Boris Lvin (bbb) wrote,
Boris Lvin
bbb

Национальный и личный факторы

Два фактора, которые традиционно недооцениваются нынешними "политологами", когда они рассуждают о событиях недавнего прошлого и текущего нынешнего - это (устойчивый) национально-территориальный и (случайный) личныйй.

Национально-территориальный фактор сплошь и рядом выглядит как религиозный, социально-экономический, классовый и еще бог весть какой, что часто вводит в заблуждение умственно-научных наблюдателей, которым почему-то очень нравится воображать, будто национальные чувства - это пережиток, глупость, что их вообще нет и т.д.

Личный же фактор для таких наблюдателей неудобен по той причине, что не вписывается в стройные причинно-следственные (по сути же - телеологические) интеллектуальные конструкции, типа знаменитой "виговской интерпретации истории" или совсем уж примитивной марксоидной модели.

Хорошей иллюстрацией того, как эти факторы на самом деле формируют реальность, мне кажется рассказ Зелига Харрисона об афганской революции 1978 года из его совместной с Диего Кордовесом книги 1995 года (https://www.amazon.com/Out-Afghanistan-Inside-Soviet-Withdrawal/dp/0195062949). Как я вижу, значение пуштунского национализма в новейшей политической истории Афганистана, хотя и широко признается, все равно страшно недооценивается, а ключевая роль коллизии вокруг "Линии Дюранда" осознается очень мало.

*************

Diego Cordovez, Selig S. Harrison "Out of Afghanistan. The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal" Oxford University Press. 1995

Стр. 14-32



Exit the King, Enter the Superpowers

The story behind the invasion begins in Kabul with a Byzantine sequence of murderous Afghan intrigue, complicated by turf wars between rival Soviet intelligence agencies and the undercover manipulations of agents for seven contending foreign powers. It reaches its climax when Brezhnev, ailing and alcoholic, pushes through the decision to invade in secrecy without calling a full meeting of his Politburo, disregarding the opposition of three key generals in his Army General Staff.

The precipitating event that ultimately led to Moscow's monumental blunder six years later was the overthrow of former King Zahir Shah in 1973 by his jealous cousin, Mohammed Daoud. Feuds within the ruling elite and Daoud's own driving ambition were the primary factors behind the coup. The thesis that he acted at the behest of Moscow has been discredited. Although Daoud seized power with help from a group of rebellious, Soviet-trained military officers with ties to GRU,* the Soviet military intelligence agency, subsequent events showed that he saw them as expedient, temporary allies who could easily be controlled and discarded when convenient.

To some extent, external factors did precipitate the coup, but these related primarily to the deep-rooted traditional animosities between Afghanistan and neighboring Iran and Pakistan. Daoud was a militant nationalist who believed that the King had betrayed Afghan interests by agreeing to a treaty giving Iran extensive access to the waters of the Helmand River, especially during a period of prolonged drought in Afghanistan. This bitterly controversial decision coincided with growing dissatisfaction among Afghanistan's Pushtun ethnic majority over the King's failure to retaliate against Islamabad for its repression of Pushtun and Baluch ethnic minorities in Pakistan.

In the ninetheenth century, the British Raj had conquered vast Pushtun and Baluch areas that were then part of Afghanistan, unilaterally imposing a boundary, known as the Durand Line, that defined the de facto limits of Afghan territory. Later, these conquered areas were handed over to Pakistan when it was created in 1947. Daoud had long spearheaded Afghan irredentist demands for an independent, Afghan-linked "Pushtunistan" and a more ambiguously defined Baluch state linking Baluch areas in Pakistan and Iran with a small strip of adjacent Baluch territory in Afghanistan. The King's cautious response to growing Pakistani provocations against both Pushtun and Baluch tribesmen during early 1973 provided a powerful rationale for Daoud's takeover.

The coup created an unprecedented political vacuum in Kabul, where the monarchy had traditionally provided the only focus of legitimate authority for a society divided along tribal, ethnic, and religious lines. Moreover, it abruptly upset the uneasy equilibrium between the West and the Soviet Union that had prevailed in Afghanistan throughout the Cold War.

In their nineteenth-century "great game" with Britain, the czars had attempted to annex northern Afghanistan, and the Soviet regime, since its in-ception in 1919, had consistently displayed a proprietary attitude toward the country. Prior to 1973, however, Moscow had kept up correct relations with nonaligned Afghan conservative governments so long as their nonalignment had a Soviet tilt. The Soviet Union had put the goal of a Communist Afghanistan on a back burner while making quiet efforts to strengthen pro-Soviet forces.

With an eye to the future, the GRU had encouraged Soviet-trained officers to form the underground Armed Forces Revolutionary Organization in September 1964.2 It was this group that backed Daoud in 1973. Similarly, when the King announced that Afghanistan's first free elections would be held in August 1965, Moscow had urged the perennially feuding Parcham (Red Banner) and Khalq (Masses) factions to form a unified Communist Party. Soviet support helped the newly formed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDFA) to win three of the five National Assembly seats in Kabul in the election. As soon as the voting was over, however, Moscow, anxious to avoid ruffling the King's feathers, had left the Communists to fend for themselves.

The United States and its regional allies, for their part, had accepted Afghanistan's Soviet tilt during the monarchy as an unavoidable fact of life reflecting its vulnerable, landlocked position. Once Daoud ousted the King and established his shaky new republic, however, Kabul rapidly became a Cold War political battleground. As factionalism, corruption, and political uncertainty grew, externally backed forces began to jockey for position in preparation for the power struggle expected to follow the elderly Daoud's death.

On the left, Moscow increased its support to the Parcham Communists led by Babrak Karmal, long the Soviet Union's favorite among Afghan Communist leaders. The Parchamites formed a coalition government with Daoud at Moscow's behest and made an undisguised effort to increase their influence in the Afghan bureaucracy and military. Significantly, the rival Khalqis, led by Noor Mohammed Taraki and Hafizullah Amin, refused to back the new regime, arguing that Daoud's domestic policies were too conservative to merit Communist support. Nevertheless, even though a large section of the Communist movement remained outside the government, the rapid growth of Parchamite power alarmed conservative elements in Kabul and in neighboring capitals, especially Teheran.

By a fateful historical coincidence, it was in the early 1970's, with oil prices rising, that Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran embarked on his ambitious effort to roll back Soviet influence in neighboring countries and create a modern version of the ancient Persian empire. Until the eighteenth century, Iran had ruled western Afghanistan, and the fall of Zahir Shah revived Iranian ambitions. Beginning in 1974, the Shah launched a determined effort to draw Kabul into a Western-tilted, Teheran-centered regional economic and security sphere embracing India, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf states.

The United States actively encouraged this rollback policy as part of its broad partnership with the Shah in the economic and military aid spheres as well as in covert action throughout Southwest Asia. Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger has frankly recalled his deep suspicions of Daoud as a witting or unwitting Soviet surrogate.3 However, Kissinger and other key U. S. officials involved contend that they were not seeking a pro-West tilt but rather a more genuine nonalignment in place of what had been a pro-Soviet orientation. In particular, they emphasize that they were not working to establish a military aid relationship with Kabul.

The most visible results of the Iranian campaign came in the economic and cultural arenas. Teheran extended a $40 million credit to Kabul on easy terms in 1974 as the first installment in a $2 billion, ten-year economic aid program. Iran was scheduled to replace the Soviet Union as Kabul's biggest aid donor, and a projected rail and highway network linking Afghanistan to Persian Gulf ports would have largely canceled out Afghan dependence on Soviet trade and transport outlets. An informal co-prosperity sphere began to develop, with Afghan workers moving freely back and forth across the border to work in Iranian development projects. Teheran Radio stepped up its broadcasts in Dari, the Afghan variant of Persian, and Iranian publications flooded the Afghan market.

Among the less visible, subterranean aspects of the Shah's offensive was expanded activity by his intelligence agency, Savak, which attempted to challenge the well-established KGB. Covert operatives from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, China, and a variety of Persian Gulf and Middle Eastern countries also filtered into the Afghan capital during the years after 1973. The Iranian role was first authoritatively described to me in 1975 by Fereydoun Hoveyda, the Iranian representative at the United Nations, who pointed to it proudly as an example of Iranian-American cooperation. Later, I learned more about Kabul's intelligence networks and rivalries on visits there and in other regional capitals.

Savak and the CIA worked hand in hand, sometimes in loose collaboration with underground Afghan Islamic fundamentalist groups that shared their anti- Soviet objectives but had their own agendas as well. The Afghan fundamentalists were closely linked, in turn, to the Cairo-based Ikhwan ul-Musulmeen (Muslim Brotherhood) and the Rabitat-al-Alam-al-Islami (Muslim World League), a leading exponent of Saudi Wahabi orthodoxy. As oil profits skyrocketed, emissaries from these newly affluent Arab fundamentalist groups arrived on the Afghan scene with bulging bankrolls. Like Savak, they hired informers who attempted to identify Communist sympathizers throughout the Afghan government and armed forces.

On the one hand, Teheran used its aid leverage to press Daoud for the removal of suspected Communists. At the same time, Savak channeled U.S. weapons, communications equipment, and other paramilitary aid to anti-Daoud groups.4 Some of this assistance was given directly by Iran to tribal dissidents operating in adjacent western Afghanistan; some was channeled through Pakistan to the underground fundamentalist groups.5 Pakistani harassment of Daoud reached its climax in a series of Islamabad-orchestrated raids on police posts in the Pansjer valley. Savak, the CIA, and Pakistani agents were also involved in the abortive, fundamentalist-backed coup attempts against Daoud in September and December 1973 and June 1974.

The KGB, the GRU, and the Afghan Communists

Whether Daoud would have moved to the right as rapidly as he did in the absence of external pressures and inducements is debatable. In any case, within a year after taking power, he did begin to alter the coloration of his government. In July 1974 he removed two hundred Soviet-trained officers. In September he downgraded one of the leading Communists in his cabinet by sending him on an ambassadorial assignment. In mid-1975, he replaced the Communist Interior Minister with a hard-line military man, General Kadir Nuristani, who vocally advocated cracking down on Communist influence. In October 1975 Daoud dismissed forty additional Soviet-trained military officers from the armed services. At the same time he moved to reduce future Afghan dependence on officer training in the Soviet Union by initiating training arrangements with India, Egypt, and, to a lesser extent, the United States.

A significant but little noticed indicator of Daoud's shifting posture came in November 1975 when he began to retreat on the sensitive nationalist issues of the Helmand waters and "Pushtunistan." After justifying his seizure of power just two years earlier as necessary to thwart an unequal Helmand treaty, he indicated his intention to ratify the treaty after all. Then, in response to overt Pakistani pressure, he served notice that Afghanistan would no longer be a haven for Pushtun and Baluch insurgents fighting against the Pakistani regime of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. While refusing to oust more than ten thousand tribesmen who were already using Afghanistan as a base for guerrilla operations, he outraged nationalist elements by denying entry to new refugees fleeing from the Pakistan Army.

Daoud's most fateful move was his formal rupture with the Parcham Communists. Announcing that he would start his own National Revolutionary Front and would ban all other political activity under a new one-party constitution, he called for dissolution of the Parcham and Khalq organizations and demanded that all Communists join his new party. When Daoud reshuffled his cabinet in early December, ousting the few remaining leftist members, Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny promptly visited Kabul to register mounting Soviet concern.

Daoud's decision to break with the Parchamites, coupled with his pro- Teheran drift, provoked a significant change in Soviet policy toward the Afghan Communist movement during the course of 1976. Until then, Moscow had shown little concern over the debilitating Parcham-Khalq split. So long as Kabul had leaned toward Moscow in its foreign policy, both groups were instructed to wink at Daoud's rightist domestic posture. To the extent that Moscow paid attention to the quarreling Afghan Communists at all, it gave preference to Parcham, which had cooperated with its pro-Daoud policy after the 1973 coup, even though Khalq was the better organized of the two groups and had stronger cadres in the military and in the bureaucracy. As the year progressed, however, the Soviet line began to change. In a key pronouncement on June 23, 1976, the Iraqi Communist Party daily Tariq Al-Shaab, then the principal mouthpiece for Moscow on Afghan matters, published an unprecedented appeal for Communist unity in Afghanistan. It offered, in effect, to recognize the Khalq leader Taraki as the leader of a unified party if he would come to terms with Parcham leaders. This 1976 unity appeal was the opening gun of a Soviet effort to orchestrate a merger of the two parties that finally proved successful in May 1977.

Ideologically, both the Khalq and the Parcham factions were strongly pro-Soviet in the Sino-Soviet rivalry, but the KGB found Karmal and the Parchamites "more reasonable, more willing to listen," said the leading Soviet academic specialist on Afghanistan, Yuri Gankovsky of the Institute of Oriental Studies. The Khalqis were viewed as "too radical, too headstrong, too unpredictable."

On Afghan domestic problems, the Khalq had a more orthodox Marxist- Leninist approach than the Parcham. Moreover, the ideological conflict between the two factions masked what were basic social differences. Most of the Parchamites came from Persian-influenced, urban, upper-class backgrounds. Since many had family ties with the ruling elite, the Khalqis branded them the "Royal Communist Party." Even those Parchamites who were members of the Pushtun majority spoke Dari, the Afghan variant of Persian, and were culturally isolated from Pushtun tribal life. By contrast, the Khalqis represented the rising, newly educated, lower-middle-class Pushtuns from small towns and rural areas who not only wanted Pushtun influence to be dominant inside Afghanistan but also favored active efforts to reclaim the lost territories.

Karmal was Dari-speaking and Kabul-born. His father, a general, belonged to a Pushtun sub-tribe that had abandoned the Pushtu language; Pushtun nationalists claimed that his mother was a Tajik. Amin, by contrast, spoke Pushtu, came from a small town, and championed Pushtun political and cultural causes. Karmal was a more polished orator, but it was Amin who worked most effectively to build his power base during the 1970s, especially in the military, where the Khalq gradually emerged as a much stronger force than the Parcham. A magnetic, driving personality, Amin attracted a fervently loyal following of politically conscious young Pushtuns in the armed forces. At his insistence, the agreement merging the two groups into the new Peoples' Democratic Party did not cover their underground activities in the armed forces.

The merger set up a unified party Central Committee in which Khalq and Parcham each had fifteen members. But Amin continued to operate his Khalq military commission independently. Parcham military commissar Mir Akbar Khaiber also carried on his own organizing efforts, focusing on Soviet-trained officers in the underground "Armed Forces Revolutionary Organization" that had helped Daoud to win power. While this group had purportedly been disbanded when the PDPA was formed, knowledgeable Soviet sources told me that the GRU, ignoring Central Committee directives, had encouraged Khaiber and other contacts to keep the group intact.7 Some of its leading members were non- Pushtun officers, such as Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Qader of the air force, who refused to accept Amin's discipline.

The GRU and the KGB were in competition during this period for control over Afghan Communist activities, and neither of them was fully aware of what Amin was doing. Colonel Alexander Morozov, deputy KGB station chief from 1975 to 1979, recalled in an interview that "we didn't want to let them know what we knew. They had their own informers, and we had our own."

The GRU-KGB rivalry was to prove important in shaping the events that led up to the occupation, reinforcing Afghan Communist power struggles both before and after the 1978 revolution. In theory, the KGB was responsible for internal security in all branches of the armed forces and occupied, accordingly, a more important position in the Soviet power hierarchy than the GRU. In practice, however, the GRU operated "largely independently" of the KGB, especially overseas.9 The GRU controlled its own internal security, in contrast to other organs of the armed forces, where KGB agents were responsible for ensuring loyalty to the Soviet state.10 In foreign countries, the senior representative of the GRU was answerable only to the Central Committee and to the head of the GRU in Moscow.11 Thus, in Afghanistan, the GRU was free to build up its own closely guarded network of agents in the armed forces, while the KGB maintained its contacts primarily with civilian PDPA leaders.

Behind the facade of the 1977 merger, the Afghan Communist movement was divided, in reality, between the Parcham, with its KGB links, the GRUsponsored Armed Forces Revolutionary Organization, and Amin's Pushtun Khalqi network, which maintained correct but arm's-length relations with both the GRU and the KGB.

Amin's freewheeling style, together with the fact that he had gone to the United States twice for postgraduate studies financed by U.S. aid grants, made him suspect in the eyes of the GRU and the KGB alike. During his four years at Columbia University Teachers College, Amin became national president of the Afghan Student Association in 1963. This later exposed him to charges of CIA ties when a Ramparts article showed that the organization had received funds since 1961 from the CIA-supported American Friends of the Middle East.

Upon his return to Afghanistan in 1965, Amin became principal of the Central Teacher Training School, which received substantial funds from a U.S. aid project run by Teachers College. The late American anthropologist Louis Dupree, who was living in Kabul at the time, recalled that the Columbia aid project served as cover for several CIA men. "Amin knew them well," Dupree observed. "He took American money for his school and then, behind their backs, recruited the brightest teachers for the Communist Party. But you can imagine how it all looked to the Russians."

Ending The Soviet Tilt

On visits to Teheran and Kabul in January and February 1977, I found numerous indications of the confrontation then shaping up between Iran and the Soviet Union. In Teheran, Jafar Nadim, the third-ranking official in the Foreign Ministry, spoke confidently of the leverage that Savak was exercising on the Daoud regime. Iranian aid, he said, had been conditioned on a continuing crackdown against both Parcham and Khalq, plus an Afghan promise to conclude a peace agreement with Pakistan ending all Afghan support for insurgent groups in Pakistani Baluch and Pushtun tribal areas.14 In Kabul, President Daoud explained to me that Iran's new economic potential had altered the geopolitical equation in the region, offering an alternative to excessive dependence on Moscow. "Our historical relations with Iran were unpleasant," he said, "but we must adapt to the new realities."

Told of this conversation, Britain's Ambassador to Afghanistan Roy Crook, a veteran Afghan specialist, predicted that "if it goes too far and too fast,"Teheran's diplomacy "will surely upset the Russians and produce a reaction." The Soviets were beginning to give significant help to the Afghan Communists, he said, in order to keep Daoud in line and to prepare for an increasingly uncertain future. But "they are still generally satisfied with the degree of influence they have, provided that the drift to the right does not go too much further. They do not really want a confrontation with Iran because they fear that the Shah might seek to break up the country. They think in terms of history, that the Persians would like to re-annex the areas they ruled until the eighteenth century."

In the year that followed this prescient warning, Daoud accelerated his shift to the right in both domestic and foreign affairs. Armed with his new one-party constitution, formally promulgated in February 1977, he gave increased powers to Interior Minister Nuristani, who intensified repression of the Communists and other opposition elements. Former Soviet Ambassador A. M. Puzanov has revealed that Amin, angered by this crackdown, wanted to attempt the overthrow of Daoud in early 1977 but was "held back" by Moscow.17 Outwardly, Soviet-Afghan relations appeared undisturbed. But simmering tensions soon exploded when Daoud clashed directly with Brezhnev on April 12 during a Moscow visit that helped to set the stage for the climactic events to follow.

Recalling this encounter, Abdul Samad Ghaus, then deputy Foreign Minister and Daoud's long-time confidant, writes that the Soviet leader objected to what he called a "considerable increase" in the number of experts from NATO countries working in Afghanistan. In the past, Brezhnev said, the Afghan government did not allow experts from NATO countries to be stationed in the northern parts of the country,

but this practice was no longer strictly followed. The Soviet Union took a grim view of these developments and wanted the Afghan government to get rid of those experts, who were nothing more than spies.

A chill fell on the room. Some of the Russians seemed visibly embarrassed.

... In a cold, unemotional voice Daoud . . . told Brezhnev that what was just said could never be accepted by the Afghans, who viewed his statement as a flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. . . . Daoud said, and I remember clearly his exact words: "We will never allow you to dictate to us how to run our country and whom to employ in Afghanistan. How and where we employ the foreign experts will remain the exclusive prerogative of the Afghan state. Afghanistan shall remain poor, if necessary, but free in its acts and decisions."


After saying this, Ghaus concludes, Daoud and all the other Afghans present abruptly stood up and were starting to walk out when Brezhnev, "rising from his chair with some difficulty," hurried after him. Reminding Daoud of his request for a private conversation, the Soviet leader offered to meet "whenever convenient for you," whereupon Daoud replied "in a clear, loud voice for all to hear, 'I wish to inform your Excellency that there is no longer any need for that meeting.'"

In an interview several months later, former Afghan Foreign Secretary Waheed Abdullah gave me a similar account, adding that Brezhnev had specifically objected to the presence in Afghanistan of U.S. satellite and seismological experts whom the Soviets suspected of espionage and had pointed to certain members of the Afghan cabinet as American stooges.

In the year between his Moscow visit and the Communist coup on April 28, 1978, Daoud broadened his search for ways to offset Afghan military and economic dependence on the Soviet Union. He increased the number of officers to be sent for military training each year to India, Egypt, and the United States and negotiated a new training program for air force officers with Turkey. In addition to his slowly developing aid linkages with Iran, he concluded a $500 million aid package with Saudi Arabia for hydroelectric development, as well as other aid agreements with China, the Kuwait Fund, the OPEC Special Fund, and the Islamic Bank for Development. Openly distancing himself from the radical wing of the nonaligned movement led by Cuba, Daoud criticized Havana on several occasions, declaring that Afghanistan would pursue "true nonalignment." His identification with the moderate wing of the movement led by India and Yugoslavia became increasingly explicit. After Daoud's visits to New Delhi and Belgrade, Kabul was chosen as the site of a meeting of nonaligned foreign ministers to be held in May.

Perhaps even more disquieting in Soviet eyes was a Middle East diplomatic offensive that included two visits by Daoud to Egypt as well as stopovers in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Daoud's second visit to Cairo came just after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had returned from Israel. In the presence of the Soviet Ambassador, Sadat said in a banquet toast to Daoud that "we are following, with all admiration, the wise nationalist policy you have laid down on the basis of the independence of the national will and rejection of alignment, subservience and spheres of influence."19 The Shah was scheduled to visit Kabul in June, and Daoud was preparing for a White House meeting with President Carter in September in which he was expected to seek greatly upgraded U.S. economic assistance.

Afghans were ambivalent about the prospect of multiplying foreign aid at a time when aid already accounted for 60 percent of 1977-1978 budget expenditures. Many intellectuals argued that this dependence was unavoidable, offering the only way to get the modernization process started. But Pushtun nationalists, including the Khalqi Communists, believed that Daoud was seeking to obtain aid at the price of a craven surrender to Pakistan dictated by Washington and Teheran. Emboldened by his American and Irainian diplomatic support, Zia had made a rapprochement with Kabul dependent on nothing less than formal acceptance of the Durand Line and burial of the "Pushtunistan" issue.

Initially, Daoud balked. However, in the second of two meetings with Zia, held in islamabad in early March 1978, a compromise began to take shape. Daoud appeared ready to abandon the goal of independent Pushtun and Baluch states in return for an unspecified form of autonomy for the two ethnic minorities within a "restructured" Pakistani constitution. Asked at a farewell press conference whether the Durand Line had been discussed, he replied that "everything was discussed, and with the passage of time everything would fall in place."

With Zia scheduled to visit Kabul in August, Daoud's critics began to whisper after his return that he was indeed preparing to accept the Durand Line, thus betraying the dream of a "Greater Afghanistan" incorporating the lost territories. Nationalist suspicions soon intensified when Daoud told a meeting of Pushtun and Baluch leaders in Kabul that all of their eight thousand activists and guerrillas from Pakistan who had taken refuge in Afghanistan should leave by April 30. Ajmal Khattak, one of the Pushtun leaders present, told me that Daoud had defended this decision by pointing to Zia's release of the Pushtun and Baluch prisoners in Pakistan who had been jailed by Bhutto. "He told us not to worry, we would have our rights under Zia," Khattak said. "We told him he was either a fool or a knave and we would not go."21

Khattak recalled that word of Daoud's "sellout" spread rapidly through the ranks of Pushtuns in the armed forces, helping Amin and his organizers to solidify their underground networks. Abdul Samad Ghaus denies that Daoud intended to force the guerrillas to return. But he acknowledges that Daoud and Zia were close to resolving the issue of the Durand Line and "Pushtunistan." "The strong possibility that this issue was going to be settled," he declares, "was perhaps one of the underlying causes that hastened the Communist takeover of Afghanistan."22 Confronted with the prospect of a settlement, Amin and the Khalqis saw themselves as the only remaining guardians of national honor; for Moscow, too, the prospect was profoundly unsettling, foreshadowing a regional geopolitical realignment directly contrary to long-standing Soviet strategic goals.

On the Eve of the Communist Coup

Looking back on the year preceding the Communist coup, I remember vividly the siege mentality that pervaded the Afghan government. Daoud had drifted increasingly into the self-isolation so characteristic of dictators. His insistence on unquestioning personal loyalty and total control over even minor administrative details drove many capable advisers out of government. While Daoud himself lived an austere life, corruption charges against his intimates, some of them related to aid transactions, cast a pall over his regime. Economic development was floundering despite the massive aid influx. With inflation running over 20 percent, a mood of economic desperation was spreading, especially among already hard-pressed workers and tenant farmers. Pay raises for the Army and price subsidies for civil servants were eroding the fiscal stability of the regime without defusing the growing discontent, fanned by rising prices, among these groups. As the small Kabul business community lost confidence in the government, private investment dried up.

Faced by mounting criticism, Daoud gradually found his power base limited to an ultra-conservative clique in the cabinet and a narrow circle of police and military loyalists who began to conduct their own private vendettas against Communist and other critics whom they regarded as threats to the regime. Interior Minister Nuristani, Defense Minister Haider Rasuli, and Vice President Abdul Illahi were widely perceived to be working for "the total elimination of the left from positions of power."23 Diplomats talked freely about the growing influence enjoyed by Savak, Rabitat, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Hezbe Islami and other Afghan fundamentalist groups, previously repressed, were beginning to resurface, emboldened by Zia's Islamization policies in neighboring Pakistan.

It was in this tense, uncertain, and polarized atmosphere that the Parchamite leader Mir Akbar Khaiber was murdered outside his home on April 17, 1978, touching off the final showdown between the Communists and Daoud. To this day the identity of the killer remains uncertain. A spokesman for Daoud officially blamed Hezbe Islami. Louis Dupree, then living in Kabul, concluded that the murder was directly or indirectly arranged by Interior Minister Nuristani, who had told a number of friends that it was time to "finish off' the Communists before they got too strong. "He was the loyal Beria," Dupree observed, "the type of man who thought he knew what was best for Daoud and didn't have to tell him everything." Daoud's confidant, Abdul Samad Ghaus, attempts to pin the blame on Hafizullah Amin. It was the "predominant belief in Kabul, he relates, that Amin had arranged both the Khaiber murder and an unsuccessful earlier attempt to kill Babrak Karmal.

Ghaus suggests that the Khalqis "were clearing out their potential rivals in anticipation of a seizure of power." When Karmal succeeded Amin in 1980, he made this charge against him as part of a broader effort to blacken his predecessor, and his allegation, while self-serving, cannot be completely dismissed. As Parcham's principal organizer in the armed forces, Khaiber was in direct competition with Amin, who was seeking to build Khalq military cells. He and Amin were often trying to recruit the same officers and had clashed bitterly during the merger negotiations over control of party military cells. According to a variety of Afghan Communist sources, Khaiber fought until the end for a merger of Khalq and Parcham cells that would have undermined Amin's dominant party role in the critical military sphere.

Whoever killed him,25 Khaiber's martyrdom touched off an unprecedented popular upheaval. More than fifteen thousand angry, slogan-shouting mourners turned out for his funeral procession two days later, an extraordinarily large crowd by Afghan standards. Taraki and other top Communist leaders, with the exception of Amin, spoke at a tumultuous mass rally following the funeral. Daoud was alarmed by this demonstration of Communist strength and decided to round up the party high command as his hard-line advisers had long been urging him to do. Late on the night of April 25, police imprisoned Taraki, Karmal, and five other Politburo members who had spoken at the rally, charging them with maligning Islam and advocating violence. Significantly, however, military officers suspected of Communist affiliations or sympathies were not arrested. More important, Hafizullah Amin was initially placed only under house arrest.

The failure to imprison Amin proved to be a momentous blunder. As the Khalq military commissar, he was the author and apparently the sole custodian of a contingency plan for a possible Communist coup that had just been drafted and approved by Taraki several weeks earlier. The plan specified the assignments to be carried out by twenty two designated army and air force officers, almost all of them Khalqis. Since the earliest anticipated date for the coup was in August,26 the scheme had been only casually discussed with some of the key projected participants. But when Taraki was arrested, Amin decided to act. Rumors were spreading that a Cabinet meeting scheduled for two days later would order the execution of the entire top party leadership. More than twelve hours elapsed between the time that Amin was placed under house arrest and the time that he was put behind bars, and during this interval, he managed to smuggle out the instructions that set the coup in motion.

What happened in the predawn and early morning hours of April 26—and in the two days thereafter—is a chronicle of lucky accidents and zany mishaps that reads like the script of a Grade B movie. When the police came to search Amin's home at 1:00 A.M., Amin had just learned of Taraki's arrest. The contingency plan, which had been kept in a bedroom drawer, was hastily hidden in the mattress of a bed where one of Amin's children was sleeping. Several hours later, Amin was still puzzling over what to do when the police let a little known but trusted party activist named Faqir Mohammed enter the house, mistaking him for Amin's elder brother, whom he resembled.

Under the eyes of the police, Faqir got out of the house with the plan in his pocket and took it to Amin's principal air force contact, Colonel Syed Gulabzoi, who passed it on to another key participant, Major Aslam Watanjar, deputy commander of the strategically placed Fourth Armored Division. Watanjar was instructed to start the revolution on the following day with a tank attack on Daoud's palace at noon that would be backed by simultaneous air sorties. To make sure that the message got through, Amin wrote out a second copy of the plan and told his teen-age son Rahman to have photocopies made in the bazaar for distribution to Gulabzoi, Watanjar, and several others. Like Faqir, his son was able to leave the house with the plan in his pocket under the eyes of the police.

Abdul Samad Ghaus, attempting to account for this bungling, explains that Amin, unlike the seven Communist leaders initially arrested, had not spoken after the funeral. Thus, he could not be charged with specific offenses on the basis of tape-recorded evidence. Ghaus writes that Daoud, concerned about his foreign image, was "obsessed" with observing the legal proprieties. It was only when the police were certain that "suspicious activities were going on in and around his house" that they had grounds for belatedly jailing Amin.28 This is an unconvincing alibi for what may well have been merely the indifference of halfsleeping policemen. Another, more plausible explanation is that Amin had a highly placed friend in the police whom he had known since boyhood.29 In any case, by the time Amin was imprisoned, apparently around 11:00 A.M.,30 preparations for the "Saur (April) Revolution" were under way.

An Afghan Coup, Afghan Style

Play-by-play accounts of the coup make clear that it was a last-minute operation, orchestrated by Afghans, in which support from Soviet intelligence agencies and military advisers, if any, came only after they were confronted with a virtual fait accompli. One such account is the official version published by the new PDPA regime soon after it took power.31 Another is The Accidental Coup, by Louis Dupree, who was resident in Kabul at the time.32 Still another is a detailed narrative by the Pakistani political activist Raja Anwar, based on conversations with Afghan Communist fellow-prisoners in a Kabul jail.33 These three versions are broadly compatible but differ on significant details. In piecing together what happened, I have drawn on all of them, as well as on my own extensive interviews in Kabul in August 1978. The official version is particularly suspect because it blatantly exaggerates and embellishes Amin's role. More important, it glosses over the haphazard, comic-opera character of the proceedings. "Foul-up followed foul-up," writes Dupree, "and the side with the fewer foul-ups won."

Far from sensing trouble ahead, the Daoud regime was in a festive mood after the arrest of the Communist leaders. Late in the evening of April 26, all military commanders in the Kabul area received direct telephone calls from Minister of Defense Rasuli ordering them to arrange official celebrations of the downfall of the Kafir (heathens). Most military units held lavish parties, complete with Afghan folk singing and dancing, and were thus in a highly disorganized state when Major Watanjar announced to the Fourth Armored Division at 9:00 A.M. on April 27 that the revolution had begun. Learning of the announcement, General Rasuli called on several base commanders to rush troops to the presidential palace, only to find them either unreachable or unable to round up their men.

According to Amin's plan for the coup. Watanjar was supposed to start his tank attack on the palace at noon, but not until an Afghan Air Force squadron had buzzed all of the cantonment areas in the city and had begun to fly low sorties over the palace. The appearance of the air force was to be the signal for Khalqi units scattered in various cantonments to carry out their assignments. When he arrived on schedule with the first column of some 50 T-62 heavy tanks, however, Watanjar found no sign of the air force. His decision to launch the attack, nonetheless, with his six hundred men, marked the start of a confused, indecisive struggle that continued throughout the day until air force supporters of the coup finally did get into action four hours later. Daoud was unable all afternoon to get loyal troops to come to his rescue, and the disorganized rebels made no attempt, until the air force arrived, to locate and release the imprisoned Communist leaders or to capture such key targets as the Defense Ministry, the government communications center, and Radio Kabul.

As the tanks of Watanjar's Fourth Division rolled through the city, they were shelled by units of the Fifteenth Armored Division, which supported Daoud. Since their communications systems had been cut off by the Daoud-controlled Defense Ministry, many of Watanjar's tanks, lacking radio guidance, could not tell friend from foe and fired on one another. Moreover, to add to the mayhem, April 27 happened to be a Thursday. At noon most government and private offices closed so that their employees could have a long weekend, Friday being the Muslim day of rest. Thus it was that at midday, just as fighting began at the palace, people not far away were lining up for buses, while taxis were honking at tanks and traffic police were impatiently motioning tanks to pull over to the curb, assuming they were merely on maneuvers.

Daoud had promptly adjourned a cabinet meeting when the attack started. He instructed General Rasuli to go personally to the nearby Qargah base to find out why rocket artillery units and the key Eighth Mechanized Division, believed to be loyal, had not responded to his appeals for help. But when Rasuli's staff car went through a red light and a taxi slammed into the car broadside, the General's arm was broken. He was visibly in pain as he pleaded with recalcitrant officers at Qargah, where members of the military were still in the midst of singing and dancing when he arrived. Rasuli found that most of the officers there were stalling for time, waiting to see how the wind was blowing. Dupree, who estimated that not more than three thousand men were involved in the fighting, concluded that "throughout the country most unit commanding officers sat tight until the fighting ended and the victors emerged."

Eventually, Rasuli got support from some units of the Eighth and Seventh Divisions as well as from an artillery battery. But as he was leading the Eighth Division into battle, with his arm in a sling, his jeep was hit by a shell from a tank unit that Watanjar had sent to intercept him. He promptly fled from the scene, and most of the Eighth Division defected to the rebels. General Rasuli was captured and shot shortly before 5 P.M. when he and several of Daoud's other generals were found hiding in a chicken coop. At about this time, five hours behind schedule, air force Migs and SU-25s started to bomb the palace, and Watanjar's troops, after a search of city jails, liberated Amin and the other imprisoned Communist leaders. In theory, the palace was well defended against air attacks. On the day of the coup, however, the electronic gear that controlled the palace missile batteries was not in working order.

Why did the air force fail to show up at noon?

The air force Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Qader, a Darispeaking non-Pushtun with loose Parcham ties, was one of the leaders of the Soviet-trained military faction that had been nurtured by the GRU. After helping Daoud to win power, he had turned against him. Amin distrusted Qader but had been forced to give him a pivotal role in the coup in order to assure air force participation. His plan called for Qader to turn over command of his headquarters at Bagram Air Base at 9 A.M. to a Khalqi fellow officer and then to proceed by helicopter to Kabul airport. There Qader was to direct operations against the palace. But he did not turn over his command. Instead, Qader remained locked in his office until early afternoon.

His Khalqi critics claim that he was vacillating over whether to support the coup and had locked himself in. His defenders say that Daoud supporters had incarcerated him against his will. Colonel Madhu Sameyran, then the Indian Military Attache, who had extensive contacts in the Afghan Air Force, suggested another possibility during my August visit. The prevailing impression among high air force officers, he said, was that Qader had tipped off the GRU concerning Amin's plans but had not been given a go-ahead to participate.

Colonel Sameyran pointed out that there were some 350 Soviet military advisers and technicians in Kabul in early 1978, many of them involved in assisting the ground control and antiaircraft missile operations at Bagram and Kabul airports. He emphasized that it would have been difficult for the air force to operate on April 27 without help from Soviet technicians. Qader, he said, had necessarily delayed joining the coup until Soviet advisers had signaled their approval. Called on to make a decision with little warning before the coup was launched, they had received word from Moscow just in time to go along. American Embassy officials claimed that Soviet personnel were seen with the armored units that took control of Kabul airport's military wing in the early afternoon and were also observed helping with ground control operations at Bagram. By contrast, Raja Anwar insists that Soviet advisers "kept themselves uninvolved.

Whatever the truth, Qader did in the end join the coup, clearing the way for the air force to go into action. A grand total of six aircraft participated, all from Bagram. By 7 P.M.., after the palace had been bombed for more than two hours, Qader and Watanjar were reading announcements over Radio Kabul in Dari and Pushtu, respectively, declaring that a "Revolutionary Military Council" had taken power. Later that night, Daoud and his family were murdered in their chambers after refusing to surrender voluntarily, and by dawn it was all over.

The overall impression left by the available evidence is one of an improvised, ad hoc Soviet response to an unexpected situation. According to Alexander Morozov, whose tenure as deputy KGB chief included the months leading up to April 26, Moscow knew that a coup was in the wind and had strongly advised against it. But the KGB did not discover that Amin had actually set plans for the takeover in motion until "nine or ten o'clock" on the night of April 25, after the GRU had been tipped off by one of its informants.37 Later, the KGB "learned that Amin's instructions about the uprising included a severe ban on letting the Russians know about the planned action. Did he fear that we would interfere? One of the plotters more loyal to the CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] and the U.S.S.R. than to Amin divulged this secret to us. Daoud could have been warned, but neither the Soviet Embassy in Kabul nor Moscow could even consider betraying the PDPA."38 Soon after midnight, Morozov told me, confused messages came from the Foreign Ministry and KGB headquarters, with "nothing in them to advise us to try to stop 'Amin's adventure.'"

The ad hoc character of the Soviet role was especially evident during the confused power struggle surrounding the birth of the new reqime. Qader, as the highest-ranking military officer involved, was the first to lay claim to leadership by proclaiming his Revolutionary Military Council. Watanjar, although a Pushtun with loose Khalq ties, initially supported him. Both were heroes of the 1973 coup and saw themselves as saviors of the nation. Reluctant to accept PDPA discipline, neither wanted to play second fiddle to the self-aggrandizing Amin. Significantly, the PDPA was not even mentioned in their April 27 proclamation. For the next three days, the Soviet news agency Tass also made no mention of the PDPA, treating the change of power consistently as a "military coup detat." In the light of subsequent events, as Raymond Garthoff has observed, this strongly suggests that the Soviet Union was not in control of events in Kabul. Moscow would have used a term such as "popular revolution," he writes, if it had expected a PDPA regime wrapped in Communist colors to emerge just three days later.

Soviet leaders were apparently divided at this stage over what to do next. Several Soviet sources cited credible evidence to me indicating that the GRU had initially encouraged Qader to form his military council but was overruled by a Central Committee directive, reflecting KGB influence, supporting the creation of a more broad-based regime.40 According to Babrak Karmal, his principal KGB contact, Vilioz Osadchy, urged him to work for a coalition government headed by non-Communists in which the PDPA would share power. Osadchy warned that an overtly Communist regime would provoke concerted conservative opposition and that the PDPA was not yet strong enough to rule on its own.41 But Amin recognized that he could best consolidate his personal power through monolithic PDPA rule. With support from his tightly knit Pushtun Khalq army cells, he won out in a bitter intraparty struggle with Karmal on April 28-29, arguing that the PDPA should claim the exclusive right to rule in the name of a successful "people's revolution." Karmal, echoing the Central Committee directive, contended that the coup represented a victory for "national democratic" forces but was not a revolution.

By the time a high-level KGB mission headed by the director of foreign intelligence, Vladimir Khrychkov, had arrived on the scene, the only issue left to be decided was the composition of the government. Khrychkov insisted on "an equal proportion of representatives from the Khalq and Parcham factions,"43 and on April 30, the Revolutionary Military Council became the Revolutionary Council of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The new council was headed by Taraki as President, with Karmal as Vice President, Amin as First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Watanjar as Deputy Prime Minister and Communication Minister, and Qader as Defense Minister. Despite his third-ranking position, however, Amin's grip on the Khalq army cells enabled him to dominate the new regime from the start.

The Emergence of Amin

The emergence of Amin as the strongest figure in Kabul was clearly not in the Soviet game plan. Nevertheless, Moscow was the first capital to recognize the new government, a fact often cited as proof that the coup was Sovietorchestrated. 44 Two weeks later, the Soviet press no longer spoke of a military coup, hailing the April 28 "revolution." The Soviet Communist Party congratulated the PDPA in language normally reserved for fellow Communist parties but carefully avoided formally categorizing it as Communist.

Soviet leaders no doubt calculated that it would be easy to control a regime so totally dependent on them and that the warring Afghan leaders could be kept together under Soviet discipline. They underrated both Amin's determination to consolidate his personal power and the degree of loyalty that he commanded among Pushtun military and police officers. Above all, they were not prepared for his possessive grip over his military and police networks. When I visited Kabul in August, Third World and East European diplomats close to the Soviet Embassy told me of irritation among their GRU and KGB friends over Amin's refusal to let them exercise the supervision that normally went with massive Soviet aid in a satellite state.

Two long interviews with Amin on June 6 and August 13, 1978, revealed him to be an intensely nationalistic, independent man who exuded a swaggering self-confidence. During the first of these, on the occasion of his initial appearance as Foreign Minister at the United Nations, I arranged to visit Kabul and asked, among other things, if I could meet President Taraki. "You can meet me" he replied with a flush of anger and a cold stare. "You can meet me." This was the first signal that prepared me for what was to be an intensifying power struggle throughout the next sixteen months, culminating in Taraki's death. Similarly, Amin's reply to a question in August concerning Soviet influence in Kabul brought a cavalier response that alerted me to possible trouble ahead in his relations with the Soviet Union. "You Americans shouldn't worry about us," he declared. "We are Afghans. We know how to handle the Russians. Remember, they need us as much as or more than we need them, and they need me more than I need them." Subsequently, in a German newspaper interview, he referred to Afghan-Soviet relations as "kinsmanlike, brotherly relations that are, indeed, between equal brothers."

The potential for tensions between Amin and Moscow was further underlined when he spoke passionately to me of the "unity of all Afghans from the Oxus to the Indus." History, he stated, "gives us a sacred mission. We cannot abandon our persecuted brother Pushtuns on the other side of the Khyber. Pakistan says, 'Don't even mention the Pushtuns and the Baluch.' But how can we accept this?" Pointing to evidence that Islamabad and Washington were stirring up "extremist" Muslim rebellion against his regime, he warned that "the Pushtuns and Baluch in Pakistan will rise up and defend us. No one can deny that the two problems, the Afghan revolution and the issue of Pushtunistan, are related." In making this threat, Amin was conspicuously out of tune with the shifting Soviet line. In order to avoid arousing Pakistani opposition to the new regime, the Soviet Union had abruptly soft-pedaled "Pushtunistan" after April 28.

As Amin and his adversaries struggled for power throughout 1978 and 1979, Moscow found itself steadily drawn into the fray on the side of his rivals and increasingly distrustful of his reliability as an ally. Amin confronted opposition to his bid for leadership from three principal sources: Karmal and his Parcham faction; Watanjar and Qader; and President Taraki himself.

Launching his offensive against Karmal first, Amin argued that it was unjus for Parcham to control half of the positions in the cabinet and in the part r Central Committee under the unity formula that had been imposed by Khrychkov in April. Khalq had played the leading role in the revolt, he contended, and some of the Parchamites were Daoud sympathizers.47 Amid growing Khalqi pressures for the reconstitution of the leadership, the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee sent a mission, headed by its chief Afghan specialist, Nikolai Simonenko, to preserve PDPA unity. To the dismay of Karmal's KGB supporters, however, writes Alexander Morozov, "Amin isolated the advisers from Karmal and quickly indoctrinated Simonenko, turning him into a supporter of the Khalq faction."48 Amin ignored a tepid letter submitted to him by Simonenko in the name of the Central Committee, pleading for party unity. By a narrow margin, Amin, supported by Taraki, won the approval of the PDPA Politburo in late June for the immediate exile of Karmal and six other Parcham leaders as ambassadors. Moscow persuaded Taraki to send Karmal to Prague, where his security could be ensured and he could be kept in reserve for a possible return to power in the future.

Just two days before Karmal left the country, the Politburo named Amin to replace him as First Secretary of the party. Partly in response to Soviet pressure, however, Taraki did not purge Parchamites from many of the government posts they held. In particular, Qader, a Parcham sympathizer, remained as Defense Minister. Internecine strife continued after the departure of the seven envoys, culminating in the August arrest of Qader and two other generals on charges of plotting a coup that was to have been staged on September 4, the day of the Muslim festival Eid.

The coup attempt gave Amin a justification for rounding up all known or suspected Parchamites. Karmal and the other envoys were immediately summoned home to stand trial. But not only did they refuse to come back; all of them promptly disappeared, absconding with the funds locally controlled by each of their embassies. Most of them later turned up in Moscow or in Soviet-bloc capitals. Karmal himself remained under wraps in Prague as a government guest until he moved in October 1979 to Moscow, where he remained until his installation as president of Afghanistan following the murder of Amin on the first day of the Soviet occupation.

Qader's arrest quickly brought the latent rivalry between Amin and Watanjar to the surface. Watanjar, as a career military man who had played a leading role in the April revolt, felt it was his right to move from his post as Interior Minister to the vacant position of Defense Minister. But Amin wanted a direct grip on this key power center. As a "compromise," Taraki himself became Defense Minister, with Amin as his Deputy Minister in operational control. Watanjar was then demoted to his former post of Communications Minister, an affront that hardened his antagonism toward Amin.

Moscow made no secret of its dismay as Amin, disregarding Soviet advice, used his newly consolidated power to push ahead with sweeping reforms at breakneck speed. As Beverly Male51 and other authors have shown, many of these Khalqi reforms were a laudable and well-intentioned response to the feudal inequities and social obscurantism of Afghan society. In Soviet eyes, however, the Khalqi moves were ill prepared, much too ambitious, and certain to provoke bitter opposition from rural vested interests, stoking the fires of a nascent insurgency that would be exploited by Pakistan and the United States to destabilize the new regime.

This is precisely what happened as the reform drive unfolded. Khalqi commissars pushed ahead with little sensitivity to the strength of tribally based local power structures that had successfully resisted incursions by Kabul's nation builders for centuries. On paper, the first of a series of land reform decrees sounded reasonable enough. This reform would have limited land holdings to five acres. At the same time, it would have enabled tenant farmers to escape from the vicious circle of ever-compounding mortgage debt on their land incurred in order to purchase fertilizer, seed, and other necessities; if a tenant paid 20 percent of his crop for five years, his mortgage was to be considered paid off. Kabul proclaimed the reform with great fanfare, but it was promptly sabotaged by an alliance of rural moneylenders, landlords, and mullahs, or priests. The moneylenders refused to make their usual loans for fertilizer and seed to their mortgaged tenant farmers, and the government had not prepared alternate credit facilities before issuing the decree. Moreover, the mullahs, many of them landlords themselves, ruled that it would be a "cardinal sin" to return the land to its owners on the basis of the five-year formula. Even the small number of farmers who were also to regain their lands through the decree were soon forced to remortgage them.

Cavalier treatment of Muslim divines suspected of opposition to the regime, together with reforms affecting the status of women, gave the regime a reputation for "godless" disrespect toward Islamic traditions. Like its economic reforms, the regime's social reforms were mild by Western standards but aroused predictable convulsions in the Afghan context. One of the government's most controversial decrees, denounced bitterly by the mullahs, required the consent of both parties to a marriage and placed a limit of 300 Afghanis ($9) on the amount of haq mehr, or "bride money," that could be paid to the father of the bride in return for his daughter. The money went to the bride, not to the father, if the contract was broken, a revolutionary concept in Afghan society.

Feminist leaders in Kabul hailed the reform. But in the countryside, where haq mehr was sanctified by centuries of tradition, the amount paid for a bride was a measure of her purity and social position. When arrests were made for violation of the decree, violence erupted. The mullahs were also able to discredit rural literacy campaigns among women by charging that the city women conducting these campaigns, often clad in skirts, were spreading immoral ideas. More broadly, they attacked textbooks containing Khalqi propaganda as "anti- Islamic," demanding the right to approve teaching materials in advance.

The popular goodwill initially shown toward the new regime rapidly dissolved as the reform drive proceeded and as Amin's widely feared secret police chief, his nephew, Assadullah Amin, launched a ruthless campaign of repression against suspected opponents. Revolutionary military courts dispensed summary justice, and the Pul-i-charki prison near Kabul became notorious for torture and executions directed especially against prominent personalities associated with the ancien regime.52 Antigovernment groups based in Pakistan began to send in armed guerrillas, seeking to capitalize on the growing discontent. However, contrary to the impression fostered at the time by the emigre groups, the insurgent movement was not a significant threat to the regime in late 1978. Inside the country, support for the movement was still uneven and disorganized. Externally, Islamic fundamentalist elements in the Persian Gulf and in the Middle East were beginning to finance like-minded guerrilla factions. But the Carter Administration, deeply divided over Afghan policy, had not yet decided whether to provide military assistance to the insurgent cause.
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