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By Mark Urban (auth.)

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It had a religious council in Kabul declare a holy war (or jihad) against them. 32 By this move Taraki hoped to convince the average soldier or villager that killing one of the rebels was a righteous act in religious as well as nationalist terms. The response of the opposition parties was to make their own declaration ofjihad. Their holy fighters (mujahadeen) could now go into battle with the knowledge that if they were killed they would go straight to djena (heaven). 7. This was intended to bring in new era of equality for Afghan women.

They surround the ci ty, and prepared to take on the rebels. There was then an air strike by IL-28 bombers from the 355th Air Regiment at Shindand. 9 Areas of the city, including the 17th Division HQ were subjected to repeated bombing. The armour moved in afterwards, by which time most of the resistance had subsided. Western sources estimated that 5000 people died in the fighting. 10 Events in Herat shook the government. The defection of so many officers and soldiers during the revolt raised serious questions about the reliability of the army.

In these areas isolated army posts were attacked by bands of rebels an the soldiers gave themselves up relatively quickly. But in some cases troops behaved with incredible brutality allowing the resistance to flesh out their anti-government propaganda with gruesome fact. On 20 April 1~79, the village of Kerala in the Kunar valley was razed, and over 1000 of its inhabitants killed. 19 The massacre only exacerbated the army's difficulties in that long, hostile valley. The only real capacity for conducting mobile offensive operations lay with the Central Corps.

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