7. Beginning of the Countrywide Armed Clashes

A true account of war is essential for understanding the policies as well as the degree of culture of the parties involved in it. To understand the war under discussion, we must examine the events on the battlefields, for it was on the battlefields that policies were exposed and tested. It was also on the battlefields that the participants revealed themselves as exemplars of their nations. Official documents on the present war are not generally available, but even when they are, one wonders whether one would be able to write the kind of work that the British historian John Kaye wrote on the First Anglo-Afghan War. That profound historian had available not only official documents but also private diaries of those who took part in the war. It seems unlikely that anyone will be able to gain access to such materials for the present war: the truth is distorted and suppressed by both the totalitarian state (or states) and the feeling of righteousness.

But the truth must be told if history is to describe the activities of men and women as they actually happened. Hoping to be exact and objective, I have described those armed confrontations of the initial stage of the war about which I have reliable information. This description, too, is unsatisfactory, since the authorities not only prevented journalists from covering the engagements but also fed the public misinformation. Also, many clashes occurred, and many of those happened virtually simultaneously in a country with an area of 250,000 square miles. Besides, while one side boasted a mobile modern army, the other consisted of a constellation of mobile human groups who were unable to confront the enemy in open battle but were well acquainted with the terrain of their land. When pressed, they would retreat to the upper parts of the long valleys, from which they could strike almost at will.

When the mujahideen were unwilling to encounter the enemy on the plains, they either hid in orchards and underground irrigation canals or spread out and mingled with the locals in villages or worked on the land as farmers. They waged a war of hit-and-run tactics until they were armed with antiaircraft weapons. Only then did they become a little more stable. An exception was in mountainous regions, where certain tribal communities known for their marksmanship, such as the Zadran, were able to repulse attacks made against them. Nevertheless, the resistance movement in the plains was as strong as that in the hilly regions. The view that the Afghans succeeded because of the mountainous nature of their land is simply not true.

• • •

A Government without Rural Territories

The Khalqi government was the government of Afghanistan in the sense that it ruled over it despite opposition. By the time of the invasion, except for the four districts of Gizao, Barak, Oaz, and one other and two subdistricts, which had been wrested from government control, all administrative units in the rural areas functioned. In certain rural areas where the opposition was strong, party members and collaborators were exposed to acts of terror. The government retaliated by sending troops there, and in the clashes that followed government forces compelled the recalcitrants to retreat to the upper parts of the valleys. They were thus safe from being crushed, but weakened. Some main roads were also unsafe, but once a week I and other university professors went to Jalalabad to teach, and we continued to do so right up to the invasion without observing any signs of insecurity. By contrast, the Parchami government was not a government even in this sense. It did not rule over the country. Within weeks of the invasion it was, as already noted, besieged in the cities. The greater part of the people lived in the countryside beyond the regime’s control or fled abroad. The regime was less than a state, since state refers to a government ruling despotically or constitutionally over a people living within internationally accepted boundaries and recognized as such by the world community. For want of a better term, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, which the Parchamis stressed as the state (dawlat), is here referred to as the Parchami regime or the Kabul regime.

If the installment of the puppet regime was quick, so was the opposition to it. The Islamic groups were the first to descend on the plains from the upper parts of the valleys, surrounding the provincial capitals. The city of Baghlan, close to the Soviet Union, fell to them on 14 January. Soon the groups cleared the country’s rural areas of party members and collaborators. In the province of Laghman the mujahideen besieged its capital city, Mihtarlam, then eliminated those party members who had remained behind and set their houses on fire. Former collaborators were also forced to leave their homes for cities. By February the city of Jalalabad, close to Pakistan, was besieged. By mid-February, when all the rural areas had been wrested away, the Kabul regime became confined to cities. The Soviets and the regime set up military posts along the main roads, but in places along those very roads resistance groups searched transport vehicles for party members and took them away when they recognized them. It was no longer safe for party members and proregime Afghans to travel between cities. To escape unharmed, they traveled in disguise. By the second week of May 1980 the Khalqis and Parchamis were no longer to be found in the rural areas. They had either been killed or fled to cities.

Most uluswals (heads of districts) had either been killed or fled, and those few who remained guarded themselves with armored units. Alaqadaran (heads of subdistricts) were no longer to be found. Some provincial governors had to spend the nights in military cantonments. By the first week of March the main roads had become unsafe for traffic in spite of the military posts stationed along them. Accompanied by contingents of the army, transport buses and other vehicles had to go in caravans.

This success of the mujahideen indicated their support by the locals, who either opposed the regime or refused to cooperate with it. Only certain small sectors supported the regime—for instance, the residents of the Nazyan Valley in Shinwar, some Uzbeks in Takhar and Dawlatabad, and some Isma’ili Tajiks of Roashan and Shighnan. The opposition to the invasion was thus national, crossing regional, ethnic, and linguistic lines. Never before in Afghan history had so many people been as united as they now were in opposition to an invader. What polarized the society was political and ideological. Those who supported the regime and the Soviets were usually educated persons drawn from various ethnic groups, particularly the urban minorities.

After the invasion, Karmal sent deputations to the frontier provinces to obtain their allegiance, but the deputations could not reach their destinations. Provincial governors were then instructed to summon local notables and explain to them that the government had plans to promote their welfare. This also failed to impress the people. On Friday, 5 April 1980, for example, the governor of Laghman addressed a meeting of about fifteen hundred worshipers in a public mosque and asked for those who supported his government to raise their hands. No one raised a hand. The notables of the city of Baghlan were more open and demanding, telling the governor that they would accept the government provided the Russians left and elections were held. They also voiced their support for an Islamic republic. In June 1980 the notables of the province of Balkh told their governor that unless the foreign troops were withdrawn, they would be unwilling to pay taxes or furnish men for military service.

• • •

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.

• • •

Public Concern

The locals showed concern on a number of points that assumed many dimensions discrediting the resistance movement. The locals looked with revulsion on the summary execution by the mujahideen of party members and their associates. The same was also the case when the mujahideen burned houses, confiscated property, and compelled suspected families to leave their homes for cities. Since social bonds were strong in the rural areas, such acts adversely affected the community. Such acts became common because not all mujahideen were disinterested. Those mujahideen who bore grudges against others or who were from among the lower ranks of society let themselves be motivated by personal interest. The biggest source of disillusionment for the common Afghans was the multiplicity of the resistance organizations and their lack of unity. The clashes that occurred among some of them pained the people. This dissension was caused partly by the disunity among their leaders and partly by the jealousy of the local commanders, who wished to extend the areas they controlled with little or no regard for jehad. The flight of local elders to cities and abroad created a vacuum which the commanders now tried to fill and over which they quarreled. The common Afghans, for whom the expulsion of the invaders was the overriding concern, did not understand why the resistance groups bickered among themselves. It was against this background that the Soviets embarked on military expeditions.

• • •

Features of Military Confrontations

Protected by an unmatchable air force, armored units of the invading army were able to carry out expeditions anywhere and drive the mujahideen to the inaccessible parts of the valleys, but it was too risky for the Soviets to remain there. Indeed, they could not stay even in the plains. The army of the regime was also unreliable and soldiers deserted. Since there were few Parchamis in the army and since the regime’s army had still not become reliable by recruitment, the invading army undertook expeditions alone, hoping to break the resistance as soon as possible: hence the intensification of confrontations, the high number of casualties, and the displacement of many Afghans. By the end of 1980, 1.4 million Afghans had fled to Pakistan alone; by the end of 1981, the number of Afghan refugees there had reached 2.3 million. Similar numbers fled to Iran.[1]

Since they could not differentiate the mujahideen from the locals and since they could not engage the mujahideen in battles, the invaders tried to detach them from their own people. Intending to destroy the rebels’ support among the civilian population, they also turned against the noncombatants, destroying their villages, their crops, and their irrigation systems and even killing them.[2] Indiscriminate destruction of property and human life, civilian as well as military, thus became a feature of Soviet military expeditions. This was particularly so when the mujahideen killed Russian soldiers. In such cases the invaders massacred civilians by the droves. By the force of circumstances the invaders found themselves in a situation in which they killed hundreds and thousands of those for whose protection they had purportedly come. Thus, the claim that they had come to save Afghanistan lost meaning, and Russia found itself in a quagmire that challenged the imagination of its military authorities more seriously than it had been challenged at any other time during its five centuries on the Asian mainland.

As noted earlier, until the February uprisings the invading army had a defensive posture. There was some fighting, notably in Paktia, Badakhshan, Logar, and both sides of the Salang Tunnel following the invasion, but the mujahideen initiated these conflicts. After the many uprisings, particularly during the summer of 1980, units of the invading army, accompanied by air power, carried on operations in many parts of the country. The main thrust of these operations was in the regions around Kabul such as Logar, Shamali (Kohdaman, Parwan, and Kohistan), Maidan, and Ghazni and also in regions such as Ningrahar, Laghman, and Kunar, as well as the northeastern regions, south of the Soviet border.

Among the border regions with Pakistan, the province of Kunar, through which the mujahideen brought weapons, was garrisoned first. The main highways, particularly those leading from Kabul to the Soviet borders in Hairatan (Mazar) and Torghundi (Herat), became the special concern of the invading army. The road leading to Hairatan through the long Salang Tunnel in the Hindu Kush massif, constructed by Soviet engineers in the 1960s, was also considered significant, especially since a large Soviet force was now stationed in Kelagai. Connecting the northern part of the country with the southern and eastern parts, the tunnel had shortened the distance between Kabul and the Soviet border more than sixty kilometers. With Kabul now only 399 kilometers from the Soviet border, the Salang Road (or the Mazar Road) is the shortest overland route from the Soviet border to the capital of the country. In this war the regions through which the Salang Road passed became for the first time strategically as significant as the eastern regions had been during the Anglo-Afghan wars.

The invading army used air power, particularly helicopter gunships. These war machines, which also flew from bases inside the Soviet Union, fired rockets on targets inside Afghanistan, particularly in the northeastern regions. Helicopter gunships also searched for the mujahideen on the ground. During the first years of the invasion, they were a frightening menace. After the invasion, helicopter gunships by the score became a familiar sight in the air space of the city of Kabul, whence they headed to various areas at short intervals every day. Every night the deafening sounds of guns, mortars, and rifles pierced the air, mingling with the ear-splitting noise of convoys of heavy tanks moving along the roads. Thus, even Kabul itself seemed like a war zone.

• • •

Attempts at Controlling the Strategic Frontier Posts

After the February uprising the armored units of the invading army and of the Kabul regime embarked on offensive operations in some of the provinces. The purpose of these spring operations was to block the main entrance routes before the snow melted along the mountain passes leading to Pakistan. It was hoped that the mujahideen then would not be able to enter the country from Pakistan. The frontier garrison of Asmar, situated in the upper part of the long Kunar Valley, became the center of attention, perhaps as a demonstration of the might of the Soviet Union.

Yet Asmar, along with its surrounding districts, proved to be beyond government control. In the previous year Abdur Rauf Safay, commander of the garrison, had waged a successful operation from there against the Khalqi government. The Soviets now intended to recover Asmar and at the same time to show their strength to the people of Kunar Province, who had risen against the Khalqi government a number of times.[3] First helicopter gunships and warplanes rocketed and bombed the surrounding districts of the garrison. Then a large force parachuted into the empty garrison. But when they withdrew the air force, the mujahideen of the surrounding hills poured into the garrison, wiping out all except a small number of its new Afghan occupants, who were taken alive. The invaders bombed and rocketed the surrounding districts of Asmar. According to some reports, they also used napalm bombs and chemical weapons. At the same time, they dispatched there a large force from Asadabad, the provincial capital. The people of Asmar fled to Pakistan. The invaders occupied Asmar as well as the garrison town of Barikot, but they still could not block the entrance routes along the border. The frontier district of Kama near the city of Jalalabad, after changing hands a number of times, was also occupied and military posts established there. But the southern frontier belt, beginning in the Jalalabad area, still remained open, despite the operations that the Soviet forces carried in the Surkhrud and Khugianay regions.

Meanwhile, by blanket bombing the Soviets destroyed more than 80 percent of the villages between the district of Ghazni and Muqur along the highway between Kabul and Kandahar. They did this to make the road safe for traffic that passed through the populated areas between Kabul and Kandahar. Kandahar was ultimately connected to the Soviet border by a concrete road that the Soviet engineers had constructed in 1965. In early April the mujahideen destroyed a large number of military planes stationed on the Bagram air base near Kabul, striking at them with rockets launched from hills. They had obtained these rockets and light and heavy weapons when the garrison of Hussaynkot near Kabul deserted in mid-March. In clashes between the invading forces and the mujahideen in the northeastern provinces of Qunduz, Baghlan, and Badakhshan, hundreds were killed. The high rate of Soviet losses in Badakhshan and other areas was attributed to the inability of their soldiers to maneuver on the battleground. After they had shelled an area from the air and the ground with rockets, the Soviet soldiers would then go straight to the spot, but this tactic made them easy targets for the mujahideen, who had hidden themselves in unsuspected places. For two years the Soviet soldiers went straight ahead in battlefields. Because of this approach, they lost about 350 men in a series of clashes with the mujahideen near the Dasht-e-Saqawa in Charasia close to Kabul. The date of the battle is not known.

• • •

The First Soviet Expedition in Laghman

The Soviet military expedition in the province of Laghman, with a mixed population of 229,100 living in attached mud houses in 340 villages and a number of towns, is known in some detail. Laghman is a long, fertile river valley of 7,600 square kilometers flanked by mountains. From the middle of the main valley branch off two narrow valleys, Alingar and Alishang, reaching as far as Kawun, a branch of the Hindu Kush. Along the way glens branch off from both valleys, so that their upper parts provide safe sanctuaries. Laghman can be considered typical of the many river valleys that lie between the mountains from the Hindu Kush to the plains of Peshawar. After the invasion mujahideen spread throughout Laghman, as already noted. The exception was Mihtarlam, the provincial capital, which they kept under pressure. The purpose of the Soviet operation now was to clear the region of the mujahideen.

Units of the invading army that had been stationed in Dasht-e-Gambiri at the foot of Laghman set out on 6 April 1980 accompanied by helicopter gunships. On the way they destroyed the two collections of settlements of Qarghaee and Zeranee. The latter settlement, which is still desolate, was destroyed because some of its inhabitants acted against the invaders along the nearby main Kabul-Jalalabad road. Seeing the convoys of tanks, the mujahideen fled into the glens; those who remained behind mixed with the people. Seeing no opposition, the invaders headed toward the upper parts, spreading out in small groups when they entered villages. When they exposed themselves to attack, the mujahideen in some places fired at them. What happened to a group of six Russians in my own village of Deva (also Palwata) and a few nearby hamlets of about a hundred houses in the Alishang Valley was typical.

Having crossed the river by a swinging bridge, the Russians entered the village and appeared before a shop, asking the inhabitants, “Dost ya dushman?” (Friend or enemy?). They had no interpreters and knew only this phrase by which they distinguished friends from enemies of the Soviet Union and the Kabul regime. The villagers naturally replied, “Dost.” At this time a mujahid stationed on a rooftop fired on the Soviets, killing one and injuring another. While retreating, the Russians reciprocated, taking their casualties with them. Meanwhile, they fired a signal shot into the air, after which the village was hit by long-range guns from the other side of the valley where a contingent of artillery had been stationed. The retreating Russians also killed two farmers working in a field.

The calamity descended the next day. Fearing reprisal, the villagers evacuated the village following the encounter, but since nothing happened after the shelling, a number of them returned later the same day. They were mistaken. The next day the village was shelled by long-range guns while a group of low-flying helicopter gunships fired rockets into its surroundings. Then a group of forty Russians in tanks besieged it. When the village was thus isolated, a group of six Russians entered the village, killing everyone in sight. Some were killed in lanes, others in mosques, and still others inside their houses. Women and children were spared.

Gul Mohammad, his newly married son, and two of his guests were killed as if in a game inside his courtyard in front of his womenfolk, apparently because the Russians had found an empty cartridge there. In the courtyard each victim was made to run to a fixed spot; when he reached it, he was shot dead. The wailing of the women of the household and their solicitation by gestures had no effect. Born into a blacksmith family, Gul Mohammad had taken to farming; he also kept a hunting hawk belonging to my father-in-law, Abdul Aziz Kakar. I had joined Gul Mohammad a number of times in hunting expeditions in the nearby hills. Always smiling and dressed in worn clothes, he was one of the finest persons I have ever known. In any case, had it not been for the sagacity of a villager, Sayyed Ahmad, who impressed the word “dost” on the assailants, the total number of those killed would have been higher than the nineteen who were slain that day. Eighteen houses were either completely or partly set on fire, and the rest were searched for weapons. Sweets, transistor radios, cash, and similar objects were looted.

The same thing happened to a few nearby villages and hamlets, which brought the total number of those killed to sixty. The nearby town of Maskura also lost twenty men on that day. As noted, what happened to the village of Deva and a few others may be taken as an example.

It is impossible to outline the events of that day in the whole valley, much less in both valleys. It is estimated that since all the villages up to the upper part of Alishang were searched in the same way as Deva, the invaders killed two thousand men. In Alingar only about sixty men lost their lives, since the mujahideen there had refrained from firing on the intruders. Three mujahideen were said to have been killed, while the loss of the Russians was said only to have been higher. The Soviet military units, after losing a few tanks at the hands of the mujahideen, evacuated Laghman and arrived in Jalalabad. The remaining mujahideen soon descended from the upper parts and spread throughout Laghman.

What can we learn from the expedition in Laghman? First, only Russians soldiers took part in the operation. The Kabul regime army was not seen with them, and the invaders did not have interpreters with them. In some places Parchamis acted as guides, but they were not with the Soviet soldiers all the time. The very appearance of the alien, armed, atheistic invaders in the midst of the rural Afghans was provocative, especially given the absence of the guides or interpreters. It was obviously unwise to send such troops among a people who had driven away government agents and were known to be fanatics. One wonders whether the purpose was to find a pretext for massacre. Still, the people remained quiet, and their militants preferred flight to encounter. Throughout the valley there was no group opposition, only occasional rifle shots. Yet many men were massacred in their own homes. This group homicide was neither made an issue nor lamented. It passed unnoticed, as did so many similar atrocities in the coming years.

The invaders perhaps thought that by eliminating the “dushman” they did their job. The Parchamis were glad that their Soviet comrades had cowed their opponents for them. Strangely, the Parchamis of the village supported the operations even though some lost relatives and one lost his father.[4] In support of the Soviets and of their party, some argued that if the mujahideen had not fired on “the forces of the comrades” (quwwaay dost), their term for the invading army, then the Soviets would not have fired on them. Zuhur Razimjo, a member of the central committee who was also from Laghman, said, “What we do is for the welfare of true toiling people.” The grip of the Soviets over the party and of the party over its members was complete. The operation was one of many that the invading army carried out during its stay. When such were the consequences of an unprovoked expedition, the reader can imagine the consequences of the contested major operations.

The victims of the operation, as noted, were civilians. This was true of all the operations throughout the occupation: hence the killing and displacement of the highest number of Afghans in their history. Except for killing of innocent men, the present operation did nothing else. It did not lead to the pacification of Laghman. Instead, it created problems of major dimensions with dire consequences. It demonstrated the might of the Soviet Union aimed at frightening the Afghans into submission. It was an affirmation of the view that the resistance must be suppressed within weeks or, at most, months if conciliatory measures failed to persuade the people to submit. But its outcome was the opposite of what had been intended. According to Abdul Rahim, a mujahid commander from Dawlat Shah in the upper part of the valley, after this incident his small group of mujahideen, armed with primitive weapons, increased in number as many young men joined him.

• • •

The Changed Role of the Afghan Army

The Afghan army did not initially oppose the invasion, but afterward it opted for a host of pro-mujahid, antigovernment, and anti-Russian activities, which upset the Soviets’ calculations concerning the force needed to pacify the country. The Afghan army’s changed attitude helped the resistance movement and affected the political situation despite (or because of) the presence of the invading army.

As noted earlier, the Parchamis in the army were not many. They also had no known officers in the army when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. No Parchami officer had taken part in the invasion. This is not to suggest that they did not want to cooperate with the Russians, but because the Khalqis had suppressed them, they were unable to do so. Not all Khalqi officers supported the invasion, despite their opposition to the radical Islamists. The noncommunist elements in the army, whether officers or ordinary soldiers, were against the invasion. All this suggests that the army was not prepared to help the Parchami regime enforce its authority.

Desertions, which were frequent, took two forms: individual and group. During the invasion the whole division of Baghlan had deserted. After the invasion smaller units deserted, notably those of Nahreen and Hussaynkot. More widespread were desertions by individual soldiers. Soldiers who had almost completed their terms deserted, particularly following the Kabul uprisings. By then the view had become widespread that the regime could not last long. By mid-March 1980, of the nearly two thousand troops of the brigade stationed in Maidan Shahr only about four hundred remained. By that time the whole army, which numbered under 100,000 before the communist coup, had been reduced to about 20,000. In May the number was said to have been further reduced to about 10,000.

A number of consequences followed. The regime was completely dependent on the invading army, which found itself involved not only in military operations but also in the internal politics of the country, despite the declarations of its masters that the Soviet army was sent to repulse foreign aggression. The building of a new army by the pursuance of a policy of recruitment through conscription as well as by the employment of mercenaries and others was stressed, no matter how unpopular the policy and how serious the consequences. Along with the official party, the Parchami regime had to build a power of its own: it therefore chose to enhance KhAD (the intelligence agency).

The regime also had strained relations with the Khalqis who dominated the army. The Khalqi officers had not resisted the invasion, but the regime could not count on them to serve as pliable instruments. Besides, Khalqi officers from rural areas were sometimes more patriotic than communist. Some were Muslims, and many of these officers secretly assisted the mujahideen. The early successes of the mujahideen were partly due to the assistance rendered them by nationalist officers.

A month after the invasion the army officers of the major division of Khost in the province of Paktia made it known to the regime that if either the Russian army or Parchami officers were sent there, they would join the mujahideen. Its commander declined a summons to Kabul on the grounds that his absence would lead to disturbances in the division. Closer to Kabul, the commander of the Qargha division warned that because of the presence of the Soviet army the division was on the brink of rebellion. The regime’s plan of replacing the Khalqi officers of the Kandahar division was rebuffed. Some Parchami officers who had gone there for that purpose in March were done away with. Officers of the two factions clashed, and the Parchami officers had the worst ofthe clashes. The situation deteriorated still further when, in June 1980, the regime executed first Amin’s brother and nephew and later three of his senior ministers and a few officers.


1. Ruiz, Left Out in the Cold, 3.

2. At the end of the war, Wendy Batson, a consultant of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated, “Even those [Afghan] villages not directly affected by the conflict are often as devastated as those that were. The long years of war have left houses collapsed, roads and irrigation systems deteriorated to the point of uselessness, and fields long overgrown. The scale of destruction is enormous” (quoted in ibid., 5).

3. Sahari, Jehad in the Kunars, 22.

4. Not every village had as many Parchamis as Deva had. Deva was the only village throughout the land that had many Parchamis in proportion to the number of its educated elements of both sexes. School dropouts, high school graduates, and some college graduates had turned Parchami, while those holding higher degrees had not. (I myself am from Deva.)