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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 29, 1980

SOVIET BRIEFING ON THE TALKS BETWEEN BREZHNEV AND B. KARMAL IN MOSCOW

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    This document reveals Babrak Karmal's positive views of Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Karmal thanks Soviet leadership for substantial economic and political support, discussing the integration of Soviet economic reforms into the Afghan economy. Karmal states that the turmoil within Afghan political parties is almost solved, and is progressing towards unity.
    "Soviet briefing on the talks between Brezhnev and B. Karmal in Moscow," October 29, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives of Hungary (MOL), M-KS 288 f. 11/4391.o.e. Translated for CWIHP by Attila Kolontari and Zsofia Zelnik. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112500
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HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST WORKERS' PARTY TOP SECRET!
CENTRAL COMMITTEE
FOREIGN DEPARTMENT

BULLETIN

On 28 October 1980, Comrade János Kádár received Comrade V. Pavlov - at his request -, who informed him in the name of the CPSU Central Committee about the talks carried on with Babrak Karmal, the secretary-general of the Afghan People's Democratic Party CC, the president of the Revolutionary Council of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, prime minister.

"The main political achievements of the talks are reflected in the document signed by L. I. Brezhnev and B. Karmal, "The Declaration of the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan", which was published in the Soviet press on 20 October, and which our friends are already probably familiar with.

We would like to give our friends the following complementary confidential information:

B. Karmal and other Afghan leaders have expressed their frank appreciation of the support the Soviet Union is providing to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the fight against the foreign intervention, in defense of the April revolution, in building the new life. B. Karmal emphasized that, without the timely, among other, military help of the Soviet Union, the revolution would have been put down and Afghanistan's existence as a sovereign and independent state would have ceased.

We have confirmed that the Soviet Union has stood up firmly and will do so in the future for the Afghan revolution and we consider it our internationalist obligation to provide support and aid to the Afghan people and government.

During the exchange of opinions about the central questions of the development of the Afghan revolutionary process, we pointed at the correctness of the internal policy chosen by our Afghan friends, which started from the fact that the April revolution was of a national democratic character. Related to this, it is important not to rush forward, so that they would be able to elaborate from various aspects and ensure the success of the next step in the development of the revolution.

L. I. Brezhnev explained to B. Karmal that such an approach made possible greater consideration and flexibility in the solution of several questions of the development of the revolution than was shown by the earlier leadership of the country for some reason. Here we think of questions like the relations with religious circles, tribes and, of course, the execution of the agrarian reform.

We also drew B. Karmal's attention to the fact that, besides the tasks of the mobilization of the party and the people to fight against the intervention and the counter-revolution, the questions of economic activity are being moved more and more to the first place. It is necessary to do everything to revive and develop the national economy, to raise the standard of living of the population and, first of all, of all workers and peasants. As it is them who have to form the wide social base of the revolutionary power.

Concerning this, we told B. Karmal that the CPSU CC had taken a resolution to provide additional aid to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan having the aim of the realization of comprehensive measures concerning the development of the people's economy and the raise in the standard of living.

Evaluating the military-political situation in the country, B. Karmal said that in the mood of the Afghan people there were on the whole positive changes, the confidence in the revolutionary power was increasing. At the same time, it would always remain a task of first-rank importance to defend the security of Afghanistan's territory and to clear it of internal counter-revolution and the gangs arriving from abroad, mainly Pakistan.

In the interest of the more successful solution of the tasks of the final destruction of the counter-revolution and the wide-range mobilization to fight against it, the Afghan leadership attributes great importance to the setting up of a national front with a wide base, which would embrace the representatives of all classes and layers of the Afghan society, including the patriotic clergy and the tribes, among whom they are carrying on continuous work.

During the talks and the private meeting of B. Karmal and L.I. Brezhnyev, special attention was paid to the need for putting an end to cliques among the members of the PDPA and for guaranteeing the unity of the party at each level. We told B. Karmal with full frankness that the still existing controversies within the party had a negative influence on the party's readiness to fight and consequently the situation of the army, the state apparatus and the whole country. We emphasized that the creation of the organic, not mechanical unity of the party was a key problem. It depended on the solution of this as soon as possible and on the readiness to rise above earlier conflicts, to what extent the party would be able to carry out its revolutionary mission, the fate of the revolution itself depended on this. We also emphasized that the PDPA bore responsibility for the fate of the revolution not only to its own people. Its responsibility was of internationalist character just like the aid and support given to the Afghan revolution.

B. Karmal stated that the Political Committee of the PDPA Central Committee paid special attention to the question of unity and carried on continuous work aimed at it. According to his evaluation, the question of the organizational and ideological-political unity of the PDPA can be considered solved to 70-75%.

We discussed the questions concerning the political settlement of the Afghan situation based on the recommendations of 14 May this year of the government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan well-known by our friends. In this respect, we emphasized that the consistent realization and support by other brotherly countries of the policy harmonized between the Soviet Union and the DRA would have its positive results. The plans to change the character of the Afghan revolutionary system would be thwarted and so would be the attempts to question the legality of the revolutionary Afghan government and invent plots to prevent its recognition.

The internal and external counter-revolution has not surrendered yet, but time is on the side of the new, revolutionary Afghanistan becoming stronger and stronger with undiminished energy.

As for the evaluation of the international situation and the foreign political initiatives of the brotherly countries, our Afghan friends gave expression to their approval and full support.

During the discussion of the South-Asian situation, we pointed to the activation of the USA's and China's intrigues in this area. B. Karmal put special emphasis on the danger of the Zial-ul Hak regime playing the role of the unforgiving enemy of the Afghan April revolution after becoming the obedient means of the politics of American imperialism and the Chinese hegemony.

B. Karmal approved of our opinion concerning the fact that the consolidation of relations between Afghanistan and India might contribute to a great extent to the prevention of American-Chinese intrigues in this area. Realizing the need for the improvement of the near-East situation, our Afghan friends also intend to continue the work concerning the settlement of their relations with Iran, although this is not a simple task.

On the whole, we think that B. Karmal's visit to the Soviet Union was timely and useful. We hope that the talks carried on with B. Karmal and the other Afghan comrades who do not have enough experience in governing the country will be of help to them in acquiring such experience.

B. Karmal expressed his conviction that his visit to the Soviet Union would have a positive influence on the consolidation of the internal political situation and the strengthening of the system of the revolutionary power in Afghanistan, just like on the stabilization of the foreign political positions of the DRA."

Budapest, 29 October 1980.