Arab interference was in some ways more aggravating . Saudi aid to themujahidin, which roughly matched that of the United States, had been crucial inaccelerating the guerilla war against the Soviet forces. Also, Saudi Arabia andother Gulf states (except Iraq) had severely criticized Soviet behavior inAfghanistan. Their involvement continued after the Soviet departure. Alongsideof this generous, long-term government assistance, unofficial parallelinvolvement became increasingly disruptive and disliked. During theSoviet-Afghan war a costly effort was made by private, often religious, Arabagencies to provide educational opportunities for Afghan refugees encamped inPakistan. Obvious attempts were also made to introduce doctrinal interpretationsof Islam espousing teachings of the Wahhabi sect dominant in Saudi Arabia. Suchindoctrination was accompanied by a growing stream of free-lance individuals andgroups of Arabs seeking to participate in the jihad. As the mujahidin expandedtheir areas of control after the Soviet forces withdrew, Arabs took part in thecapture of villages and towns, especially in Kunar and Nangrahar provinces.Incidents including massacres of men, abductions of women and various atrocitieswere attributed to them in 1988 and 1989.
Many Afghans resented Wahhabi proselytizing. It was carried out withparticular aggressiveness in Kunar. For two years a community of Arabs andAfghan converts dominated the province under the leadership of Jamil-ur-Rahman,a Pushtun native. Other Wahhabi cells were established, including a community atPaghman, which served as the base for Rasul Sayyaf, the mujahidin party leadermost closely identified with Saudi Arabia.
Arab policy and behavior appeared intimately mixed. The spreading of adoctrine, recognized as the official Saudi version of Islam, made it difficultto separate religion from politics. From the official perspective Saudidiplomacy toward Afghanistan was aimed at limiting Iranian influence. Thisobjective was given higher priority when it became possible to extend it to therecently sovereign nations of Central Asia. Afghanistan forms the collegial andlogistical link through which Arab influence can compete with Iran's inTajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Such Arab ambitions coupled withapparent attempts to create an Afghan Wahhabi state within a state have deepenedSaudi penetration of Afghan politics.
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