Mujahedin Victory vs the Sawr Revolution
In the contemporary history, Afghanistan has witnessed bloody transitions of powers with the still unfolding controversial events. The Saur Revolution, as called the “Saur 7th” and the Mujahedin Victory, known as the “Saur 8th”, are of the very controversial events in Afghanistan’s history. The Soviet-backed coup by Afghan communist parties in April 1978, and the collapse of the communist puppet regime in Kabul which followed by Mujahedeen arrival in the capital are great milestones in the history of Afghanistan.
Both events have supporters among Afghans. Every year, supporters of the events regularly celebrate the events. For long, since the occurrence of the events, there have been lots of criticisms and disputes regarding impacts of and outcomes of the events. But a neutral assessment based on the aftermaths of the occurrences is missing. Thus, here, the main consequences of the above-mentioned events, that has remained highly disputable, is going to be discussed.
In 1978, the communism-inclined officials and military officers in the Afghan government removed President Mohammad Daoud from power in a military coup. President Mohammad Daoud along with his family were brutally killed. Nur Mohammad Taraki took power not only as the first Marxist head of the country but also as a non-member of the ruling family. Marxists began to implement some very dissident principles and policies of Marxism in Afghanistan. It seemed as repulsive to Afghans as a strong anti-Marxism resistance based on Islamic teachings was formed. Ethnic conflicts among marxists doubled problems of the Marxist ruling group. Therefore in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of a support request by the Afghan communist regime. The communist regimes in Afghanistan began to impose some Marxist ideas based on secularism which were something very dissident to Afghan values. On the other hand Marxist regime pressurized its oppositions in some inhuman ways. Imprisonment, torturing and execution was something common during the Afghan communist regimes. Therefore the people were divided with a quiet majority against communism.
The Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan and its dissident values as well as its communist policies strongly hurt Afghans. The Afghan people with a patriotic sentiment under the slogan “Islam and homeland” joined together in a war to free the country from the invading Red Army. Seeking defeat of communism in the world, the Western powers, with the United States at the top, supported the cause of Afghans. In close coordination with some Muslim states hostile to the Soviet Union, the West provided the Afghans with huge assistances to win the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The assistances included financial supports, military aids, intelligence and technical with strategic advices. Meanwhile, extremists from all across the Muslim world, with very fundamental Islamic views, joined the Afghans in the war against the Soviet Union – the infidels. The holy war in Afghanistan gradually was intensified with substantial costs in every aspect: it claimed more than a million lives of Afghans, leaving around a million disabled. Many were widowed and a huge number of people fled to abroad as refugees. The Soviet Union was unable to manage the war in Afghanistan. Therefore it withdrew in 1989, leaving behind a declining government in Kabul. Due to the escalation of war and lack of support by Soviet United, the communist regime in Kabul failed to survive. Eventually, the Mujahedeen arrived in Kabul in 1992 that is known as “Saur 8th”. Once again, the Mujahedin warring factions plunged the country into more disasters as the Saur revolutionaries did.
The Mujahedeen lacked knowledge and experience in politics. They lacked competence of managing religious and ethnic diversities of the country. Particularly the Mujahedin failed in power-sharing with ambitious ethnic and religious factions on the basis of ethnic rights. Due to the disunity of the purposes and diversity of hostile opinions regarding power sharing, the civil wars went inevitable to occur. The infighting among ethnic groups with links to abroad destroyed all infrastructures in Afghanistan. It was another dark era in the history of the country. People faced severe conditions. Tens of thousands of Afghans faced deaths, disabilities and migration to neighboring countries. Another huge number escaped the country and got refuge outside. Some came back but some never did so. The Mujahedeen era turned into a complete humanitarian disaster due to conflicts and severe circumstances all across the country.
The conflict ended with disastrous impacts for the country. Hundreds of thousands have been lost; a huge number of men and women have fled to abroad, and a great number of people have been disabled. Many have lost parents and many have become widowed. The infrastructures have been destroyed. These are the outcomes that have been underlined in almost every celebration of the events. But it looks that some aspects are not yet addressed. The Saur 7th and the Saur 8th each belongs to a particular rival ideology. No doubt, the Saur Revolution was the takeover of Afghanistan by communism while the Saur 8th or the Mujahedeen victory was dominance of fundamental Islam and the capitalist West over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In fact the wars in Afghanistan that began in Saur 7th have been the wars of the rival ideologies based on conflicting regional and international interests. Civil disputes and having close touch with outsiders and dissident ideas have resulted in changes particularly in views and behaviors.
Through “the Saur 7th and the “Saur 8th”, the secular ideas and Islamic fundamentalism have been expanded in Afghanistan. Thus mostly there have been disputes between the conflicting imported ideologies. So it has affected the country with great costs in every area. Today, on some parts, particularly in the case of Islamic fundamentalism, Afghanistan pays dearly for Islamic extremism, strict believes and inflexible Islamic norms which are related to the Saur upheavals in Afghanistan. The Saur 8th is not only the beginning of a big failure for the communism but is also the beginning of a severe failure in Afghanistan as well. During the jihad, people from all walks of lives joined together against the invading army. It was the first time that Afghans had joined together under common values and visions of “Islam and patriotism”. Post-Saur 8th events removed those common values under which people from all ethnic and religious sects had joined together. The post-Saur 8th matters replaced the pre-Saur 8th unity and harmony with hatred among Afghans.
By the occurrence of Saur 7th the tyrant system that had ruled the state for more than two hundred years was dismantled. It created the opportunity for social and political changes in times ahead. Under the past tyrant regime it was clearly impossible to begin change particularly in the areas of political and social issues as the history proves it. Of course the Saur 7th at the beginning resulted in a communist autocratic regime but in the long term it opened the path towards a series of changes.
Mohammad Yasin Sultani is a writer of the Daily Afghanistan Express.