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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 13, 1978


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    Information from CC CPSU to GDR leader Erich Honecker regarding widespread repressions in Afghanistan and the general comradeship between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union
    "Information from CC CPSU to GDR leader Erich Honecker," October 13, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Stiftung Archiv der Partaien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv (SAPMO), Berlin, J 2/202, A. 575
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According to the instructions of CC CPSU, candidate member of the Politburo CC CPSU secretary comr. B.N. Ponomarev was in Kabul from 25 to 27 September of this year, to meet with the leadership of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) to discuss certain pressing questions concerning the unfolding political situation in that country and questions regarding Soviet-Afghan relations. Meetings took place with the general secretary of CC PDPA, chairman of the Revolutionary Soviet, prime minister of DRA comr. Nur Taraki and member of the Politburo, secretary of CC PDPA, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of the DRA comrade Hafizullah Amin.
The main objective of the trip was to put a stop to the mass repressions which have taken on increasing proportions following the revolution in Afghanistan, including repressions against the "Parcham" faction, which took part in the overthrow of the despotic regime.
During the meetings special emphasis was placed by our side on questions concerning the unjustified repressions in the DRA. In addition, it was pointed out that we are doing this out of our brotherly concern for the fate of the Afghan revolution, especially since certain aspects of the unfolding events in Afghanistan directly affect the Soviet Union and CPSU.
First to recognize the new state of things in Afghanistan, the USSR demonstrated its solidarity with Afghanistan in front of the whole world. This position was again authoritatively affirmed in L.I. Brezhnev's speech in Baku. It is widely known that we are in every way assisting and supporting the new government. Under these conditions, hostile propaganda within Afghanistan itself as well as outside its borders is currently being aimed at showing that any events in Afghanistan - especially the negative aspects of these events - are connected to the direct or indirect participation by the Soviet Union.
The attention of the Afghan leadership was focused on the fact that in recent times repressions have taken on mass proportions, are being carried out without regard to law, and are directed not only at class enemies of the new regime ("Moslem Brothers," supporters of the monarchy, etc.), but also at persons who could be used for revolutionary interests; that brings out discontent among the populace, undermines the authority of the revolutionary government and leads to the weakening of the new regime.
Our ideas were attentively heard out, but with visible tension. Without disputing them directly, the Afghan leaders tried to justify their policy by accusing Parchamists (members of the "Parcham" faction who, together with the "Khalq" faction, organized the unification of the PDPA in 1977) of anti-government activities.
Even before the revolution we did not trust "Parcham," said N. Taraki, and the union with the Parchamists was strictly a formality. They took almost no part in the armed uprising. But following the victory of the revolution the leader of the Parchamists B. Karmal demanded that the top ministerial and departmental positions be divided equally. He laid claim to playing the leading role in building the party, declaring: "You have the army; give us the party." In addition, when their demands were not met, they threatened to start an uprising. Under the given circumstances, said N. Taraki and A. Amin, there was but one choice: either them, or us.
Besides, N. Taraki was trying to show, the measures being taken against the leading activists of "Parcham" did not exhibit any negative influence on people's sentiments. The Afghan people support the new regime and the Khalqist leadership of the PDPA. The PDPA leadership, Revolutionary Council, and DRA government, said N. Taraki, understand completely the apprehensions of the CC CPSU, but assure [it] that the latest events in the country do not interfere with the advancement of the Afghan revolution and the strengthening of the people's democratic regime.
Considerable attention was paid by our side to questions of party expansion and improvement of the ability of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan to govern the nation and the populace. Emphasis was also placed on the importance of creating and strengthening the party throughout all of the country's territories, on the adoption of prompt measures to normalize the activities of party organs from top to bottom, on organizing agencies of the people's government, and on focusing increased attention on economic problems. The people must experience concrete results of the revolution in their own lives. That is why the improvement of people's lives should be the primary focus of the new government.
From our side it was continuously stressed that right now the primary objective should be to strengthen the people's democratic regime, adopting a measured and flexible policy to isolate the counter-revolution from the people, to deprive it of the opportunity to take advantage of the backwardness of the masses. In the short time since the establishment of the new government, large enterprises have already been set up to serve the interests of the people. Along with this, enormous constructive opportunities opened up by the Afghan revolution are still waiting to be discovered and put to practical use.
During the meetings, the Afghan representatives also touched on the question of Afghan relations with imperialist countries. Imperialism, said N. Taraki, places in front of us every kind of obstacle, including the use of "soft" methods. Westerners and Americans are clearly trying to exploit aid in order to force us to steer away from the chosen path. At the present time we are have no intention of spoiling our relations with the West, though we understand that their offers are not entirely unselfish. From our side it was emphasized that in dealing with the West one should not allow oneself to be lured into a trap.
Concerning the China question, N. Taraki unreservedly condemned the Maoist leadership and its actions, noting that the leaders of China have closed ranks with the enemies of communism. The PDPA has purged Maoist elements from the army and the state apparatus.
The meetings with N. Taraki and H. Amin left the impression that the persecution of Parchamists is primarily the result of factional infighting and personal hostilities. In addition, the Afghan leadership is clearly underestimating the negative influence that the repressions are having on the overall situation in the country and on sentiments within the army and the party.
The discussions were marked by an air of comradeship. All in all, [it was] a warm welcome by the Afghan leadership; their attentive attitude towards the opinions of the CC CPSU and readiness to discuss with us the most delicate questions is an indication of the importance they place on the friendship with Soviet Union and socialist countries. Taraki asked to relay to the CC CPSU that "Afghanistan will always stand next to Soviet Union, aligned together with the other socialist countries."
The CC CPSU submits that Afghanistan will heed our judgment in their continued activities, although, it seems, this will only be demonstrated by their actions in the future. Incoming information indicates an abatement in repressions in the country and the beginning of the process of partial rehabilitation of party functionaries from the "Parcham" faction.