Who are Mujahideen?
Mujahideen is the plural form of the Arabic word Mujahideen which means anyone engaged in Jihad that is fighting for Allah Almighty’s order or for the sake of Islam.
Mujahideen never have any personal purpose for Jihad, it is just for Allah Almighty.
What are the Mujahideen Movements?
When the Soviet Union entered Afghanistan, a group of people arose against their communist policies, and in this way, that group started their movements against the Soviet Union that were later called Mujahideen Movements.
Ethnic Groups in Afghanistan
The majority of the Afghan Population is Pashtuns comprising 40-50% of the Afghan population. Moreover, a large number of Tajik, Uzbek, Turk, Hazara people are also present in Afghanistan.
To understand the history of the Mujahideen Movements in Afghanistan, we first need to understand some important personalities in Afghan History.
Notable personalities In Afghanistan History
Zahir Shah (last king of Afghanistan)
Muhammad Zahir Khan was the last king of Afghanistan who ruled Afghanistan from 1973 to 1993 and was an important figure in modernizing Afghanistan until his cousin Daud Khan staged a coup against him.
After overthrowing Zahir Shah, Daud Khan became the first president of Afghanistan. He claimed that he ended the kingship in Afghanistan and gave a Democratic government the first time in the History of Afghanistan.
But he was also overthrown and killed by the members of his own People’s Democratic Party because they had the support of the Soviet Union.
Gulbuddin is an Afghan Politician and former Prime Minister of Afghanistan who is a leader of a Mujahideen Movement, Hezb e Islami.
He is also the only one who declined Prime Ministership in a provisional government and as a reaction destroyed Afghan Capital Kabul in 1992.
Ahmad Shah Masood
Ahmad Shah Masood is also an important leader of Mujahideen Movements who proved to be a guerrilla commander against the Soviet Union.
He was a huge rival to the Taliban and was killed in a bomb blast attack during an interview on 9 September 2001.
Dr. Najibullah was the last President of the Communist government in Afghanistan who served from 1987 to 1992.
He was overthrown by the Mujahideen Movement because his communist government was not liked by the local people.
Osama Bin Ladin
One of the most popular figures is Osama Bin Ladin who is referred to as an international terrorist. He is a Saudi Sheikh who joined Afghan Movement against the Soviet Union.
He supported Mujahideen in removing the Soviet Union from Afghanistan and later joined the Taliban side to maintain peace in Afghanistan.
He was liked by America until the 11 September 2001 Attack on the world trade center. Osama was killed in an operation by America in 2011.
Let’s Begin with End of Kingship and start of unstable Democratic Governments
In 1973, Daud Khan overthrew the kingship of his cousin Zahir shah and ended the kingship system which was continued for several decades
Daud khan formed the government with the left-wing people’s democratic party in Afghanistan and claimed that he gave Afghanistan a democratic government
After some days the Soviet supporting leadership started a conflict for gaining the government
Revolt against Daud Khan
Daud khan started a crackdown against Peoples Democratic Party in Afghanistan but that leadership started a rebellion against daud khan and with the help of the Soviet Union killed Daud khan and his family in 1978.
As a result of this revolution, Noor Muhammad Tarekai became the leader of Afghanistan and started a communist government in Afghanistan which made the religious people unhappy in Afghanistan.
Revolt against Noor Ahmad Tarekai
Within a year, Noor Ahmad Tarekai was caught by an internal revolution and his naib PM Hafeez Ullah Ameen took the leadership of Afghanistan in 1978 and Noor Muhammad Tarekai was killed.
Start of the Afghanistan War by Soviet Union
Soviet Union was overwhelmed by this incident as he knew that Hafeez Ullah Ameen is planning to join the USA party by leaving Soviet Union’s Party.
As a result, Soviet Union decided to invade Afghanistan with its Tanks, Helicopters, and Hundreds of Soldiers and killed Hafeez Ullah Ameen. They made Babrak Karmal the leader of Afghanistan.
Emergence of Mujahideen Movement
History has proved that whoever came to Afghanistan to rule here has just faced humiliation as a group of people were risen in Afghanistan who did not have the necessary weapons to fight against Russia but they were considered as a huge danger against them.
This group was called Mujahideen which was a result of the Mujahideen Movement by the locals.
American Involvement in Afghan War
During this time, the Cold war between Russia and America was at its peak and this situation gave Americans an opportunity to take revenge on Russian for the Vietnam war.
America started to fund the Mujahideen movement in the Afghanistan war with the help of some Muslim Countries including Saudia Arabia and undoubtedly Pakistan.
America sent its funds to Afghanistan and Saudia also acted as a beneficiary for Mujahideen Movement. On the other hand, Pakistan’s Politicians took the responsibility to deliver this fund and weapons to Afghanistan.
In 1981, the American CIA had an Afghan program in Afghanistan which had a budget of 30 million dollars, was increased to 200 million dollars in 1984 and Saudia Arabia played its perpetual role in it.
With the help of this support, Afghan resistance showed enormous results that it was not only devastating for Russia but America was also amazed on seeing these results.
Afghan mujahideen killed thousands of Russian soldiers and devastated their soldier settlements.
In this situation, Soviet Union increased its army in Afghanistan but the number of mujahideen was also increasing exponentially.
Role of Osama Bin Ladin in Removal of Soviet Union
With the planning of America and Saudia Arabia, a large number of Mujahideen voluntarily came to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and this was the point when Osama bin Ladin entered this situation.
Between 1981 and 1982, Osama bin Ladin fought side by side with mujahideen and helped them liberate Afghanistan from Russian occupation. He helped Afghans in the form of funds and infrastructure.
According to former DG ISI Hamid Gul
“Osama bin Ladin made storehouses on the mountains, he made caves, roads and spent money generously. He was popular among all mujahideen”DG ISI Hamid Gul
Former PM Afghanistan (1995-96) Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai said
“Osama bin Ladin helped us when he was here. He helped the poor, needy and widows. He gathered fund for the needy. We were happy with him.”Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai former Afghan PM
Probably no one knew at that time that Osama Bin Ladin is going to be a huge problem for the world. America knew that Osama Bin Ladin is working in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union but they (America) did not consider him as a danger.
American intelligence officer Michael Scheuer regarded Osama as on the angel’s side because he was killing Russians that’s why America did not pay heed to him.
“When we first heard about Osama, he was helping the Afghan migrants in the camps of Pakistan. Then we heard that he has come to Afghanistan and leading the Arabs. But Osama was at the angel’s side at that time that’s why we did not pay heed to him”Michael Scheuer
Interesting Fact: America was funding Osama Bin Ladin at that time and he was leading the Arabs in Afghanistan with that funding.
This war between Mujahideen and the Soviet Union converted thousands of Afghan citizens into Migrants and their majority was aboding in refuges near the Pak-Afghan border.
According to UN statistics, more than 1.4 Million refugees are just in Pakistan because of this war.
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Training of Mujahideen
Then with the help of Saudi funding and America, a large number of Madrassah were built at the Pak-Afghan border to give education to children of Migrants but the purpose behind these was to train children for Mujahideen Movement and it has been accepted by the former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf and Former Spokesperson of Pakistan Military, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan.
Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, former spokesperson of Pakistan Military said,
“In certain areas, these madrassahs were used to train Mujahideen and send them to Afghanistan”Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan
Pervez Musharraf, Former President of Pakistan stated,
“Taliban were heroes at that time, people of madrassah were given training and weapons from our side, America’s side and many others’ side”Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Former President of Pakistan
Russian Strategy of Airstrikes against Mujahideen
But this Afghanistan war was going towards the side of the Soviet Union even after the support of Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, and America because the Soviet Union had found a weakness of Mujahideen and changed its strategy.
The Soviet Union started airstrikes against Mujahideen and Mujahideen did not have anything to face this air invasion and contrarily America also changed its strategy and provided Mujahideen with stinger missiles and also trained them.
Stinger is actually an anti-aircraft weapon that was very reliable and effective.
In 1986, Mujahideen first used stinger missiles and shot down Soviet Union aircraft in its first attempt. This was a turning point in this war.
These stinger missile attacks destroyed many Russian aircraft and this made them so terrified that the aircrafts denied doing low altitude flights.
At this point, Mujahideen’s success started to appear.
Russian Withdrawal of Forces and End of Afghanistan War
Mikhail Gorbachev, Former President of the Soviet Union received pressure due to the increased killing of Russian soldiers and after 3 years, he announced the removal of the Soviet military from Afghanistan in 1989. This ended the 10-year soviet war in Afghanistan.
This defeat increased the already rising economic crises of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, 1.5 million Afghans were killed and Afghanistan was destroyed economically and socially which immensely affected its imports and exports.
But people were happy in Afghanistan because they thought that it is going to bring peace to Afghanistan at last.
Osama bin Ladin also returned to his home country but this was not the end of this 10-year long Afghanistan war with the Soviet Union.
A great book, 1984 is also written on the after-effects of the Soviet War by George Orwell.
War Among Mujahideen started in Afghanistan
The removal of the Soviet Union was the start of an unending war and crisis in Afghanistan.
A communist government was still there in the form of Dr. Najibullah’s government. America thought that without the assistance of the Soviets, this government will fall down in just 3 months but eventually it remained for 3 years.
Now, Mujahideen were divided into different groups and started to fight against each other for the control of Kabul and to obliterate the government of Dr. Najibullah.
Two groups of Mujahideen were active at that time in Afghanistan
- Ahmad Shah Masood group
- Gulbuddin Hikmatyar Group
These groups were fighting with each other and with Najib Ullah’s government as well.
Rashid Dostum was a communist initially and was acting as a commander against mujahideen under Najibullah’s government.
After the removal of the Soviet Union, he also became mujahid and joined Ahmad Shah Masood in his campaign. They captured the Bagram base of Afghanistan, where they were just 70 km away from Kabul.
At the same time, Najibullah’s own military was frustrated. His generals revolted against him and invited Ahmad Shah Masood to come to Kabul as the leader of Afghanistan and leadership will be given to him.
But Ahmad Shah Masood placed his army in the North of Kabul and declared that no one will enter the capital until a political solution comes out. Ahmad Shah Masood invited the exiled leadership from Peshawar to come and find a solution that would be acceptable for every group.
On the other side, Gulbuddin was marching with his army toward Kabul. Ahmad Shah Masood tried to stop him but in vain. He was not going to stop for shared power in a Provisional government which destroyed all the efforts of Ahmad Shah Masood to take all parties to a settlement.
Peshawar Accord was announced on 24th April 1992.
According to this accord, a transitional government will be formed in the Islamic State of Afghanistan shared by all the Mujahideen parties and consisted of 51 persons.
Hazrat Sahib Sibghatullah Mojaddedi was made leader of this provisional government from 28th of April to 28th of June 1992. He will represent the presidency of the state during this period of 2 months.
After this period, Burhan Uddin Rabbani will be president of Jamiat e Islami will be the President of this Provisional government till the 28th of October 1992.
A constitution will be made during this period and another provisional government will be made for 18 months and elections will take place then.
Ahmad Shah Masood was made Defense Minister and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar was made the Prime Minister of this government. Everyone was happy with this except Gulbuddin because he did not want a shared government.
This is the original copy of Peshawar Accord,
Gulbuddin’s Reaction on Peshawar Accord
After this, Hikmatyar started firing missiles on Kabul and hundreds of his missiles killed a number of people in Kabul and inflamed the conflicts in Afghanistan.
Different Mujahideen groups including Rashid Dostum joined the Gulbuddin group and conflicts for the control of Kabul remained increasing.
Afghan Leaders Seal Peace Accord in Mecca
In 1993, with the help of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia another agreement was signed and these leaders of Mujahideen vowed over Quran in the Holy city of Mecca to follow it.
According to this settlement, Burhan Uddin Rabbani was again made President and Gulbuddin was assigned the task to formulate a provisional government in the next 15 days.
But again, Hikmatyar was not allowed to enter Kabul which again continued the coalitions. These ethnic and religious conflicts destroyed layman life in Afghanistan.
Different groups of Mujahideen occupied different regions of Afghanistan and ruled there like their warlords with their own rules and regulations. America was totally unaffected by this situation because its rival Soviet Union was defeated and that was all America cared about at that time.
Emergence of Taliban
A grudge against Mujahideen was enraged when some local Mujahideen in Kandhar kidnaped 2 immature girls and raped them in their camp.
People of that village directed toward Mullah Umer who was the Imam of a local Mosque and fought against the Soviet Union so bravely that stories of his bravery were famous among people.
Mullah Umer killed the commander of that camp and acted like an angel for afghan at that time. He was the one who laid the foundation of the Taliban in Afghanistan and defeated Mujahideen groups there.
A Taliban Government was formed under his rule with strict Islamic Rules until 2001 when American Forces destroyed the Taliban government.
And now, again a Taliban government has been established in 2021 which is expected to be a peaceful government for Afghanistan as far as their agenda signifies.
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Afghanistan is continuously facing a war situation since it has become a Republican after Zahir Shah and different countries had tried to control it but those countries had always faced humiliation at the end.
The people of Afghanistan have faced much crisis but now they hope that a stable and peaceful government will be established.