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24,000 killed in Herat’s Hoot 24th uprising

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24,000 killed in Herat’s Hoot 24th uprising
 The 1979 Herat uprising was an insurrection that took place in and around the town of Herat, Afghanistan in March 1979. It included both a popular uprising and a mutiny of Afghan Army troops against the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) led by Noor Mohammad Taraki. The communist regime at first appealed to its Soviet allies for help, but the Soviet leadership declined to intervene. After the insurgents seized and held the city for about a week, the regime was able to retake it with its own forces, and the subsequent aerial bombardment and recapture of Herat left up to 24,000 of its inhabitants dead.
The events in Herat took place in the wider context of unrest against the socialist reforms implemented by the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, of which the principal was agrarian reform. The reforms, besides contradicting tradition and the principles of Islam, in many cases worsened the situation of the rural poor they were supposed to reward. Starting in May 1978 in Nuristan, spontaneous uprisings took place throughout Afghanistan against the government and its policies.
The agrarian reform had taken place near Herat without opposition, as there was little solidarity between the rural farmers, and the big landowners who mostly lived in the city. In this case the repression carried out by the Khalq against religious dignitaries, including religious figures, and traditional elites, is cited as a critical factor, as well as the government’s literacy campaign, which had become controversial due in particular to the inclusion of communist propaganda in the literacy courses, as well as the practice of mixed-gender classes.
The uprising began in earnest on March 15, 1979. In the surrounding districts insurgents gathered around mosques, and following the preaching of their mullahs, marched on the city, where they were joined by many townsmen in attacking government buildings, and symbols of communism. 
The 17th Division of the Afghan Army was detailed by the regime to put down the rebellion, but this proved a mistake, as there were few Khalqis in that particular unit and instead it mutinied and joined the uprising. A small group of soldiers, officials and Khalq activists withdrew into the city’s Blue Mosque. The protesters held Herat for about a week and roamed the streets, chanting “Allahu Akbar”, searching for government supporters. 
The eyewitnesses and participants of Hoot 24th demonstration said that as much as the casualties increased, the people became more courageous and braver that much until the streets of Herat city became full with people bodies.
This uprising was suppressed by air and ground reinforcement arrived from Kandahar and the city was out of the people control.
With passing of over three decades, those who still remember the 24th Hoot uprising, narrate mythical stories. In the days following the uprising the then government was seeking the main provokers of the uprising and arrested suspects. But most of the detainees have never returned alive. 
The day is marked every year as hundreds of people gather in an area called as Dasht-e-Shuhada in Herat’s north and pray for the souls of those martyred on the day.