The Role of Islam
Islam was the most powerful common denominator shared by Afghanistan'sisolated communities throughout the violation and betrayal. The line seemedclearly drawn between the traitors with their atheist patrons and those whoselives and way of life were threatened. In a struggle where martyrdom became acentral theme, transcendental faith offered meaning and the hope of survival andvindication. The demands of inspiration called for a religious leadership. Solong as the struggle remained intense those demands were met, certainly insymbol, and for many, in substance. But, when a remarkable victory was achieved,the demands changed. Failure, loss and disillusionment had to be coped with andthe apparently inspired leaders proved all too human. Given Afghanistan'sexperience and segmented society, the mujahidin leadership was asked andapparently expected itself to fulfill the incredible task of governing a societywhich had lost whatever faith it had in government. Its performance must bemeasured against the task it has faced. When the government led by Najibullahcollapsed in 1992, Afghanistan would be left with a political vacuum.
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