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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 05, 1989


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Najibullah requests for technical aid and additional supplies from the USSR to support the war in Afghanistan.
    "Letter from Afghan President Najibullah to CPSU General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev (Excerpt)," November 05, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, A. A. Lyakhovskiy, Plamya Afgana (Flame of the Afghanistan Veteran) (Moscow: Iskon, 1999); pp. 524-25. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg
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Dear Mikhail Sergeyevich!

Bearing in mind the recommendations you repeatedly made to turn to you personally if the need arose or to exchange ideas, I decided to use this opportunity to describe questions troubling me at the present time…

As the experience of combat operations of recent months shows, we are managing to contain the enemy mainly by air, artillery, and missile strikes. Meanwhile, there is a shortage of various kinds of ammunition for various reasons. The ammunition delivered by the “air” bridge is being used up literally in only a few days. To supply the combat requirements of the troops it would be extremely desirable to maintain the functioning of the “air” bridge for the next half year, raising the number of sorties to 30-35 a day. This would permit the delivery of the necessary amount of ammunition and equipment to be ensured. And I would again like to stress the special importance for us of a resolution of the issue of daily delivery of 10-12 R-300 missiles…

On the basis of available information there are grounds to state that in the autumn and winter period the enemy is becoming more active around Kabul and also in several sectors of the Kabul-Hairaton highway. In order to wipe out the groups it seems advisable here (I talked with Soviet military consultants) to use the “Smerch” and “Tochka” missiles, which have increased accuracy. It is also extremely important to us to restart as quickly as possible the deliveries of the “Luna-M” missiles which were stopped unexpectedly, as a result of which the problem of hitting the enemy at great distances from Kabul became quickly aggravated.

Urgent aid is also required to restore the technical resources of the Air Force inasmuch as they lost about 70 aircraft and helicopters this year. It would be desirable to provide delivery to us of MiG-29, Su-27, and Mi-35 attack helicopters to increase the power of the Air Force.

Before the approach of winter we are creating the necessary reserves of food, fuel, and essential goods for the population and the troops in large administrative centers, and in view of its active use the technical condition of transport has long left much to be desired. Many vehicles are idle because of a lack of spare parts or generally are not subject to repair. It is desirable to accelerate the delivery from the Soviet Union of trucks and fuel trucks in accordance with prior agreements.

These are our most vital problems in the military field. I am confident that their resolution, together with the accumulation of the experience of independently waging combat operations and the improvement of military policy as a whole, will give the armed forces of the Republic of Afghanistan yet more confidence and increase their fighting spirit.

In conclusion, permit me, Mikhail Sergeyevich, to assure you of the constancy of the feelings of friendship and appreciation which Afghans feel toward the Soviet people and you personally. The CC PDPA plenum which was held recently vividly demonstrated that the policy which we are following today is correct and that it enjoys broad support. I express to you heartfelt gratitude for the deep understanding of Afghan problems which you have displayed at all stages of our struggle. I hope that if you agree to this you will also agree to a personal meeting, the need for which is already apparent, in my opinion.

I will use the occasion to congratulate you, dear comrade, on the 72nd anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and wish the Soviet people success in carrying out broad revolutionary reforms in the Soviet Union under your leadership.