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  Communism in Afghanistan
Noor Mohammad TarakiBy Afghanland.com: The divided PDPA succeeded the Daoud regime with a new government under the leadership of Nur Muhammad Taraki of the Khalq faction. Listen to Speech by Aslam Wattanjar who went on National Radio and announced the end of Nader Khan Family reign in Afghanistan. In 1967 the PDPA had split into two groups--Khalq and Parcham--but ten years later, the efforts of the Soviet Union had brought the factions back together, however unstable the merger.

A critical assessment of the period between the Saur (April) Revolution of 1978 and the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops in February 1989 requires analysis of three different, yet closely intertwined, series of events: those within the PDPA government of Afghanistan; those involving the mujahidin ("holy warriors") who fought the communist regime in Kabul from bases in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan; and those concerning the Soviet Union's invasion in December 1979 and withdrawal nine years later.

According to afghanland.com sources, In Kabul, the initial cabinet appeared to be carefully constructed to alternate ranking positions between Khalqis and Parchamis: Taraki was prime minister, Karmal was senior deputy prime minister, and Hafizullah Amin of Khalq was foreign minister. In early July, however, the Khalqi purge of Parchamis began with Karmal dispatched to Czechoslovakia as ambassador (along with others shipped out of the country). Amin appeared to be the principal beneficiary of this strategy, since he now ranked second, behind Taraki. The regime also issued a series of decrees, many of which were viewed by conservatives as opposing Islam, including one declaring the equality of the sexes. Land reform was decreed, as was a prohibition on usury.Taraki raising the khalq flag

Internal rebellion against the regime began in Afghanistan in the summer and fall of 1978. A number of attempts by Parchamis to oust the Khalqis were reported. The intense rivalry between Taraki and Amin within the Khalq faction heated up, culminating in the death--admittedly the murder--of Taraki. In September 1979, Taraki's followers, with Soviet complicity, had made several attempts on Amin's life. The final attempt backfired, however, and it was Taraki who was eliminated and Amin, who assumed power in Afghanistan. The Soviets had at first backed Amin, but they realized that he was too rigidly Marxist-Leninist to survive politically in a country as conservative and religious as Afghanistan.

Taraki's death was first noted in the Kabul Times on 10 October and reported that the former leader only recently hailed as the "great teacher...great genius...great leader" had died quietly "of serious illness, which he had been suffering for some time." Less than three months later, after the Amin government had been overthrown, the newly installed followers of Babrak Karmal Hafizullah Amingave another account of Taraki's death. According to this account, Amin ordered the commander of the palace guard to have Taraki executed. Taraki reportedly was suffocated with a pillow over his head. Amin's emergence from the power struggle within the small divided communist party in Afghanistan alarmed the Soviet and would usher in the series of events which lead to the Soviet invasion.

During this period, many Afghans fled to Pakistan and Iran and began organizing a resistance movement to the "atheistic" and "infidel" communist regime backed by the Soviets. Although the groups organizing in the Pakistani city of Peshawar would later, after the Soviet invasion, be described by the western press as "freedom fighters"--as if their goal were to establish a representative democracy in Afghanistan--in reality these groups each had agendas of their own that were often far from democratic.

In Kabul, Amin's ascension to the top position was quick. The Soviets had a hand in Taraki's attempts on Amin's life and were not pleased with his rise. Amin began unfinished attempts to moderate what many Afghans viewed as an anti-Islam regime. Promising more religious freedom, repairing mosques, presenting copies of the Koran to religious groups, invoking the name of Allah in his speeches, and declaring that the Saur Revolution was "totally based on the principles of Islam." Yet many Afghans held Amin responsible for the regime's harshest measures and the Soviets, worried about their huge investment in Afghanistan might be jeopardized, increased the number of "advisers" in Afghanistan. Amin become the target of several assassination attempts in early and mid-December 1979.

The Soviets began their invasion of Afghanistan on December 25, 1979. Within two days, they had secured Kabul, deploying a special Soviet assault unit against Darulaman Palace, where elements of the Afghan army loyal to Amin put up a fierce, but brief resistance. With Amin's death at the palace, Babrak Karmal, exiled leader of the Parcham faction of the PDPA was installed by the Soviets as Afghanistan's new head of government. Afghanland.com all rights reserved

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