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|Part 3:The Islamic Jihad|
The development of an Islamic movement in a country depends on the mercy of God. When God wants to show mercy on a place, he orders the wind and clouds to gather and leads them to a specific point where he wants it to rain. There it rains, and immediately the land changes, and a movement is created in it. The soil breaks up, and life raises its head from that spot. The Holy Quran is like this, and the country and people of Afghanistan are like that fallow land.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar made this statement in a speech to Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan, in the early 1980s.  As the leader (amir) of Hizb-i Islami Afghanistan (the Islamic Party of Afghanistan), one of the principal Islamic parties then fighting to overthrow the Marxist regime in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar was primarily concerned in his speech with condemning the leftist leadership in Kabul and its Soviet sponsors. However, the head of the most radical of the Afghan resistance parties also took time to inform his audience about the origins of his party as a student group at Kabul University in the late 1960s. This reminiscence of student days was not a digression or flight of fancy. To the contrary, Hekmatyars historical reflections had considerable significance in the context of Afghan national politics, for it was through history that Hizb-i Islami staked its right to rule Afghanistan. Thus, because the Muslim student organization could claim to have been the first group to have warned the nation of the dangers of Soviet communism, Hizb-i Islami could declare its preeminence among the various resistance parties in Pakistan and assert its leadership of the Islamic government that it hoped to establish in the homeland. And because so many of the groups early leaders were arrested and martyred by the communists, Hizb-i Islami was able to justify its often controversial actions: its relentless control over party members, its summary execution of political opponents, its often ruthless attacks against rival resistance parties, and its sabotage of attempts at political compromise to end the interminable conflict in Afghanistan.
In Part Three, I am again concerned with history, specifically, the history of the Hizb-i Islami political party, and with how this organization, which began as a campus study group, was transformed into an authoritarian political party. Although Hizb-i Islami has faded in importance, it was the dominant Islamic political party in the period preceding and following the Soviet invasion, and more than any other group it was responsible for undermining independent regional efforts to overthrow the Marxist regime; it also created the organizational template adopted (more or less successfully) by other Afghan resistance parties, and it established the climate of distrust and division that has plagued the development of an Islamic governing structure in Afghanistan to this day.  Hizb-i Islami had an impact far beyond the number of its fronts, which were many, or the effectiveness of its military operations, which was considerable. Indeed, the partys principal legacy was political not military, and it is my contention that, along with the Khalq party, which it resembled in many respects, Hizb-i Islami was responsible for prolonging the conflict by consistently destroying grounds for common cause within the resistance and within Afghan society more generally.
My interest here is not only how this particular party forged a dominant place for itself in the Afghan resistance during the early 1980s but also how the party deviated from more traditional forms of Islamic political practice, especially the clerical and mystical traditions that had been at the center of earlier antigovernment political movements, and how it helped to keep the various Islamic political factions disunited in the face of the Soviet invasion, thereby laying the groundwork for the eventual takeover by the Taliban militia. In keeping with the general pattern of this book, this first chapter of Part Three has both a biographical and a historical focus. My main concern here is with the development of a political party and ideology, and my principal strategy for dealing with that topic is to consider one mans life in the context of the larger historical events shaping his personal career and the trajectory of the party during the last half of the twentieth century. The second chapter of Part Three examines the structural divisions within the Islamic political movement in the wake of the Marxist revolution and the role of Hizb-i Islami in exacerbating these divisions.
The life history at the center of this chapter belongs to a man known as Qazi Muhammad Amin Waqad, whom I met in Peshawar and interviewed once in 1984 and twice in 1986. "Qazi"means "judge"and is an honorific deriving from the fact that Muhammad Amins father was an Islamic judge and Muhammad Amin himself completed his studies in Islamic law and was qualified to serve as a judge. Muhammad Amins last name "Waqad,"or "enlightener"in Arabic is also significant, for it is a name he gave himself. Afghans traditionally do not have family names, but this lack began to create problems for those living in urban centers and mixing with large numbers of unfamiliar people, most of whom had similar names. Tribal Pakhtuns frequently dealt with this problem by using their tribes name as a family name, and the children of well-known fathers sometimes adopted their fathers name as a family name (for example, the sons of the Paktia tribal chief Babrak Khan became known by the name "Babrakzai "; sons of Mir Zaman Khan came to be known as "Zamani "). Others, however, among them many of the students who streamed into Kabul to attend the newly opened university in the 1960s and 1970s, made up their own last names (takhalus). Qazi Muhammad Amin was one of those students, and he chose a name that symbolically denoted the role he hoped to assume in the revolutionary political matrix that was emerging in his student years.
Although he served as the amir of Hizb-i Islami at various times during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Qazi Amins most familiar post was that of deputy amir (mawen), or number two man in the party. He held this position until resigning from the party in 1985 in protest over the acceptance of a Saudi-brokered political alignment that brought together the seven major political parties. Thereafter, he headed his own minor party but stayed mostly on the sidelines until a short-lived appointment as communications minister in the Islamic government that formed between the collapse of the Najibullah government in 1992 and the Taliban takeover in 1994. During the period of my interviews with Qazi Amin, the war inside Afghanistan was bogged down in what appeared to be a limitless stalemate; in Peshawar the resistance parties were engaged in their usual internecine disputes, and various outsiders Pakistanis and Arabs in particular were hovering around the edges of the action, trying to exert their authority. It was a time of corruption and of maneuvering for position not a time of fervent conviction or inspired action.
Qazi Amin was very much in the middle of a scene that many people, outside observers and Afghans alike, were growing to loathe and resent. Ordinary mujahidin and civilians were getting killed, the refugees were sweltering in fetid camps, and as far as I could discern the party leaders were concerned primarily with their own interests and not with those of the people they supposedly represented. By the time I met Qazi Amin, I had already interviewed most of the party leaders and was convinced that the jihad would drag on endlessly and that the political situation would likely get more fragmented and corrupt before it got better. I was generally depressed with the whole situation and would not have been displeased had all the leaders been dispatched in a sudden accident.
Despite this attitude, I was able to muster some enthusiasm for meeting Qazi Amin, in part because I suspected that he might provide interesting links to historical figures like the Mulla of Hadda, whom I had already spent many months investigating (and whose story is told in Heroes of the Age). I had been informed that Qazi Amin was a Mohmand from eastern Afghanistan and that he was the son of a locally prominent judge who had also been a disciple of one of the Mulla of Haddas principal deputies. I also knew that, in keeping with family tradition and in contrast to most of the Muslim student militants who came to Islamic politics from secular schools, he had attended religious schools and had originally set out to follow the same conservative religious career path trod by his father.
The biographical facts that I had been told indicated that Qazi Amins life would provide a useful vehicle for looking at the transformations in Islamic political culture in recent years, but, given the general reticence I had encountered in other top leaders I had interviewed, I had no reason to think that this interview would prove any more enlightening. To my surprise, however, I found that Qazi Amin was quite welcoming in his attitude and sometimes even expansive in his answers. While I had a great deal of trouble getting detailed information from Hekmatyar and other radical leaders about their formative years, Qazi Amin allowed me to probe this area of his life and was not put off when I wandered into politically sensitive areas either. I didnt always get satisfactory answers to my questions, but I never felt any hostility for having asked them.
At the same time, however, throughout the time I was interviewing Qazi Amin, it never left my mind that he was a top-level politician in a resistance organization whose mission was to destroy the government in the country next to the one in which I was then residing and whose political philosophy was equally antagonistic to the government of my own country (even if that government was at the time the partys chief arms supplier). Kalashnikov-wielding guards were always present to remind me of Qazi Amins position, lest I forget, and the sometimes bemused but always wary cast of eye in his thickly bearded countenance continually reminded me of the status of the squat man sitting on the floor mat across from me.
Since Samiullah Safi and Qazi Amin are approximate contemporaries of one another (Safi being five years older than Qazi Amin, who was born in 1947), the life history in this chapter covers much the same historical period as that discussed in the two previous chapters.  Both stories also share a common regional focus in the Afghan-Pakistani frontier and certain prevailing themes, such as the transformation of older moral principles and organizational forms in the rapidly changing milieu of Afghan society. Despite these similarities, however, the two life histories share little else in either content or style. When I conducted my interviews with Samiullah Safi, he had been in exile for nearly two years, and he saw little chance of his returning to Pech. Consequently, our conversations had a somewhat elegiac quality to them, and I had the distinct impression that I was being used to record the completed story of another mans life. My job, I perceived, was to get the story straight and to recognize in it the sense of moral coherence that the speaker intended to impart through his choice of words. During the course of the several hours of interviews and I even hesitate to use the word "interviews"since it inaccurately represents the way he dominated our interaction and dictated the direction and flow of his reminiscences I listened, nodded, and poured more tea.
The time I passed with Qazi Amin was invariably cordial, perhaps more so than that spent with Wakil, who was quite purposeful and at times even impersonal as he went about telling his story. But where I sometimes felt as though Wakil, despite his personally detached mode of presentation, was opening up chasms in his soul, my impression of Qazi Amin was that the more friendly he became in manner the more evasive he became in his answers. Thus, when Qazi Amin discussed his fathers life or his own early memories, his reminiscence flowed along without substantial prodding. However, when we began to drift into more contentious matters, such as the conflicts among the resistance parties, he often balked, providing a clipped reply and waiting for me to ask my next question. At the time of our interview, Qazi Amin was more engaged in the flow of political events. While Wakil was an exile from his home and the center of his own political gravity in Pech, Qazi Amin was right at the heart of the things in Peshawar, where the Islamic political parties carried out their business. What I didnt realize completely then, however, was how at the time of our interviews Qazi Amin was also in decline. Like Wakil, Qazi Amins greatest influence was behind him; he would never again enjoy the degree of power and authority he wielded in the early part of the jihad. Like Wakil as well, Qazi Amin declined in importance largely because he was a hybrid neither fully one thing nor the other. In his case, hybridity had to do with his having one foot in the world of the traditional cleric and the other in the world of radical student politics. Initially, being able to negotiate and maneuver in both these worlds was his strength and great contribution to the jihad, but when the fissures in the jihad proved too deep to cross he became peripheral to the interests of men more single-minded and ruthless than himself.
To reflect the differences that I sensed in the two interviews, I have chosen to represent them in somewhat different ways. Since Wakils interview consisted of a series of stories, I fashioned them that way, excising extraneous comments by others who might have been in the room (including myself) and, in some cases, taking out the noise, clutter, and repetitious filler that occasionally obscured the narrative contours of Wakils material. For Qazi Amin, however, I have retained the interview framework within which the life history emerged because it was always within this context that our conversations proceeded, and the question-and-answer format was never left behind.
My primary concern in this chapter is with the evolution of the Hizb-i Islami party, but before turning to that subject I provide accounts of Qazi Amins fathers career, the transformation of Islamic politics in the first half of the twentieth century, and Qazi Amins own early education. These sections of personal and political history help to contextualize developments while also providing a link between the earlier forms of religious dissent and those that were to emerge in the democratic period. Following these introductory sections, I use Qazi Amins personal history to examine the development of Hizb-i Islami up through the Marxist revolution. As a way of organizing this discussion, I divide this history into two principal stages: an initial period of campus-focused activism and peer engagement lasting roughly from 1966 until the official founding of the Muslim Youth Organization in 1969 and a second period of increasing radicalization between 1969 and 1978, during which time the Muslim Youth launched an abortive coup détat against the government; the failure of this coup almost destroyed the party, but it also set the stage for Hizb-i Islamis emergence as the most radical, secretive, and controlling of the Islamic resistance parties.
Would you please provide us with some information about your father, other family members, and your background?
Qazi Amin (QA):
My name is Muhammad Amin. My fathers name is Muhammad Yusuf, and my grandfathers name is Maulavi Sayyid Muhammad. We are from Ningrahar Province in Afghanistan. In Ningrahar Province, our home is Batikot, and we belong to the Mohmand tribe. Within the Mohmand tribe, we belong to the Janikhel branch. My grandfather served as the prayer leader [imam] of the village and taught Islamic subjects in the mosque school. I never saw him. My father was only about fifteen or sixteen years old when his father died. . . .
My grandmother belonged to a sayyid family [those who claim descent from the Prophet Muhammad] that lived in a place near Inzari of Shinwar. They were very wise people, and my grandmother was also very wise and able and knew how to educate her sons; so she sent all four of her sons, including my father, to India to educate them in religious studies. After being in India for some time, the older brothers sent their younger brother, Amir Muhammad, back home to serve their mother while they stayed on [in India]. One of the brothers died during this time, and the other brother returned home without finishing his education. But my father, Muhammad Yusuf, spent twelve years in India and completed his education . . . at the Deoband madrasa, which was the greatest center of religious sciences at that time. Everyone who could finish his education wanted to go there. . . . He spent two years in Deoband and graduated first in his class.
My father returned from Deoband in 1937 or 1938. . . . At that time, there was a custom in Afghanistan that the religious scholars who had graduated from Deoband or from any other madrasa in India would be appointed as judges by the government. In 1938, Mia Sahib of Kailaghu asked my father to accept a position as a judge. Mia Sahib was a judge and a very high-ranking religious scholar in the Afghan government of the time, so my father accepted the offer. First, he went to Gardez and later to Khost. Then he moved to Katawaz, and for some time he was in Ghazni. In the beginning, he was a lower-court judge and later became a provincial judge.
My father was a very accomplished scholar and had an attractive appearance, and when part of his body became paralyzed, people said to each other that it was because of the evil eye. He also had the power of eloquence in his speaking, and he knew a great deal about the political and social affairs of his time, especially the different tribal traditions. Because of this, when the government accepted him as a judge, they sent him to Paktia, which is a border province of Pakhtuns, and he was able to work successfully there first as a lower-court judge and later as a provincial judge. He was a judge for a total of six years. In 1945, the sixth year of my fathers employment, I was born in Khost [Paktia Province]. So I am now forty years old. At that time, the Safis had started their war against the government in Kunar Province.
What did your father do after he got sick?
After his sickness, my father spent the rest of his life in Kot. Even though the government asked him many times to go back to his job, he wouldnt agree. We lived on the income of our land. We had oxen for plowing and also a tenant farmer to work on our land. Besides that, our father was the preacher in the main mosque, and he also had some students. But unlike other mullas, he didnt accept any assistance from the people, and because of this, the people of the area called him "khan mulla,"the mulla who is like a khan. Our father was a mulla who had his own guesthouse and fed every kind of visitor there. We didnt need anyones help. Our father always tried to help the people in our area settle their disputes, so our living standard was equal to a khans living standard. We had land, we had a guesthouse, and we could solve the problems of the people.
Did your father have any kind of relation with pirs or Sufis like Enzari Mulla Sahib?
My father was a disciple of Pachir Mulla Sahib, who lived in Pachir, which is near Agam. I have seen him myself. He was alive until recently. His sons were martyred in the jihad: Maulavi Abdul Baqi and his other son. Pachir Mulla Sahib was a disciple of the Mulla of Hadda, and my father was a disciple of Pachir Mulla Sahib, who was a very prayerful and pious man. [Pachir Mulla] liked to lead the life of a simple man of God [faqir].
You said before that your father was both a good preacher and was popular with the tribes. Did the government send him to work in the tribal areas because he was better able to control the tribes than a secular person would have been?
Yes, that was the way the government kept control of the tribes. In those days, the people were uneducated, and the military bases werent very strong, so the only way the government could keep its control over the people was by using religious scholars and popular tribal leaders. Military force was not enough. For example, the people of Paktia were uneducated, and the military bases were not strong enough to control the tribes. The government at that time was newly formed and still quite weak. Consequently, they had to depend on religious scholars and popular tribal leaders to maintain their authority over the people. On the one hand, religious scholars had spiritual influence and power, and as good orators and preachers of Islam they could easily find an esteemed position among the people. On the other hand, they had government authority, too. 
Qazi Amins description of his fathers life reveals some traditional patterns in Afghan religion. Following time-honored precedents, Muhammad Yusuf, while a young man, journeyed far afield for scriptural knowledge before returning to his homeland to assume the mantle of a respected cleric in the government. Like the young Najmuddin Akhundzada, who later became known as the Mulla of Hadda, Muhammad Yusuf had a religious background. He was, in fact, more favored in this regard than Najmuddin, for not only were his father and grandfather religious scholars, but his mother had also inherited sanctity as the result of being a member of a family claiming descent from the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad Yusuf, however, also had the same disadvantage as Najmuddin of being left fatherless at a young age and like Najmuddin and many other boys in similar circumstances, he responded by going in search of religious knowledge and the credentials that would allow him to establish his own identity and social position as a scholar.
All of this is familiar, and so is the fact that on completing his education Muhammad Yusuf returned to his home area to marry and begin employment in a local mosque as a prayer leader and teacher. This was not the route that Najmuddin took, but few had the inner disposition to lead the life of a mystic and ascetic who could forego family, wealth, and position to single-mindedly serve God. While he had mystical leanings of his own and became a disciple of a well-known pir, Muhammad Yusufs orientation was primarily scholarly, and his decision to return to his home to start his own madrasa reflects this fact. Traditionally, Afghan men of religion have combined elements of both the mystical and the scriptural in their lives. While in some settings Sufism and scripturalism tend to attract different sorts of adherents, who keep their distance from one another, most well-known Afghan mystics (including the Mulla of Hadda) have been respected scholars, and likewise most respected scholars have been themselves Sufi pirs or disciples of Sufi pirs. The decision whether to be primarily a mystic or a scholar is an individual one, but clear social incentives and disincentives come into play in each situation. In the case of Najmuddin, apparently very little pulled him back to his home area. He was from a poor family, and he would likely have ended his days as a poor village mulla if he had returned home. Muhammad Yusuf, however, was from a relatively prosperous family, which meant that, on his return from India, he had land and income waiting for him, along with the prospect of a socially beneficial marriage.
Another pattern that we see in the fathers life history that is less familiar, at least if we take the Mulla of Hadda and his disciples as our point of reference, is the scholar accepting employment with the government. As I discussed in depth in Heroes of the Age, the reputation of the Mulla and his closest followers stemmed in large part from their separation from and periodic opposition to the government, but such opposition became increasingly rare through the early part of the twentieth century as the government expanded and offered an ever larger number of religious scholars employment in its service.  In this sense then, Qazi Amins fathers life exemplifies the increasingly common trend toward the routinization and bureaucratization of religious authority and the increasing irrelevance of religion as a force of political dissent through the first half of the twentieth century.
The pattern of increasing cooperation between religious leaders and the states can be seen quite clearly by considering the case of the Mulla of Haddas tariqat (Sufi order). Following the death of Amir Abdur Rahman in 1901, his successor, Amir Habibullah, persuaded the Mulla to return to Afghanistan and treated him with great respect and tolerance.  The Mulla had been a vociferous opponent of Habibullahs father, who had tried to arrest him. The Mulla escaped, but several of his disciples had not been so fortunate. Habibullah wanted to mend this break, and signaled this attitude in a number of ways, one of which was the exemption of religious leaders from paying taxes and, in some cases, the assignment to them of tax revenues. Because of the Mulla of Haddas standing as the most renowned religious figure of his day, Amir Habibullah gave him valuable land in the fertile valley of Paghman, a few kilometers outside of Kabul, and later issued a decree that the governments tax receipts from the area around Hadda, which amounted to 3,500 rupees in cash and thirty-two kharwar of wheat, be given to the Mulla for the support of the langar where he fed his disciples and guests.  The state also allocated annual stipends to his principal deputies, including Sufi Sahib of Batikot, who received 2,500 "silver rupees,"and Pacha Sahib of Islampur, whose allowance included 1,400 silver rupees and twenty-one kharwar each of wheat and straw to support and maintain his langar and mosque.  While many religious figures appreciated this more favorable treatment, a number, including the Mulla of Hadda himself, recognized the potential danger entailed in accepting government largesse. Hadda Sahib even went so far as to return to the amir the land he had received, saying that it was the property of the people (bait ul-mal) and therefore forbidden to him.
Though Amir Habibullahs efforts at placating traditional religious leaders appear at odds with his fathers style of rule, the same impulse toward consolidating monarchical authority was at its root. Where Abdur Rahman had recognized the necessity of strengthening the power of the center at the expense of religious and tribal leaders, Habibullah apparently believed that the balance of power had now shifted in the governments favor and that the moment was auspicious for taking a more conciliatory approach focused on symbolic inclusion of dissident elements rather than forcible removal.  Whatever his motivation, one effect of his largesse to religious leaders was the decline of their popular authority. Acceptance of government funds for the upkeep of a langar was tolerable in most peoples minds, but the perception became increasingly widespread that some of the mullas deputies and their offspring were on the government dole and were more devoted to property than piety.  Given the unstable nature of charismatic authority, it is probably the case that the Mulla of Haddas tariqat would have declined with or without Habibullahs assistance, but government interference certainly accelerated the process, as did the governments practice of implicating religious leaders in local administration.
This policy was played out during the Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. In the decade and a half between the Mulla of Haddas death in 1903 and the outbreak of hostilities with Great Britain, various of the Mullas deputies, including Mulla Sahib of Chaknawar and Sufi Sahib of Batikot, had appeared from time to time among the border tribes to try to provoke an uprising against the British government in India. None of these efforts had created the sort of widespread disturbance that the Mulla of Hadda had helped to instigate in 1897, but the labors of the mullas were sufficient to keep the frontier in a state of nervous alarm for much of this period.  They also succeeded in keeping alive their own reputations as men of political action, but this was to change when their independent efforts were harnessed to the governments cause in 1919.
Upon declaring jihad against the British, Amir Amanullah, Habibullahs son and successor, immediately sought the assistance of religious leaders, including the Mullas deputies. By this time, many of those personally associated with the Mulla were getting on in years, but those who were still in a position to participate in this new jihad did so.  This time, however, they were not treated as independent leaders but rather were incorporated into the command structure as subordinates of Amanullahs own representative, Haji Abdur Razaq Khan, who recognized the value of these spiritual figures for organizing the tribes. Religious leaders were a key ingredient in Abdur Razaqs plan because of their ability to move across sometimes hostile tribal boundaries and coordinate activities among groups that might otherwise have only ill-will for one another. Razaq also understood that spiritual leaders had both the education and the trust needed to oversee the movement of weapons, ammunitions, and supplies to different locations and to keep rival tribes focused on the enemy rather than on each other.  The religious leaders went along with this plan because of their longstanding interest in combating British influence on the frontier, but their cooperation came at a cost. The Mulla of Hadda had been careful never to accept a subordinate position to the Afghan amir and in fact had contested the amirs right to declare a jihad on the grounds that he was not a proper Islamic ruler. In the 1919 war with Great Britain, however, the Mullas deputies, who succeeded him after his death, not only conceded the right of announcing jihad to the state but also ceded their position as independent leaders of their tribal followers for the more circumscribed role of logistical coordinators charged with supervising operations at a middle rung in the chain of command.
While the organizational arrangements established during the 1919 war demonstrate the changing relationship of religious leaders to the state, the best illustration of the governments harnessing of religious leaders to its own ends came in the ceremony that the government held following the conclusion of hostilities to commemorate Afghanistans "victory"over Great Britain.  The site of the ceremony was a field next to the Mulla of Haddas tomb. When the delegates to the assembly had all gathered, General Nadir Khan (later King Nadir Shah), who was Amir Amanullahs representative, called on the members of the assembly to prove their readiness to renew the jihad against the British by signing their names on the inside cover of a Quran. As each leader signed his name, he was also asked to indicate the number of mujahidin he would provide and the area where he would fight. Nadir then presented them with engraved pistols and battle standards inscribed with Quranic verses. Playing the symbolic dimensions of the occasion to maximum effect, the government had decorated the meeting ground with black banners (a time-honored emblem of Islamic militancy) that had been consecrated at the shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazar-i Sharif, the principal shrine and pilgrimage site in Afghanistan. These banners were embroidered with religious motifs, such as the outline of a hand (symbolic of the five principal members of the Prophets house), the star and crescent, and the silhouette of a mosque.
The deployment of these symbols for the states purposes demonstrates the way in which Afghanistan was moving from a nineteenth-century kingdom to a twentieth-century nation-state. The symbols that we see arrayed on this occasion were traditional ones that governments in the past had also found it in their interest to use. So, to a certain extent, nothing new is going on here. However, if seen in relation to more general patterns of government centralization and administrative rationalization, the political performance at Hadda, with its skillful management of tribal and religious leaders, can also be recognized as one part of an overall consolidation of political authority in the hands of the government. In 1920, when the assembly at Hadda occurred, this consolidation was by no means complete, and in the years to follow religious and tribal leaders would make renewed assertions of independence, but the overall direction was toward increased government control and a more institutionalized role for traditional religious leaders. 
The general trend toward compartmentalizing religious leaders in the apparatus of state rule would appear to have suffered a major setback with the overthrow of Amanullah, which is generally thought of as a victory for conservative Islamic leaders over the social reformers who wanted to modernize Afghanistan and the high-water mark of religious influence in the affairs of state.  The legacy of that event is more ambiguous and complex than it might appear however. One of the interesting features of the movement that succeeded in toppling Amanullah is that its principal religious leader, the Hazrat of Shor Bazaar, had his base not in the tribal areas (as was the case with the Mulla of Hadda and his deputies), but in Kabul itself. It is true that most of the Hazrats disciples were Pakhtun tribesmen living in the tribal areas, but he himself chose as his base of operations the capital city. In the past, religious leaders tended to have regional power bases, but the Hazrats found that they could sustain a multiregional constituency from Kabul. This reflects the changing articulation of religious authority, as more and more of the Hazrats disciples were doing business in Kabul, and it became easier to stay in contact with his scattered deputies from the capital than from a rural location. The Hazrat gave up the security of having tribesmen close at hand and mountains nearby to flee to in case of government attack; however, he discovered that his larger base of disciples gave him protection, even in Kabul, since the government feared the agitation that would result if it tried to arrest a leader of his stature. At the same time, having established himself in the capital, the Hazrat was loath to see the dismantling of the state, even if he had been more than willing to help unseat the head of state. Thus, even though the overthrow of Amanullah unquestionably represents the moment when the expanding authority of the Afghan state received its most crushing setback (at least until the upheaval of the 1980s), the two consequences that stand out after the sound and fury of the uprising itself are put aside are how quickly the central government reasserted its authority in a form much like that which had preceded it and how quickly religious leaders like the Hazrat of Shor Bazaar acquiesced to this development and accepted an administrative niche within the structure of state rule. Kabul may have been overrun and the various palaces and offices of the government ransacked and looted, but those who had attacked the city quickly returned to their places of origin and resumed their former lives. Government bureaucrats reoccupied their offices. The army was put back together. Students took their seats in class as they had before, tax collectors returned to their rounds, and the fiery Hazrat of Shor Bazaar accepted a post in the new government, becoming the head of a council of clerics (jamiat ul-ulama), which was appointed to advise the government on religious policy.
In fact, neither the Hazrat nor the council ever wielded as much influence as they seemed prepared to do at the beginning of Nadirs reign, when he reportedly availed himself of their counsel and accepted their authority in certain areas such as judicial sentencing and the oversight of government legislation. Likewise, in testament to the preeminence of the Hazrat, Nadir not only contracted marriage relations with his family but also gave the family a large tract of land for a new compound on the outskirts of Kabul. These privileges and perquisites, however, did not provide the ulama with the authority that they sought. Indeed, bringing them into the councils of power and even into the royal family itself seems to have gradually reduced their authority by diluting the importance of their relations with the people in the rural areas. Ultimately, once the throne was secure and the tribal areas were pacified, the king and his ministers gradually began to pay less attention to the advice and dictates of the council of clerics. While the state continued to pay stipends, build madrasas, hire judges, and otherwise ingratiate itself with religious leaders in material ways, it also came to pay less heed to their admonitions on social and legislative matters.
Since the government was not embarking on any radical reform programs that might have stirred the ire of religious leaders, they had little to protest; most clerics simply accepted the largesse offered them without complaint. The governments generosity was of the calculated variety, however, and its principal objective appears to have been to forestall the religious establishment from uniting against the government in the future. While it was impossible for the government to prevent the appearance of charismatic malcontents like the Mulla of Hadda, it could limit their effectiveness by maintaining a stable of compliant clerics who could be called on to denounce outsiders charges and complaints. This strategy was in fact recognized by the very group that was implicated in the governments web of generosity, as is indicated by the following statement made to me by the descendant of one of the Mulla of Haddas deputies who had served for many years as a judge in the Afghan court system:
[Prime Minister] Hashim Khan [1933 -1946] encouraged the children of pirs to move toward the government. He wanted to enroll them in madrasas to turn them away from Sufi orders [tariqat]. Hashim also offered them good government positions and did his best to provide them with everything possible. In this way, he also strengthened his own position and power. He could claim that that pir or his sons are working for us or they are our subordinates and we pay them. In this way, Hashim gradually broke the peoples link [to the pirs]. 
Returning to the case of Qazi Amins father, we can see that while he was situated far lower on the ladder of prestige than the Hazrat of Shor Bazaar or the children of the Mulla of Haddas deputies, he too was affected by the changing balance of power. Like these more exalted luminaries, he was consumed with affairs of government, and when a tribal uprising appeared on the horizon, he and his fellow scholars naturally tended to take the governments side and protect its interests. Thus, according to Qazi Amins recollection, his father helped to mediate three tribal uprisings one among the Zadran tribe in Paktia Province, the Safi uprising in 1945 (about which Qazi Amin had little information), and an uprising among the Shinwari, which he believed occurred in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  The one traditionally independent political role that Qazi Amins father did perpetuate was in connection with the practice of amr bil ma ruf (calling people to proper faith and action), a role that the Mulla of Hadda and many of his deputies also performed. In this tradition, groups of religious leaders traveled from village to village, urging people to renew and purify their faith. Sometimes they also tried to convince the people to abandon customary practices, such as taking interest on loans and money in exchange for giving their daughters or sisters in marriage. The continuation of this form of proselytizing at a time when other political activities were discontinued would seem to reflect an interiorization of religious politics a movement toward local social reform as opposed to the more dangerous and uncertain area of antigovernment dissent.
Tell me about your early education and how you got interested in Islam as a career.
We are two brothers. My elder brother is Muhammad Yunus. He is eight years older than I. After my elder brother, my sister was born, and I was the last one. . . . Our life was a typical rural life. It was an ordinary village life. We were away from the city. My elder brother started his primary education under his fathers supervision, and he also attended the madrasas that were located close to our area. When I reached school age, I also started to study some elementary books of Islam. . . .
I was fifteen years old at that time. I didnt attend any official madrasa, and I thought that I couldnt finish my education at home. So, without my fathers permission, I came to Pakistan. I was sixteen years old, and I made up a story that I wanted to visit my uncles family in Kama. First, I went to Kama, and from there two other boys and four sons of my uncle joined me, and we all came together to Pakistan through Gandhab. Here, we stayed in an official [government] madrasa [rasmi madrasa]. My family found out where I was after six months of searching, and my brother came after me. He asked me, "Why did you come here?"I replied, "You know that there isnt any suitable place for higher education in our area, and I have the right to continue my studies. I knew that father wouldnt let me go to Pakistan, so I came without his permission."
I had spent nine months in the madrasa. Then I went home and tried to convince my father to let me stay. I told him that I had gone to get my education, and eventually he allowed me to go to Pakistan for a second time. Again, I spent nine months here, this time at the madrasa in the Mahabat Khan mosque in Peshawar, where I studied some advanced books and learned calligraphy. At that time in the madrasa, they didnt pay much attention to calligraphy. After that, the idea came to my mind that it would be difficult to continue my education in this foreign country. There was another problem also that if someone had graduated from [a school or madrasa in] Pakistan they would be criticized by the government. When I was a student [taleb] in the Mahabat Khan madrasa, the idea came into my mind that I had to go back to Afghanistan and register myself in one of the official madrasas of the government.
So in 1340, which is equivalent to 1961, I returned to Afghanistan after being in Pakistan for eighteen months. Then I applied to madrasa and took an examination. After successfully passing the examination, I went with my father and registered in the fifth class of Najm ul-Madares of Hadda. Although the usual period of study was seven years, I finished the program in six years. Since I was good at my lessons, I prepared myself for the examination of the eleventh class during vacation, and I passed and registered in the twelfth class.
What were the rules for admission to the madrasa?
Generally, they admitted just those who had finished in the first, second, or third positions in their classes, and they also had to pass the examination. Recently, they have been accepting talebs from local mosques as well.
Can you describe the program of study? Did you just attend classes in the morning, or did you have them in the afternoon as well?
Our lessons were conducted from eight in the morning until twelve noon. Since this was a religious school, the majority of the subjects were of a religious nature, but there were some other, nonreligious subjects like Pakhtu, Farsi, and Arabic. In the preliminary program up to class six, there were also mathematics, geography, geometry, and history. In the last year before my graduation, they added English to the preliminary program as well. There was also a little bit of modern science in the advanced program courses like mathematics, geography, and social science but the main subjects were religious.
Did you take any interest in Sufism [tasawuf] at that time, and did you ever become the follower of a pir?
No, I didnt pledge obedience [bayat] to any pir.
Was this because you didnt believe in it, or were there some other reasons?
I didnt have faith in what they were doing then. The other side of Sufism is its spiritual side doing zikr for Allah.  I believe in this side. It has a positive effect on peoples morale. I have some books about it. One of them gives directions for [making] amulets [tawiz] and [doing] zikr. I study [this book], but what the pirs are doing nowadays is simply deceiving people to get money, and this is condemned by Islam. They are using religion as a way of getting material benefits and power, which is a very bad use of religion. Because of this, I havent taken an interest in that kind of master/disciple [piri-muridi] relationship.
What did you do when you graduated from madrasa?
It was a rule of the government at that time that they would employ some of the graduates as madrasa teachers and they would choose others to be judges. It seemed like a crime to the majority of people if someone wanted to go to university after graduating from madrasa. The people considered it frivolous and maybe even deviant. Despite this, I thought that my education was insufficient. I had to study more, and for that reason I asked my father about going on for more education. He asked me what kind of position the government wanted to give me after graduation from the madrasa. I replied that I could be a teacher now or a judge after attending a special one-year judicial course. He told me that being a judge was an important job: "It is my advice to you that you dont need more education. You can attend the judicial course, and later you will be a judge, and it is enough for you."
I didnt accept his advice, however, and convinced him that I had to complete my education. I was the only graduate of the Hadda madrasa at that time who registered his name for the university examination. A total of twenty-four students graduated from the Hadda madrasa, and I was number two in my class. All my classmates rebuked me. Even our teachers criticized my action, especially Maulavi Fazl Hadi. He asked me, "Why are you going to go to the university? That is like a Western society there, and the people are decadent. So how can you the graduate of a madrasa go to such a place?"
Why did you decide to go to university when no one else supported this decision?
I registered in the madrasa in 1961. Democracy came to Afghanistan in 1963, when Daud was deposed [as prime minister]. Afterward some of the political parties started their activities. For example, Khalq and Parcham began their work in 1964. The Afghan Millet party also began its activities at that time. So after democracy came to Afghanistan, we could get some information about political ideas, but the political awareness of our teachers was very low. I myself was not very aware when I was in madrasa, but, in spite of this lack of awareness, I and Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman [later a founding member of the Muslim Youth Organization], who was three years ahead of me, and some other close friends had a feeling of hatred toward the deviations and unjust activities of the government. . . .
There was a rule in the madrasa then that the students who had reached the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth classes had to preach twice a week in front of a big gathering. Our preaching was different from the others. Sometimes we discussed the current political problems that the other mullas never talked about. We had some teachers in the madrasa who were against that sort of political awareness. There were some other people who didnt know anything about political ideas and were unaware of that kind of political thinking or feeling. For instance, they didnt know what jihad is, what politics or the movement is, and what the significance of the leftist parties is, what democracy is. We were in a very backward environment, and since I had a feeling about these things, I decided to go to Kabul University for my higher education. So it was in the university environment that I became aware in a good way about the problems of my country. 
Qazi Amins story begins much like his fathers (and that of so many other scholars before him) with the mandatory pilgrimage in search of knowledge. In his case, the act of undertaking this pilgrimage also entailed an act of disobedience since he did not have his fathers permission to make the trip to Pakistan. That such permission was not forthcoming is not surprising considering both the boys tender age and his fathers established position in society. Qazi Amin was not an orphan seeking social advancement as his father had been, and there were better career options close to home than there had been when Qazi Amins father was a young man. At any rate, Qazi Amins decision to leave his home shows early on his independent character, just as the later decision to return home shows his pragmatic bent.
At the time of his journey (roughly 1959 -1961), Afghanistan and Pakistan were embroiled in a bitter dispute over the control of the tribal territories along the frontier. The status of the frontier tribes was an ancient source of acrimony, but the tensions had escalated further when Muhammad Daud became prime minister in 1953. As a result of this dispute, there had been occasional clashes between army units of the two nations, sporadic border closings, and much vituperative rhetoric flowing out of both Kabul and Rawalpindi. While it was still as easy as ever for local people to cross the border, it was not always expedient to do so, and Qazi Amin wisely decided to return home so as not to jeopardize his chances for either further schooling or future employment in Afghanistan. The fact that a young religious scholar from the border area would have government employment on his mind is one indication of the extent to which the balance of power had shifted in favor of the state.
In a few short years, Qazi Amins life would take an unpredictable turn that would make considerations of employment irrelevant; but in 1961 he was preparing for a career as an Islamic judge, and that meant applying for entrance into one of the government madrasas, whose graduates were being awarded an ever larger percentage of the judgeships in the country as well as the most sought-after teaching posts in government secondary schools. All of this seems unremarkable, unless we compare the course of Qazi Amins early education with that of an older scholar, like his father or, better yet, the Mulla of Hadda. Such a comparison makes clear the degree to which education was becoming both routinized and centralized. In the past, students had had to go far afield to gain the requisite training, but increasingly that was neither necessary nor, from a career standpoint, desirable. The government had always looked to religious scholars to meet many of its administrative needs, but from the time of Abdur Rahman on, and particularly in the middle decades of the twentieth century, it strove to exert control over the process by which religious scholars were produced.
As revealing as Qazi Amins choice of career trajectories is for understanding the changing nature of relations between the state and Islam, an even more telling index of the governments control over religious affairs is the fact that he received his preliminary training for later government employment in a madrasa built next to the Mulla of Haddas center. At the turn of the century, this very same center, whose grounds the government was now grooming, had been one of its primary sources of worry and irritation. In the Mullas day, the center at Hadda had been a pilgrimage site for disciples and scholars. Following the Mullas death, however, Hadda began a slow decline into ramshackle senescence. Given the renown achieved by the Mulla, it might have been expected that the center to which he had devoted a good portion of his life would have become a place of pilgrimage after his death, but Hadda, for reasons that are difficult to assess, failed to flourish as a shrine center.  During the 1930s and 1940s, the government, prompted by religious scholars, embarked on a program of underwriting the construction of madrasas in various regions of the country. In all, ten government-sponsored madrasas were established, and the graduates of these institutions went on to become judges, administrators in the Ministry of Justice, and high school teachers in the secular educational institutions that the government was then constructing with even greater avidity.  The madrasa at Hadda was not only established on the site of the Mullas center but was also named after him (the najm in Najm ul-Madares comes from the Mullas birth name, Najmuddin) and used his collection of books as the core of its library.
Although the Mulla was long dead by the time Qazi Amin arrived in 1961, the Mullas spirit, it seems, was all around and was often invoked. Yet one wonders what he would have thought of the government taking so prominent a role in the maintenance of his legacy. On the one hand, it was precisely the sort of development he had always advocated. The state needed to be guided by religious precepts, and what better way to ensure that it was than by providing religious adepts in each generation with education and employment. On the other hand, religious leaders had the responsibility to ensure that the government was not corrupt, and it was not always easiest or most reliable to seek such assurances from within, particularly in the absence of men on the outside decrying lost virtues and rallying the opposition. One can imagine that Hadda Sahib would have had good reason to worry, and the reason can be seen in the career choices of the offspring of his own deputies, the majority of whom pursued the path of Islam on the government payroll.
However, Qazi Amins generation was to prove different, for while its members were afforded the opportunities of a government-sponsored education, some were skeptical of the governments good will and were inclined to challenge authority generally. As Qazi Amins testimony indicates, most of his classmates were not radically disposed. They viewed their education as the necessary means to the end of a decent government sinecure, and they were not inclined to talk back to those who were offering this largesse. But some, and Qazi Amin was among this number, were more aware of the political currents then beginning to circulate in the country and more cognizant of the limits of their own education.
In contrast to the situation at the time of Hadda Sahib, or even later during the movement against Amanullah, government opposition was no longer centered in the hinterlands but rather was focused in Kabul, within the narrow universe of the educated elite. During Qazi Amins youth, in the 1950s and early 1960s, the most vociferous opposition came not from the conservative side of the political spectrum but from the left. Several newspapers published briefly in the early 1950s advocated social reforms of a type that had not been espoused since Amanullahs rule.  The most vocal of these publications demonstrated a willingness to attack not only the religious establishment but also popular religious practices, which many adherents of secular reform were ready to brand as superstitious and inimical to progressive ideals. This provocative attitude was dramatically demonstrated in a letter to the editor in which the government was criticized for spending money to refurbish the so-called mou-i mobarak (miraculous hair) shrine in eastern Afghanistan, which housed what was purported to be one of the beard hairs of the Prophet Muhammad. Clerical outrage over this letter led to public protests against the growing influence of secular reformers in Afghan public life, and the government responded in 1952 by banning Watan and other independent newspapers that were giving voice to these inflammatory challenges to traditional beliefs and practices. 
By the time Qazi Amin was finishing his education at the Hadda madrasa in 1968, leftist provocations were being revived through the efforts of leaders like Nur Muhammad Taraki and Babrak Karmal, both of whom had cut their political teeth working for progressive newspapers in the early 1950s. By and large, those living in the rural districts of the country were only dimly aware of leftist activities in Kabul, but news of a few episodes, like the mou-i mobarak incident, did reach the countryside and created a general though unfocused sense of alarm. Qazi Amin did not mention any incidents specifically, but he and his madrasa classmates were aware of the reputation of leftists in Kabul. They were equally aware that established Muslim leaders had proven ineffective in responding to these events, and in his own immediate context he could see the reluctance with which the ulama involved themselves in political matters. Older religious leaders had risen up to meet the challenges of colonial rule in India and of corruption and abuse in Kabul, but the current generation of religious leaders seemed more interested in maintaining their positions and their paychecks than in embracing their political responsibilities. Equally distressing, they appeared hardly to recognize the nature and extent of the challenge represented by leftist forces in Kabul, a challenge that would demand forms of redress unlike any that Muslims in Afghanistan had ever resorted to in the past.
While it is impossible to judge how politically aware Qazi Amin was during his madrasa days, it is interesting that he represented his resolve to meet the challenge presented to him as an act of defiance against his teachers and his father. Two paths were available to him. The first was the one for which he had been training all his life the path of an Islamic judge, the path his father took before him and that he himself set out on when he followed his fathers example of seeking religious education in the subcontinent. This path was the one expected of him and the one that the majority of his contemporaries chose, but he rejected it in favor of the second path, enrollment in the university. Like Samiullah Safi, who felt the pull of the city and the allure of participation in the emerging political debate over national development, Qazi Amin recalled this turning point in his life in relation to the national political debate of the time, and he too framed his decision to join that debate as an act of disobedience, which links him not only to his contemporary, Samiullah Safi, but also to Taraki, to Samiullahs father, Sultan Muhammad Khan, and to the Mulla of Hadda, all of whom likewise had to break from their fathers and the traditions of the past in order to become what they imagined themselves to be.
What was the atmosphere like when you arrived at the university?
Our four years of university were the most important years of political involvement because democracy had just come into being and the parties were just starting their activities. The parties that were actively working at that time were Khalq, Parcham, Shula-yi Jawed, Afghan Millet, and Masawat; but among all of these the communists were the most active, especially in 1968, when I registered in the university. It was the time of political clashes and conflicts at the university. On that account, among some Muslim youth at the university the idea occurred to form a movement according to Islamic rules. I joined this movement in its first stages.
Where were most of the students who attended the Faculty of Islamic Law [shariat] from and what kind of conditions did you find there?
I graduated from madrasa in 1968 and entered the School of Islamic Law at Kabul University in 1969. There was only one university in Afghanistan, and the students were from all parts of the country. Since the Faculty of Islamic Law admitted only graduates from religious schools, most of the students at the faculty came from Abu Hanifa Madrasa [in Kabul] and from [madrasas in] the northern parts of Afghanistan. There were only two students in the school from the Hadda madrasa, and there were very few students in general from other border-area madrasas. About 60 percent of the Islamic law students did speak Pakhtu however.
What were conditions like in the university dormitory?
Kabul University had one dormitory, which could accommodate twenty-five hundred students. We were all living in the central dormitory of the university. About six students could live in one room, and I lived with students from different parts of the country. One was from Kunduz. His name was Yusuf, and now he is an official with Jamiat-i Islami. Two others were from Mazar-i Sharif. Some of the students in our room went to the Faculty of Islamic Law, but others attended different schools. . . . There was a mosque on the fourth floor of our hostel. The students who prayed there knew each other well. . . .
In which faculty did the movement first begin, and later on how were relations established with other faculties?
When the Islamic movement began at the university, it wasnt started through the efforts of one facultys students or teachers. It depended on the feelings, thoughts, and social awareness of everyone who joined the movement. The students who had deeply studied the goals of the communist parties and had the desire to struggle against the regime and the influence of the West and who could think clearly about the future of the country, these people felt a kind of responsibility to form an Islamic movement. It was a matter of feeling responsibility toward Islam for the future of the country. Since the students and teachers of the Islamic law school were studying Islam and knew a lot about it, their feeling of responsibility was stronger than that of others toward Islam and society. For that reason, a greater number of our students and teachers joined the movement and had a more active part than others. . . . Other members were from different schools like engineering, agriculture, medicine, and so on, but still the number of students in the movement from the Faculty of Islamic Law was more than from any other school. At the second level were the students of engineering, medicine, and agriculture. The students from other schools like literature were very few and also dull-minded.
Was there one leader at the beginning?
The most active student of all was [Abdur Rahim] Niazi. He was among the senior students of the Faculty of Islamic Law, and in 1969 he had the first position in his class. He had a very active role in the movement. He was a leader in all the meetings and demonstrations and all the other activities of the Islamic movement. He was a good speaker, and a spellbinding preacher. His speeches had a strong effect on people, and he was able to attract people through his speaking. He always explained the weak points and defects of communist ideology and their parties. Because Niazi was from the Faculty of Islamic Law, people thought that the movement was limited to there. Some people even called members of the movement "mullas,"so they started to be called by this name. The Khalqis, for instance, always called them "mullas,"but actually the movement was spread throughout the university and involved students and faculty members from different schools.
How did Abdur Rahim Niazi first organize the group? Did he meet with people privately, or did he bring them all together?
In the beginning, when the demonstrations and meetings of Khalq and Parcham and Shula were first going on, students with Islamic ideas became familiar with each other because they would argue with the communist students. Because of these discussions, the Muslim students came to know which ones had an Islamic ideology and hated communism and other colonialist activities. For instance, I knew Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman because we had graduated from the same madrasa, and we were aware of each others ideas and feelings. In the same way, Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman had also spent time with Niazi at Abu Hanifa madrasa Habib-ur Rahman as a student, and Niazi as a teacher.
They knew very well what everyones ideas were, and when Niazi started the movement, he invited the students, like Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman, whom he knew directly and in whom he had confidence. Then, in consultation with them, he chose other students from other schools who were also known to them, such as Engineer Hekmatyar and Saifuddin Nasratyar. They were known to have Islamic thoughts and feelings, and so were some others like Ghulam Rabbani Atesh, Professor [Abd al-Rab Rasul] Sayyaf, Ustad [Muhammad Jan] Ahmadzai, Sayyid Nurullah, and so many others. They were all known as Muslims and anticommunists, so Niazi brought them together and convened the first meeting in Shewaki.
Do you know how many people attended that first meeting and when it was held?
We were about twenty to twenty-five people, and he discussed the issues and problems that we were facing. He said, "We are working individually everywhere; lets come together and establish a regular way of working."All the invited people agreed with him, and then we talked about the plan of how to work.
Do you know the date of that first meeting?
It was toward the end of 1347 or at the beginning of 1348 [winter/spring 1969], but I dont remember the exact day and month. . . . When these people came together, they organized groups of five persons each, and they were directed to make that kind of circle [halqa] wherever they found others in whom they had confidence. And they were told to give regular reports of their work to the head [sar halqa] of their circle. . . . Niazi always met with the heads of each of the circles privately, and sometimes they would bring new members to introduce them to Niazi or to have him answer their questions or explain the goals of the movement. He gave answers to their questions about different aspects of Islam, especially economic matters. . . . In private meetings, they trained the members how to discuss and explain their goals. There wasnt enough time to write brief notes for them, but the members could use the books of famous writers. . . .
Unfortunately, Niazi was alive for just one year after starting the movement. He died in June 1970, so he lived just fourteen months after the beginning of the Muslim Youth Organization (Sazman-i Jawanan-i Musulman). He delivered a total of six speeches during that time one was at Ningrahar University and another was in Qandahar. He had studied very deeply and was a very eloquent speaker. He had a full command of Pakhtu and Persian and could deliver speeches in both languages. There is no doubt that he was a very knowledgeable and extraordinary man. Every one of his speeches explained some aspect of the movement, like our goals, foreign and domestic policy, the quality and conditions of Islamic ideology. The speeches of other elder brothers of the movement like Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman or Hekmatyar were not equal to his speeches. Every time he spoke, it was like a lesson in theory for the members of the movement. 
The most important fact to keep in mind when considering the development of radical Muslim politics in Afghanistan is the place where it all began the campus of Kabul University. Although originally established in 1946, the university was a small, scattered, and insignificant institution until the mid-1960s, when a major expansion was undertaken that included the consolidation of the formerly dispersed faculties onto a single campus. Bankrolled by large grants from the United States Agency for International Development and other foreign-assistance programs, the university added new classrooms and laboratories, as well as dormitories for the ever-increasing student body, whose numbers rose from eight hundred in 1957, to two thousand in 1963, to thirty-three hundred in 1966. Along with the infusion of money, students, and facilities came foreign instructors from the United States, Europe, and the Soviet Union.
The most significant feature of the university, however, was not that it brought Afghans together with foreigners but that it brought Afghans face-to-face with each other. Never before had there been an opportunity for so many young Afghans to interact over an extended period of time with other young Afghans from different regions of the country. Despite efforts by rulers like Abdur Rahman to convince citizens that their primary identity was as subjects of the state, Afghanistan had remained a patchwork of disparate tribes, regions, sects, and language groups that was held together, at times rather flimsily, by strong men at its center and foreign enemies along its borders. The one institution that consistently worked to mitigate and blur the boundaries between groups was the army, but since many of the army units retained a tribal and ethnic cast and most soldiers were illiterate and poor, the influence of this institution was limited.
The university, however, brought together students from all over the country. Entrance to the university was difficult. A large number of students were from the elite not all of whom deserved or desired to be in university but many others made their way to the campus by dint of their own achievements in provincial secondary schools. And those who did make it were rewarded not just with an education and the prospect of a life lived outside the village but also with the prospect of being an instrumental part of the nations development. Never before had Kabul been so flush with funds. Never before had so much building been undertaken for the benefit of ordinary people. This munificence helped to inculcate in the students a sense of their own importance. So too did the fact that they had been dropped down in this exciting new place at a moment in the nations history the period of the "new democracy " when it appeared that just about anything was possible. These were exciting times, and it seemed to the students that they themselves were one of the things that was most exciting about it. That, anyway, was the perception. The reality, not surprisingly, was different.
In Heroes of the Age, I discussed the importance of location in the success of Sufi orders in the late nineteenth century. The Mulla of Hadda, as well as most of his principal deputies, situated their centers in areas interstitial to tribes and the state. Hadda itself was a barren area between the provincial capital of Jalalabad and the mountain fastness where the Shinwari, Khogiani, and other tribes made their homes. Most of the Mullas deputies set themselves up in villages in the Kunar Valley, where they were accessible to but not dependent on their tribal disciples, who were living in the mountains lining both sides of the valley. Interstitiality was equally important for the development of radical politics in the contemporary era, but in this case that interstitiality was located at the university campus.
Students from rural areas, who were accustomed to hearing only their native language spoken and to dealing primarily with kinsmen and others they had known their whole lives, were suddenly placed in tight quarters with people from different ethnic and linguistic groups. Most of the students were serious and valued the opportunity to be at the university, but a number had gotten into the university through family connections, and they had no interest in studying. Some of these students spent their time gambling and smoking hashish which was less expensive and more readily available than alcohol and in extreme cases students who didnt want to attend a course on a given day coerced others into staying away, so the professor had to cancel the class.
The two places where tensions ran highest were the cafeteria and dormitories, both of which were severely overcrowded. Endless lines formed at meals, and students with reputations as tough guys cut into lines. Dormitories had only a few showers, and hot water was available for only a few hours during the day, so students had to sign up ahead of time for showers. Here again, some students abused their rights, daring the student who lost his place to protest. Many of these tough students were known to carry knives; one informant told me of witnessing a knife-wielding bully chase another student through the dormitory into the fourth-floor mosque, where other students were praying, and stabbing him in the shoulder. School administrators generally kept their distance in these situations, in part at least because some of the worst violators of school rules were the sons of well-connected men whom the administrators could not afford to offend. 
If, as I argued in Heroes of the Age, becoming a disciple of a Sufi pir was for some a response to the heartlessness of the tribal world, joining a political party was for students to some degree an antidote to the friendlessness and anarchy of the university. Students who were even moderately inclined to religious feeling, who had prayed regularly at home and wanted to continue this practice at university, were impelled to seek the company of likeminded students not only because of the corruption and abuse they saw around them but also because of the petty annoyances of leftist students who reportedly took great pleasure in making fun of the customs of the devout. Niazi and other founding members of the Muslim Youth offered a bulwark against what appeared in the concentrated atmosphere of the university to be a tidal wave of atheistic behavior. Niazi, intelligent and charismatic, held daily meetings after prayers, during which he discussed with younger students sections of the Quran and hadith and helped them interpret the significance of these passages in light of current events. Initially, these meetings did not have a specific political content and were not sustained by any organizational apparatus. When campus elections were held, Muslim students at first did not have a specific party affiliation, referring to themselves rather as bi-taraf, or "nonaligned,"but eventually the members of this group, recognizing their common interest in Islam, joined together as Sazman-i Jawanan-i Musulman the Organization of Muslim Youth.
Accounts of the origins of the Muslim Youth Organization differ depending on the political affiliation of the speaker, but it is generally accepted that Muslim students began to meet on the campus of Kabul University in 1966 or 1967 and that a group of students representing different faculties within the university formally established the Muslim Youth Organization in 1969. The founding members of the Muslim Youth were initially inspired by a group of professors in the Faculty of Theology, most importantly Ghulam Muhammad Niazi (not a relative of Abdur Rahim Niazi, though both were from the Niazi tribe), who had studied in Cairo in the 1950s and had come in contact with members of the Muslim Brotherhood during his stay there. Although Ghulam Muhammad Niazi and other professors did not take a direct role in student activities, they informed the students of movements going on in other parts of the Muslim world and provided them with a sense of how Islam could be made relevant to the social and political transformations everywhere apparent in the latter half of the twentieth century. 
This was an important requirement for many of the students, for as heady as it was to be at Kabul University during this period, it was also disorienting. Many of the students had never been far from their native villages before their arrival at the university, and for most of their lives Kabul itself had been little more than a distant rumor and a radio signal. In this context, many of the old ways the customs and traditions that had bound together the villages from which most of them sprang lost their vitality and their basic viability. What had given structure and meaning in the local community the centrality of the kin group, the respect due senior agnates, the rivalry between cousins, the informality and warmth of the maternal hearth were irrelevant in the university setting, where unrelated young people came together unannounced and unaware. In its earliest days, the Muslim Youth can be seen as a response to the experience of disorientation. In the beehive of a dormitory with twenty-five hundred denizens, groups of students sharing common interests began to gravitate to one another, and their association with one another helped stave off the loneliness and alienation that attended being strangers in a strange land. Significantly, the list of the founding members of the party included an even mix of Pakhtuns and Tajiks from a variety of provinces. Most of the students were Sunni, but there were a few Shia members as well, and this demographic mix speaks to the relative egalitarianism of the movement at this point as well as to its inclusiveness, both elements that would be lost as time went on.
In his life history of a religious scholar in Morocco, Dale Eickelman points out that some of the most significant educational experiences of his subject occurred outside the classroom in the peer learning circles that students formed among themselves.  The same could be said of Qazi Amin, and when I spoke with his contemporaries, the experiences they tended to emphasize as most memorable were also those they had in the company of their peers.  Even the stories of leftist provocation were told with a certain relish; it was clear that these incidents, which were recounted to indicate the immorality of the enemy, also were recalled with a sense of nostalgia. These provocations brought the movement into being, generated that first sense of righteous indignation and purposefulness, and led to a feeling of communal solidarity that the students had never felt before and that they had rarely felt since. 
Do you remember any particular events from that period that you were involved in? Are there any clashes or demonstrations or other specific memories that you recall?
The first year, there was the problem of Asil [a leftist student] who was killed [by Muslim students] at the Ibn-i Sina High School. He was a student at Ibn-i Sina, and the Khalqis and Parchamis took charge of his funeral procession and carried his body around the city and brought him finally to the Eid Gah mosque. After this, demonstrations continued for some time, and the administration closed the university. As a result, we spent one more year in the program than was usual.
The next year, when the university started, another important event occurred. This event provoked the Muslims and caused the movement to become very strong, while the Khalqis and Parchamis were disgraced. There were some Russians who were teachers at the Polytechnic Institute. Their families also lived on the campus, and they showed their own films there. Engineer Habib-ur Rahman,  Engineer Matiullah, Engineer Azim, and Engineer Salam were all students at the Polytechnic at the time that the Russians showed a film there that was about godlessness [bi khudayi]. [In the film] there was a farmer who was plowing the land. He became thirsty, so he drinks some water and prays to God. After that, somebody else came along and helped him by giving him water and some other things. Then, this man asked the farer, "Did God give you anything? Of course, it was I who gave you the water and helped you, so there is no God."During the screening of this film, while it was still running, Engineer Habib-ur Rahman threw something at the screen, and there was a confrontation. The film generated a lot of controversy, and the members of the circle stood against it. We criticized the showing of this kind of film, and we went to the parliament to protest. We also started protests at the university, and the Polytechnic students themselves demonstrated against showing this film.
About a year after this, another event occurred. During Ramazan, the communists threw the Quran from the window of a mosque that was on the fourth floor of a dormitory at the university. The next day, all the students saw the Quran lying on the road. The pages were torn, and it was covered with snow. This provoked the members of the movement. We felt the need for a more intensive struggle. In fact, we were revived by this action. On the occasion of such events, public meetings were always convened, and the late [Abdur Rahim] Niazi would deliver his speeches, which always inspired the young people to action.
In general, I was sympathetic to what was going on, but I only began to take an active role during an incident involving the Khalqis at the Polytechnic. It was the month of Ramazan, and the Khalqis had asked the government to keep the cafeteria open for students who did not want to keep the fast. But the government didnt dare to let it stay open. Besides that, during iftar [the ceremony that occurs at sunset each evening during the month of Ramazan, when Muslims break the fast], some of the Khalqis deliberately insulted students who were observing the fast. So the conflict started between those students who observed the fast and those who didnt.
Did the top circle of the movement have relations at that time with people in any branch of the government, such as the military or any of the ministries?
In the beginning, our recruitment activities were confined to the university, but later, in 1970, it spread to all the schools in Kabul. For instance, I was responsible for organizing and inviting students at Khushhal Khan and Rahman Baba high schools. In this fashion, we divided all the high schools in Kabul, and everyone was working at a high school where he had some relationship and was training the students and organizing them into different cells [hasta]. We also divided up the provinces so that everyone was responsible for one or two. Everyone was aware where he should work, but it was just on the level of students and teachers. For instance, I went to Helmand and Qandahar several times for the sake of the movement.
I have heard that your friend Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman was involved in the Pul-i Khishti demonstration that was organized by members of the ulama. Were you also involved in it, and what do you know about those events?
Maulavi Sahib didnt even speak there. He just tried to persuade them informally, but it was not under our control. All [the demonstrators] were Afghanistans great ulama. We were just students at that time. We couldnt control them. After much effort, Abdur Rahim [Niazi] was finally allowed to deliver a speech there twice among the mullas. I think maybe Maulavi [Habib-ur Rahman] might also have delivered a speech there once. Maulavi Salam delivered a speech, so eventually we were able to preach our ideas among them and state some of our principles. 
Beginning in the early 1970s, the halcyon atmosphere of the first period of political activity evaporated and was replaced by a situation that was a great deal more tense and fractured. The first reason for this change was certainly the unexpected death, reportedly from leukemia, in 1970 of Abdur Rahim Niazi, the charismatic leader of the Muslim Youth. While a number of other students were as actively committed to the movement as Niazi, none commanded the respect that he enjoyed, and no one could muster the authority that he possessed in determining the partys direction. As a result of Niazis death, leadership within the party became more fragmented, and factions began to develop around particular leaders and within the different university faculties. These splits were not serious until the political situation became increasingly tense and polarized, and the young student militants had to decide on a direction for their campus study group: Would the group remain as a student organization or become involved in national politics? If national politics was the proper forum for the groups activities, was their ultimate goal to influence debate on issues of national development or to win power for themselves? If their goal was to win power, should this goal be pursued through the parliamentary system or by alternative means, including the use of violence?
A second factor leading to the transformation in the party was the open hostility that existed between Muslims and Marxists on campus. Given their opposed ideological positions and their common objective of winning the hearts and minds of the student generation, animosity between Marxists and Muslims was inevitable, but the intensity of this feeling was undoubtedly exacerbated by a number of provocative actions initiated by campus leftists. In addition to the incidents already mentioned, I have been told other stories in which leftists ostentatiously ate food and smoked cigarettes next to Muslims during the month of fasting, kicked soccer balls at students who were praying outdoors, and defecated into the pots that students used for ritual ablution. Such provocations polarized the campus, leading even mildly religious students to feel as though they were under assault and motivating those who were politically inclined to action. Hekmatyar, who later became amir of Hizb-i Islami, described the situation this way:
In the university, which was a great center of knowledge and where the future rulers of the country were trained, nobody could use the name of religion. Nobody there could wear national clothes. . . . Nobody could keep the fast. . . . Nobody could have a beard in the colleges, not even in the Faculty of Islamic Law. When those from the Faculty of Islamic Law and other colleges came into the dining halls, from one side and the other, students would ball up food and throw it at them and insult them. In the high schools, the communists would ridicule anyone who had the feeling of Islam, [saying] that they were "backward sheep"who would progress as soon as they got to the university. They would tell them that when they got to the center of knowledge and civilization, they would recognize their path. There they wouldnt care anymore about praying, fasting, and musulmani [Muslim practice]. 
Provocations, it has already been noted, were not original to the university. Back in the 1940s, leftists had protested the building of the shrine for the Prophets hair in Ningrahar, and, in the late 1950s, wives of leftist politicians began appearing in public without the veil as a direct challenge to religious leaders who decried such ethical breaches.  Both these events set off religious protests, including violent demonstrations in Qandahar in response to the unveiling. One such episode occurred in 1969, when the newspaper Islah published a cartoon viewed by religious leaders as disrespectful of the Prophet Muhammad. This cartoon depicted a man in an Arab-style turban, accompanied by nine veiled women, being turned away by a hotel manager who tells him: "Here there is no room for a man with nine wives."Although not identified, the figure depicted in the cartoon was recognized as the Prophet Muhammad, and his belittlement in the cartoon was held up as an example of leftist sacrilege. A more significant outrage occurred in March 1970, when the Marxist Parcham newspaper published the poem "The Bugle of Revolution "; in it Lenin was eulogized using a form of invocation (dorud) traditionally reserved solely for the Prophet Muhammad. 
Where earlier provocations had resulted in scattered protests, outraged mosque sermons, and delegations demanding audiences with the king, "The Bugle of Revolution"inspired a more organized protest involving hundreds Muslim clerics, Sufi pirs, and members of saintly families who congregated in the Pul-i Khishti mosque in central Kabul to protest the poem and the growing influence of leftists in Afghanistan. The demonstration was originally supported by the government as a way of indirectly dampening increasingly militant leftist activities in the country. However, when the protest dragged on for more than a month with no end in sight and began to take an increasingly antigovernment direction, troops were sent into the sacred precincts of the mosque to break up the demonstration; the soldiers unceremoniously packed the protesting clerics on buses back to their provincial homes and arrested some of the demonstration organizers. 
A few of the student leaders of the Muslim Youth Organization, such as Abdur Rahim Niazi and Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman, were peripherally involved in the Pul-i Khishti protest, but most of the members were excluded from playing a significant role because unlike these two they didnt have the requisite madrasa training. This exclusion articulated a line of division within the Muslim political community that would loom increasingly large during the coming years that between younger, secularly educated university and high school students and madrasa-trained mullas and maulavis. Likewise, the abortive Pul-i Khishti demonstration marked a turning point in the tactics of Muslim political activists. As members of the Muslim Youth Organization watched from outside as the mosque protest floundered and finally failed, many came to the conclusion that traditional religious leaders were unprepared for the changing political climate in Afghanistan, particularly the new modes of disseminating political propaganda and organizing popular movements that leftists parties were beginning to employ to great effect. In the opinion of many in the younger generation, demonstrations such as the one carried out at the Pul-i Khishti mosque only played into the hands of the government and the leftists, and the fact that the government had turned on the leaders of the demonstration (who had previously gained the tacit approval of the king) when the demonstration strayed beyond its official stated aims illustrated not only that the regime was untrustworthy but also that it was a major part of the problem. For weeks on end, the mullas and maulavis had made speeches to each other, while they waited for the government to respond. In the meantime, the king and his advisors were determining what action to take, and when they finally cracked down, the demonstration organizers had little popular support to draw on, no coordinated line of action to pursue, and finally no alternative other than getting on the bus and going home.
The Pul-i Khishti demonstration provided a fit ending to a half century of government co-optation of Muslim clerics. Beginning with Amir Habibullah, and with the exception of the decade-long reign of Amir Amanullah, the states policy toward clerics and pirs had been one of appeasement, a policy that proved to be far more effective than either Abdur Rahmans style of confrontation or Amanullahs plan of radical reform. Since 1931, the government had placated its religious critics, giving them grants of aid and land, funding their schools, and providing them with a largely symbolic role as overseers of state morality and law via the jamiat-ul ulama the official council of ulama. The effect of these concessions was not only to dampen the independent spirit of the religious class but also to blunt any effort on its part to establish independent organizations that would be in a position to criticize or counter government actions.
In this respect, the men of religion were considerably more vulnerable than even the tribes, for they had no corporate existence as a group except insofar as the government provided venues for collective action. Despite the frequent boasts that I heard in interviews with clerics as to the superior quality of Afghan madrasas, the reality was that these schools were scattered all over the country and had little connection with one another except in the haphazard peregrinations of students moving among them. In Afghanistan, no theological center of activity was equivalent to Qom in Iran or al-Azhar in Egypt, which made organizing difficult. In the more distant past, the dispersion of schools had also made state control over the religious class more difficult, as firebrands like the Mulla of Hadda and Mulla Mushk-i Alam, the leader of the Afghan resistance to the British in 1879, could use their students (taliban) as runners to connect them to their allies and deputies. However, the expansion of government authority throughout the country, the improvement of roads and communication, and the gradual co-optation of religious leaders by the government contributed to the decline of the religious class as active participants in the political process, a decline that culminated in the anemic protest at Pul-i Khishti.
Following the abortive demonstration, and probably inspired by it, the government continued its efforts to bring religion under control. In 1971, the government set up a new agency, the riasat-i haj wa awqaf, which was intended to centralize the financial control of mosques and shrines throughout the country in one agency. Before the establishment of this directorate, the Ministry of Culture and Information had exercised some control over the two most famous religious shrines, the beautiful blue and white tile tomb in Mazar-i Sharif where Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad and fourth caliph, is purported to be buried and the shrine in Qandahar housing a cloak of the Prophet. With the founding of the riasat-i haj wa awqaf, however, the government intended to assume financial control of other established religious shrines and mosques, while also taking responsibility for building new mosques and appointing and paying imams, moazens [those who call people to prayer], and other religious functionaries.  In the words of Kamal Shinwari, who was the director of the agency from 1972 until the Marxist revolution, "We had the goal of bringing all of the ulama into the government organization,"while also assuming control of the endowments of the institutions they had previously run on their own. 
These efforts were undertaken with the approval of most of the clerics; they themselves participated in these initiatives and saw these measures as a way to ensure the financial well-being of religious institutions and religious personnel throughout the country. Prior to this point, many, if not most, mullas and maulavis had been dependent on the charitable contributions of local people, or they had been the hired help of wealthy landowners. While some shrines had endowments, often the only beneficiaries of a given shrine would be the descendants of the saint interred in its precincts, who would divide the income from associated lands and contributions left at the shrine among themselves. Few mullas or maulavis benefited from these arrangements, just as few mosques had endowments of land large enough to make them sustainable without additional assistance. So the desire of the ulama to regularize their income and make themselves less dependent on local people is understandable, but, at the same time, the fact that religious leaders could see their own best interests as allied with those of the government is a mark of how far they had moved in seventy years. It is difficult to imagine the Mulla of Hadda countenancing the establishment of the riasat-i haj wa awqaf unless it were independent of government oversight. As noted earlier in the chapter, the Mulla turned back to the government the sizeable parcel of land given to him by Amir Habibullah on the grounds that it was bait-ul mal, the property of the people, and thus not properly his to take (or the amirs to give). More to the point perhaps, the Mulla recognized that financial entanglements with the state limited the independence of religious leaders and made them less inclined to fulfill the role he had played for so many years as the moral guardian of the community.
Seventy years later, Afghanistan was a different place. The balance of power had shifted in favor of the state, and the ulama had new aspirations for financial and social security that overrode their ancient commitments to defend the faith against the perturbations of state rulers who lost their way. But the Muslim Youth didnt see it that way, and they didnt have the same priorities or the same professional interest in securing a livelihood as the ulama did. For them, the actions of the ulama were a betrayal, and it was up to them, so they believed, to stand fast as the true guardians of the faith. One former Muslim Youth member from Paktika Province described their view to me in an interview in 1986:
Afghanistan was not a country without Islamic scholars. There were thousands of scholars, but we thought that when they didnt point out the peoples needs, and when they didnt point out the traitors and the tyrant in the country, and they didnt point out the Soviet exploitation of Afghanistan, we thought that if people are hungry, they dont want to hear stories about cookies and banquets they want food. That was the need of the time. 
With Marxists on the university campus speaking out against the injustices of the government and addressing the needs of the people, the Muslim Youth leaders felt the need to demonstrate the relevance of Islam to the social problems of the country. The influence of Marxist ideology was readily apparent in a pamphlet written by Abdur Rahim Niazi in response to many questions he was hearing on what Islam had to offer in solving Afghanistans economic problems and how an Islamic government would ensure social justice ( adalat-i ejtema i) for its citizens.  While most of Niazis pamphlet dealt with specific features of the Islamic economic system, such as zakat (religious tax) and sud (interest), the gist of his argument was that Afghanistan need not look to Marxism or any other foreign ideology to find the means of ensuring a better life for the poor:
In Islamic law, the emphasis is so much on mercy that when a Muslim sees a needy person, he immediately feels that it is obligatory for him to help him, and he is ready to give his share to the poor. God said (in surah dhariyat, verse 19) that the needy have a share in the riches of the wealthy, and therefore God loves those who help their friends, neighbors, travelers, and other people.
According to Niazi, Islam had all the necessary answers to the problems of society; if the government would institute zakat, not only would poverty be eliminated, but funds would be left over for public-works projects. The government, however, had failed to live up to its responsibilities under Islamic law, and the result was that "the number of poor people is increasing day by day."On this point, "the Muslims and communists have little difference."Where the difference does intrude is in the manner of solving the problem, for "according to communist ideology, the [wealthy] class should be eliminated from society in order to pave the way for the communist revolution."The Prophet Muhammad, however, offered an alternative solution:
Fourteen centuries back, Islam taught a very revolutionary and logical lesson for [achieving] revolution. God said to do jihad in the path of God with honesty. The establishment of an Islamic government requires that kind of jihad. . . . Today truth has been replaced by tyranny, and the only way that has been left is to invite [dawat] the people to truth and untiring militancy in this path.
In the face of threats from increasingly vocal Marxist radicals and a complacent, sporadically despotic state, the Muslim Youth expanded its attempts to recruit new members to its cause, especially in government offices and high schools in Kabul and the provincial capitals:
For example, if I graduated and joined the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Finance or Trade, I would form a cell over there. If there was somebody before me, I was introduced to him, or he was introduced to me if he was junior to me. Since I was from the rural areas, I would approach family members and others from our area. If I knew there were fifteen people from our area in the city, I was approaching them "Hello, how are you?"I was inviting them and providing materials. In this way, the party was organizing itself. 
In his interview with me, Qazi Amin mentioned some of the trips he made on behalf of the Muslim Youth, but I have also heard from others what it was like to be at the receiving end of such trips. One informant who lived in Kunduz, a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, had his first contact with the Muslim Youth through a recent university graduate named "Mumin"(a pseudonym). This was in 1969 -1970, while the informant was a student in secondary school. Everyday after class, Mumin waited outside for the informant and other students who were known to regularly attend mosque and therefore might be sympathetic to the Muslim Youth message. As Mumin got to know the students, he gradually began to talk to them about Islam and inquired about their attitudes toward a variety of political and social issues. Eventually, he offered the students a handwritten document that contained an explanation of modern scientific inventions from the point of view of the Quran and showed the ways in which the pursuit of technological progress was in keeping with scriptural belief.
Mumin was persuasive in conversation and impressed the students with his theological knowledge, which they believed was greater than that of the religion teachers they listened to in class. Over time, Mumin established solid relations with forty or fifty students from the high school, as well as from the local madrasa and the teacher-training school. Contacts with these students continued on a regular but informal basis for the first year, and every so often Mumin would supply the students with additional writings that they would then copy and distribute among their friends. Not until the second year did the informant become aware that Mumin was part of an organized political party. This revelation occurred in the spring of 1971, after local students belonging to the Marxist Khalq and Parcham parties held a public demonstration. From this point, Mumin began to operate more openly, bringing notes for the students to read and identifying the source of these writings as a group in Kabul named Jawanan-i Musulman the Muslim Youth.
Having witnessed the humiliation suffered by the older clerics during the Pul-i Khishti demonstration, Muslim student leaders were determined not to endure the same fate, and they took elaborate measures to ensure that their nascent organization was not subverted or infiltrated. The former mid-level member of the Muslim Youth described the organization this way:
First there was a central committee, and it came downward to small cells [hasta]. These were divided in Kabul and in the countryside. Each of the university students was responsible for one high school. Others were responsible for one district or for a street. All the students were responsible for different areas outside the campus, including schools, madrassas, mosques. Two might be responsible for a big high school like Rahman Baba. Within the school, leadership of the cell was according to the understanding of Islam and the activism of the people in that school. 
Division of the party into small cells guaranteed that lower-level recruits, about whom the party leadership knew relatively little, would know the names of only a handful of other members and that these recruits would come to know more members only as they were vetted up through the party hierarchy. Above the level of the primary cell, which usually had between five and ten members, there was the halqa, or circle, composed of the heads of a number of primary cells. The heads of each of these secondary circles were also members of a tertiary group known as the hauza. The local hauzas far removed from Kabul were generally connected to the capital through regional and provincial councils; each of these councils sent a representative to the next level. The provincial representative was a member of the central council (shura), which was made up primarily of the first group of student leaders from the university. These layers of segmental organization provided insulation; even if a cell were infiltrated, only that group would be compromised because members were unaware of the membership of other cells.
Advancement within the party was also monitored to ensure that those who rose in position reflected both the political philosophy and the moral tone expected of members. According to one high-ranking member of the Muslim Youth whom I interviewed in 1986, there were degrees of membership: "Each step is passed based on ones activism the cell you belong to decides. The way you operate, the way you invite people [to join the party]. Personally, you could be watched by a member of the party. . . . I can give my personal view on a persons relations, life, attitude toward the country all of these things count."
Most of the members of the tertiary level the hauza were third- or fourth-degree members, and they were responsible for overseeing and ensuring the ideological and personal accountability of those below them in the party hierarchy. They were also responsible for nominating members for promotion; and they were required to sign each promotion form and ensure that the individual had performed in a way that merited advancement:
One condition was that you had to become a top student in school or university. It is a record that [in the late 1960s] numbers one to ten [in class rank at the university] were all members of the Muslim Youth. A second condition was that you had to memorize by heart each week a part of the Quran and hadith, and you had to write how many and what books you had studied. 
Members of the Muslim Youth carefully monitored each others behavior and reported their findings to higher-ups within the party who made decisions regarding promotion. The individual under consideration would not necessarily know those who were involved in his promotion, or he might know them personally but did not know that they were high-ranking members of the party. "When you are promoted to the next step, you are informed, and then [the leader of your cell] gives you another responsibility."
The Muslim Youth were continually on the lookout for new prospects but were wary of everyone and of the possibility of having the party infiltrated by Marxists or government agents.  One early party member, Sur Gul Spin, told me of the efforts made to check on the background of other members through their relatives, classmates, villagers back home. As he rose through the party ranks, he was given the responsibility of monitoring the behavior of the other forty-five students in his class: "If he belongs to another thinking, I can guess that this person is hard-core and this [one] is not hard-core, that [his way of thinking] is due to his brother. . . . We knew another person was regularly participating in the communist demonstrations, but just for fun. He didnt invite a single man to that party."While it was recognized that many students went to demonstrations because "they were the kind of place where you could talk about anything you wanted to, where you could yell bullshit at anyone,"this was an indulgence the party did not allow its own members "even secretly, even in your heart."
While the party was obsessed with security, it did not back down from confrontation. The lesson that party leaders appear to have taken from the failed demonstration at Pul-i Khishti was not that demonstrations were unwise but that they had to be undertaken in a more calculated manner. In most cases, public protests by the Muslim Youth neither were targeted at nor demanded action by the state. Rather, they tended to be responses to actions of their Marxist rivals. Thus, when campus leftists initiated their various petty assaults on orthodoxy showing offensive films, desecrating copies of the Quran, eating during Ramazan the Muslim students took a more direct and violent line of action than their elders had at Pul-i Khishti or than they themselves had in the past. This line of action sometimes involved demonstrations, sometimes direct confrontations with the leftist authors of their discontent. These confrontations some of which were initiated by the leftists, others by the Muslim students led at first to scuffles and broken arms, later to broken heads, and finally to several deaths: in each case, according to informants, Marxists beaten or stabbed by Muslims.
The escalating combat between Marxists and Muslims culminated in May 1972 after a Western-trained professor at Kabul University reportedly denigrated the relevance of Islamic economic principles to contemporary problems. The classroom debate that ensued over these comments developed into a demonstration in which a member of the Maoist Shula-yi Jawed party was killed. The government responded by arresting a number of Muslim Youth leaders, including Hekmatyar, who had been one of the organizers of the demonstration. While these leaders were eventually released, the government was forever after wary of the potential threat from Muslim students. Well aware of the radical challenge that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood were making to the government in Egypt and aware as well of the influence that works by Muslim Brotherhood writers exerted on Muslim students at Kabul University, the government began to monitor the activities of the Muslim Youth in the last year of Zahir Shahs reign. Surveillance increased even further after Muhammad Dauds coup détat in 1973, which led the Muslim Youth to move beyond recruitment and public protest to planning for armed confrontation with the government.
Dauds coup détat also marked the emergence of the Muslim Youth from the protective chrysalis of the university. While the university setting was crucial to the development of the Muslim Youth, it also presented certain difficulties; in particular, after a period of intense involvement with the party, members would graduate and then have to go out and earn a living. Many graduates stayed in Kabul, most working in government ministries, but others ended up in the provinces, teaching school or working in regional government offices. This dispersal of party members offered opportunities for expanding the base of the party, but it also made coordination of activities far more difficult.
In Qazi Amins case, graduation followed five months after Dauds coup détat. Although he had hoped to return to Najm ul-Madares as a teacher, the Ministry of Education sent him to eastern Ningrahar Province in the winter of 1974 to teach first in a primary school and then in a secondary school in Surkh Rud. He remained there for a year and a half, during which he recruited on behalf of the party, both in Surkh Rud and in neighboring areas. Because of his status as a madrasa graduate and the son of an Islamic judge, Qazi Amin was especially useful to the party in dealing with traditional clerics, and consequently he was sent on missions to Qandahar and other regions to meet with religious scholars, as well as with students and teachers:
I informed them about the non-Islamic policies of the Daud regime, and I told them that even though [Daud] proclaimed his regime as an Islamic republic, it was actually not Islamic at all. [I told them], "He is not a person who could bring Islam. He is pro-communist. The communists are involved in the regime and the hand of the Russians is behind all of them. The Russians want to vanquish and finish the Islamic movement through Dauds regime. Then they have a plan to bring communists directly into power."Some of the knowledgeable persons accepted these ideas. . . . Other brothers were involved in the same sort of activities in different provinces. We would establish some circles, meet with village chiefs and religious scholars, and put into effect some other programs as well. 
After he began teaching in 1974, Qazi Amin didnt return to Kabul and had only limited contact with party members in the capital, but by this time most of the top leaders either had been imprisoned or had fled to Peshawar. In the winter of 1975, he established relations with exiled party members, including his old friend Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who were the senior members of the movement in Peshawar. That August, while Qazi Amin was still inside Afghanistan, party members, including Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman, led unsuccessful attacks on government installations in Panjshir, Surkh Rud, Paktia, Laghman, and other provinces. According to Qazi Amin, the party was forced to take this action because of the governments repression. Prior to the uprisings, more than 150 members had been arrested "without any reason. The only accusation against them was their membership in the Islamic movement. Until that time, we did not launch any attack or any other hostile action against the government. We didnt even spread slogans or night letters [shabnama] against the government. For no reason, [Daud] pulled people from mosques, teachers and students from schools, and arrested all of them."
Though not directly involved in the planning or implementation of these raids, one of which occurred near his own home in Surkh Rud, Qazi Amin was implicated by association with some of those who had been arrested, and he escaped to the mountains. From there, he traveled by foot to Pakistan.
When I reached Peshawar, Hekmatyar and [Burhanuddin] Rabbani [later head of the Jamiat-i Islami party] were both very sad and depressed. Hekmatyar became nervous and sick, and he had to go to Lahore to cure himself. They had been hopeful of bringing fundamental changes to the government through these operations, but they failed. They expected the people to support the uprising, and they were hopeful that they would be able to continue the struggle against the government in this way. But contrary to their expectations, so many stalwarts of the party . . . were arrested by the government. Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman, for example, was arrested with twenty-five members of the movement. In the case of those members who managed to escape . . . the government put their close relatives in jail and tortured them. They tied their feet with rope and pulled them over the road from their houses up to the district administrators office. They suffered very grave hardships and endured many kinds of cruelty. 
When Qazi Amin arrived in Peshawar, the movement was demoralized and directionless. The attacks had been intended to spark a nationwide uprising against Dauds government, to occur simultaneously with a military putsch in Kabul. The Kabul operation never got underway, and, instead of provoking a popular rebellion, the students in the countryside found themselves under attack from the very people they had hoped to rally to their cause.
Qazi Amin estimated that there were 120 families of refugees in Peshawar when he arrived, along with a few others in the tribal areas. During the next six months, another 1,200 families arrived from various parts of Afghanistan. For the most part, these refugees were the relatives of party members who had been arrested or killed for their antigovernment activities. Party leaders assigned Qazi Amin the job of securing tents, rations, and other basic necessities from the Pakistan government. While not exactly welcoming them, President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did recognize the potential value of these young zealots as a blunt instrument against Daud should the Afghan president decide once again to contest the political status of the tribal borderlands or create other difficulties. Consequently, Bhutto provided modest subsidies to the exiles, along with some out-of-date weapons and basic training in their use. Otherwise, the former students were on their own, with most living in dingy apartments and scraping by on their subsidies, whatever funds they were able to bring with them across the border, and additional assistance from sympathetic political groups in Pakistan, such as the Jamaat-i Islami Pakistan.
At the same time, and despite the setbacks, plans went forward to renew the struggle to overthrow the regime of Daud and to establish an Islamic government once and for all in Afghanistan. At the center of these efforts was Hekmatyar, the erstwhile engineering student who was the only founding member of the Muslim Youth Organization at large after the debacle of the summer of 1975. As discussed in the next chapter, Hekmatyars leadership was controversial from the start. More than anyone else, he was responsible for converting the disjointed network of student study and protest groups into an authoritarian political party. More than anyone else, he was responsible for the partys uncompromising militancy and obstinate refusal to cede pride of place in the jihad to any other group, be it the tribes and regional solidarities that controlled the anti-Khalqi rebellion in its early days or the other political parties that set up shop in Peshawar following the Saur Revolution.
The story of Qazi Amins coming of age bears a certain resemblance to the story previously told of Samiullah Safis formative years. Both men had strong fathers who were immersed in venerated traditions that their sons initially sought to follow. But while both men were born into the world their fathers had known, that world changed as they came of age. One feature of that change was the unbalancing of the tripartite relationship of state, tribe, and Islam that had long been the foundation of Afghan political culture; in the second third of the twentieth century that relationship had begun to tip lopsidedly in favor of the state. Growing up, Qazi Amin and Samiullah Safi had an idealized faith respectively in Islam and tribal honor, but their experience and education led them both to believe that they could no longer continue on the paths laid out for them by their fathers. It was not enough to be a religious teacher or tribal chief. The expansion of the state made the very existence of those positions tenuous, and so both sought new venues within which to redirect the states power. For Samiullah Safi, that venue was the parliament, which he viewed as the best place to push the state to become more responsive to the needs of the people. Going against the advice of his father, he ran for and was elected to parliament, but he found there a body of men all speaking for themselves with little commitment either to the institution itself or to the principles of democratic representation. When that institution was disbanded following Dauds coup détat, Samiullah began a long period of inactivity that ended when a second Marxist coup détat gave him a second chance at reconciling the disparate strands of his life.
Qazi Amins story diverges from Samiullahs somewhat in that the venue he chose for keeping alive the faith of his fathers was a political party of student peers. Qazi Amin made this choice at a time when the ulama were generally complacent or ineffectual in the face of growing challenges to and indifference toward religion, particularly within the urban elite. In an earlier age, someone like Qazi Amin probably would have become the head of a madrasa, a judge, or a deputy to one of the major Sufi pirs in the country, but religious education and Sufism were both in decline when he was a young man. The great Islamic leaders of old were dead, and most of those who inherited their sanctity as birthright were either content with the wealth handed down to them or ensconced on the government payroll. The choice for Qazi Amin was either to take the job offered to him and ignore the larger problems he perceived in the country or to seek a new institutional setting within which to defend Islam. The interstitial space of the university campus allowed the formation of novel sorts of groupings students of Islamic law with engineers, Pakhtuns from the border area with Tajiks from the north, Sunnis with Shias, and all of them young people, unrestricted by the usual protocols of deference to elders.
Kabul University offered a context for youthful political zeal different from any that had existed before; it is probably not an exaggeration to state that at no other time or place was such a diverse group of young Afghans able to meet together and to formulate its own ideas, rules of order, and plans for the future without any interference from those older than themselves. Some of the senior members of the Muslim Youth did have connections with faculty mentors. Abdur Rahim Niazi, in particular, was reported to have had close ties with Professor Ghulam Muhammad Niazi, who had spent some time in Egypt, where he had been acquainted with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the prototype for many radical Islamic parties. However, presumably because they held government positions that could be taken away, Professor Niazi and other faculty members limited their role to private meetings with a few student leaders and never came out publicly in support of the student party. This reticence severely restricted their influence and also meant that as the confrontations on campus heated up, no moderating influence was available to push compromise or reconciliation. In certain respects, this experience was a liberating one, and it allowed new winds to blow into the ossified culture of Afghan politics. However, unhinged from traditional patterns of association, the student political parties were ultimately a disaster for Afghanistan, for as they were cut off from the past, living entirely in the cauldron of campus provocations and assaults, student radicals developed a political culture of self-righteous militancy untempered by crosscutting ties of kinship, cooperation, and respect that elsewhere kept political animosities in check.
The Muslim Youth, like their contemporaries in the leftist parties, abandoned (at least for a time) the ancient allegiances of tribe, ethnicity, language, and sect on which Afghan politics perennially had rested. In their place, young people took on new allegiances, professing adherence to ideological principles they had encountered only weeks or months before and swearing oaths of undying fealty to students a year or two older than themselves. These loyalties were kept alive through a paranoid fear of subversion. Only other members could be trusted; every other person was a potential spy, an enemy out to destroy the one true party of the faithful. Marxists and Muslims were tied together in ways they did not recognize at the time. Sworn enemies, they also needed and ultimately came to be mirror images of one another, linked together by their tactics, their fears, their confrontations, and their self-righteousness. Each believed that its enemies were wrong, that they alone held the key to Afghanistans future. Each side also believed that violence in advancement and defense of a cause such as theirs was appropriate and ultimately necessary.
The religious moralism and suspicion that first took root in the soil of the new democracy at Kabul University reached its full flowering a decade later in Peshawar with the rise to power of Hizb-i Islami. The constant attention to the behavior of others that was evident in the first generation of Muslim student activists was extended in the second generation, as Hizb members watched how they and others dressed Hizbis could be identified by the neatness of their clothing and the white skullcaps (jaldar) that most wore how long they and others wore their hair and beards, and whether and how often they attended mosque and which mosque they frequented. In Kabul, there had been an element of play in the actions of the Muslim Youth. They were engaged in a game of "gotcha"with Marxist students that was played in the insulated confines of the university campus. After the coup in 1978, however, the game turned deadly serious, and the monitoring that went on in Peshawar was no longer associated just with party promotion but with disgrace and sometimes assassination.
The evolution of Qazi Amins increasingly revolutionary persona can be glimpsed in the three photographs contained in Figure 11. The photographs are all studio shots taken at different stages of Qazi Amins early life the first when he was a taleb in his late teens at the Hadda madrasa; the second when he was a student in his early twenties at Kabul University; and the third when he was in his thirties and a leader of Hizb-i Islami. The three photographs, which Qazi Amin provided to me, are simple head shots of the type that could be used for an identity card. In the first, he looks like a typical madrasa student, with a sparse, patchy beard and cheap cotton turban. The second photograph shows a man more concerned with his appearance. The turban is gone. His hair is neatly combed and the beard trimmed close to his face. The coat and tie were common in pictures of university students of that period, but the beard also tells us of his commitment to Islam, as more secular students almost always favored a mustache or clean-shaven look. In the third photograph, the suit coat remains, but the tie which is identified with Western fashion has been jettisoned. Though we cannot see the rest of his clothes, it is likely that the Western-style trousers he wore at the university have been replaced by traditional pantaloons (shalwar). On his head is the sort of karakul cap favored by mid-level Afghan government officials, which the man in the picture could be were it not for the full, untrimmed beard. This is the look Qazi Amin continued to favor in later years, except that the karakul cap was replaced by turbans sometimes white, in the fashion of Muslim scholars, sometimes of the dark, striped sort worn by Afghan tribesmen (Fig. 12).
Perhaps more interesting in these photographs than the changes of look and style is the set of the eyes. The boy in the first photograph looks at the camera with guilelessness, his eyes wide; perhaps he is facing a lens for the first time. The young man in the second photograph seems at once more self-confident and earnest but also more affected and aware of his appearance. His back is noticeably straighter, and one suspects that he is looking not only at the camera but also at his future. The third man is identifiably the same person as in the other photographs, but he has gained a solidity that was absent before. That solidity derives partially from the fact that he is heavier now and has a longer, darker beard that curls out from his cheeks and down over his collar. It derives also from the lambskin cap, which seems to push down on his head. But even more it comes from the look in his eyes fierce, resolute, and unwavering. This is not a man who you would imagine spends a lot of time laughing. It is a man focused on the task in front of him, a man used to making decisions and ordering other men around. It is also a man of conviction a man determined in his course of action, a revolutionary.
1. This speech was recorded on a tape cassette given to me in the fall of 1983 by an Afghan informant who was unaware of when, where, or to whom the speech was delivered. [BACK]
2. Olivier Roy noted that in 1980 most foreign observers would have agreed "with varying degrees of reluctance that the Hizb was the backbone of the resistance"(Roy 1986, 134). [BACK]
3. While the age difference between Wakil and Qazi Amin was slight, it was not insignificant. When Wakil was a student, political organizing on campus was still fairly covert, and confrontations between Muslim and leftist students were still restrained. Such restraint was no longer in evidence by the time Qazi Amin began his university career, and this lack of restraint undoubtedly influenced the choices that he made and that were forced on him. [BACK]
4. Interview, May 29, 1986. [BACK]
5. Edwards 1996. [BACK]
6. When Hadda Sahib made his first appearance at court, Habibullah is said to have offered a dramatic gesture of respect to symbolize his favorable attitude toward Islam:
When Sahib-i Hadda went to the court of Amir Habibullah Khan for the funeral [fateha] of Abdur Rahman, Amir Habibullah, Nasrullah Khan [Habibullahs younger brother], Inayatullah Khan [Habibullahs eldest son], and other ministers were standing to receive him when he came with his deputies. Since Amir Habibullah Khan was worried about this meeting, he offered his seat to him, and Sahib-i Hadda sat there [on the throne]. After he had recited two or three verses of the Quran, he forgave Habibullah Khan and prayed for the prosperity of Afghanistan and Islam. When he left the court, he told one of his disciples that he had brought some water and had washed his feet in front of the Amir and his ministers. Someone asked him why he wanted to wash his feet. He replied that it was because the court had become colored by the blood of Muslims and his feet had become bi namazi (polluted and unacceptable for prayer).
This account was told to me by Khalilullah Khalili. Ustad Khalili was a particularly useful informant on matters having to do with the evolution of the state during the twentieth century. His father, Mustufi Mirza Muhammad Hussain Khan, occupied a high position in Habibullahs cabinet [mustaufi ul-mamalek], and Khalili himself served as one of the principal ministers in the short-lived administration of Bacha-i Saqao and later became a close confidant of Zahir Shah.
7. 1 kharwar = 80 ser. 1 Kabul ser = 7 kilograms. [BACK]
8. These figures come from interviews conducted with offspring of Sufi Sahib and Pacha Sahib, as well as from government decrees (firman) in their possession. [BACK]
9. One expression of this new strategy can be seen in the elaboration of national and specifically monarchical rituals under Habibullah. At his coronation, for example, the amir eschewed royal for Islamic symbolism by having the khan mulla, the chief religious figure in the court, perform the act of installation in the style of the Sufi dastarbandi (ceremony of succession) rather than in a more regal manner. Thus, just as a pir has a white cotton turban wrapped around his head when he succeeds to the head of a Sufi order, so Habibullah adopted the same simple ceremony for his own investiture. Thereafter, the khan mulla emphasized the religious character of the ritual by presenting the new ruler with a copy of the Quran, some relics of the Prophet Muhammad, and a flag from the tomb of an Afghan saint.
Vartan Gregorian points out that Habibullah instituted a new Afghan holiday, National Unity Day, intended to commemorate the conquest of former Kafiristan: "The holiday, which was celebrated annually with much pomp and ceremony, had both a religious and a political character, honoring at the same time Afghan unity and the divinely ordained Afghan monarchy.... In this light, the conquest of Kafiristan was hailed as a triumph of Islam over foreign intriguers and Christian missionaries, aliens who had been determined to convert the Kafirs and thereby subvert the territorial integrity of Afghanistan"(1969, 181 -182). [BACK]
10. During the course of my interviews in Peshawar, I heard frequent complaints about the decadence and corruption of various deputies and their offspring, and when I inquired why Sufism had declined in importance, the most frequent response I received had to do with the way in which different pirs had abandoned the pious lifestyle and lost the respect of the people. [BACK]
11. On the 1897 uprisings, see Edwards 1996 and Ahmed 1976. [BACK]
12. The deputies who participated in the 1919 jihad included Pacha Sahib Islampur, Haji Sahib Turangzai, the Mulla of Chaknawar, and Mia Sahib of Sarkano. [BACK]
13. Abdur Razaq instituted a number of logistical innovations to help counteract the weaknesses of the tribal system of warfare. Among these innovations were a rotation system that ensured that every tribal section would have men present at the front at all times, a plan for ensuring adequate food at the front, the establishment of command centers at designated locations, and the establishment of transport groups to get supplies to the troops. For details on this campaign and on Razaqs life, see Zalmai 1967. [BACK]
14. The war, which is known in Afghanistan as the jang-i istiqlal, or the war of independence, was a short-lived and mostly half-hearted affair on both sides. With the exception of the Afghan attack on the British garrison at Thal, where a "lucky"cannon shot exploded an ammunition dump (Khalilullah Khalili, interview, April 26, 1983), the fighting proved inconclusive. However, the Afghans did receive concessions from the British that allowed them a degree of independence in the conduct of their foreign affairs, and, as a result, they considered the desultory campaign a victory. [BACK]
15. See Kushkaki 1921, 205 -208. [BACK]
16. On the reign of Amanullah and the abortive reform program that led to his overthrow, see Gregorian 1969, Poullada 1973, and Stewart 1973. [BACK]
17. Interview with Maulavi Ahmad Gul Rohani, son of Ustad Sahib of Hadda. Prime Minister Hashim Khan, the brother of Nadir Khan, acted as the chief policymaker and regent for King Zahir Shah from Nadirs death in 1933 until 1946, when his brother, Shahmahmood Khan, took over. [BACK]
18. Qazi Amin knew the most about the Shinwari upheaval, which he said centered around Shinwari leader Muhammad Afzals right to keep fifty militiamen whose salaries were paid by the government. Qazi Amin believed that Afzal was holding out for increased privileges from the government, and when he didnt get his way, he attacked the local government base and set up his own government. Because his father had lived a long time in the Shinwari area, he was in a position to mediate between the government and Afzal, who eventually gave up his opposition. According to Qazi Amins description, the governments treatment of Afzal and his family has similarities to the treatment of Sultan Muhammad Khan and his family after the Safi uprising: "He was in prison a short time, and after that he couldnt go back to Shinwar. The government gave them houses and plenty of property in Kabul. It was good for them to some extent because they were living in good conditions in Kabul, and they could educate their children there. Now all their children are educated. When democracy came in 1964, they were also allowed to return to their own area."[BACK]
19. Zikr is the principal ceremony associated with Sufism. Disciples gather in a circle around their pir and chant in unison a phrase from the Quran. As disciples advance in their spiritual understanding, their pir gives them new phrases to learn and chant. [BACK]
20. Interview, May 29, 1986. [BACK]
21. The success of a shrine complex has less to do with a saints accomplishments in life than it does with his accomplishments after death, and the most successful shrines have usually been those that have managed to create a name for themselves curing one or another of the major illnesses and setbacks that befall people be it infertility, snakebite, or scrofula. Despite the Mullas many miracles in life, his shrine at Hadda apparently never earned a reputation for engendering miracles after his death, and the flow of pilgrims visiting Hadda gradually began to decline. As it did, the interest the mullas deputies took in the center seems to have decreased as well. At least that was the case with Pacha Sahib of Islampur, whom Hadda Sahib himself had designated as the keeper of the langar. For reasons that remain unclear, Pacha Sahib relinquished his title to the langar and turned over its keys to Ustad Sahib, who was the only one of Hadda Sahibs principal deputies to stay on in Hadda after his death and who already had been given responsibility for maintaining the library. Over time, the langar ceased regular operations, and the only other activity at Haddas center that appears to have continued was a yearly reading of the Quran during the month of Ramazan (which was significant not only as the month of fasting in the Islamic calendar but also for being the anniversary of the Mullas death). [BACK]
22. The government-sponsored madrasas in Afghanistan were Madrasa-yi Abu Hanifa (Kabul), Dar ul-Ulm-i Arabi (Kabul), Dar ul-Ulm-i Rohani (Paktia), Fakhr ul-Madares (Herat), Madrasa-yi Jama-i Sharif (Herat), Najm ul-Madares (Ningrahar), Madrasa-i Mohammadia (Qandahar), Dar ul-Ulm-i Asadia (Balkh), Dar ul-Ulum-i Abu Muslim (Faryab), and Dar ul-Ulum-i Takharistan (Kunduz). During my interviews, informants offered dates ranging from 1931 to 1944 for the founding of the madrasa at Hadda. I have not been able to clarify which of these dates is correct, although I tend to believe the testimony of one particularly reliable informant, who stated that the Hadda madrasa was built in 1937. [BACK]
23. The three biweekly newspapers published in 1951 -1952 were Watan (Homeland), Angar (Burning Ember), and Nida-yi Khalq (Voice of the Masses); Dupree 1980, 495; Bradsher 1985, 38; and Reardon 1969, 169 -170. [BACK]
24. See Dupree 1980, 495 -496. [BACK]
25. Interview, April 23, 1984. [BACK]
26. Nasim Stanazai, interview, Peshawar, July 7, 1992. The same and similar stories were told to me by a number of former university students. The details sometimes differed, but the theme of antagonistic relations was always the same. [BACK]
27. One of the issues that Afghans of different political persuasions debate is the exact role of Ghulam Muhammad Niazi and other professors in the development of the Muslim Youth. Thus, members of Jamiat-i Islami Afghanistan, which is headed by Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former professor at Kabul University and a colleague of Niazis, say that the professors were secretly overseeing the Muslim students activities, first through Abdur Rahim Niazi and then through Engineer Habib-ur Rahman. The position of Hizb-i Islami, however, is that the professors chose to avoid direct involvement in student politics for fear of losing their sinecures. Since most of my informants are members of Hizb-i Islami, the interpretation offered here is more reflective of the Hizb-i Islami view of history. For an interpretation of Muslim Youth history that is more in keeping with the Jamiat-i Islami version, see Roy 1986, 69 -83. [BACK]
28. Eickelman 1985. [BACK]
29. When my informants spoke of the classroom, it was generally to note the very different techniques that the foreign instructors brought to Afghanistan, such as the system of professors lecturing and students taking notes, and also the relative informality of many of the foreign instructors and their openness to debate and discussion qualities that were apparently not often found in Afghan teachers, who tended to be more authoritarian in their dealings with students. [BACK]
30. The Moroccan peer learning circles discussed by Eickelman differ from those that I studied in that they appear to have been significantly more "preprofessional"than their Afghan counterparts. Thus, the Moroccan peer learning circles served as a context in which young scholars acquired "the additional knowledge considered essential for men of learning and the practice necessary to develop competent rhetorical style."In Kabul University circa 1968, however, the peer learning circle functioned less as a forum for fashioning polished scholars than as a place of protection and instruction for young Muslims who felt alone in the impersonal environment of the university and beleaguered by the rising tide of leftist activism on campus. Many of those who attended these meetings had little background in formal Islamic studies, but they did share a sense that Islam and the traditional values associated with it were in peril. [BACK]
31. Engineer Habib-ur Rahman and Maulavi Habib-ur Rahman were both founding members of the Muslim Youth Organization. [BACK]
32. Interview, April 23, 1984. [BACK]
33. This quote is from the cassette cited in Note 1 above. [BACK]
34. One finds occasional reports from this period of religious clerics throwing acid in the faces of unveiled women whom they encountered on the streets of Kabul. I have never been able to ascertain whether these stories were true or whether they were examples of antireligious propaganda disseminated by leftists. [BACK]
35. The poem to the glory of the "land of Lenin"and the "miracles of the life-bearing revolution"ended with these lines:
|For this matchless achievement|
We send DORUD to that pioneer party,
|And to the heroic people.|
We send DORUD to that great leader,
|The Great Lenin.|
Quoted in Dupree 1970, 23. [BACK]
36. Among the leaders of the demonstration were Miagul Jan, the son of the Mulla of Tagab, Maulavi Miskin from north of Kabul, and Mir Abdul Satar Hashimi from Logar. Among those I interviewed who were involved in the Pul-i Khishti demonstration were Hazrat Sibghatullah Mujaddidi; Maulavi Habibullah, a.k.a. Kuchi Maulavi from Logar; Maulavi Fazl Hadi from the Shinwari district of Ningrahar; Maulavi Wala Jan Wasseq from the Khogiani district of Ningrahar; Maulavi Amirzada from Laghman; and Maulavi Abdul Ahad Yaqubi from Helmand. Most leaders were not treated harshly when the demonstration was broken up, but Maulavi Wasseq, who was a government official at the time of his involvement in the demonstration, claims to have been imprisoned for almost three years. He told me that for one month of his imprisonment he had a skewer thrust through his tongue as punishment for his outspokenness. [BACK]
37. Some positions, including caretaker of some shrines, were hereditary, and those holding them couldnt be dismissed by the government. In such cases, one-tenth of the income from the shrine generally went to the caretaker, while the other nine-tenths went to the shrine itself. Under the riasat-i haj wa awqaf, the government took the nine-tenths portion of the income and allowed the caretakers to keep their tenth. [BACK]
38. Interview, March 22, 1984. Also according to Shinwari, another initiative of the riasat-i haj wa awqaf was the centralization of control over the annual pilgrimage (haj) to Mecca. From this point on, the agency was to designate how many and who would be allowed to go on pilgrimage each year, while also arranging transportation, collecting fees from the pilgrims, and handling all the government paperwork. In 1972, eighteen thousand Afghans were allowed to go on haj. [BACK]
39. Interview with Sur Gul Spin, Peshawar, May 25, 1986. [BACK]
40. The only copy of Niazis pamphlet I have been able to find is a reprinted version that appeared in the Hizb-i Islami newspaper al-Sobh (no. 23, March 1986). The pamphlet, titled "The Importance of Economy in Islam and Communism"(ahmat-i eqtisad dar islam wo komunism), was originally published in Pakistan in 1970 around the time of Niazis death. See also Edwards 1993b. [BACK]
41. Interview with Sur Gul Spin, Peshawar, May 25, 1986. [BACK]
42. Ibid. [BACK]
43. The levels of membership were formally designated as sympathizer (ham nawai), supporter (hamkar), candidate (candid), and member (ruqan). Interview with Sur Gul Spin, May 25, 1986. [BACK]
44. Ibid. [BACK]
45. Ibid. [BACK]
46. Fear of infiltration was not unwarranted. According to a number of former Muslim Youth members, a student named Moqtadar, who had been accepted into the organization, provided information on the partys leadership and activities to the Ministry of Information. He and other government informers were blamed by some for the arrests of Engineer Habib-ur Rahman and the failure of the uprisings in 1975. [BACK]
47. Interview with Sur Gul Spin, May 25, 1986. [BACK]
48. Interview, April 23, 1984. [BACK]
49. Ibid. See Dupree 1978, 2 -7, for an eyewitness account of the insurgency in Panjshir. Dupree, who happened to be in Panjshir when the Muslim Youth attacked, describes the confusion of the moment, the naiveté of the insurgents, and the rumors that circulated after the fact. [BACK]
50. Ibid. [BACK]