26 April, 2008

Today 30th Anniversary of Afghanistan Revolution

If it wasn't for this missive, you wouldn't know it. Not a single newspaper has reported this anniversary. If it was in Zimbabwe we'd be plastered with articles. Here the gist of what happened:

The Saur Revolution
is the name given to the Communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan takeover of political power in Afghanistan on 27 April 1978.

In 1978 a prominent member of Parcham, Mir Akbar Khyber (or "Kaibar"), was killed by the government and his associates. Although the government issued a statement deploring the assassination, PDPA leaders apparently feared that Daoud was planning to exterminate them all. Shortly after a massive protest against the government during the funeral ceremonies of Mir Akbar Khaibar most of the leaders of PDPA were arrested by the government. Amin and a number of military wing officers of the PDPA Khalq wing stayed out of prison. This gave a chance to the group to organize an uprising. The government with the help of PDPA military members fell and the PDPA leadership was out of jail. Nur Mohammad Taraki, Babrak Karmal, and Hafizullah Amin overthrew the regime of Mohammad Daoud, and renaming the country the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA). The word 'Saur' means 'April' in Pushto.

On the eve of the coup, the police did not send Hafizullah Amin to immediate imprisonment, as it did with Politburo members of the PDPA on April 25, 1978. His imprisonment was postponed for five hours, during which Amin, without having the authority, instructed the Khalqi army officers to overthrow the government

The regime of President Mohammad Daoud Khan came to a violent end in the early morning hours of April 28, 1978, when military units loyal to the Khalq faction of the PDPA stormed the Presidential Palace in the heart of Kabul. The coup was also strategically planned for this date because it was the day before Friday, the Muslim day of worship, and most military commanders and government workers were off duty. With the help of Afghanistan's military air force which were mainly Soviet made Migs 21 and SU-7's, the insurgent troops overcame the stubborn resistance of the Presidential Guard and killed Daoud and most members of his family.

The divided PDPA succeeded the Daoud regime with a new government under the leadership of Nur Muhammad Taraki of the Khalq faction. 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.

Once in power, the party moved to permit freedom of religion and place agricultural resources under state control. They also made a number of ambitious statements on women.s rights and waived the farmers debts countrywide. The majority of people in the cities including Kabul either welcomed it or were ambivalent to these policies. However, the secular nature of the government made it unpopular with religiously conservative Afghans in the villages and the countryside, who favored traditional Islamic restrictions on women's rights and in daily life. Their opposition became particularly pronounced after the Soviet Union occupied the country in late December of 1979, fearing it was in danger of being toppled by mujahideen forces.

The U.S. saw the situation as a prime opportunity to weaken the Soviet Union, and the move essentially signaled the end of the detente era initiated by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Funding for anti-Soviet Mujahideen forces began prior to the Soviet invasion, under the Carter administration, with the intention of provoking Soviet intervention (according to Zbigniew Brzezinski) and was significantly boosted under the Reagan administration, which was committed to actively rolling back Soviet influence in the Third World. The Mujahideen belonged to various different factions, but all shared a similarly conservative Islamic ideology.

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posted by u2r2h at Saturday, April 26, 2008

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