Politbiuro Report on Afghanistan

Report on Events in Afghanistan on 27-28 December 1979. December 31, 1979

 

On December 12, 1979, the Soviet Politburo met and voted to intervene in the struggle for power in Afghanistan. On December 25, 1979, Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, beginning what would be called the “Soviet Vietnam,” a 10-year war with no clear victor. On December 27, Soviet troops stormed the royal palace, killed Afghan leader Hafizullah Amin and replaced him with Babrak Karmal. The following report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union by Iurii Andropov, Andrei Gromyko and others sheds light on why the Soviets felt the need to intervene.

After a coup d’etat and the murder of the CC PDPA General Secretary and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Afghanistan N.M. Taraki, committed by Amin in September of this year, the situation in Afghanistan has been sharply exacerbated and taken on crisis proportions. H. Amin has established a regime of personal dictatorship in the country, effectively reducing the CC PDPA and the Revolutionary Council to the status of entirely nominal organs. The top leadership positions within the party and the state were filled with appointees bearing family ties or maintaining personal loyalties to H. Amin. Many members from the ranks of the CC PDPA, the Revolutionary Council and the Afghan government were expelled and arrested. Repression and physical annihilation were for the most part directed toward active participants in the April revolution, persons openly sympathetic to the U.S.S.R., those defending the Leninist norms of intra-party life. H. Amin deceived the party and the people with his announcements that the Soviet Union had supposedly approved of Taraki’s expulsion from party and government. By direct order of H. Amin, fabricated rumors were deliberately spread throughout the DRA, smearing the Soviet Union and casting a shadow on the activities of Soviet personnel in Afghanistan, who had been restricted in their efforts to maintain contact with Afghan representatives.

At the same time, efforts were made to mend relations with America as a part of the “more balanced foreign policy strategy” adopted by H. Amin. H. Amin held a series of confidential meetings with the American charge d’affaires in Kabul. The DRA government began to create favorable conditions for the operation of the American cultural center; under H. Amin’s directive, the DRA special services have ceased operations against the American embassy.

In this extremely difficult situation, which has threatened the gains of the April revolution and the interests of maintaining our national security, it has become necessary to render additional military assistance to Afghanistan, especially since such requests had been made by the previous administration in DRA. In accordance with the provisions of the Soviet-Afghan treaty of 1978, a decision has been made to send the necessary contingent of the Soviet Army to Afghanistan. Riding the wave of patriotic sentiments that have engaged fairly large numbers of the Afghan population in connection with the deployment of Soviet forces which was carried out in strict accordance with the provisions of the Soviet-Afghan treaty of 1978, the forces opposing H. Amin organized an armed operation which resulted in the overthrow of H. Amin’s regime. This operation has received broad support from the working masses, the intelligentsia, significant sections of the Afghan army, and the state apparatus, all of which welcomed the formation of a new administration of the DRA and the PDPA. The new government and Revolutionary Council have been formed on a broad and representative basis, with the inclusion of representatives from former “Parcham” and “Khalq” factions, military representatives, and non-party members. In its program agenda announcements, the new leadership vowed to fight for the complete victory of the national-democratic, anti-feudalistic, anti-imperialistic revolution, and to defend Afghan independence and sovereignty.

[signed] Iu. Andropov
A. Gromyko
D. Ustinov
B. Ponomarev

31 December 1979

Source: CNN Cold War.

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