mujahideen, the new rulers imposed heavy fines on both sides of disputes without investigating them as required by Islamic laws. Not surprisingly, the number of disputes and criminal cases dropped.