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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 06, 1987

REPORT ON MEETING BETWEEN MINISTER CHNOUPEK WITH THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE AFGHAN PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE, COMRADE NAJIB

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    This document provides an overview of Soviet-Afghan relations; and Afghanistan's relationship in international politics. Reconciliation between the Soviet Union and the Afghan People’s Democratic Party, and its affects on diplomatic relations, and for Middle Eastern politics, is revealed within this document.
    "Report on Meeting between Minister Chnoupek with the General Secretary of the Afghan People’s Democratic Party Central Committee, Comrade Najib," May 06, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, State Central Archive Prague, File 02/1, CC CPCz Politburo 1980-1989, 35th Meeting, 6 May 1987, in Czech. Translated by Todd Hammond and Derek Paton. Obtained by Oldrich Tuma. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113125
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Najib warmly welcomed Comrade Chnoupek in Afghanistan in the name of the Afghan People's Democratic Party. Najib then spoke of the main goals of the national reconciliation policy. First, he emphasized guaranteeing the peace and security of the country. Most importantly, it is important to mobilize political forces in the struggle for state sovereignty and to gain the support of wide segments of the population for the revolutionary process. The main goal is to lay the groundwork for the ongoing realization of the April National Democratic Revolution. He characterized the present situation as follows: 100 days had passed since the national reconciliation policy was declared. 80 days remain until the passing of the first phase, namely the validity of the declared ceasefire. Much has been accomplished over the past 100 days. However, even more work still awaits us. First of all, a great organization of labor is to take place. The Party is undertaking widespread massive propaganda activity in order to realize the new policy. At the present time, the Party is taking energetic strides in the economic sphere. The first year of the current Five Year Plan represents the effective beginning of a national resolution of the country's economic difficulties. A pan-Afghan conference of national private businessmen took place for the first time in Afghan history. The goal here is to develop cooperation with the private sector, which accounts for eighty percent of the national economy. Najib expressed his appreciation for the speech by the Czechoslovak ambassador at this conference, in which he stated basic Czechoslovak support for the reconciliation process. At issue is finding common ground with businessmen.

The Afghan leadership is also undertaking a new offensive on the international scene. It is defending the new policy more dynamically, which has yielded positive results such as diplomatic relations with Cyprus and Zimbabwe. The Afghans are approaching the Geneva discussions with generous and courageous policies aimed at solving the Afghan situation. Relations with India are being consolidated. Unfortunately, Pakistan has completely disregarded the local interests of its population by not adopting a constructive approach at the Geneva discussions. As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, there is an overall concurrence with all present aspects of Afghan policy.

The realization of national reconciliation policy is no easy task. Najib likened it to overcoming an unknown mountain where there is no smooth path, but where it is necessary to find an alternative way to overcome obstacles.

The Party is realizing national reconciliation policy with the burden of economic tasks that have gone unfulfilled over the past eight years. It is paying the price for past negligence and dilly-dallying in economic policy. The revolution brought with it many broken promises. It was like water dissolving in sand. The Party thus recognized the need for fundamental change. For this reason a special session of the Afghan People's Democratic Party Central Committee took place, resulting in the declaration of the national reconciliation policy. The idea of national reconciliation had existed previously. For example, the 16th plenum of the People's Democratic Party Central Committee had presented a ten-point plan concerning this policy, but the concrete mechanisms and methods for realization were accepted later by the special session of the Afghan People's Democratic Party Central Committee. This policy does not represent some theoretical experiment, but rather it is a concrete reaction to a concrete situation, that is, a reaction to the needs of the people. This is a people's policy. Slogans expressed earlier had not gained the support of the wide masses.

Ever since the new policy was announced, certain presumptions have been created according to which the Party must intensively work. At present, the Party has 180,000 members in 5,600 organizations. The task of the Party is to remedy past mistakes, formulate new plans, and to consider matters from a long-term perspective. Thus far, the Party has not achieved a qualitative change in the country. In spite of this, it is possible to point to some significant results over the past 100 days. A mechanism to realize the new policy has been created, namely national reconciliation commissions. About 1,300 of these commissions sprang up, which is not an insignificant number when considering the circumstances. The commissions are comprised of a large number of activists, including 3,000 former opponents of the Party.

Najib cited other tangible results. 25,000 counterrevolutionaries surrendered to Government forces, in all 1,100 armed groups. An additional 100,000 members of the armed opposition are in contact with state organs. Another 30,000 have adopted a wait-and-see approach. Between 25,000 and 30,000 counterrevolutionaries continue to wage an armed struggle. However, their social base is dwindling, which is largely the result of their irrational, mad policy of terror. This will only increase their isolation. There are great disagreements among the opposition inside the country.

On the international scene, the United States administration continues to hold a hard, uncompromising position towards Afghanistan. The same holds true for Iran. In addition, China has not changed its position and continues to provide assistance to the extremists.

Overall, it is fair to describe the international response to national reconciliation policy in Afghanistan as favorable. The fact that the empty place at the Islamic Conference was not given to the extremists can be described as a success. On the contrary, the Conference resolution recognized the good will of both Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. An appreciation of the new policy has also been expressed in two United Nations resolutions. Twelve out of fourteen opposition parties in Pakistan support national reconciliation policy. This leads the Party to believe that its new policy has not only local significance, but also international significance. The relationship to refugees has also been favorable. In the last six months, 44,000 refugees have returned compared with 35,000 over the past seven years. The number of repatriated refugees could be higher if obstacles were not placed in their way by the Pakistani and Iranian bureaucracies. 5,500 political prisoners have been released as a result of amnesty. 1,100 villages have been peacefully liberated. The second round of local elections is taking place. These results are greater than those over the course of seven years.

National reconciliation policy does not signify an end to the Party's struggle against extremists who still oppose the Party with arms in hand. This struggle continues with the difference that the Party no longer has to contend with 175,000 counterrevolutionaries, but rather a mere 35,000.

The national borders are being consolidated. Even the armed forces are being consolidated with 40,000 new fighters called up. In addition, the salaries of soldiers and officers have risen.

The backbone of support for national reconciliation policy remains the assistance provided by the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Among the supporters is also Czechoslovakia. This year the Soviet Union provided especially significant assistance.

In other news, Najib expressed his heartfelt gratitude for assistance provided by Czechoslovakia and described in detail the quantitative nature of this support
in individual economic sectors. Najib requested that Minister Chnoupek convey the Afghan leadership's sincere gratitude to Comrades G. Husák and V. Bilak.

There is a long tradition of relations between our countries, which precede the revolution and the founding of the Afghan People's Democratic Party. The diplomatic relations established in 1937 turned into brotherly relations after the revolution.

Najib recalled his conversation with the Czechoslovak ambassador two weeks before and just prior to the present gathering, in which he openly expressed the pressing need for Czechoslovak assistance to Afghanistan in the struggle against international imperialism so that the burden of such assistance would not be solely on the Soviet Union. Difficult tasks await the Party in its attempts to implement the national reconciliation policy. A new initiative will need to be developed after the initial six-month period in a manner such that this policy will become irreversible and influence the masses both inside and outside Afghanistan and keep the opponents of the Afghan regime forever divided. The main organizer of this activity must be the Afghan People's Democratic Party. One of the main aspects of the new policy is the creation of a coalition Government of National Unity. The Afghan People's Democratic Party has decided that it must correct its past mistakes by relaxing its power monopoly. The Party must be a mobilizing, guiding force in society. The Party must get Afghanistan out of its present international isolation. Therefore, the Party's policy must be alive and realistic, conducted in new conditions and in cooperation with new forces. The Party can no longer rely solely on itself. Its policy must be open, patient, and enjoy the confidence of other social forces. The main aim is to achieve the unity, united character, and mobilization of the Party. At the same time, the Party must actively pursue social policy both in Kabul and in the countryside.

In order to achieve these goals, the Party is organizing a large gathering of all its members in Kabul as well as in the countryside. The accepted resolutions express full support for national reconciliation policy. In this, the Party sees a confirmation of its mandate to lead society and strengthen the Party through Leninist-style labor.

In his conclusion, Comrade Najib emphasized a need for close consultations with allies regarding the most effective implementation of national reconciliation policy on both a bilateral and multilateral basis where allied countries can provide significant assistance to those with whom they enjoy friendly relations