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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 17, 1978


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    This document discusses Hungary’s role in Afghanistan in terms of solidarity between the USSR and Afghanistan, and the impact of divisions within Afghan's political parties.
    "Soviet communication to the Hungarian leadership on the situation in Afghanistan," October 17, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives of Hungary (MOL) M-KS 288 f. 11/4377.o.e. Translated for CWIHP by Attila Kolontari and Zsofia Zelnik.
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Budapest, 17 Oct. 1978


On 16 October 1978, Comrade Andras Gyenes received Comrade Vladimir Pavlov, the Soviet Union's ambassador to Hungary at his request, who gave the following oral information in the name of the CPSU Central Committee:

" On behalf of the CPSU Central Committee, between 25 and 27 September this year, B. N. Ponomaryov, the candidate member of the CPSU CC Political Committee, the secretary of the CC, stayed in Kabul to carry on talks with the leaders of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan about some topical questions concerning the political situation of the country and the Soviet-Afghan relations. He met Noor Mohammad Taraki, the secretary-general of the PDPA, the president of the Revolutionary Council and Hafizullah Amin, the secretary of the PDPA, vice-premier and minister of foreign affairs.

The main purpose of the trip was to prevent those tremendous mass reprisals that, after the Afghan revolution, were aimed also against the Parcham group participating in overthrowing the despotic system.

During the talks we placed special emphasis on these unjustified reprisals. In connection with this, we pointed at the fact that we did so because we had brotherly scruples about the question of the Afghan revolution, the more so since some aspects of the development of events in Afghanistan might affect the Soviet Union and the CPSU as well.

After being the first to recognize the new system in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union expressed her solidarity with her before the whole world. This point of view was newly confirmed at high level in L. I. Brezhnyev's speech given in Baku. It is widely known that we provide extensive support and aid to the new power. Under such circumstances, both within Afghanistan and outside of her borders, hostile propaganda is aimed at showing that any development of events within Afghanistan, especially their negative aspects are directly or indirectly related to the Soviet Union.
We drew the Afghan leadership's attention to the fact that reprisals had reached a mass-like character in the past period, they were carried out without complying with the law, and not only against the class enemies of the new system /"Muslim brothers", the supporters of the monarchy, etc./ but against people who could also be used in the interests of the revolution. This caused dissatisfaction among the inhabitants, undermined the prestige of the revolutionary leadership and would lead to the weakening of the new system.

Our opinion was listened to with great attention but noticeable tension. Without questioning it directly, the Afghan leaders tried to justify their politics with the anti-governmental activity of Parchamists. /Parchamists are the members of the Parcham group, which was united with the Khalq group into one party in 1977./

"We - said Taraki - had no confidence in Parcham even before the revolution, the union with them was only formalistic. In reality they did not participate in the armed uprising. But after the revolution, the leader of the Parchamists, B. Karmal demanded that the leading posts in ministries and other organizations should be divided equally. He strove to assume a leading role in party-building. He stated, "The army is in your hands, give us the party matters". Besides - when we rejected his demands -, he threatened us with breaking out an uprising. We had only one alternative in this situation: either them or us".

Besides this, N. Taraki tried to prove that the measures taken against the "Parcham" leaders did not have a negative influence on the masses. The people of Afghanistan support the new system and the PDPA Khalq leadership. The leaders of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan and the government of the Democratic Republic and of the Revolutionary Council - said Taraki - completely understand the worries of the CPSU CC, but they guarantee that the latest events in the country will not disturb the further development of the Afghan revolution and the consolidation of the people's democratic system.

We paid special attention to the questions of party-building, the work of the People's Democratic Party, the direction of the country and the masses. We emphasized the necessity of setting up and strengthening the party on the whole territory of the country, the normalization of the work of the higher and lower level party organizations without delay, setting up the power organs of the people and the need for an increase in attention paid to economic issues. The masses must experience in their own lives the real achievements of the revolution. Therefore the improvement of people's lives must be a first rank problem of the new power.

Consistently we moved into the foreground the idea that the main tasks were strengthening the people's democratic system, the well-balanced and flexible policy, which would isolate the counter-revolution from the people and deprive it of the opportunity to ill-use the backwardness of the masses. For the short period of time following the creation of the new system, important measures had been taken to the benefit of the people. At the same time the immense creative possibilities of the Afghan revolution had to be discovered to a greater extent and should be put to practice.

During the meetings, the Afghan party mentioned briefly the question of the relations between Afghanistan and the imperialist countries. Imperialism - said Taraki - puts many hurdles in our way, among others, "soft" methods. The West and the Americans unequivocally strive to divert us from the path chosen with economic help. At present, we do not intend to deteriorate our relations with the West, although we understand that their offers are not unselfish at all. From Soviet side, we have underlined we must not allow the West to trap us.

With reference to the Chinese question, N. Taraki, by all means, disapproved of the Maoist leadership and their activity, remarking that the leaders of China allied themselves to the enemies of communism. The People's Democratic Party has cleared the army and the state apparatus of the Maoist elements.

The meetings with Taraki and Amin made the impression that the persecution of Parchamists was mainly motivated by a fight for position and personal antipathy. At the same time, it was clear that the Afghan leadership did not fully understand the negative influence of reprisals on the general situation of the country and the mood of the army and the party.

The talks were carried on in comradely atmosphere. The, on the whole, warm welcome, the attention devoted to the position of the CPSU CC, the readiness to discuss even the most delicate questions with us witnessed of the fact that they considered the friendship with the Soviet Union and the socialist countries to be of great importance. Taraki requested us to deliver to the CPSU Central Committee: Afghanistan will always be on the Soviet Union's side together with the socialist countries.

The CPSU Central Committee thinks that, during their further activities, the Afghans will consider our opinion, although - naturally - only the future will tell. Based on our information, repressive actions are being relaxed, and the process of the partial rehabilitation of the leaders of the Parcham group has started."

Budapest, 17 October 1978