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.
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
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
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