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January 28, 1980


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    CPSU CC Politburo Decision, with Report by Gromyko-Andropov-Ustinov-Ponomarev, 27 January 1980 regarding the strengthening of the Afghan position and how to counteract Western positions on Afghanistan
    "CPSU CC Politburo Decision, with Report by Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, and Ponomarev, 27 January 1980," January 28, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 89, per. 34, dok. 3. Provided by M. Kramer.
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To Comrades Brezhnev, Andropov, Gromyko, Suslov,Ustinov, Ponomarev, Rusakov.

Extract from protocol No. 181 of the CC CPSU Politburo session of
28 January 1980

About further measures to provide for the national interests of the USSR in relation to the events in Afghanistan

Agree on the whole with the considerations which are put forth in the attached note of Comrades Gromyko, A.A., Andropov, Iu.V., Ustinov, D.F., Ponomarev, B.N.

The MFA USSR, the Ministry of Defense, the KGB USSR, and the International Department of the CC CPSU are to be guided by these considerations in working out and implementing practical measures on Afghanistan.



Re: Point 34 Protocol No. 181
Top Secret
Special File

To the CC CPSU
About further measures to provide for the national interests of the USSR in relation to the events in Afghanistan

The provision by the USSR of many-sided, including military, assistance to Afghanistan and the coming to power of the government of Babrak Karmal created the necessary conditions for the stabilization of the situation in the DRA and put an end to certain tendencies in the development of the situation in the Middle East which are dangerous for us.

Along with this the development of events bears witness to the fact that the USA, its allies, and the PRC have set themselves the goal of using to the maximum extent the events in Afghanistan to intensify the atmosphere of anti-Sovietism and to justify long-term foreign policy acts which are hostile to the Soviet Union and directed at changing the balance of power in their favor. Providing increasing assistance to the Afghan counter-revolution, the West and the PRC are counting on the fact that they will succeed in inspiring an extended conflict in Afghanistan, as the result of which, they believe, the Soviet Union will get tied up in that country, which will negatively reflect on the international prestige and influence of the USSR.

In the future as well, the necessity of providing for the broad foreign policy interests and the security of the USSR will demand the preservation of the offensive nature of the measures which we undertake in relation to the Afghan events. In working out and conducting them, we would suggest that it is expedient to be guided by the following.

- Henceforth, in relations with the USA, to maintain a firm line in international affairs in opposition to the Carter Administration's provocative steps. Despite the fact that Washington will in the future continue to initiate an anti-Soviet campaign and will strive to impart a coordinated character to the actions of its allies, to realise our countermeasures proceeding from the inexpedience of complicating the entire complex of multi-level relations between the Soviet Union and the USA.

- To intensify our influence on the positions of various NATO allies of the USA, particularly on France and the FRG, to the greatest possible extent using in our interests the differences which have been revealed between them and the USA in the approach to the choice of measures in response to the actions of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

- Keeping in mind that the events in Afghanistan are being used by the USA and the PRC as a convenient pretext for a further rapprochement on an anti-Soviet basis, to plan long-term measures to complicate relations between Washington and Beijing in the context of the development of relations within the bounds of the so-called triple alliance of the USA, PRC, and Japan.

- To consider with the leadership of Communist and working class parties of capitalist and developing countries the issue of the deployment of a broad campaign in support of the Afghan revolution and brotherly assistance to the DRA from the Soviet Union. In addition, through unofficial means to undertake measures to attract to this campaign other mass organizations, organs of the press, etc.

- In the Non-Aligned movement, using the resources of Cuba and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and also the countries belonging to the progressive wing of the Non-Aligned Movement, to inspire statements of support for the Afghan government and to avert possible attempts by the West and China to provoke the Movement to condemn the actions of the Soviet Union, to isolate Afghanistan and to use the developing situation to weaken the progressive wing in the Non-Aligned movement.

- To concentrate the main efforts in opposition to the hostile activity of the USA and its allies regarding the Islamic countries of the Middle and Near East, particularly Pakistan and Iran, and also such influential countries of Asia as India. To actively oppose Washington's policy of knocking together a united front of the West and certain Moslem countries, and of reorienting Islamic fanaticism on an anti-Soviet course.

Proceeding from the fact that the USA and China are most actively trying to use Pakistan and that the most important bases of the Afghan bandit formations are located on the territory of that country, constantly exert a restraining influence on the regime of Zia ul-Haq, including via special channels, and to push him to accept measures to limit the actions of the rebels from Pakistani territory.

- Bring into life measures directed at the preservation of the anti-imperialist, primarily anti-American, elements in the foreign policy of Iran, insofar as the continuation of the crisis in Iran-American relations limits the potential possibilities of the Khomeini regime to inspire anti-government uprisings on Moslem grounds in Afghanistan.

- Taking into account that the possibilities of the West and China to achieve their strategic goals in Afghanistan are weakened by the absence of a well-organized and influential political opposition to the people's power, direct serious attention to conducting measures, including those of a special nature, to demoralize organizations of Afghan immigrants and discredit their leaders.

- In relation to the U.N. General Assembly's consideration of the so-called "Afghan question," to activate work on unmasking the anti-Soviet and anti-Afghan machinations of the USA, its allies, and China, and also on the neutralization of the consequences of those actions which are unfavorable to the USSR and the DRA.

- While conducting foreign policy and propagandistic measures, to use even more widely the thesis that the Soviet Union's provision of military assistance to Afghanistan cannot be viewed in isolation from the USA's provocative efforts, which have already been undertaken over the course of a long time, to achieve unilateral military advantages in regions which are strategically important to the USSR.

In relation to the difficult domestic political and economic situation in the DRA, along with the intensification of anti-Soviet moods which are taking place among part of the Afghan population as the result of the criminal activity of H. Amin and his circle, a certain period of time evidently will be required for the normalization of the situation in Afghanistan itself.

The consolidation of people's power in the country during the coming years and the stabilization of the domestic political and economic situation in Afghanistan will to a great extent depend on the extent to which there will manage to be provided true unity in the ranks of the Party and the unification of all progressive and national patriotic forces in the framework of a united front.

Taking this into account, provide help and all-around support to the leadership of PDPA in the realization of the goals of the April [1978] revolution and in the fulfillment of our recommendations on the key issues of Party and state construction and the development of the economy, the fundamental proposals of which may be summed up as follows:

- The consistent implementation in Party life and Party constuction of the line about the unity of the Party which has been recommended to the Afghan comrades in the appeals of the CC CPSU to the leadership of the PDPA. The identification and isolation, both in the center and in local regions, of people who may oppose that line, so that they will not be able to exert a demoralizing influence in the Party.

- The utilization of the experience of a range of socialist countries (Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and others) in the resolution of the issue of the creation of a genuinely representative broad front of left and democratic organizations headed by the PDPA. The strengthening of the influence of the Party on Afghan youth, especially among the student body, the creation, in assistance to the Komsomol, of a range of sport, cultural, and other organizations.

- The utmost consolidation and development of the DRA's progressive socio-political foundations, the acceleration in the working out and acceptance of a new constitution, the creation of opportunities for representatives of tribes and national minorities to participate with full rights in the work of the Dzhirgs and local councils.

- The establishment of contacts and the conducting of negotiations with the leaders and elders of the most warlike tribes in the DRA and the search for ways to achieve the quickest compromise on conditions for their ceasing the anti-government struggle. Realization of a line on a gradual attack on the position of the tribal reaction, the showing of flexibility and a differentiated approach to various tribes and socio-economic strata.

- The working out of a long-term plan of work with the Moslem clergy which envisions attracting moderate Moslem leaders to cooperate with the authorities, the isolation of representatives of reactionary clerical circles, the establishment of contacts with the Shiite clergy, the inadmissibility of any form (including economic) of discrimination against Shiites.

- The setting up of normal economic life in the country, and, in particular, the improvement of the material basis for workers in the city and village. The provision of a balanced, mutually beneficial cooperation between the state and private sectors. The presentation of broader possibilities in the area of domestic and foreign trade, and also in the production sphere for the middle and especially the petit bourgeoisie while maintaining state control.

Besides this, from our side:

- To work with the leadership of the PDPA to realize its foreign policy program and to work out further steps to consolidate the foreign policy position of Afghanistan.

- To provide all-around practical assistance in military construction, keeping in mind the quickest creation of a militarily prepared, organized and equipped people's army. Facilitate the consolidation of the PDPA's position among the command staff, and also the intensification of training of the army in the spirit of devotion to the people's power of Afghanistan.

-Keeping in mind the complex tasks which the special services of Afghanistan must resolve, speed up fulfillment of the program to provide assistance via all channels of work of the organs of state security, internal affairs, and people's militias, both in the center and in the local regions.

-Taking into account that in the spring of 1980 in Afghanistan a further activation of the insurgent movement may take place, and also having in mind the well-known historic and national particularities of the Afghans, conduct consultations with the Ministry of Defense and the government of the DRA and conclude appropriate agreements which define the status and legal position of the Soviet military contingents for the whole period of their presence in Afghanistan.

We request consideration.

A. Gromyko Iu. Andropov
D. Ustinov B. Ponomarev

27 January 1980