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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 07, 1980


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    CC CPSU Politburo transcript discussing the improvements in the situation in Afghanistan and potential withdrawal of troops
    "CC CPSU Politburo transcript (excerpt), On Andropov's Conversations with Afghan leaders," February 07, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, APRF, f. 3, op. 120, d. 44, ll. 73, 77-80; trans. by M. Doctoroff.
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7 February 1980

Chaired by Comrade BREZHNEV, L.I.

Attended by Coms. Andropov, Iu.V., Grish-in, V.V., Gromyko, A.A., Kirilenko, A.P., Suslov, M.A., Tikhonov, N.A., Ustinov, D.F., Gorbachev, M.S., Demichev, P.N., Kuznetsov, V.V., Ponomarev, B.N., Kapi-tonov, I.V., Dolgikh, V.I., Zimianin, M.V., Rusakov, K.V.

About Com. Andropov's conversations with the Afghan leaders about certain issues of Soviet-Afghan cooperation

BREZHNEV. Comrade Andropov, Iu.V. traveled to Afghanistan in accord with the Politburo's decision. Let us listen to Com. Andropov.

ANDROPOV. I distributed a detailed description of the conversations which I had with the Afghan leaders, therefore I think that there is no need to make a detailed report. But all the same I would like to make special note of several issues.

First of all it is necessary to note directly that the situation in Afghanistan is stabilizing now. This is evident from all the data. In the conversation which I had with Com. Karmal, he cited in great detail what has been done in the month since the removal of Amin from power. Although the situation in the country does continue to be complex, and demands the most urgent and pressing measures aimed at its stabilization, the main thing is that now the leadership of Afghanistan understands its fundamental tasks and is doing everything possible so that the situation really does stabilize.

In my conversation, I particularly stressed the necessity of establishing genuine party unity, heightening of the military readiness of the army, strengthening relations of the party and government with the masses, instituting normal economic life in the country and activizing the foreign policy activities of Afghanistan in accordance with the demands of the situation. So, I concentrated on these basis tasks, about which there is plenty of material in the transcript of the conversations. Therefore, it seems to me, there is no need to develop it in detail.

Further, I had conversations with A. Sarwari, S. Gulabzoi, and M. Vatandzhar. Sarwari, as you know is the deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Council and Deputy Prime Minister of the DRA, Gulabzoi is minister of internal affairs, and Vatandzhar is Minister of Communications. All these comrades play major roles in the leadership of Afghanistan. Therefore, it was very important to me to find out how these comrades imagine the affairs to themselves, especially in view of the fact that several of them belong to a different group (as is well known, in the PDPA there are two groups, the Khalq and the Parcham). The task is to liquidate this rift so that they and others feel themselves members of one unified party. I told them directly that by using their influence they could make a heavy contribution to the unification of the party.

I also spoke with them in detail about all the other questions. In particular, I paid attention to strengthening the organs of state power, and the army, and particularly to conducting major work among the tribes so as to attract the people to the side of the party and to strengthen the unity of the people with the party, so that the people would believe in the party's ideals. A great deal was said about all these issues, and I should note that all these comrades correctly understand the tasks in this regard.

Then I had a conversation with the member of the Politburo of the CC PDPA, and secretary of the CC PDPA, chairman of the organizational commission of the CC, Nur Ahmed Nur, member of the Politburo CC PDPA S. Zeray, and member of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council of the PDPA, General Kadyr. With them, besides all the issue I raised in the previous conversations, such as strengthening the party and consolidation of the unity of Afghan communists, I stressed as well the necessity of a quick correction of all the shortcomings and mistakes which had been tolerated earlier. I stressed the necessity of more fully using the breathing space which they have in order to liquidate the contradictions which had arisen inside the party and in the country. I particularly pointed to the correct distribution of responsibilities among the members of the Politburo, and the conscientious fulfillment of his responsibilities by every comrade.

In the conversations much attention was paid to strengthening the army and teaching it attack maneuvers, and its mastering of the technology which has been delivered in sufficient quantity. In the CC Politburo a guidance for action for all military and civilian members of the PDPA was accepted. I have to say that it is a good guidance; it without doubt will help in strengthening the unity of the party and raising the level of its defense preparedness.

Our ambassador and other representatives in the DRA presented several issues of assistance to Afghanistan, including most prominently the construction of an oil refinery. Regarding this, there is an agreement made in 1972. Its capability was set to be 100 thousand tons per year. Now the Afghans request that its capability be increased to 500 thousand tons.

The second issue concerned the development of power engineering on the basis of a common scheme of power generation and supply for the northern regions of Afghanistan. Then they posed the issue of construction of a mining and ore-concentrating combine at the base of the Ainak copper deposit. They also posed such issues as the construction of a transit bridge across the river Amdaryu and complex of installations on the Afghan [river] bank, and the reconstruction of the Kabul house building combine. These are essentially the issues about which I wanted to speak.

USTINOV. Iurii Vladimirovich has made a very thorough report about his journey to Afghanistan. But I want to say that we must speak very carefully regarding a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. I think about a year will be needed, maybe even a year and a half, [before] which the situation in Afghanistan has not stabilized, and before that we can not even think about a withdrawal of troops, otherwise we may incur much unpleasantness.

BREZHNEV. I believe that we even need to increase the contingent of forces in Afghanistan somewhat.

GROMYKO. It seems to me that we need to look ahead a little. Within some time, it goes without saying that forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan, insofar as they now are introduced at the request of the Afghan leadership and in accordance with the agreement. Let's say that hostile propaganda from China, Pakistan, etc. will stop. Can we in this event speak about a full withdrawal of forces without getting anything in return[?] It seems to me that it would make sense to think about the kind of agreed obligations to set between the sides when it will happen that it will be possible to withdraw the forces. We will not have a full guarantee, I think, that some sort of hostile forces will not further attack Afghanistan. Therefore we have to provide for the full security of Afghanistan.

BREZHNEV. Comrade Andropov's visit to Afghanistan was taken at the request of Babrak Karmal. The conversations and consultations which Iurii Vladimirovich had were very useful and substantive. I think that it makes sense to approve the conversations conducted by Com. Andropov, and to accept the draft of the resolution which he presented.

ALL. Correct.

It is accepted.


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