Mujahideen Victory Day is a public holiday in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on April 28th each year and takes place over 3 days. This holiday marks the anniversary of the victory over Soviet Russian troops and the birth of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
In 1978 Afghanistan’s prime minister, Mohammed Daoud Khan, was assassinated during a coup led by the socialist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). The PDPA then seized power. But as more and more groups emerged in opposition to the communist leanings of the leadership, the PDPA government sought help from the Soviet Union. Soviet troops invaded in 1979, staring their conflict with local insurgent groups known as the mujahideen. The nine-year Soviet-Afghan War ended in 1989 with victory for the Mujahideen and the withdrawal of Soviet forces.
After the Soviets left, the PDPA remained in power supported by Pakistan and war with the mujahideen continued with the Afghan Civil War.
The war led to another victory for the Mujahideen on April 28th 1992, when the rebel forces overthrew Mohammad Najibullah’s Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
Known locally as “Hashte Saur,” this is a day in when former Mujahideen fighters and present-day soldiers and supporters march on bases or streets and the national songs traditionally sung by the “holy warriors” in the trenches are revived. Mosque prayers are dedicated to those who lost their lives and iconic green Mujahideen flags are flown.
Over the last decade, the Afghanistan government has been forced to cancel public celebrations of April 28th due to security concerns and Taliban threats.
By Annisa Essack