a1 University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
Afghanistan's Khalq leaders who seized power in April 1978 inherited a mixed legal system and a bifurcated legal elite. In theirn ideological commitment to revolutionary chanfe, the Marxist government sought to employ legal institutions to further far-reaching social and political aims. The ruling group intended to curb the power of local jurists and the authority of Islamic legal reasonin through secularizing administration of the law. These policies testified for many to the regime's underlying hostility toward religion, and its determination to displace autonomous provincial leadership, both motives for rebellion by tribal insurgents and Islamic nationalists in 1979. This essay, which was researched and written before the fall of the Daoud government, examines Afghanistan's legal cadres, their education, recruitment, and performance. The persistance of Islamic influences in these processes, along with the adoption of modern practices, should convey the depth of traditionalism in the nation and also the capacity of the Afghans to accommodate new concepts not hastily or callously imposed.