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December 31, 1979

Report on the Situation in Afghanistan, Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, and Ponomarev to CPSU CC, 27-28 December 1979

Top Secret

Regarding events in Afghanistan
during 27-28 December 1979

After a coup-d'etat and the murder of the CC PDPA General Secretary and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Afghanistan N.M. Taraki, committed by Amin in September of this year, the situation in Afghanistan has been sharply exacerbated and taken on crisis proportions.

H. Amin has established a regime of personal dictatorship in the country, effectively reducing the CC PDPA and the Revolutionary Council to the status of entirely nominal organs. The top leadership positions within the party and the state were filled with appointees bearing family ties or maintaining personal loyalties to H. Amin. Many members from the ranks of the CC PDPA, the Revolutionary Council and the Afghan government were expelled and arrested. Repression and physical annihilation were for the most part directed towards active participants in the April revolution, persons openly sympathetic to the USSR, those defending the Leninist norms of intra-party life. H. Amin deceived the party and the people with his announcements that the Soviet Union had supposedly approved of Taraki's expulsion from party and government.

By direct order of H. Amin, fabricated rumors were deliberately spread throughout the DRA, smearing the Soviet Union and casting a shadow on the activities of Soviet personnel in Afghanistan, who had been restricted in their efforts to maintain contact with Afghan representatives.

At the same time, efforts were made to mend relations with America as a part of the "more balanced foreign policy strategy" adopted by H. Amin. H. Amin held a series of confidential meetings with the American charge d'affaires in Kabul. The DRA government began to create favorable conditions for the operation of the American cultural center; under H. Amin's directive, the DRA special services have ceased operations against the American embassy.

H. Amin attempted to buttress his position by reaching a compromise with leaders of internal counter-revolution. Through trusted persons he engaged in contact with leaders of the Moslem fundamentalist opposition.

The scale of political repression was taking on increasingly mass proportions. Just during the period following the events of September, more than 600 members of the PDPA, military personnel and other persons suspected of anti-Amin sentiments were executed without trial or investigation. In effect, the objective was to liquidate the party.

All this, in conjunction with objective difficulties and conditions specific to Afghanistan, put the progress of the revolutionary process in extremely difficult circumstances and energized the counter-revolutionary forces which have effectively established their control in many of the country's provinces. Using external support, which has taken on increasingly far-reaching proportions under Amin, they strived to bring about radical change in the country's military-political situation and liquidate the revolutionary gains.

Dictatorial methods of running the country, repressions, mass executions, and disregard for legal norms have produced widespread discontent in the country. In the capital numerous leaflets began to appear, exposing the anti-people nature of the current regime and containing calls for unity in the struggle with "H. Amin's clique." Discontent also spread to the army. A significant number of officers have expressed dismay at the domination of H. Amin's incompetent henchmen. In essence, a broad anti-Amin front was formed in the country.

Expressing alarm over the fate of the revolution and the independence of the country, and reacting keenly to the rise of anti-Amin sentiments in Afghanistan, Karmal Babrak and Asadulla Sarwari, both living abroad as emigres, have undertaken to unite all anti-Amin groups in the country and abroad, in order to save the motherland and the revolution. In addition, the currently underground group "Parcham," under the leadership of an illegal CC, has carried out significant work to rally all progressive forces, including Taraki supporters from the former "Khalq" group.

All earlier disagreements were eliminated and the previously existing schism in the PDPA has been liquidated. Khalqists (represented by Sarwari) and Parchamists (represented by Babrak) have announced the final unification of the party. Babrak was elected leader of the new party center, and Sarwari - his deputy.

In this extremely difficult situation, which has threatened the gains of the April revolution and the interests of maintaining our national security, it has become necessary to render additional military assistance to Afghanistan, especially since such requests had been made by the previous administration in DRA. In accordance with the provisions of the Soviet-Afghan treaty of 1978, a decision has been made to send the necessary contingent of the Soviet Army to Afghanistan.

Riding the wave of patriotic sentiments that have engaged fairly large numbers of the Afghan population in connection with the deployment of Soviet forces which was carried out in strict accordance with the provisions of the Soviet-Afghan treaty of 1978, the forces opposing H. Amin organized an armed operation which resulted in the overthrow of H. Amin's regime. This operation has received broad support from the working masses, the intelligentsia, significant sections of the Afghan army, and the state apparatus, all of which welcomed the formation of a new administration of the DRA and the PDPA.

The new government and Revolutionary Council have been formed on a broad and representative basis, with the inclusion of representatives from former "Parcham" and "Khalq" factions, military representatives, and non-party members.

In its program agenda announcements, the new leadership vowed to fight for the complete victory of the national-democratic, anti-feudalistic, anti-imperialistic revolution, and to defend Afghan independence and sovereignty. In matters of foreign policy, they pledged to strengthen in every possible way the friendship and cooperation with the USSR. Taking into account the mistakes of the previous regime, the new leadership, in the practical application of its policies, is intent on giving serious consideration to broad democratization of social life and ensuring a law-abiding society, widening the social base and strengthening the state throughout the country, and maintaining a flexible policy with regards to religion, tribes and ethnic minorities.

One of the first steps that has captured the attention of Afghan society was the release of a large number of political prisoners, which include prominent political and military activists. Many of them (Kadyr, Keshtmand, Rafi, and others) have actively and enthusiastically joined in the work of the new Revolutionary Council and the government.

Broad masses of people met the announcement of the overthrow of H. Amin's regime with unconcealed joy and express their eagerness to support the new administration's program. The commanders of all key formations and units of the Afghan army have already announced their support of the new leadership of the party and the government. Relations with Soviet soldiers and specialists continue to remain friendly overall. The situation in the country is normalizing.

In Kabul's political circles it is noted that the Babrak government, evidently, must overcome significant difficulties, inherited by him from the previous regime, in establishing order in domestic politics and economy; however, they express hope that PDPA, with USSR's help, will be able to solve these problems. Babrak can be described as one of the more theoretically equipped leaders of PDPA, who soberly and objectively evaluates the situation in Afghanistan; he was always distinguished by his sincere sympathies for the Soviet Union, and commanded respect within party masses and the country at large. In this regard, the conviction can be expressed that the new leadership of DRA will find effective ways to stabilize completely the country's situation.

[signature] [signature]
Yu. Andropov A. Gromyko
[signature] [signature]
D. Ustinov B. Ponomarev

31 December 1979
No. 2519-A

Andropov Gromyko Ustinov Ponomarev Report on Events in Afghanistan on 27-28 December 1979 regarding the crisis in Afghanistan and the overthrow of Amin’s oppressive regime with the help of Soviet troops

Document Information


RGANI (formerly TsKhSD), f. 89, per. 14, dok. 35, ll. 1-5 [cited by Archive-Information Bulletin, 1993 as RGANI, op. 14, d. 35, ll. 5, original, special file, CC]. Provided by M. Kramer; trans. by D. Rozas.


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