February 01 2002 - This text is an edited version of a manuscript outlining the KGB's operational activities in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1983, authored by Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to Britain in 1992. Mitrokhin tells us that the KGB was deeply involved with Soviet Afghan policies from the very beginning. The piece deals with events in and around Afghanistan and the activities of the Bolshevik nomenklatura in the region between 1962 and 1983. It is based exclusively on information from the KGB archives to which Vasily Mitrokhin had access to. Please read the note on sources under the collection listing to understand the limitations of this material.
Please click here for a response to this document.
Cold War International History Project
Collection : The Mitrokhin Archive
|The KGB in Afghanistan - Geographical Volume 1|
Vasili Mitrokhin Archive
This text is an edited version of a manuscript outlining the KGB's operational activities in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1983, authored by Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to Britain in 1992. Mitrokhin tells us that the KGB was deeply involved with Soviet Afghan policies from the very beginning. The piece deals with events in and around Afghanistan and the activities of the Bolshevik nomenklatura in the region between 1962 and 1983. It is based exclusively on information from the KGB archives to which Vasily Mitrokhin had access to. Please read the note on sources under the collection listing to understand the limitations of this material.
Please click here for a response to this document.
Afghanistan occupies an important strategic position. It had a long border with the Soviet Union. In the past the border had been open from both sides and the populations mixed freely. Following the introduction of the Bolshevik regime in Central Asia, free and easy movement was stopped and open opponents forced into neighboring Afghanistan. There are now almost 750,000 descendants of the Tadjiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen and Kirghizians who fled from the repression living in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan was the first country to recognize the new regime in Russia and it is traditionally a friendly neighbor. The influence of the USSR on all aspects of life in the country is considerable. Neither the kings nor Daud (1) took any serious decisions without taking the northern giant and its interests into consideration. After it became a republic, Afghanistan continued the same course of acting as a balance between the East and the West and it did not alter its friendly attitude to its neighbor.
But when Daud considered establishing his own political party, the KGB viewed this as a threat to the communists. It thought that he might follow the example of Iran and ban other political parties. The Cheka (2) kept a close check on the actions of the government and hindered close relations with other countries. In particular, the Cheka opposed Iran's plans to build the first railway in Afghanistan and American plans to establish a metallurgical plant and a network of hospitals offering primary medical assistance to the population. The Cheka had a sound agent network in the country, was well-informed on the situation of the various political factions, had considerable leverage on the political processes, and was able to concentrate the efforts of the local special services on foreign representatives of targeted organizations and to divert attention away from the pro-Soviet elements.
Some of the KGB agents became adherents of Marxism-Leninism and a few became active in the International Communist and Workers' Movement with the help of the organs. One such agent was Nur Muhammad Taraki (3) , codename ‘Nur.’ He became an agent in 1951 and was in contact with the following operatives in the Kabul Residency: Sagadiev, Kozlov, Fedoseev, Spiridonov, Kostromin, Kozyrev and A.V.Petrov. By profession Taraki was a journalist and writer.
Another agent, Babrak Karmal (codename 'Marid') together with ‘Makhmui,’ ‘Akbar’ and ‘Khuma,’ (4) established a group with communist leanings called Parcham(5) (Banner) in about 1957. At the end of 1962, Babrak and Taraki became personally acquainted. At that time Taraki was acting alone and he did not have any friends. He was then joined by Hafizullah Amin, and together they established a Marxist group called Khalq. The two groups later united and in 1965 became the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. There were no more than three hundred members. A Central Committee of thirty and a politburo of five were established. Taraki was elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the PDPA, and Babrak his deputy. In essence this was not an organic merger. At the beginning the groups obediently followed Moscow's instructions. Babrak’s followers were called Parchamists and Taraki’s Khalqists.
Taraki visited Moscow at the invitation of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee. (6) He was received by [Boris] Ponomarev, the head of the International Department, and other members of the apparatus. He was advised to be extremely cautious in his party work until the authorities had given permission for the party to act officially and to concentrate on setting up the most important sections of the party in illegal conditions. He was also advised to publish a newspaper through a figurehead, a man of means, so that he could justify his source of income in the eyes of the authorities. At the meetings the program, rules,strategy and financing of the PDPA were discussed. He was familiarized with Stalin's recommendations to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Indonesia, Aidit. (7)
Taraki made a good impression on the members of the apparatus of the CPSU Central Committee. He appeared serious and well-prepared politically to lead his party. He informed the Central Committee about the suggestion from one of the leaders of the PDPA, Badashi, (8) an Uzbek by nationality, that an armed conflict with the government should be started in Afghani Turkestan using the dissatisfaction of the Tam, and in particular the Uzbeks. The CPSU Central Committee considered such action precipitate. Taraki then divulged his suspicions about contacts between his deputy Babrak and Afghan counter-intelligence. He based his ideas on the fact that Babrak was the first political prisoner to be freed by the authorities in 1952. The Residency(9) rejected such allegations and considered that these rumors were aimed at discrediting his [Taraki’s] rival and bringing division and distrust into the ranks of the PDPA.
When Taraki was elected Secretary of the Party, the KGB informed the CPSU Central Committee that it was stopping its agent contacts with him and added that “if the situation arose when it was essential to resume secret contact with Taraki in order to give practical assistance to this party, then the KGB could make such contact with the utmost care.” The head of this section of the International Department of the Central Committee, I.V. Milovanov, replied to the KGB that Suslov, (10) Ponomarev and Andropov(11) had read the letter from the KGB and agreed on 18 February 1965 that the KGB should continue to maintain secret contacts with Taraki on party matters.
Taraki was told in the International Department of the [CPSU] Central Committee that he should say that he had been invited to Moscow by Soviet writers and the Society of Afghan-Soviet Friendship. He told Prime Minister Maiwandwal (12) this when he met him once and he even told him that the government should fear not the leftist forces but the rightist elements and reactionaries who were aiming to come to power.
The PDPA was financed by the CPSU Central Committee. Its newspaper was also
financed in this way. In 1965 Taraki was given 50,000 Afghani for the election campaign for the People's Council. The newspaper Khalq began publication in April 1965. Taraki asked the Residency for ideas for the paper and to write articles. Their meetings took place either in a car belonging to an operative or in the residence of an operative where Taraki was secretly taken. He was given a personal allowance of 180 hard currency rubles, the equivalent of 4,000 Afghani, and food supplies.
On 17 December 1966 Milovanov had a meeting with Spiridonov (13) to instruct him how to handle Taraki. He told him to observe the strictest secrecy and that the work with the party leadership of the PDPA must be done in such a way that the authorities knew only a few of the leaders of the party, such as Taraki and Babrak. They must train senior members secretly in case those known to the authorities were arrested. Taraki should be told that “because of the relations between our countries and the existing situation in the country, he should follow a moderate liberal-democratic course and gain the support of leftist activists. In this way a base will be made for the development of the democratic movement which will act as a basis for the practical activities of the PDPA. For this it is necessary to also use legal possibilities, in particular the setting up of student and youth organizations, trade unions and so on.” It should be suggested to Taraki that he should obtain permission from the authorities to receive the magazine Problemy Mira i Sotsialisma and that he should correspond through the Residency on questions of party work. Milovanov added that publication of the party's program by the newspaper Khalq as was done at present was incorrect and inopportune. Taraki was showing unnecessary impatience with Babrak and was drawing hasty organizational conclusions. Milovanov concluded by telling Spiridonov to show more initiative and not to be afraid of giving Taraki advice, although this must appear to be his own personal wishes and opinions.
In his turn Taraki expressed his dissatisfaction with Moscow's delaying tactics and theway it sent books, publications of the Iranian Tudeh Party, (14) and so on.
“If the Soviet comrades consider that the time is not yet ripe in Afghanistan for a party such as the PDPA to be established and function, then it must be disbanded and I must go abroad to India, Syria or Ceylon and undertake literary work.”
But at the same time, in January 1967, when he gave an operative a letter to the editor of the magazine Problemy Mira i Sotsialisma, he said that “[a]s he would be connected with a magazine which was the organ of the Communist and Workers' Parties, he considered the present circumstance as recognition by the fraternal parties of the People's Democratic Parties of Afghanistan.”
Taraki was asked by the Residency to carry out some operational measures. (15)He gave information on the situation in the country, the Pashtu problem, (16) the Afghan army and the government. He gave leads on people and several agents were recruited with his help. Through him the protest demonstration on 21 February 1967 outside the Chinese embassy in Kabul against the divisive actions of the Chinese, telephone calls and letters of protest to the Chinese embassy from 'workers' and expressions of indignation from China's 'Afghan friends' were all organized. On 22 and 23 February, Taraki telephoned the Chinese embassy himself and at the request of his ‘Chinese friends’ in Afghanistan expressed their displeasure and indignation. He wrote letters with the same contents in Persian with his left hand. On 23 February, Dr. Saleh, (17) a member of the PDPA, rode past the Chinese embassy on his bicycle and threw them over the fence.
Taraki and Babrak were totally unable to do their party work together. Babrak accused Taraki of taking bribes, having contacts with Americans, owning four cars, and having 400,000 Afghani deposited in a Pashtu bank. The Residency defended Taraki as it had done previously with Babrak. It viewed him positively and considered him a true and sincere friend of the USSR who co-operated conscientiously [and] observed the rules of secrecy and carried out an assignment in the American embassy. But “as a person Taraki was a complex and contradictory character. He was painfully vain, often took jokes made about him in the wrong way and liked to be given a lot of attention. This became particularly noticeable after his visit to the Soviet Union. These characteristics could have been one of the reasons for his disagreement with the other leader of the PDPA, Babrak, which in August 1967 led to a split within the leadership of the PDPA. Babrak, as an educated man, tried to follow more flexible tactics in the practical work of the PDPA, but ‘Nur' [Taraki] made it clear by his conduct that ‘Moscow was behind him’ and insisted that his line was put into action.”
Taraki was noticeably depressed when he was told in August 1968 about the forthcoming conference of Communist Parties in Moscow and the decision not to invite the PDPA. He bitterly remarked that Moscow did not consider him a Communist whereas in Afghanistan everyone without exception called him a Communist. He felt that the Kremlin had insulted the PDPA.
In September 1968 the Center (18) asked the Residency to vet Taraki thoroughly using operational technical means.
On 1 October 1970, Taraki sent a letter to Brezhnev (19) asking that “economic assistance to the government of Afghanistan, particularly supplies of consumer goods such as sugar and petrol on credit, should be halted. Naturally we are not asking that assistance which increases and strengthens the working class should be stopped. Supplies of luxury goods should be halted as they are used personally by the rulers of the country.” Further on he wrote: “At the Congresses of Fraternal Parties it was confirmed that the Socialist camp must give all-round assistance to democratic and anti-imperialist forces throughout the world. I hope that you will pay attention to the activities of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan which adheres to Marxism-Leninism and is fighting against imperialism and reaction. From the very beginning the PDPA has been spreading the ideas of Marxism-Leninism in Afghanistan.”
On 17 October 1972 Taraki warned the Residency that Daud was planning a coup d'état. In May 1973, Azhar Abdullah Samad (20) (agent 'Fatekh'), reported that Daud was ready for a coup and gave specific plans for the coup. In July Taraki reproachfully noted that “if our Soviet comrades had not forbidden Khalq members from serving in the army five or six years ago, then the majority of the officers involved in the coup would be members of Khalq. Now there is only a group of young officers who are sympathetic to Khalq.” The Residency instructed Taraki to move loyal supporters into leading posts in the new state apparatus. In 1974 he was given the usual advance of 50,000 Afghanis.
The PDPA had not managed to organize itself and dissolved into its former rival Khalq and Parcham factions with their own press organs of the same name. The Residency considered that the disagreements between the groups were based not on political and ideological lines but on their struggle for leadership and recognition by the Soviet Union. Taraki was amazed by the indecisiveness of the position of the CPSU Central Committee. He said that “[i]f the USSR considers that Babrak is right, you must tell me this and say where I am wrong. Taraki and Babrak should not be a problem for the USSR. The main point is that the democratic forces in Afghanistan are growing. But they need the same support from the CPSU as it gives to democratic and communist parties in other countries. Without material and moral assistance from the CPSU it will be unbelievably difficult for the communists of Afghanistan to continue their activities while the dynasty deals its insidious blows to our party.”
Taraki wrote a book The New Life. It was published under the pseudonym Nazir Zadeh. But the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee instructed the Residency that it would not be a good idea to distribute the book in the country as this would bring an undesirable reaction from Babrak whose political authority and standing in the leftist movement had increased significantly since the proclamation of the republic.
The Center set out its opinion of the work with Taraki and Babrak in an operational letter to Kabul on 25 October 1974. (21) “In the course of regular meetings and conversations with 'Marid' [Babrak] and 'Nur' [Taraki] you must carefully, in the form of friendly advice and without referring to instructions from Moscow, tell them not to take any steps without prior agreement by us which could be used by their enemies as a pretext for striking a blow at their groups or compromising them. 'Marid' and ‘Nur' should also be warned again that they must desist from attacking each other and accusing each other of anti-republican activities, as this plays into the hands of the reactionary forces and will lead to the collapse of the democratic movement in Afghanistan. We request that you inform us by telegram of your meetings and conversations with 'Marid' and Nur'.”
THE APRIL COUP
In 1977 on instructions from Moscow, a secret substitute was chosen, trained and
confirmed for every member of the Central Committee and secretary of the city and provincial organizations of the PDPA. Their task was to take over in the event of unexpected repression and arrests of the leading workers. At the same time new tactics to disinform the authorities were adopted and rumors were spread that Khalq had “disbanded itself.”
Taraki was regularly given money from the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee unknown to the other members of the PDPA Central Committee. Although H. Amin was a very close friend of Taraki and was completely trusted by him, even he was not fully informed about the financial operations. Taraki was given 30,000 Afghani on 15 March 1977 and a further 30,240 Afghani on 25 May.
[In 1975] Daud [had] established a Party of National Revolution and banned all other parties. The Residency [in Kabul] instructed the leaders of the PDPA to infiltrate its people into Daud’s party and to carry out subversive work from inside. Taraki was advised to be particularly careful and to avoid unnecessary meetings with other members of the Central Committee.
On 25 April 1978 the authorities arrested Taraki, Babrak, Shah Wali (22) and several other leaders of the party. But the PDPA already felt confident. A secret meeting of the underground members of the PDPA Central Committee was immediately called. It decided to carry out a coup d'état on the morning of 27 April and to seize power. Organization of the coup was entrusted to the illegal deputy of H. Amin, Figir. He had also coordinated the preparatory work. The main role in the coup was given to the 4th and 15th tank brigades and to commando forces that were to capture Kabul and take control of all the government buildings in the city. They were supported by the air force and air defense forces. The head of the airforce and air defense forces, [Col. Abdul] Qadir, (23) and his deputy, Nazar Muhammed, commanded the military forces.
Gulyabzoi (24) (agent 'Mamad') and M. Rafi (agent ‘Niruz') immediately informed the Residency about the extraordinary events about to take place. On 26 April the Residency informed the Center by express telegram. Ambassador Puzanov (25)informed the Politburo and expressed the opinion that “there is a danger that among the members of the PDPA Central Committee still at liberty there may be some who will take extreme measures. They may be incited to do this by provocateurs from the government's special organs. (26) In our view such extreme action in the present situation could lead to the defeat of the progressive forces in the country.” The telegrams were sent immediately, with top priority.
The KGB [center] sent a reply the same day which stated, among other things, that: “[t]he possibility cannot be excluded that Mossad (27) is willfully provoking the military organization of this party to take action against the government in order to deal it a blow.” As can be seen, the Residency, the embassy and the Moscow leadership had little knowledge of the situation in the country, misinterpreted the situation and were hedging against the possibility that the attempted coup would not succeed.
At the same time events in Afghanistan moved rapidly. The government of Daud fell, and he was killed. A Revolutionary Council led by Amin, Colonel [now made Maj.-Gen.] Abdul Qadir and Major Aslam, the commander of the first battalion of the 4th tank brigade took over. The Revolutionary Council concerted its actions with Taraki and Babrak. On 28 April at 4:30 p.m., Taraki’s personal representative Saleh went to the Soviet embassy to establish contact. He briefed them on the situation in Kabul and said that the last pockets of resistance had been crushed and that the Revolutionary Council was in full control. Taraki asked the USSR for its support in the event of an attack from Iran and Pakistan and for quick recognition of the new regime. On the same day Amin met an operational officer and asked for advice whether the General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee, Taraki, should make a radio broadcast to the people on 29 April or the morning of 30 April, whether he should speak in the name of the PDPA or just in the name of the Military Revolutionary Council, and whether Taraki should be declared only president of the country or general secretary as well at the same time. On his behalf and on behalf of his comrades, Amin asked the Soviet Union to recognize the new regime in Afghanistan as soon as possible. In its report to Moscow the Residency stressed that “Amin is a firm supporter of co-operation with the Soviet Union and the CPSU.” Power was shared by Taraki, Amin, Babrak and Qadir.
On the evening of 29 April, Puzanov and the Resident (28) V[iliov] G. Osadchy (codename ‘Evgeny’) (29) met Taraki in the house of the TASS (30) correspondent. Taraki expressed the view that if his Soviet colleagues had not given the mistaken advice to support the Daud regime in every way, the party which he led would have been able to seize power three years earlier. This view was firmly refuted by the Soviet side, which explained that during these years Daud had exposed himself as a demagogic and unprincipled politician.
H. Amin ('Kazem') made a radio broadcast to the people. He spoke about the new organs of power and the urgent problems but for tactical reasons said nothing about the leading role of the party and its part in the conspiracy.
On 30 April the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee met to discuss the events in Afghanistan. Its resolutions were sent to the Residency. It was to meet Amin and tell him that Moscow considered that a president should be proclaimed and a government set up as soon as possible. It agreed that Taraki should be proclaimed president but that it should not be mentioned that he was also the general secretary of the PDPA Central Committee. This could be announced at a later date. Similar instructions were sent from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Puzanov.
After the April coup ‘Nur' (Taraki) became 'Dedov.'
On 6 May the Minister of the Armed Forces of Afghanistan, A. Qadir, asked for advice on how to deal with all the people under arrest. There were now over ten thousand, the prisons were overcrowded, and the numbers were still rising. A large number of the troops loyal to the Revolutionary Council were needed to guard them. Andropov and [Andrey Andreyevich]Gromyko (31) raised this question with the Politburo. The Politburo agreed with Andropov’s suggestion that a member of the KGB who had long had an agent relationship with Qadir (codename 'Osman') should be sent to Kabul with instructions on how to deal with the detainees. Major General L.N. Gorelov was confirmed as leader of the Soviet military specialists.
During the first days of the new regime the Residency, on the orders of the Center, took active measures to obtain the archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the security service and the military counter-intelligence service. In the operation they used agents who held high positions in the special services, including A. Abbas (codename 'Estekhbarat'), the acting head of the military counter-intelligence service. They obtained lists of agents and targets in the King's (32) and Daud’s administrations. The GRU (33) of the USSR Ministry of Defense asked its Residency (34)
Country Foreign Ministry, Trade Ministry, Aeroflot, TASS, APN Novosti, UN, Others: Morflot, atomic agency etc, Total
New York 16 2 l 13 1 33
Washington 14 3 4 21
England 11 9 2 2 24
France 5 4 1 1 l 1 1 14
West Germany 7 3 2 12
Italy 5 3 1 9
Switzerland 1 2 3
Norway 2 1 1 3 7
Sweden 2 3 1 1 1 1 9
Denmark 3 2 1 l 2 9
Netherlands 1 4 2 7
Belgium 2 2 2 6
Iran 4 3 1 4 12
Cambodia 2 1 3
Japan 7 2 1 10
to obtain material on American establishments near Kabul, documentation on seismic intelligence around Faizabad, (35) and other material. Each service wanted to get its own material.
In May the first group of Soviet advisers from the special services arrived in Kabul. They were led by L.P. Bogdanov ('Desnin'). In August a representation of the KGB was set up in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan [DRA] to assist in the organization of new security organs and in work to defend the new regime. In September the Chief Directorate for the Defense of the Interests of Afghanistan (AGSA) (36) was established on the basis of the Directorate of National Security. Its work was aimed at targeting the missions of Western countries, monitoring the embassies of the USA, Iran, the People's Republic of China and Pakistan, tightening conditions for representatives of the Main Adversary (37) in the country and technical penetration of Western target establishments and internal enemies.
Country Foreign Ministry, Trade Ministry, Aeroflot, TASS, APN Novosti, UN, Others: Morflot, atomic agency etc, Total
Burma 2 1 2 5
Thailand 3 2 1 1 7
Israel 4 1 1 6
Turkey 10 6 2 18
Ethiopia 1 1 1 3
Morocco 6 1 7
Uruguay 1 1 2
Canada 6 1 7
India 2 3 1 6
Indonesia 2 1 1 5
Iraq 4 1 1 6
Egypt 3 1 2 l 2 9
On Andropov’s orders several members of the Residency were revealed to Amin: the Resident V.G. Osadchy who was a Councilor in the embassy; P.S. Golivanov, a Second Secretary; Lieutenant-Colonel S.G. Bakhturin, the security officer; and Y.L. Kukhta, the First Secretary. The head of the KGB representation, Colonel Bogdanov, explained to Amin that for understandable reasons before the April Revolution they had carried out the orders of the Soviet government to maintain clandestine contact with the PDPA leadership. They were now engaged in putting an end to the subversive work of the intelligence services of the Western countries against the USSR and Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. As early as May, members of the Residency had held talks with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Nur Ahmed Nur, the head of the police and gendarmerie and the head of the National Security Directorate, Asadullah, and Amin himself about the need to get rid of the Western advisers in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Amin said that he and Taraki had agreed that they would gradually replace the German specialists with Soviet advisers and specialists when the Germans’ contracts expired. In November the KGB searched Taraki’s home and place of work for technical listening devices. Nothing suspicious was found.
In July  the Residency informed the Center in alarm that the struggle for the
leadership of the PDPA had not only split the leadership but also affected the lower ranks of the party. Taraki and Amin, having finished their reprisals against rightwing reactions, had started an active attack on the Parchamists. They had abandoned the democratic methods first adopted and begun a real terror against them. The persecution of the Parchamists could have serious consequences, and if it continued could lead to fighting between the factions and even to civil war. Babrak’s followers had convinced the Soviet representatives that “only the leadership of the CPSU can influence the wild opportunists and force them to change their attitude towards the Parcham group.” Disagreements between Taraki and Amin on the one hand and the Parcham leaders on the other had become antagonistic. There were negative rumors among the members of the party that Taraki was an agent of the CIA and the KGB, and that Amin was an American agent under deep cover. Taraki was flirting with the USSR in order to obtain large-scale economic assistance, strengthen his position and then move over into the camp of the pro-Westerners and reactionary Muslims. Amin enjoyed the complete trust of Taraki. He would finally remove him from power, part company with the ministers who are faithful to him, and turn Afghanistan towards the West [, it was said].
Both groups were fighting for positions. The supporters of Taraki won. Babrak was removed and exiled. He was appointed ambassador to Czechoslovakia [in July 1978]. There was a purge of the party and state apparatus, accusations of conspiracy, arrests and torture. The 'isolators' and prisons were over-full and basic human rights were flouted. This was all done in the name of the Revolution, for the sake of its further development and strengthening. The practice of excessive sycophancy and of constantly extolling and praising Taraki and Amin became the norm. For the sake of personal interests the party history of the period before and after the coup was re-written and falsified. The role and place of the party and its leaders in the life of the country were deliberately distorted. Documents, articles and letters were rewritten and altered. Approval of a person was given for personal and subjective reasons rather than on a realistic basis. Nepotism, string-pulling and time-serving assumed the utmost importance. Positions and spheres of activity were allotted on the basis of devotion to the leader. The nation's wealth was plundered. Groundless slander and denunciations flourished. Respectable and honest people were subjected to repression by the police. The country turned into a mass torture-chamber. People were executed without any investigation or trial. A vast chasm formed between the people and the regime which relied on force and the support of the security organs, the army and the police. It demanded absolute submission from everyone and everything. People with a dubious reputation and rogues and scoundrels of every kind came to the surface. To the leaders the organs of repression are the same as an axe to an executioner.
The Residency noted that the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan had shown itself incapable of finding a solution to the urgent political and socio-economic problems facing society and of using the available possibilities to stabilize the country. The internal struggle and intrigues within the PDPA had been and still were the main stumbling block preventing the PDPA from becoming a mass political organization firmly based on Marxism-Leninism. This organization should have been capable of becoming the leading and directing force of Afghan society and the force behind its organizational and ideological rebirth. Instead, a process began which transformed the PDPA into a sect of people chosen and devoted to their leader and connected to each other through family relationships and their interest to retain power for their own personal aggrandizement.
The Residency maintained operational contacts with all the important representatives of both factions. These people occupied key positions in the party, the state apparatus, the press and public organizations. They regarded the Soviet representatives as “their elder colleagues and Comrades-in-arms in the class struggle.” (38)
On 4 May 1978 Brezhnev was informed about the agent apparatus in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He gave his approval that the work with agents should continue on a confidential basis. (39)
Parcham sources pointed out that the state and party apparati were full of people who had compromised themselves in the past. The class structure had altered as these wielders of power had different ideologies, and bribery was rife. [Boris S.] Ivanov, Bogdanov and Gorelov also confirmed that the PDPA leadership had concentrated its efforts on the internal political struggle, in practice on the elimination of the Parcham group, displaying clear short-sightedness regarding the true enemies of the Revolution.
Mahmud Baryali (codename ‘shir’), a cousin of Babrak and a member of the PDPA Central Committee, met the operative E.I. Nekrasov in Moscow and asked to meet someone from the CPSU Central Committee. He wanted to give a picture of the situation in the country. Baryali said that he could not understand why the Khalq group was always mentioned in Soviet writing on Afghanistan as the leading democratic party in the country whereas the Parcham group was hardly ever mentioned. But the real communists were all in the Parcham party, and the CPSU was mistaken to count on the Khalq. The true inspirers and organizers of the revolution were the Parchamists and their supporters in the armored forces of the army. However, the Khalq faction had seized power through intrigues and machinations. They had slandered the army and introduced their supporters. They had then set about routing the Parcham who had nineteen of the twenty-nine seats in the Central Committee. Taraki had personally decided to remove all nineteen from their positions in the country and to send them abroad as ambassadors. Babrak had been sent to Czechoslovakia, he himself to Pakistan, Nur Ahmed Nur to Washington, Walil to London, and Anahita to Belgrade. Amin had told him that Taraki’s resolutions must be carried out without questioning. They would shoot those who did not obey as Stalin had done. When Baryali objected that their revolution had its own peculiarities and that they should not copy blindly what had been done in the USSR by Stalin, whom their Soviet colleagues had incidentally condemned themselves for his crimes, Amin retorted that he was warning Baryali as a friend but that he was free to determine his own fate. The internal struggle is fraught with serious consequences. People are being persecuted who are absolutely faithful to the Soviet Union. Their Soviet comrades should be on their guard. The USSR must act before it was too late and correct its Afghan friends, as the authority of the USSR was still beyond reproach to the leadership of the PDPA and the armed forces. If this process was delayed, then the PDPA might follow the same path as the Communist Party of China, which could lead to the destruction of the party itself.
The Resident in Islamabad, B.N. Batrayev, was informed of Baryali’s appointment as the ambassador of Afghanistan. He was asked to coach him in diplomatic practices and the functions of an ambassador in order to help him make quickly the psychological move from someone expressing discontent with his government and a party opponent to an ambassador of his country who was able conscientiously and honorably to fulfill the important state duties asked of him. It was explained to Batrayev that there were no differences of principle between the groups. The former Parcham leaders who were sent to work abroad would remain firm Leninists dedicated to socialism and progress in Afghanistan. If Baryali were to make critical remarks about Taraki, then Batrayev was not to support such judgements but to suggest that at the present time in the interests of the people of Afghanistan most attention should be paid to strengthening the ranks of the PDPA. In conversations with Soviet representatives, supporters of Babrak had expressed the mistaken view that the Khalq faction was not in control of the situation in the country as they were engaged in a struggle with the Parchamists and that this could lead in the near future to a possible deterioration of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. “In our opinion, such information is subjective and merely reflects the opinion of the supporters of Babrak. Discussion of these problems should be avoided and one must not allow oneself to be dragged into the internal struggle in the PDPA.”
Baryali ('Shir') reacted enthusiastically to the reestablishment of contacts in June 1978 and showed a wish to be useful.
In September the USSR ambassador was instructed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that, if the ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan spoke to him about the internal political struggle in the PDPA, then he was to say that this was an internal matter of Afghanistan. If the ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan did not wish to return to his country, then he was to make it clear that he would not be given political asylum in the USSR.
The [KGB] Resident was to act in the same manner. Baryali touched on the question of political asylum during a meeting with Batrayev who refused tactfully. The ambassador said that he would not return to Kabul and asked him to tell the Soviet leaders that, in spite of any troubles, he would remain a firm communist and true friend of the Soviet Union.
Baryali went to Czechoslovakia where he met Babrak. He then went to Moscow and telephoned Nekrasov’s apartment. He said that the Parchamists were in a critical situation, the situation was tragic and they all faced death. He begged for urgent measures to be taken to save Babrak and his supporters.
“In the name of humanism save us! In the name of humanism save us!” He repeated this phrase several times and sobbed as he did so. “I do not know what to do. I have no means to support myself. All our hopes are in our Soviet comrades. I have a letter from Babrak but I do not know to whom to give it.”
This conversation was reported to Suslov and Ponomarev. They instructed that Baryali should be received in the International Department of the Central Committee. A.G. Polyakov talked to him. Ulianovsky (40) avoided the conversation.
Baryali complained that he did not understand the position of the Soviet Union and its attitude to the physical elimination of true and faithful communists. He accused Puzanov of giving the Soviet Union disinformation on the situation in the country. For the sake of rewards he was prepared to sacrifice the lives of thousands of true communists. Baryali inquired why Moscow was advising him now to decide for himself whether he should return to Kabul or not as though it did not know what was happening there. In the past, his Soviet comrades had always given him advice on how to act and he had never let them down. He explained Babrak’s view of the situation in the country. Babrak was particularly displeased with Puzanov. “He should be a communist as well as an ambassador. The Parchamists decided not to aggravate the revolutionary situation at this stage. Such a decision should not be understood as capitulation.” In a month and a half the situation in Afghanistan would change in a way that would not be good for Taraki. The dissatisfaction with the government, which was already apparent, would become more universal. The time for delight had passed. It would be followed by criticism and attacks on Taraki.
The KGB representation and the Residency also noted such faults. The leadership of the PDPA under Taraki and Amin had not listened to the opinions and wishes of the CPSU Central Committee that all the democratic forces of the Afghan people should unite and take an active part in the reconstruction of the country. It was said in political circles in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and the PDPA, that Amin was fuelling the struggle against the Parchamists and the critical Khalqists in order to strengthen his leading position in the party, the state and the army. Taking Amin’s personal qualities into account, it was thought that in the future he might take the same action against Taraki and his closest supporters.
The first sign of a split between them [Taraki and Amin] came at the end of May 1978 and concerned members of military attaché’s staff in Moscow. The Afghan military attaché, Khamil Turabaz, and his deputy were planning to go to the West instead of returning to Kabul. Taraki ordered that they be taken back to the capital under escort. Amin said that they should be allowed to go to Europe as, he noted, “if they come back to Afghanistan, the authorities will have to arrest them and decide what to do with them further.”
Before Ponomarev made an unofficial visit to Kabul, Taraki and Amin took hasty
measures to speed up the process of getting rid of potential rivals for power. There were mass arrests and repressive measures against personal rivals in the party and the underground. A personal enemy of Taraki, M.A. Akbar (41) was accused of working for the CIA. Twenty-seven “conspiracies” were uncovered during the first few months following the April Coup. On 15 August the head of the general staff, Shapur, (42) was arrested. On 17 August, the Minister of Defense [of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan], A. Qadir was arrested, followed by other ministers and officials. The policy of Taraki and Amin to get rid of people they considered unsuitable in order to concentrate all power in their own hands became very apparent. It was thought in Afghanistan that, as the USSR was helping the country and was not hindering the removal and elimination of people who were known for their pro-Soviet views, the Soviet leadership had betrayed them. An example was the case of Qadir who had played an important role in the coups of 1973 and 1978.
According to Taraki, those arrested were being held in a special prison. Only a very narrow circle knew where this was situated. He told Ambassador Puzanov: “Many of them are close to committing suicide. Hedeyat has already killed himself. The conspirators do not want to disclose any new facts and are therefore prepared to do this. Qadir has not confessed yet but he has admitted several mistakes he made. The task now is to reveal the political leadership of the conspiracy, to find out who is behind Qadir and Shapur. We are sure that we will manage to do this.”
Shapur was in a depressed state of mind. He constantly cried and asked to be shot quickly. As the head of counter-intelligence, Aziz, said confidentially, investigations were only held in cases where the accused were prepared to give evidence. The rest of those arrested were shot. The followers of Khomeini (43)and members of the Muslim Brothers organization (44) were to be eliminated at once.
In May 1978, 900 inhabitants of the Balkh province (45) were arrested on the orders of the First Secretary of the PDPA Provincial Committee, Abdullah Akhad Umusi, as enemies of the April Revolution. They were thrown into prison in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital. A commission was set up to investigate their counter-revolutionary activities. They were tortured. In mid-June an order was sent from Kabul that all those arrested should be taken to the capital. On examination it was found that the numbers had decreased as many had already been shot. 50 to 60 had been shot each night by the 18th infantry division, stationed in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Those to be shot had dug trenches for their own burial. There was no documentation on the prisoners held, but the accounts of the food block showed that the number under arrest had decreased daily by 30 to 70 people. The prison administration explained that the men had been sent to the Urals and Siberia in the USSR where they were used for hard labor. Their relatives received parcels from there from those who had disappeared. The parcels contained various articles such as soap in which letters were hidden describing the difficult conditions and exhausting work. (46)
Taraki informed Puzanov about an anti-government plot which was discovered in August 1978. China, the USA, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Federal Republic of Germany were involved. [Four words excised.] The conspirators had planned to eliminate Taraki and Amin and to elect a new leadership. The former head of the general staff, Shapur, and the head of the Jumhuriat hospital, M.A. Akbar, who had both been arrested, had revealed these plans. “The authorities now have confessions from most of those arrested,” Amin said. He added: “The party was unable to make Qadir a true Marxist-Leninist, prepared to withstand any negative influence. That was our mistake.”
Puzanov agreed in part with Amin’s conclusions and informed Moscow of this. “In our view Qadir was not politically mature. He was inclined to adventurism and was rather foolish. The ambassador justified the actions of the leaders of the PDPA which “in the opinion of the embassy will strengthen the revolutionary government and enhance the influence of the party in the armed forces of Afghanistan.”
Amin assured Puzanov and V.I. Khazarov that he was always pleased to accept advice from his Soviet friends and to learn from the experience of the CPSU as the struggle with the Parchamists was like the struggle between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
Taraki got rid of his rivals, strengthened his influence and tried to become popular with the people. For this purpose he went to the mosque on Fridays to pray. His radio broadcasts always began with the words “in the name of the Almighty….”
According to estimates by the Residency, there had been 500 members of Parcham and 1,200 supporters in the army on the eve of the April Coup. The corresponding figures for Khalq were 470 members and 1,100 supporters. Amongst civilians there were 5,500 members of Parcham and 100 fewer members of Khalq.
At the end of June 1979 there were 14,000 civilians and 3,000 members of the armed forces in the PDPA. The power of the party was concentrated in the hands of Taraki and Amin who did not want to change to a collective method of governing the country. They reduced the authority of the party and rejected any initiatives from members of the Revolutionary Council, the Central Committee and the ministers. They were moving away from the Marxist-Leninist principles of party life and the construction of a state. A Taraki-Amin cult was inculcated. Even before this, the Residency had noted that Amin was comparing Taraki to Lenin, that the whole history of the PDPA was being distorted, and that the events of 27 and 28 April 1978 were being described as a model for revolution. At a reception for a KGB delegation led by V.A. Kryuchkov, the head of the First Chief Directorate (FCD) of the KGB, Taraki likened the April Revolution in Afghanistan to the October Revolution in Russia: power had been seized quickly; internally the Bolsheviks had fought against the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries, and in Afghanistan they were struggling to form a single and united party.
“We respect the experience of a multi-party system in some socialist countries,” he said, “but we prefer to follow the example of the USSR. What is happening in Afghanistan is the beginning of the dictatorship of the proletariat, based on the Soviet model.”
Later, in January 1981, the Residency wrote to the Center that some members of the Khalq faction were continuing to extol Taraki’s personality and his role in the establishment of the PDPA. (47) They were spreading rumors in the army that the Parchamists had temporarily taken control. They were sabotaging the orders of the commanders and conducting a campaign against the government.
Babrak was afraid to speak out against Taraki because of the position of his Soviet comrades. His conversations with them had shown that they had not adopted a definite line regarding party problems and that they did not have a true picture of the facts. Their advice was often contradictory.
Through its representative the KGB appealed a number of times to H. Amin, who was controlling the work of the organs of state security, to terminate the prosecution, clear of any suspicions of political disloyalty, and release several agents and trusted contacts who had been accused by the authorities of anti-government activities. Amin was told that these people were doing useful work for Soviet intelligence and thereby contributing to the people's democratic revolution in Afghanistan and strengthening the friendship between the Soviet and Afghan peoples. People mentioned included the former Deputy Prime Minister under Daud, H. Sharq; (48) the former head of the police and gendarmerie of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Samad Azkhar; the former member of the Revolutionary Council and Minister of Public Works, (49) Mohammed Rafi; (50) the former Deputy Minister of Trade, Abdul Salam; the Defense Minister Qadir, and many others. In reply to one such request the Chief of the Directorate of National Security, Asadullah, said, on Amin’s behalf, that “the lives of some of the people arrested who were connected with you will be saved. In five years time they may be released.” Amin himself appeared prepared to release Afghan citizens who were well known by the Soviet comrades and who were friends of the USSR. At the same time he uttered this reprimand: “A new state apparatus is being formed in the country, and a socio-economic transformation is under way. Some Soviet specialists, particularly those who worked for many years in Afghanistan under the old regime and have now returned, often have a dated view of the country and do not see, in an objective light, what is happening in the country.” (51)
On behalf of his superiors, Puzanov asked Taraki that Keshtmand (52) and Qadir—who had both been arrested—not be executed.
“Their guilt is great,” said Taraki. “They made a deal and organized a plot with the help of the USA and China. I agree that repressions are an extremely severe weapon. But Lenin taught us to be merciless towards the enemies of the revolution and millions of people had to be eliminated in order to secure the victory of the October Revolution. If this weapon is used decisively, as it was during the revolt in Kabul yesterday, it is clear what the outcome will be.” This conversation took place on 6 August 1979.
B.N. Ponomarev visited Kabul from 17 to 20 July 1979 with the aim of giving
guidance. In a confidential conversation the Minister of Public Works, Panjshiri,(53) regretted that Ponomarev had avoided meeting the majority of party activists. He had not even spoken to the whole Politburo but had limited himself to meetings with Taraki and Amin. “Everything,” he remarked, “is decided in the Politburo by two people, Taraki and Amin. The former accepts and confirms the resolutions that the latter proposes. The rest are merely bit players who applaud. No one has yet dared to speak out against Taraki or Amin as they are frightened of being labeled enemies of the revolution. The policies of Taraki and Amin towards the people are causing great resentment. Innocent people are being arrested for no reason at night in front of their crying wives and children.”
Ponomarev’s mistake or oversight was rectified by B.S. Ivanov. (54) He met Dostagir Panjshiri, (codename “Richard”) on 29 July 1979 and informed him about a letter from the CPSU Central Committee which Ponomarev had delivered to the Central Committee of the PDPA. Panjshiri thanked him for his trust and assured him that he would continue to work tirelessly for the good of his country to strengthen the friendship between the parties and the peoples of the fraternal countries. He said that the present practice of unconditional submission to the decisions of Taraki and Amin would not help to overcome past mistakes or aid in the recovery and normalization of the situation in the country. The Residency greatly valued “Richard’s” information.
On 27 July 1979 Taraki made additional changes in the government. Amin was again put in charge of military affairs. Puzanov, Ivanov and L.P. Gorelov, (55) the chief [Soviet] military adviser, went to Taraki and demanded an explanation for the changes. Amin asked his people why the Soviet comrades had made this urgent visit to Taraki and replied himself: “Apparently they are concerned about the government reshuffle of which we did not inform them of in advance.”
A report was received in Moscow that American diplomats in Kabul considered the government reshuffle as a desperate attempt to save the situation. Amin was taking a big risk as he would be made the scapegoat if the fight against the rebels was not won.
Following his meeting with Amin, Ivanov sent the following telegram to Moscow on 29 July. “Taraki did not give Amin a completely accurate account of our message to him. It seems that he did this on purpose to show Amin that the Soviet side regards him highly.”
The Soviet representatives and the Afghan leadership became noticeably alienated. The Afghans, to some extend, displayed willfulness and acted without consultation. [As a result,] the [Soviet] advisers and specialists were instructed to collect more detailed information on actions [undertaken] by the Afghans. The staff of the Representation was increased, and five deputies of the KGB representative were appointed to cover counter-intelligence, military counterintelligence, as well as border questions and the [actions of] Ministry of Internal Affairs. The first deputy [assigned to assist the leadership] of the Representation was put in charge of the work of the intelligence department. An information and analysis group was formed. In March 1979 the Politburo passed a special resolution appointing General N.S. Veselkov to the group of advisers from the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs attached to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. Various delegations were sent to various bodies in Afghanistan to influence the Afghans. One such delegation, made up of the head of the Personnel Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, I.Y. Drozdetsky, (56) and the head of a department, A.I. [Ilyin], was sent to gendarmerie in May and June.
The advisers were active and delved into all the crevices of the ministries. For example, the adviser N.K. Grechin said that he wanted “to be a shadow minister,” to run the economic and financial side together with the minister of planning, to be responsible for fulfilling the plans as well as drawing them up, in fact to be jointly responsible for everything. He suggested that all parties, i.e. the ministers and advisers, should agree on all decisions. Minister of Finance Abdul Karim Misaq, a member of the Politburo, made the reasonable objection that “the Ministry is not the United Nations!”
The call to give the advisors a more important role was received by the Afghans with visible perplexity and even annoyance. Grechin suggested that a permanent commission with advisers as members should be set up in the Ministry of Trade to deal with operational matters. Again Misaq reasonably remarked: “I beg you not bring your bureaucratic ways into Afghan ministries! We have enough of our own. And I would ask you not to take the place of ministers and not to transfer their responsibilities and functions to some commission of some kind. Ministers must be completely responsible for all the activities of their ministries, and no commissions of any sort must take their place.” (57)
It was then decided to discredit Misaq. He had openly expressed the idea that the USSR should help the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan “to build socialism in thirty months.” The KGB saw this remark as a sign of dependence on the USSR and [a possible source of] discreditation of Soviet assistance. In January 1979 Misaq was compromised in Moscow in the eyes of the leadership of Afghanistan, as well as in third countries using the possibilities of the KGB. The Afghan leadership was told that he had made unreasonable demands from the USSR for resources, which Afghanistan was not in a position to absorb. They were unwittingly under Misaq’s influence. Misaq was hostile to the USSR, and his actions were inspired by Maoists.
Zotov, the adviser to the Minister of Finance, was extremely rude to the Minister of Trade, Goobandi, (58) who was a member of the Revolutionary Council.
For their part the Afghans expressed their disquiet about the competence of the military advisers. Amin was depressed about the military operation at the end of 1978 in the gorge of Kamdezh in the district of Nangrakharsk.
“The Afghan troops led by adviser Bryaskin have long since shown themselves
incapable of eliminating the anti-government bands. We gave your advisers wide powers in the leadership of the Afghan troops. We punish them severely for any failure to accept the advice of your commanders. This suggests to us that not all your advisers are sufficiently competent. We need experienced generals of whom we know there are many in the USSR. They must increase the fighting capability of the Afghan army and teach it to fight and to use the experience of the Soviet army during the war.”
“It is difficult to deal with your present leader,” Amin told General Zaplatin (59)referring to Gorelov, “and his deputy (Khramchenko) is incapable of taking any serious decisions.”
The Afghans were also disenchanted with the reality of Soviet life. The Afghan agent “Rakkas” (60) said that he personally had seen widespread bribery in the Soviet Union. When his wife had been in the Botkin hospital in Moscow, the doctors and other staff had not only counted on presents and bribes but had used delaying tactics and other methods to ensure they obtained them.
There was discontent on the Soviet side too, but it was shown in a different way. The CPSU Central Committee received an anonymous letter. It stated that Ambassador Puzanov, military adviser Gorelov and KGB Resident Osadchy had formed a pact. They distorted the party line for personal and careerist reasons. They looted embassy funds, made themselves rich, drank heavily and led a life of debauchery. The military attaché and the counselors of the embassy wrote false papers and accounts. They made the auditors drunk and bribed them. Bribery was rife, and gifts and presents were extorted from Soviet and Afghan specialists. The party organizer from the CPSU Central Committee was also enriching himself. Those who were uncooperative could expect reprisals and to be sent back home. The author regretted the execution of Daud who was “our man to the core.” He cursed the new leadership of Afghanistan.
The military became undisciplined while carrying out their international duty. Here is an example. On 21 June 1979 four interpreters from the 25th division, which was stationed in the town of Khost, held a banquet to celebrate the anniversary of their graduation. Among the guests were Lieutenant-Colonel Kalinin, the head of the intelligence department; Gorofes, the head of the border guards; Major N.S. Semenchenko, the commander of the 59th artillery regiment; and N.A. Krus, the commander of the division. There was ample to drink and everyone took advantage. As happens when people are drunk, an argument started which developed into a slanging-match. Lieutenant Sadykov, an Uzbek, let out all the grievances that he had bottled up. He had suffered for a long time and put up with coarse remarks from his superiors about his inaccurate translations and with unprintable abuse. He was incensed and began to abuse the advisers. He grabbed a sub-machine-gun and threatened revenge. Junior Lieutenant Maloletkin managed to disarm him and he was taken into another room where he was left to sleep. An hour later Sadykov woke up, made his way to the duty officer's room and shouted excitedly: “You think that you are defending the Motherland? Yes? No, you are all traitors!” And he carried on saying the unutterable. What a sober person thinks, a drunk person blurts out.
Those present grew alarmed. The officers Kisiliev, Ryabchinsky and Kostin tried to reason with him and calm him down. They took him to the other room. But an hour later Sadykov reappeared with a sub-machine gun in his hand. He was still under the influence of wine and vodka. He started firing in the corridor and then ran outside, still shooting at random. Semenchenko was killed, and Maloletkin and an Afghan soldier were wounded.
S.P. Tutushkin, the deputy of the chief military adviser, was informed of the incident in hushed tones. It was then reported further up the chain of command.
The family of Semechenko was informed that he had died heroically while carrying out his international duty.
THE SEPTEMBER COUP
P.Yu. Dragyalis (code name “ROMOV”), Amin’s personal adviser on financial matters and planning, described Amin as gifted and intellectually mature but cruel and ambitious. He said that he [Amin] was trying to concentrate power in his own hands. Their relationship was quite good. Dragyalis told Amin about his previous work. As the permanent representative of the Lithuanian SSR at the Council of Ministers of the USSR he had met the top Soviet leaders. Amin asked him: “And did you report to Comrade Kosygin?” When Dragyalis replied in the affirmative, Amin said ironically: “Then you are the most remarkable person in Afghanistan!”
As far as the development of Afghanistan was concerned, Amin preferred to follow the experience of Mongolia. He explained:
“You see, at the moment we are like a premature baby which must be protected from any kind of capitalist infection and capitalist path of development. It is still [in its] early days. We are still not strong, and we cannot allow private capital into our country. Consider the development of Afghanistan like the development of one of the republics of the USSR. Let it be thought of as the sixteenth republic.”
Once, in July 1979, he raised the question of Afghan deposits in foreign banks.
“I have something to say to you, since you are my advisor. We have 400 million dollars in twenty private banks in various countries. This money can only be withdrawn if the checks are signed by three accredited signatories. We cannot let these people out of the country as they might use their right as a signatory and we will then lose the money. Would it not be possible to arrange it somehow so that I can sign and get the money?” He paused for a moment and then added: “If I signed as prime minister?”
When Amin was asked specifically whether the money belonged to the state or to him personally, he replied that it belonged to the state.
“But how can we get it?”
He asked Dragyalis to find out whether it could be arranged so that his signature could be used instead of that of the three signatories.
“If one presumes that Amin not only wishes, but is really planning to get hold of the 400 million dollars by any means, then are the interpreter and I dangerous witnesses of the plans of an adventurist?”
The KGB considered this conversation very strange. Was Amin planning to get the money and slip away? Amin had become more than the KGB could manage!
Dost (61) (the agent “PIERS”) repeatedly said at meetings that the opinions and wishes of one or two people dominated the party. All the other members followed them blindly. He suggested that with Taraki’s help Amin should be given work of lesser importance or, better still, made to retire.
The Representation and the Residency became increasingly receptive to such advice. They collected information on damaging episodes in Amin’s life and decided to pursue this line. In the USA, Amin had been friendly with an old university friend, N. Pazhvak, the former Minister of Education and an opponent of communism. They had several drinking-bouts together. On the way home from the US, Amin stayed in Europe to visit Ali Akhmad Popal, the ambassador of Afghanistan in Bonn and an agent of imperialism. In Kabul he used to meet the chairman of the Spinzar joint-stock company, Sarwari Nasher, who had maintained contact with King Zahir Shah. Nasher gave Amin financial support in the election campaign. After the April Coup Amin freed him from prison and provided him with a automobile and a driver. In a special room in the hotel Spinzar Amin met General Jeilan Tutakheil and an American whose identity
was not established.
At Taraki’s suggestion Amin was nominated for membership of the PDPA Central Committee. Babrak opposed his nomination. An exchange of fire ensued and Amin threatened Babrak with a pistol.
In 1978 Amin met Husein Payande, who was married to an American, in New York. He is hostile towards the communist parties of India, Pakistan and Iraq and towards the People's Party of Iran (62) and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
In June 1979 the head of the Soviet trade mission in Afghanistan, Yu. G. Bulakh, had a meeting with a deputy head of the FCD, Ya. P. Medyanik. He expressed the view of top Soviet officials in Kabul that a radical political turnover was needed in the leadership of the country. The first step in this direction could be the removal from power of Amin and the establishment of a climate of trust and goodwill at all levels in the economic and party mechanism. An important role in this could be played by the Parchamists who had some experience of government. “They would probably be able to deal with the people and the clergy. The main task for Soviet citizens in Afghanistan is to make sure that Kabul does not alter its traditionally friendly and good-neighborly relations towards the Soviet Union.”
Ivanov and Osadchy sent a telegram to the Center stating that on 16 June 1979 Tarun, the head of Taraki’s chancellery, met Veselkov, the head of the group of Soviet advisers, in the latter's apartment. He said that an anti-Amin group had been formed by [Aslam] Watanjar, the Minister of Defense; Gulyabzoi, the Minister of Communications; [Sheijan] Mazduryar, the Minister of Internal Affairs; and Assadullah Sarwari, (63) the head of AGSA, the Chief Directorate for the Defense of the interests of Afghanistan. These ministers had personally reported to Taraki on the situation in the country. Amin had insisted that they should report to him, as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, and not to Taraki. Sarwari spoke critically of Amin to L.P. Bogdanov.
They expressed their view that “the best course for us to follow in this situation would be to support Taraki who welcomed the letter from the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee and considered it of direct assistance to him in his aim of establishing a collective leadership in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Exactly a month later they informed Moscow of their views on the situation regarding the leadership in the country. There is no collective leadership. Taraki and Amin are taking decisions themselves without consulting with the other members of the PDPA Central Committee. S. Gulyabzoi and Ali Shah Paiman, the Supreme Commander of the People's Militia, are openly expressing their dissatisfaction with Amin. Ivanov and Osadchy think that Amin is trying to seize power. He opposes the drafting of a constitution and the establishment of local authorities in the form of People's (Revolutionary) Councils. He interprets
the letter from the CPSU Central Committee to the Afghan leadership as a desire on of the Soviet side to limit his wish to take policy decisions himself and as an attempt to restrict his freedom of action in the relentless battle against the counter-revolutionaries. He wants to have his own people in Moscow. Of the five members of the Politburo of the Central Committee— excluding Taraki and Amin—Amin is supported by two, Shah Wali and M. Suma. (64) In the Central Committee he is supported by 14 of the 30 members, and in the government by eleven of the 17 members.” “Thus,” concluded Ivanov and Osadchy, “an improvement in the situation of the DRA leadership today depends a lot on N.M. Taraki. This [improvement] will, of course, be impossible unless the principle of collective leadership is accepted and Amin’s wish to rule the government alone is impeded.” And another point; Amin was unable to establish a working relationship with Ambassador Puzanov. It is not clear why it is not the other way round as it is not Amin who was accredited to Puzanov!”
On 1 September 1979 the KGB gave the highest authorities its views on possible ways to overcome the critical situation in Afghanistan. The memoranda stated that the government of Taraki and Amin was clearly losing its authority among the people, [and that the population] was becoming increasingly anti-Soviet. Soviet representatives gave, at various levels, advice and suggestions to Taraki and Amin, that they should increase work with the masses in order to give the regime a broad social basis were almost totally ignored. Taraki and Amin were relying on military force to solve all internal problems and were continuing to take unjustified mass punitive measures. Amin was the main organizer of this policy.
The memorandum made the following suggestions:
1. A way should be found to remove Amin from the leadership of the country, as he is guilty of pursuing a flawed internal policy. He personally should be held responsible for the ungrounded mass punitive measures and the failures of internal policies.
2. Taraki should be persuaded that it is essential to establish a democratic coalition government, the leading role in which must be given to members of the PDPA, including Parchamists. Representatives of patriotically inclined members of the clergy and tribes and representatives of national minorities and the intelligentsia must be brought into the government.
3. Political prisoners who were illegally arrested—in particular members of the Parcham faction—should be released and rehabilitated.
4. An unofficial meeting should be arranged with K. Babrak, Parcham leader who has emigrated to the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, to discuss the stabilization of the internal political situation in the DRA. (65)
5. A “fall back” leadership of the PDPA should be prepared in the DRA in case the crisis situation in the country deteriorates.
Some of these proposals were used as the basis of the document drafted for Brezhnev’s meeting with Taraki [on 10 September 1979]. Instructions were sent to Havana to arrange a meeting with Taraki there during which he would be asked to stop over in Moscow on his way home for an important meeting with Brezhnev.
Brezhnev saw Taraki on 10 September and read with aplomb the note which had been written by the KGB and jointly approved by Andropov, Ustinov (66)
and Gromyko. It spoke of the fears of the Soviet leadership about the situation in Afghanistan, the party and the leadership. The main point of the note was: “I would not consider that I had fulfilled my duty to you, Comrade Taraki, if I did not raise another matter which is causing particular concern, not only to your Soviet comrades, but also, according to information we have, to the members of the PDPA. Your special role as General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee in the leadership of the party and the state is understandable, Comrade Taraki, under the circumstances of the Afghan revolution. However, the concentration of excessive power in the hands of others, even your closest aides, could be dangerous for the fate of the revolution. It can hardly be expedient for someone to occupy an exclusive position in the leadership of the country, the armed forces and the organs of state security.” The tested formula of dictatorial power!
This was a direct and open instruction to Taraki to get rid of Amin. Taraki was given the script for a production of a political play and consent that it should be performed in real life. They decided to use Amin and to blame him for all the mistakes, failures and crimes committed politically and militarily.
Before flying to Kabul, Taraki met A.V. Petrov, his previous contact. When Taraki came to power he was jokingly re-christened Nikolai Mikhailovich Tarakanov [tarakan is Russian for cockroach] by the members of the Residency.
Taraki was met at Kabul airport by the whole Afghan leadership He set about
immediately implementing Brezhnev’s instructions. On 11 September a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the DRA was held. Taraki reported on his meeting with Brezhnev and expressed his deep satisfaction with their conversation. Naturally however, he concealed the main subject of their talks. He spoke about the conference in Havana of the heads of state and heads of governments of the non-aligned countries and his meetings and talks there. On the same day Taraki met Puzanov. Events began to develop rapidly. (67) Puzanov, Ivanov and Gorelov informed the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee that there was a marked deterioration in relations between Taraki and Amin. On 13 September they reported: “Following Taraki’s return to Kabul, at a meeting on 12 September, Amin gave him a report on the situation in the country and the party. He emphasized that during Taraki’s absence an assassination attempt had been made against him. The people behind it were Gulyabzoi, the Minister of Communications; Sarwari, the head of the security organs; Watanjar, the Minister of Internal Affairs; and Mazduryar, the Minister for Border Security. He raised the question of removing these people from their positions and punishing them. Taraki tried to persuade Amin to accept the apologies of these members of the government and to consider the matter closed. Amin did not agree.” Taraki had evidently decided his position beforehand, and he listened to a detailed report from Sarwari on the position in the leadership of the DRA. In his report Sarwari stressed that the initiator of the internal struggle in the party was none other than Amin.
On 13 September Taraki invited Amin to continue their conversation about the
normalization of the leadership. Amin, when he found out that Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and
Mazduryar had also been invited, categorically refused to attend. Amin did not even change his mind when Taraki promised on the telephone to remove all his opponents from their posts and [stated] that he was prepared to let Amin become General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee. After this conversation with Taraki, Amin called to his office Jandad, the head of the National Guard, and Yakub, the Chief of the General Armed Forces Staff. He ordered them not to carry out any instructions from Taraki. Amin declared that he was relinquishing the premiership and becoming minister of defense, and that he would be in charge of all the armed forces. A[sadullah] Amin, a relation of H. Amin, a deputy foreign minister and secretary of the Kabul city committee of the PDPA, spent all his time in the building of the city committee of the party. All of Amin’s supporters were ordered to remain at their posts and to maintain contact with H. Amin and A. Amin. At 9:30 p.m. on 13 September the situation was critical. The possibility that H. Amin might order the military units loyal to him to take up arms against Taraki could not be excluded. Both groups were trying to enlist our [Soviet] support. For our
part we were sticking firmly to the line that the situation in the leadership of the DRA must be normalized along party lines, i.e. collectively. At the same time we were trying to restrain members of both groups from acting in haste and without thinking.”
A telegram addressed to Andropov stated: “Taraki tried again to persuade Amin to come to his residence, but Amin refused and declared that all his demands must be met, otherwise he would take active measures. Taraki said this was a plot, and the negotiations were broken off. Sarwari, Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and Mazduryar came to the Soviet embassy at 7:30 p.m. on 13 September. On behalf of Taraki, Sarwari requested that a group of Soviet comrades be lent to help in the operation to arrest Amin. This request was explained by the fact that there were sympathizers of H. Amin in the People's Guard and it, therefore, could not be fully relied on. At 9:20 p.m., Tarun, the head of the Chancellery of the Revolutionary Council, informed the Soviet Representative by telephone that Amin had come to Taraki’s residence where they were holding
talks. Tarun was told in reply that “within an hour Puzanov, the Soviet ambassador, I.G.
Pavlovskiy (68) and B.S. Ivanov would visit Taraki and Amin.”
The next telegram, addressed [this time] to Brezhnev, Andropov and other members of the [CPSU] Politburo was signed by the group of four—namely Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov and Gorelov. It stated that: “At 9:00 p.m. Moscow time on 13 September we visited Taraki at his residence in the House of the People at the request of the Politburo. At our request he invited H. Amin who came in immediately. (He had been in the adjoining room.) Taraki and Amin listened carefully to the statement of the Soviet leadership—the Politburo and Comrade Brezhnev personally. Taraki said: ‘This is a very interesting message, and it is natural for our Soviet friends and brothers to send us such a message. We support unity, but sometimes certain questions arise which need to be settled. At the time of revolution it is like that, but the present problems are not so complex. I thank the Soviet leadership for its very timely, meaningful and deep, although short message. Our reply is also short, although much could be said about the
“Amin declared that”—the telegram went on to say—“he agreed totally with what had been said. Even at his meeting with Comrade Gromyko in the spring of 1978 he, H. Amin, had told the USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs that Comrade Taraki was the recognized leader and that H. Amin was honored to be a true follower of Taraki. And if he, H. Amin, gives up his life before Taraki he will die knowing that he has fulfilled his duty. And if Taraki ceases to serve the Motherland, then he, H. Amin, as a true follower of Taraki, will do everything to continue the work of his teacher.”
“During the ensuing conversation we stressed that the unity of the party and the leadership of the country was the main key to achieving victory over the enemies of the revolution and to building a new life. Taraki agreed with this and said that Comrade L.I.
Brezhnev had spoken to him very convincingly about the necessity of unity in the party and leadership during their conversation in Moscow on 10 September. Taraki then asked Comrade Pavlovskiy to tell them about the progress of the military operations. We were later told that before our arrival H. Amin had come to Taraki on his own accord. They had evidently held a conversation and reached a certain agreement.”
The night of 13 to 14 September passed quietly in Taraki’s residence. Taraki and Amin were together in the private rooms of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council until 1:00 a.m. local time on 14 September. Amin then went to his own residence, according to Jandad [the commander of the People's Guard]. Jandad said that the state of alert for the People's Guard which guarded Taraki’s residence had been cancelled in the morning of 14 September. But the men had not been allowed into the city since 13 September. Taraki and Amin were being protected by reinforced units of their personal bodyguards.
The ministers who had been in the Soviet embassy from 7:30 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. on 13 September did not spend the night at their own residences as Taraki had suggested they should; rather they hid in covert premises. As the events which took place during the night of 13 to 14 September showed, the letter to Taraki and Amin from the Soviet leadership which was given to them by Puzanov, Pavlovskiy and Ivanov played an important role in their reconciliation. The conditions of the agreement reached between them are not yet known. However, it can be said that Amin did not resort to extreme actions, as he was convinced that the Soviet side would not support any actions which might aggravate the situation in the Afghan leadership and work against the unity of the PDPA. As Jandad said, “the visit to Taraki and Amin by their Soviet comrades helped to reduce the tension between the two leaders.”
At 12:30 on 14 September, B. S. Ivanov and L.P. Bogdanov paid a visit to Amin in the building of the Ministry of Defense at Amin’s request. The prime minister declared: “On 13 September at 1:30 p.m. Amin and Taraki discussed on the telephone the situation in the Afghan leadership. Amin insisted that the ministers should be removed from their posts and sacked for organizing a conspiracy and factional anti-party activities.” Taraki opposed this and proposed that Watanjar should be appointed Minister of Defense and Mazduryar Minister of Internal Affairs. Amin rejected this proposal and supposedly demanded a plenum of the Central Committee or an emergency meeting of the Revolutionary Council. Taraki declared that he did not intend to summon the organs and that he would act with the powers with which he was already invested. Taraki accused Amin of insubordination and threatened to remove him from all his posts. In the evening of 13 September, Amin went to Taraki’s residence. Amin learned that Sarwari and others were being sheltered in the Soviet embassy. Through the head of the chancellery of the Revolutionary Council, Tarun, Taraki telephoned Watanjar and said
something to him. Then Amin said to Watanjar on the telephone: “Why have you run away? Are you hiding? And you called yourselves heroes of the revolution?” In reply Watanjar said that all four of them had considered the conversation between Taraki and Amin at 1:30 p.m. to be a refusal by the Prime Minister to submit to the [PDPA] chairman and that they considered that their lives were in danger.
Throughout the evening and until 1:00 a.m. in the morning of 14 September, Amin and Taraki discussed the situation and tried to find a compromise. Taraki was prepared to remove Sarwari and Gulyabzoi, but he insisted on new appointments for Watanjar and Mazduryar. They argued as to whom to appoint as head of AGSA. Taraki wanted the head of counter-intelligence, A[ZIZ] Akhbari. Amin wanted Tarun. In the morning of 14 September Amin continued to insist by telephone on the removal of the four. Taraki continued to want to appoint two of them. He accused Amin of insubordination and summoned him. Amin spoke to Taraki for a long time in
the presence of Ivanov and Bogdanov. Amin said that Taraki had demanded that he come to him without any arms or bodyguards. He had deduced from these words that his life was in real danger. Amin turned to Ivanov and Bogdanov for advice on how to act and put forward the following scenarios for consideration.
If he would go to Taraki’s residence, he would be killed. Amin said he was prepared to resign from all his posts, to leave the country and, indeed, go to the USSR, or even kill himself if his Soviet comrades considered this to be in the interests of the revolution. However Amin could keep Taraki isolated in his residence and take further steps to normalize the situation on the advice of his Soviet comrades, while giving instructions and orders in the name of Taraki.
Amin insisted that he was absolutely devoted to the USSR and the CPSU and prepared to do what his Soviet comrades wanted. He asked Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov, Gorelov and Bogdanov to discuss his three scenarios, to consult with Moscow, and give him a reply by 5:00 p.m. on 14 September, that is, by 3:30 p.m. Moscow time. Amin let it be understood that he could only be reconciled with Taraki if the chairman of the Revolutionary Council accepted his conditions unconditionally.
For their part [Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov, Gorelov and Bogdanov] suggested that Amin should try to normalize the situation in the Afghan leadership and to prevent any further deterioration in accordance with the letter from the Soviet leadership and L.I.Brezhnev personally.
At 5:20 p.m. on 14 September the following telegram reached Moscow from the
Resident in Kabul: “According to the information our people were given by Aziz Akbari, the head of the AGSA [counter-intelligence directorate], on the morning of 14 September, H. Amin, the Prime Minister of the DRA, ordered him [Aziz Akbari] to act as head of the Chief Directorate for the Protection of the Interests of Afghanistan, AGSA. On the instructions of the prime minister, Aziz Akbari later visited Deputy Foreign Minister Asadullah Amin in order to receive further instructions. At the entrance in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aziz was thoroughly searched and disarmed. Asadullah Amin, a close relation of K.Amin, asked Aziz to carry out his duty and not to leave the building of the AGSA without permission. In reply to the question whether he could meet with the Soviet comrades, A.Amin declared that he must do so. At the same time he suggested that there was a conspiracy by the group of Watanjar-Golyabzoi, who had resorted to terror and forced true members of the PDPA to take decisive action.
Asadullah Amin, Fakir, the deputy minister of Internal Affairs, and other people close to the Prime Minister were maintaining contact with the provinces from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and issuing orders to the governors.
A. Akbari also stressed that, unless urgent and decisive measures were taken to restrain Amin, there could be a massacre of a number of members of the PDPA and also a reshuffle of the staff in the Afghan special organs.
On Amin’s orders political workers and commanders of the central corps, the 4th and 5th tank brigades and the 190th artillery regiment had been arrested. People loyal to Amin had been appointed.”
Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov and Gorelov sent a telegram to the Politburo on 15
September on the situation in Kabul. “In the evening of 14 September we had a conversation with Amin which lasted for two and a half hours. The conversation was in strict accordance with the declaration of the Soviet leadership, the Politburo and L.I. Brezhnev. Amin spoke strongly against Taraki and accused him of attempting to take his life at various times, particularly the morning when he went to the House of the People to meet Taraki and us. As they were going up the stairs to Taraki’s office, Taraki’s bodyguard killed the chief aide of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Tarun, and H. Amin’s bodyguard, who were accompanying the Prime Minister.”
“By the time of the meeting with Amin, Hafizullah had in effect carried out the coup. In the evening new appointments were announced. Amin stated that Taraki, for reasons of poor health, must voluntarily relinquish his post of general secretary at a plenum of the Central Committee. He will remain as Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. We spoke strongly against the removal of Taraki. However, Amin insisted on his proposal and said that the army and the party would not forgive the blood spilled by the group of ministers and assassination attempts by Taraki.”
Amin declared that tomorrow, 15 September, a demonstration would be organized in the country against Taraki, and that the officers will demand revenge. In spite of our insistence and well-founded arguments, we were unable to persuade Amin that Taraki should remain General Secretary of the Central Committee. Amin let it be understood that, if Taraki voluntarily resigned as general secretary, then Amin would guarantee his safety and honor and his position as Chairman of the Revolutionary Council. We insisted that there should be no demonstrations or arrests, which would aggravate the situation, and Amin agreed that, for the time being at least, there would not be any. We agreed to continue our talks with Amin in the morning of 15 September.”
On 15 September at 9:00 a.m. local time, the newly appointed head of the Chief
Directorate for the Protection of the Interests of Afghanistan (AGSA), Aziz Akbari, summoned Bogdanov to an urgent meeting at AGSA. He informed him of the following in confidence. On 13 and 14 September the Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee, Prime Minister H. Amin, had, in effect, carried out a coup d’état and, finally concentrated in his own hands the leadership of the country, the party, the armed forces, and the security organs. The General Secretary and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Taraki, was kept under house arrest by troops of the People's Guard under the command of Jandad who, it appeared, was one of H. Amin’s people.
During the night of 14 to 15 September, Taraki had been deprived of all communications with the outside world. Prior to that, on the afternoon of 14 September, Taraki had said to Akbari: “I am isolated and powerless to take any action. I can only be saved by the intervention of the Soviet Union, but the Soviet comrades will evidently not save me as they must consider the reaction of the US. I have been true to the party and the people. If I do not see you again, farewell, my son.”
There was a swift reaction from Moscow. Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov and Gorelov were instructed in resolution No. P168/6, dated 15 September 1979, from the CPSU Central Committee to visit Amin. They were to state the view and stress the advice of the Soviet leadership that no repressive measures should be taken against Taraki, his relatives and supporters and that he should not be condemned.
On 16 September a plenum of the Central Committee of the PDPA took place. Taraki was removed from his post as general secretary of the party, and Amin was elected in his place. The plenum was held in the building of the ministry of defense in a room next to the office of the Soviet military advisers. As soon as the plenum ended, Shah Wali went into the office of Pavlovskiy and Gorelov and informed them that Taraki had been removed from all his posts and that Amin had been elected general secretary in his place. The resolutions had been unanimous,
with 26 of the 31 members present.
Amin himself then visited Pavlovskiy and announced that he had been elected general secretary. He said that at 3:00 p.m. there would be a meeting of the Revolutionary Council of the DRA at which he, Amin, would be elected chairman of the highest organ of the country.
On 16 September, Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Wali summoned Ambassador
Puzanov and officially informed him that a resolution had been passed at the plenum of the PDPA Central Committee removing Taraki from the post of Secretary General, excluding him from the Politburo and the Central Committee, and banning him from the party for “terrorist activities, the murder of six people and the attempted murder of H. Amin” as well as other crimes. Amin had been elected Secretary General.
The same events are described in Puzanov’s diary for 19 September. It is true that the entry in the diary was not written in the heat of the moment. Rather, the diary had been written with hindsight, later, in October, by the ambassador’s first secretary, D. B. Ryurikov, who also acted as interpreter, wrote in the diary in the ambassador’s name.
“On 13 September 1979 the Soviet Ambassador I.G. Pavlovskiy, B.S. Ivanov and L.C. Gorelov visited Taraki at his residence on instructions from the Center. At our request Taraki invited Amin. They said that the Soviet leadership hoped that the leaders of Afghanistan would display a great sense of responsibility towards the Revolution. They said that they must close ranks and act together from a position of unity. Taraki thanked them. ‘The message is timely, profound and comprehensive, although it is also short. We support unity, but sometimes matters arise which need to be settled.”
Amin said: “Taraki is the recognized leader and H. Amin has the honor to be his
follower.... And if he, Amin, should die before Taraki, he will die in the knowledge that he has done his duty. If Taraki should cease to serve his country, then he, Amin, as a sincere follower of Taraki, will do everything to continue the work of his teacher.”
“On 14 September we all met, again, with Taraki in his residence in the House of the People. We said that the situation had again deteriorated and that the situation required unity in the leadership of the party and in the state. Taraki thanked L.I. Brezhnev and the other Soviet leaders for their concern at the fate of the Afghan Revolution, but he mentioned his disagreements with Amin.
“I noticed long ago that Amin has the tendency to concentrate power in his own hands but I did not attach any particular significance to this. However, recently this tendency has become dangerous.”
Amin reacts badly to criticism. He persecutes anyone who criticizes him and even goes so far as assassination. He is exaggerating his role in the leading and carrying out the Revolution. He is advertising and extolling his own personality. Within the government, he created such an atmosphere, that ministers are frightened to contradict him and to speak out freely. Amin gave posts to his relatives everywhere, both in the party and in the government. It got to such a point that his nephew, A. Amin, held nine posts in various departments in the government and the party. One family is ruling the country just as it was in the times of the King and Daud. (69) […] A real leader, not someone with a club, is needed to lead the party.
“I had doubts before I left for Havana”—continued Taraki. “Amin had been very insisting that I should go, and stressed that the head of state must attend the conference. I brushed aside my doubts and went to Havana. Amin however, refused to go [with me]. When I returned from Havana, the head of AGSA, A. Sarwari, immediately informed me about three conspiracies conceived by Amin. These conspiracies were averted as every time Sarwari told Amin about them. Amin understood that the matter was known and he ordered his people to stop their conspiratorial activities. Nevertheless, Amin reported to a meeting of the Council of Ministers that the situation was calm and that all was well. However, after the meeting he came to me and demanded that the four ministers, M.A. Watanjar, S.M. Gulyabzoi, S.D. Mazduryar and the head of AGSA, A.Sarwari, be arrested or immediately appointed ambassadors and promptly sent out of the country. I refused categorically and again called for conciliation.”
Yesterday, 13 September, Amin again repeated his demands. The tone of our conversation was sharp. I told him that I would not allow repression against my comrades. I said that he was forcing the ministers to hide from his people who were persecuting them. Judging by everything, Amin had hatched the conspiracy. To my comment that Amin must obey my orders, as I, Taraki, am the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Amin smiled and said that I was mistaken and that he, Amin, was in command of the army. Amin is in fact taking the military command into his own hands. With the help of his people in the Kabul city party committee he is taking additional measures to establish overall control over the city. In such a situation one cannot rule out the possibility of open conflict. As before I am prepared to work with Amin, but on the condition that he abandons his policies of
For our part we [the Soviets] expressed the view that it would be sensible to invite Amin to today's meeting as had been done yesterday. Taraki immediately agreed with this and telephoned Amin to invite him. Amin said that he would gladly come.
As we were waiting for Amin, Comrade B.S. Ivanov said that there were persistent rumors that the order had been given to kill Amin as soon as he appeared in the House of the People. Taraki said that this was not true.
A few minutes later, sub-machine gunfire was heard on the other side of the door to Taraki’s office. Comrade L.N. Gorelov went to the window and saw H. Amin running alongside the wall of the grounds of the residence.
Taraki’s bodyguard came in. He said that Amin and others had begun to walk up the staircase. In front were S.D. Tarun, the chief aide of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Council—a supporter of Amin—and Vazir, Amin’s aide. According to the bodyguard, Tarun said that the guards could leave, since they were no longer needed. The guards said that they would not go. Tarun then fired at one of them and was immediately killed by them. The other Amin aide, Vazir was wounded.
Taraki then rang Amin and told him that what had happened was the result of a
misunderstanding between the guards. After he put the receiver down he told us that it was a provocation.
It was suggested that under the circumstances we should immediately visit Amin. Taraki agreed. We telephoned Amin from Taraki’s office and said that the four of us would like to visit him immediately. Amin said that he was waiting and would be pleased to see us.
A sub-machine-gun was lying on the floor in front of the stairs. There were no guards around. When we got to the bottom of the stairs we saw Tarun's body lying on the ground. He had several bullets in his head and chest. The driver of the Soviet ambassador, who was standing by the car at the gates, told us that Tarun had gone up and greeted him before Amin’s car had arrived. As soon as Amin arrived, the two of them had walked with four or five guards into the grounds in order to go to Taraki. A few minutes later shots were heard. Amin and the guards, one of them wounded, had run out, got into cars and left. The guards outside had not fired any shots.”
Record of the conversation with the Prime Minister of the DRA, Amin, on 14 September 1979
Following our meeting with Taraki and the shooting we immediately visited Amin in the Ministry of Defense. We expressed our deep regret at the tragic incident in the House of the People and our deep sympathy at the death of Tarun whom we had known to be a true friend of the Soviet Union. At that moment a single shot from a tank was heard fairly close. Amin was agitated but welcomed [us] warmly. However, it was impossible to speak as the telephones kept ringing. We therefore agreed to meet two-and-a-half hours later at 7:30 p.m.
We arrived at the appointed time. Amin told us about the incident in the House of the People. 'In the morning'—Amin said—‘Taraki invited me to come to him, but without my guard. I refused. Then, in the afternoon, he rang again and invited me for a talk, saying that Soviet comrades were with him. Accompanied by six bodyguards I went to the House of the People. We traveled in two cars. Two of the guards remained at the entrance to Taraki’s residence. The others went with me into the hall with the swimming pool and then towards the staircase. Tarun walked in front, followed by my aide Vazir and myself. When Tarun got to the landing before the last flight of stairs there was a burst of gunfire. Bending down and keeping close to the wall, I ran down to the hall and out into the grounds. I then returned to help them carry out Vazir who was wounded. As though on purpose, my car would not start and we then got into the other car and went to the Ministry of Defense.
I am convinced that it was me whom they wanted to kill. More than a hundred shots have been fired at me before this. Now you can see for yourselves what Taraki wanted. I knew that an attempt on my life was being planned and was ready for this when I met Taraki at the airport on his return from Havana. Today Taraki wanted to kill me. He clearly did not plan to do this in the presence of Soviet comrades, but he must have forgotten to cancel his orders and his people began to shoot.’
We again expressed our deep regret at the incident and said that in the present
circumstances it was particularly important to be restrained and composed. The conflict must not be allowed to escalate. The Soviet leaders had asked us in particular to convey to Taraki and Amin that unity was really essential in the present circumstances, which are so difficult for the revolution. A split in the party and the army would be ruinous for the Revolution.
Amin said that the revolution in Afghanistan could clearly develop without him, as long as it had the help of the Soviet comrades. But the point was, Amin said, that Taraki’s orders were not carried out at the moment by the armed forces, whereas his were. 'I am in command of all the divisions and corps. Yesterday Taraki wanted to send Watanjar, one of his people, to the Ministry of Defense but it did not work. Then Watanjar began to telephone the divisions and tell the commanders that they should prepare themselves to defend the Revolution and Taraki. I gave orders for the commanders of the 4th and 15th armored brigades to be dismissed in order to preserve security and prevent an attack by the tank units [against me]. When Taraki heard about this, he telephoned me and said that I do not have the right to do this. I replied that the Minister of Defense has the right to appoint and dismiss officers of the rank of major. Taraki said that as commander-in-chief he was ordering me to appear in the House of the People. I reaffirmed what I had said to him yesterday, that I was the commander, not he. No one will obey his orders. The commanders obey only me.’
Amin then said that a plenum of the PDPA Central Committee, which will be held
[shortly], will dismiss Taraki from the posts he held although he [Amin] opposes this.
We said that we understood the complexity of the situation. However, it would be
imperative to wait a while for feelings to cool down for the higher interest of party and state. The Soviet leaders firmly believe that Taraki must be at the head of the party and the state and that Amin must keep his posts. The existing correlation of forces in the leadership gave Amin sufficient authority and the widest possibilities to work for the good of the revolution. The present situation would be resolved in the best party and state spirit. The leaders would overcome their disagreements and work together as before in accordance with the declarations of Taraki and Amin. If Amin removed Taraki he would not be understood.
Amin said that he considered the Soviet comrades the most responsible people in
Afghanistan. He was prepared to follow any advice from his Soviet friends, fully, even if he did not agree with it. He, however, could not be responsible for the consequences. He could foresee what would happen. ‘The party knows—said Amin—that I have been shot at a hundred times and that Tarun has been killed. Everyone knows about the other victims of Taraki’s terror. During the last two days four people have been killed, including my closest comrades-in-arms Navab (70)and Stan Gol of AGSA. Sur Gol from the Ministry of Health has disappeared without a trace. The last few days have shaken the party. My comrades in the army are angry and are demanding revenge for the blood spilled. It is therefore essential that a plenum of the Central Committee of the PDPA be held during the next few days at which Taraki must resign as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the PDPA, citing ill health as his reason. At the same time he will remain Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of the DRA. By quitting voluntarily he will retain a worthy position. He will be called a great leader and founder of the party as before. He will be cheered with shouts of 'Hoorah!'. Taraki has usurped his power. He has not allowed me to chair the meetings of the government. He has extolled his personality and finally resorted to terror. The army is very set against Taraki and will speak out against him retaining the post of General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee.’
We [the Soviets] said again, forcefully, that it was essential to preserve unity in the leadership and between Taraki and Amin.
Amin said that he could try to suggest that Taraki should retain his post as General Secretary, but that this would cause a lot of discontent. It could cause a crisis. Amin again spoke forcefully against Taraki. He spoke of his egoism, authoritarianism, and despotism and of his exploitation of the PDPA for his own personal purposes. Taraki had created an atmosphere of fear in the leadership of the party and in the state 'I did everything for him and he repaid me with an attempt on my life.’
We mentioned the question of changes in the government, the dismissal of Watanjar, Gulyabzoi and Mazduryar and the appointment of new people. We noted that the announcement referred to confirmation of these changes by Taraki. Amin said that Taraki was opposed to the dismissal of these people. Nevertheless, it had been decided that their dismissal and the new appointments would be announced with reference to Taraki as had been done previously.
In conclusion we again spoke firmly about the need to retain unity in the party. Amin said that he would talk again to his comrades, bearing in mind the views of his Soviet friends. But he was not sure that he would be able to do anything. He also said that there would be demonstrations in Kabul against Taraki on 15 September. We said that we considered that this was highly undesirable and ought to be stopped. Amin promised to prevent it.” [end record]
We continued our talks with Amin on 15 September at 11:00 a.m. We spoke against the intended removal of Taraki from the post of Secretary General, which would have a negative effect on the Revolution. Amin said that he fully understood the concern of his Soviet friends about the fate of the revolution. This concern was unselfish and was based on the interests of the Afghan people. Amin said that the advice and suggestions of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, of Comrade Brezhnev personally, of Comrade Ponomarev, of the Soviet ambassador and the Soviet comrades here were important to the PDPA and the country. Taraki, however, had ignored them and had done little to put them into action. He, Amin, once the present situation was normalized, was prepared to do everything in order to release the advice and suggestions of the Soviet leaders, to enable the USSR to extend its political support of the DRA and to strengthen co-operation between the armed forces of the two countries. Amin declared that the departure of Taraki would not destroy the unity of the party but, on the contrary, strengthen it. If Taraki were to retain his posts the duplicity would remain and there was a danger of new conflicts.
When asked what should be reported to the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, Amin replied that at the present time his military colleagues were demanding that Taraki should be removed from all his posts. A meeting of the PDPA Politburo had just been held during which it was decided that there should not be two opposing forces within the leadership. When we reminded Amin that just the evening before he had said that Taraki would keep the post of Chairman of the Revolutionary Council and now he was saying that Taraki must be removed from all his posts, he said that many comrades in the party and the army were demanding this. We again said that such hasty changes were not sensible. One must not underestimate the political consequences of Taraki’s removal from the PDPA leadership, as the whole country knew him as the organizer and leader of the Party and the Revolution. This could lead to a serious feeling of distrust towards the party and the regime. The party cannot afford such a shake-up now. Enemies could make use of the split in the party and the prevailing doubts. The breaking of convictions and ideals was a very difficult and serious matter which could have serious, unforeseen consequences.
Amin promised to discuss the matter again with members of the Politburo and other comrades. A plenum of the PDPA Central Committee would be held the following day, 16 September, to discuss the matter. He, Amin, still believed that Taraki’s removal of from all posts he held would be the best way to solve the problem. He hoped that the Soviet comrades would understand this correctly.
Amin said that Taraki’s residence was under heavy guard and that no one was being allowed to enter. We found out that the telephone lines had been cut. There was no way to meet Taraki.”
On 17 September 1979, Soviet Ambassador Pavlovskiy, Ivanov and Gorelov visited Amin and conveyed to him the congratulations of the Soviet leaders on his appointment as General Secretary and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council.
Amin thanked them and expressed his warm greetings and best wishes to the Soviet leaders. On the orders of the Center, they expressed the opinion and strong advice of the Soviet leadership that no repressive measures should be taken against Taraki, his relations and supporters and that Taraki should not be condemned.
“We will see whether this will be possible,” said Amin. They asked what he really meant by these words. Amin replied that he respected the opinion of the Soviet leadership. However, it was a pity that the Soviet comrades had not been able to attend the plenum of the Central Committee and the meeting of the Revolutionary Council the previous day as they would have seen how difficult it was to convince the members of the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council to stop their demands that Taraki must be punished severely. ‘It was only when I [Amin] told the comrades that our Soviet friends would support the formula—[that CC PDPA] accept his [Taraki’s] request to stand down from his posts because of illness—that the members of the Central Committee and Revolutionary Council agreed unwillingly. (Of course, nothing like this had been said in our talks with Amin. We had kept firmly to the line that Taraki must remain General Secretary and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council.)”
Today—Amin continued—Taraki and his family will be taken to their home under heavy guard. Their home will also be heavily guarded so that an attempt cannot be made on Taraki’s life. There is a possibility of this as the hatred towards him is very strong. But Taraki will not be imprisoned.
Amin said that he would work very closely with his Soviet friends and that he would take steps to eliminate known faults and to improve the style and methods of his work. He hoped that his Soviet friends would assist him greatly in the field of party co-operation by educating party members in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism so that they would take an irreversible step forward. He was hoping for economic assistance for Afghanistan and that in the military field the Soviet comrades would help achieve new victories over the enemy, increase the number of advisers and political workers and strengthen the state security.”
A different view of the events in the House of the People was given by the Afghan side, that is, by Amin himself. This was partly seen in the address by the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Foreign Minister, Shah Wali, to a meeting of ambassadors of the socialist countries.
On 6 October, Shah Wali, a member of the Politburo, invited the ambassadors of the socialist countries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He told them that a conspiracy by Taraki had been uncovered.
He said: “On 14 September Taraki asked H.Amin to go to him, but Comrade H.Amin was informed that if he went to Taraki he would be killed. H.Amin therefore refused to go to Taraki. At 5 p.m. the same day, when the Soviet ambassador was with Taraki, Taraki again asked H. Amin to go to him. The Soviet ambassador assured Amin on the telephone that nothing would happen to him if he came to Taraki. Amin, however, did not agree to go to Taraki without a guard although Taraki insisted that he should. Taraki finally agreed that Amin should go to him with a guard. Amin arrived accompanied by his guard and three aides.
Tarun walked in front. Behind him were the three guards. But as they got close to
Taraki’s office, Taraki’s guards opened fire and fatally wounded Tarun. Amin managed to get outside, but he was also fired at and he only managed to escape alive through the selflessness and ingenuity of his aides who led him away using the wall as cover. All this time the Soviet ambassador remained with Taraki in his office.”
Moscow was immediately informed about Shah Wali’s statement. Orders were given from there to meet Amin, issue a protest about Shah Wali’s statement and demand a refutation.
On 9 October Ambassador Puzanov, Deputy Minister of Defense General Pavlovskiy, the leader of the military advisers, Gorelov, and the leader of the KGB representation, Bogdanov, met Amin at 6 p.m. This is how the representative of the KGB described the conversation with Amin in his report to the head of the FCD, Kryuchkov. “In reply to our statement about the provocative statement made by Shah Wali at the meeting of ambassadors from the socialist countries, Amin said that he would not adhere to protocol but would speak as a comrade and brother. He said that he expected the Soviet comrades to do the same.”
‘You—[Amin] said—are complaining and expressing anxiety, but surely this could have been said before. We have talked many times but you have said nothing on these matters before. What was said by Shah Wali to the ambassadors of the socialist countries, was said because this is what was said openly to the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee. But our friends said nothing to us and even now you have come three or four days after Shah Wali spoke. It is a pity. Maybe our Soviet comrades should have told us what to say and how to act.’
“When the Soviet representatives had said what had really happened, H. Amin said: ‘I am sure that it was not like that. There was a telephone call from Taraki. Through an interpreter the Soviet ambassador said that H. Amin could come to Taraki and that H. Amin would not be fired at. Amin is firmly convinced that this is what was said. Moreover, there were Afghan comrades in the room with Amin and they heard me speaking. Of course, it is possible to deny this now. I am prepared to defer to my Soviet comrades. We are always ready to follow their advice on matters of diplomacy and international relations.’
‘On the morning of 14 September—Amin continued—I described the situation to
Comrades B.S. Ivanov and L.P. Bogdanov. I said that they wanted to kill me. I went with my bodyguard to Taraki on the same day. I insisted on the bodyguard as I was aware of the danger. You have seen for yourselves that this was not excessive. There was the telephone call I mentioned. And if the comrades who were with Taraki do not remember, then the interpreter must remember as it was with him that I spoke on the telephone before the incident. If the interpreter cannot confirm this now, then he will certainly tell you when you get to the embassy and remind you what happened. In any case, this is my firm conviction. Can I be mistaken? Can my mistake cause damage to the world communist movement? And if the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee thinks so, then I will accept their advice and do everything that my Soviet comrades want. Shah Wali is not guilty of anything. If my account of the events to the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee and to the Plenum of the PDPA Central Committee was a mistake, then the blame lies all with me as I set out the events in accordance with my convictions. But if I am destined to die, then I will die with a clear conscience as I did everything according to my convictions. If my Soviet comrades so wish, I can call a plenum of the Central Committee of the PDPA, resign as General Secretary and let another person be chosen.’
“‘I was probably mistaken to report this story to the Politburo and the Central Committee of the PDPA. This should not have been done, although I did tell them what really happened. My Soviet comrades have a different point of view. And I respect their understanding of events and their conviction. We value our Soviet friends. On questions of international relations and foreign affairs we are prepared to accept their advice about what should be said and what should not be said. As far as what happened is concerned I do not feel any guilt. I said only what I felt and believed. And I repeat that Shah Wali has nothing to do with it.’
When the Soviet representatives insisted that an accurate picture of what had happened must be given, H. Amin said: ‘So I should summon my comrades and tell them that everything they have heard is not what actually happened? Of course, I greatly respect my Soviet comrades. I am prepared to do this but will it be the right thing? Would it be right to recall the pamphlets The attempt on the life of H. Amin by Taraki and the failure of this attempt which have been distributed to the army and the party? The pamphlets set out the facts in the same way. This would cause harm to me as General Secretary and harm to the whole party.
‘If you so want,’ continued Amin, ‘we will not say anything else to anyone about this. We sense that the Soviet leaders are worried. We do not see any difficulties in this, although this story is extremely important. There may be mistakes and misunderstanding. I am sure that my convictions are correct, but at the same time I respect the convictions of my Soviet comrades. I suggest that, if you so want, you can make known your point of view and refute our statements regarding the time spent in the Soviet embassy by the four ministers; Watanjar, Gulyabzoi, Mazduryar and Sarwari.’ H. Amin said that he would like to apologize if Shah Wali gave the wrong date, 14 September instead of 13 September, and that he, Amin, has no complaints on this point.
When the Soviet representatives said that the announcement by Shah Wali could be used by the enemies of Soviet-Afghan friendship Amin declared: ‘Don't be afraid! Let the people from Washington come and see for themselves that they cannot harm our friendship. Our enemies are upset as they have no hope. I give my word that we are marching towards communism. There should be no worries about the friendship and brotherhood of the Soviet and Afghan peoples and the communist parties of the two countries.’
Amin said that he did not think it worthwhile to make a fuss about the statement by Shah Wali, to broaden the discussion and for the Afghan side to make some kind of retraction. If it were retracted, this would be received badly by the Central Committee of the PDPA and the whole country. They would say that the retraction had been made under pressure from the Soviets. It would be better for them to give their own version to the ambassadors of the socialist countries. We would not make any objections. And if there were any questions, you should say: ‘Ask Amin, he will tell you everything.’ ‘For our part we will stick to our statements to the press. But if we were to begin with a retraction, then it could lead anywhere. In the party they will ask what kind of a general I am if I deceive them. And what's more, I will not abandon my beliefs. And my Soviet friends would hardly want me to renounce what I believe in. This would not be the communist way. But if necessary, I am prepared to submit and to act against my convictions although this will mean acting against my conscience. In order to get rid of my convictions I would have to vanish, to commit suicide.’
In conclusion Amin said that he was prepared to do what the Soviet leaders wanted, even if this were against his wishes. However, it would be good if the Soviet leaders were informed of his, Amin’s, point of view and based their decisions on this.
It should be noted that during the talks H. Amin did not inform the Soviet representatives of the death of Taraki although the official announcement had already been transmitted by the Afghan news agency Bakhtar with a note 'not to be used until 8 p.m. on 9 October of this year.’
During the talks H. Amin was brash and provocative. He sometimes contained his fury with difficulty. He interrupted the Soviet representatives and did not give them a chance to state their point of view calmly. At the same time there were moments when he appeared to collect his thoughts and gave the impression that he did not want to spoil his relations completely. The talks lasted for about two hours.”
On 13 October a report was made known by those close to Amin which recounted in detail the events of 14 September. Amin again related his misadventures on that memorable day. He spoke angrily about Puzanov using unprintable language.
“I understand.” said Amin, “that it would have been possible and was necessary to make known certain details of the organized conspiracy and attempt on my life without causing harm to the prestige of the Soviet Union for the sake of our friendship which is our main goal. But when Ambassador Puzanov lied to me directly and tried to convince me that he did not invite me through the interpreter to come to him when he was with Taraki and the Generals Pavlovskiy, Gorelov and Ivanov, then I cannot stop myself from saying everything I think about this person. I do not wish to meet him or talk to him. It is difficult to understand how such a liar and tactless person has been ambassador here for so long. I find it unpleasant that the Soviet ambassador (at this point Amin swore volubly) tries to depict the events of September 14 in a different light and asks me to confirm this untruth. I shall never do this. This is why I asked Doctor Shah Wali, who does not know the details of the attempt on my life, to invite the ambassadors from the socialist countries and tell them just a few details of the attack. Comrade Brezhnev is the only person to whom I can explain in more detail the reasons for my disagreement with Taraki, all the details of the organized plot and the attempt on my life. I am very angry at Puzanov’s conduct in the whole affair.’”
It is possible that Amin reckoned that the ears and eyes of the KGB would take note of his sharp criticism of Puzanov as well as his general displeasure. They would report this to Moscow which would draw the correct conclusions. This is what happened. Puzanov was replaced by Tabeev, (71) the First Secretary of the Regional Party Committee of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
Here is an excerpt from the diary of Puzanov, dated 17 October, on this subject. It was written by D.B. Rurikov, the interpreter.
“On 9 October 1979 the Soviet Ambassador, Pavlovskiy, Gorelov and Bogdanov visited Amin on the instructions of the Center. It was made known that Moscow was very displeased by the fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the PDPA, Shah Wali, had made pronouncements during his meeting with the ambassadors of the socialist countries in Kabul, including the ambassadors of Yugoslavia and the People’s(72) Republic of China, which cast a shadow on the Soviet representatives in Kabul. It was suggested that the Soviet ambassador, when he was with Taraki on 14 September, guaranteed Amin’s safety during his meeting with Taraki and the Soviet representatives when he spoke to H. Amin on the telephone. But it is well known that the Soviet ambassador did not speak to Amin on the telephone from the residence of Taraki. Likewise Shah Wali gave a false account of the time spent in the Soviet embassy by the four former ministers. They actually went to the Soviet embassy on 13 September, not 14 September, when almost nothing was known about the discord within the leadership of the PDPA. Amin must understand that the statements by Shah Wali which distort the truth are not only in contradiction to the spirit of comradely relations between our parties and countries, but they will inevitably be used by the adversary to harm the cause of the Afghan Revolution and can be used by our enemies to discredit Soviet-Afghan relations. We insist that authoritative Afghan representatives immediately explain to the ambassadors of the socialist countries the true course of events and correct the false impression which must have been given by the utterances of Shah Wali.
Amin, when he had listened to this, said that he would speak in a comradely and
brotherly way without protocol and that he expected the Soviet comrades to do the same. 'The Soviet comrades are making complaints and expressing their concerns, but surely they could have done this sooner. We met and talked a number of times, but the Soviet side said nothing on these matters.’ Shah Wali had spoken thus to the ambassadors of the socialist countries because this was precisely the information that he, Amin, had given to the politburo of the Central Committee of the PDPA. But the Soviet comrades had said nothing before and had now come only three or four days after Shah Wali had spoken. 'It is a pity that this is what happened. It is possible that the Soviet comrades should have told us what to say and how to act.’
We stressed that there had been no telephone call from us prior to the incident in Taraki’s residence. The Soviet ambassador had spoken to Amin through an interpreter immediately after the incident when the Soviet representatives decided to visit Amin immediately as they considered it necessary to speak to him personally in order to avoid any misunderstanding.
‘I am sure that it was not like that,’ said Amin. ‘In any case, my impression of what happened is this. Before the incident on 14 September I received a telephone call from Taraki. Through an interpreter the Soviet ambassador said that H. Amin could come to Taraki and that they would not shoot at H. Amin. I am absolutely sure that this is what was said. Moreover, Afghan comrades were with me in the room and they heard what I said. Of course, it is possible to deny this now. I am prepared to defer to the Soviet comrades. We are always prepared to accept their advice on matters of diplomacy and international relations.’
Pavlovskiy said that everyone who was with Taraki on 14 September was here now apart from B.S. Ivanov. We again confirmed that there had been no telephone call from the Soviet ambassador prior to the incident.
‘During the morning of 14 September,’ Amin continued, ‘I described the situation to Comrades Ivanov and Bogdanov. I said that they wanted to kill me. I went to Taraki with my guards. I insisted on this as I sensed the danger. You saw for yourselves that my precautions were not excessive. I am convinced that the telephone conversation took place. And if the comrades who were with Taraki do not remember, then the interpreter must remember as it was with him that I spoke before the incident. If the interpreter does not confirm this here now, then he is sure to remember when he returns to the embassy and he will tell you what happened. In any case, this is what I firmly believe. Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe my mistake will cause damage to the world communist movement? If the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee so wants, then I will accept its advice and do everything that the Soviet comrades want.’
They again outlined the course of events. We said that we understood that it was quite possible for events to become muddled in one's mind as a result of a nervous shock. But the distortions expressed by Shah Wali must be corrected.
Amin said that Shah Wali was not to blame. He had informed the ambassadors of the socialist countries of what he had heard of the events at the politburo and the Central Committee of the PDPA and the politburo and the Central Committee had been informed thus by Amin.”
“‘If my report to the politburo and the Central Committee of the PDPA was a mistake, then the blame is all mine as I described events as I believed them to be. But if I am sentenced to die, then I will die with a clear conscience as I have acted in accordance with my convictions. If the Soviet comrades so wish, I can summon a plenum of the Central Committee and resign as General Secretary. They can choose someone else.’
They again repeated that Shah Wali had distorted the facts and that this must be
‘The mistake,’ said Amin, ‘was probably that I reported this story to the Politburo and the Plenum of the Central Committee. I should not have done this although I reported what had happened. The Soviet comrades hold a different point of view. I respect their interpretation of the events and their beliefs. We highly regard our Soviet friends and are prepared to accept their advice on what to say and what not to say on questions of international policy and foreign affairs. Concerning what happened, I repeat that I do not feel any guilt. I spoke only of what I went through and of what I am convinced. And I repeat that Shah Wali has nothing to do with it.’
To our insistence that a correct account of what happened must be given Amin said:
‘Do you want me to call my comrades together and tell them that everything that they heard does not correspond to what happened? I deeply respect the Soviet comrades and am prepared to do what they say. But would this be right?’
They again demanded that Shah Wali’s distortion of the facts should be corrected. They said that there were already talk and comment on Shah Wali’s statement in the diplomatic corps. Information which is undesirable and does not conform to actuality could reach Western journalists who would not lose the opportunity to use it for their own aims.
‘The Soviet comrades,’ said Amin, ‘have no reason to be afraid. Let the people from Washington come and see for themselves that they cannot harm our friendship. The enemies are worried because they have no hope. I give my word that we are following the path to communism step by step. There should be no concern regarding the friendship and brotherhood of the two countries, the Soviet and Afghan peoples and the communist parties of the two countries.
Amin suggested that the Soviets should make the refutation themselves and said that the Afghans would not object. We again insisted that corrections should be made. Amin said that the matter would be raised at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee and that he would report on the results.
Amin was in an agitated state and spoke with a raised voice throughout the conversation on the message from the Center. As we parted, he said:
‘Maybe I have been speaking too loudly and too quickly during our conversation but, you know, I was brought up in the mountains and that is how we speak in the mountains.’”
On 29 October the Residency reported that Amin had shown noticeable concern at the reaction of the leadership of the USSR to the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Wali, to the ambassadors of the socialist countries. At a meeting with Soviet KGB representatives on 15 October Amin said that he was under the impression that “the Soviet leaders are offended with me because of the nature of my conversation on 9 October with the Soviet Ambassador Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Gorelov and Bogdanov when I defended Shah Wali and put all the blame on myself.’
Amin was told in reply that the Soviet leadership could not let pass such a serious fact as the attempts in the address by Shah Wali to cast a shadow on the role of the USSR and to connect somehow the Soviet side with the events in the House of the People on 14 September. A distorted account of the role of the Soviet representatives in these events was also contained in a restricted document in the Politburo of the Central Committee of the PDPA.”
Citing Afghan sources, the Residency noted that Amin would for a time maintain a cordial attitude towards the USSR and the CPSU, but that he was also actively propounding his theory about the equal responsibility of Afghan officials and Soviet advisers for the situation in the country.
What happened to the four ministers?
At 8:00 a.m. on 14 September the operative [Valeri I.] Samunin (codename 'Macloy') was summoned to an emergency meeting. (73) He was the Third Secretary in the embassy. Gulyabzoy, Watanjar and Sarwari declared that Amin wanted to kill them and asked that the Soviet ambassador and B.S. Ivanov (codename 'Zorin') should be informed of this. At 11 a.m. there was a brief telephone conversation between Watanjar and Taraki. At 2:30 p.m. the three ministers arrived by car secretly at Samunin’s official residence, 700 meters from the Soviet embassy. They opened the gates, drove into the garden and hid the car in the garage. Gulyabzoi ('Mamad') knew about this house as he had attended meetings here from 1973 to 1975. On the orders of Ivanov and with the agreement of the ambassador they were secretly transferred to the base of the special ‘Zenith’ unit. Their appearance was altered. Their moustaches were shaved off and they were dressed in the uniform of the unit. They were housed in a separate room on the upper floor of the villa.
Amin asserted that Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov and Gorelov were involved in an
attempt to lure him into a trap. The terrorist act was the work of Taraki together with the gang of four and some of these four were being hidden by the Soviets. The KGB Representation was instructed to deny any knowledge of the whereabouts of these people and elaborate measures were taken to keep secret the fact that three of the ministers were in the villa. “The visit to the Soviet embassy on 13 September by Watanjar, Gulyabzoi, Mazduryar and Sarwari, together with the later disappearance of three of them is causing great concern to Amin,” wrote the Residency.
On 14 September, in conversation with Puzanov, Pavlovskiy, Ivanov and Gorelov, Amin said that it had been decided to dismiss these ministers as conspirators. He added that Mazduyar was at home, but that the remaining three were perhaps hiding in the Soviet Embassy. Puzanov categorically denied this.
[9 lines excised.] A complete list of the PDPA military organization, which was known only to Amin and Taraki, had been found amongst the papers of M. Daud. Sarwari noted that many secret members of the PDPA who belonged to the military and had been introduced to Amin as people prepared to take part in the revolution were either victims of repression or removed from their posts by Daud’s regime. Then Sarwari, in order to test Amin, had introduced to him as active communists and revolutionaries members of the Parcham military organization. Soon afterwards these people were arrested. Sarwari had informed Taraki of this in writing.
[One line excised.] In the summer of 1979 Amin had discussed with Sarwari the organization of a terrorist act against Panjshiri and H. Misaq, members of the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee. Sarwari explained to Amin that the murder of these activists could lead to undesirable consequences in the party and that it would be better to remove them by accusing them of secret contacts with the leader of the Setami Melli nationalist organization, [Tahir] Badakhshi. (74) He was under arrest and under pressure would give evidence about the contacts of D. Panjshiri and H. Misaq with this organization. This postponed their execution. On 4 September AGSA uncovered five people who were planning an attempt on the life of Taraki. When Sarwari reported this to Amin, the latter ordered the terrorists to be arrested but not one of them could be found. An agent of AGSA, Sarwari and Amin were the only people who knew about the planned arrest of the group. Sarwari was convinced that Amin had organized the group and that he had managed to warn the terrorists about their impending arrest.
On the eve of Taraki’s flight from Havana to Afghanistan, Amin had spoken to the head of the technical radar service of the anti-aircraft defense force and agreed with him that he should arrange for the plane carrying Taraki to be shot down by anti-aircraft guns. An agent found out about this and the terrorist act was prevented.
650 American dollars had been found in the pocket of Navab, a supporter of Amin, who was killed during an attempt on the life of Sarwari. Amin had made Sarwari give him and his nephew, Assadullah Amin, part of the money from the sale of property confiscated by AGSA from people who had been arrested and their families. A shop was opened in Kabul to sell this property and the proceeds went to Amin. Four million Afghani, eight hundred Russian Nikolaev gold coins and twelve boxes of women's jewelry, taken from members of the family of the well-known member of the clergy, Mojaddedi, (75) also went to Amin. Altogether Sarwari handed over to him 300 million Afghani. Amin used this money to bribe commanders of military units, the police and other officials. For example, Amin gave 40,000 Afghani to Muhammad Nazar, the commander of the air force, and 25,000 Afghani to Hamse, the commander of the transport regiment.
Valuables from the palaces of King Zahir Shah and Daud also landed in the hands of Amin and his relations. In June 1979 his son went secretly to Japan and took with him 128 kilograms of valuables belonging to the king and to Daud. In Japan his son met high-ranking Americans and Japanese. Of the 55.800,000 Afghani given by the USSR to the Afghan security organs, only 25.800,000 Afghani were used. The remaining 30 million were deposited into Amin’s personal bank account. When talking freely to those close to him, Amin always spoke arrogantly and ironically about the USSR and its leaders. He used the propaganda arsenal and the lexicon of the Americans. Every time that the USSR turned down a request by Taraki for Soviet troops to be sent to Afghanistan, Amin did not conceal his joy from his closest companions as he understood that the arrival of Soviet troops would hinder his plans to seize power.
All three ministers depicted Amin as an American spy, provocateur, terrorist, adventurist and plunderer.
The information from the ministers was sent right to the top of the Kremlin, to Brezhnev, Andropov, Gromyko, Suslov, Ustinov and Chernenko. (76) The Representation and the KGB Residency in Kabul added their own comments to the effect that “the material from Sarwari, Watanjar and Gulyabzoi had not been known previously. This was the first time such information had been obtained and that it needed to be carefully verified. This would be difficult, as these people could not show any firm evidence or documentary proof.
[Approximately 2 lines excised.]
All three men were agitated and angry with Amin.”
Operation 'Raduga' [Rainbow] was devised to take the three ministers illegally out of Afghanistan to the USSR. This involved a cover story about rotating personnel from the ‘Zenith’ unit which protected Soviet buildings. A detailed description of the fugitives was given to Moscow so that written portraits could be prepared. (77)
On 18 September ten members of the unit flew from Moscow to the air base at Bagram in an Il-76. The plane carried two covered lorries. Part of the load was sent as diplomatic baggage. One of the lorries carried special containers. Also on the plane was an operational group from Directorate S of the FCD: V. S.Glotov, the leader of the group, M. Talybov, an interpreter, N.S. Zorin, a specialist on documents, V.I. Adrianov, from the 7th Directorate of the KGB, a make-up artist with the necessary accessories hurriedly brought in from Berlin, 3 wigs, products and equipment for doing hair and creams and liquids for changing the color of hair from black to auburn, light-brown and chestnut. An AN-12 accompanied the plane from Fergana to Bagram.
An operational group was established by the KGB Residency and Representation
consisting of S.G. Bakhturin and B.N. Kabanov, who were informed of the nature of Operation ‘Raduga’, and two officers from the KGB Representation, Yu.D. Ivanov and A.I Dadykin, who were to be used 'unconsciously' to guard and conduct the ‘Raduga’ party from Kabul to Bagram. They were to be assisted by four members of the Kabul ‘Zenith’ unit under the command of the commander of the unit, N.A. Surkov. L.P. Bogdanov was directly responsible for running the operation and the leader of the operation, B.S. Ivanov, was to be involved when necessary.
The plan for Operation ‘Raduga’ was as follows. 1. The operational group would travel to Bagram, 60 kilometers from Kabul, before the arrival of the plane. There would be a car, the embassy bus driven by a Residency operational driver and a GAZ-69 lorry. The people and lorry would be unloaded from the plane. When the plane was unloaded, the vehicles would set off for Kabul, led by Kabanov. Ivanov and Dadykin would see the vehicles through the Bagram checkpoint. (78) 2. The car carrying the ‘Zenith’ group baggage would unload at the villa and then ‘Raduga’ would be loaded. Prior to this the make-up artist would do the necessary work on Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and Sarwari and give them the required appearance. Before the actual loading of ‘Raduga’ into the lorry, Surkov did a rehearsal with a soldier from the ‘Zenith’ unit. The ‘Raduga’ container and the disguised luggage would be put into the car. Then the convoy led by Kabanov’s car, followed by the lorry with ‘Raduga,’ the bus carrying the departing soldiers from the unit and the GAZ-69 with a cover party would set off for Bagram along a route planned to avoid the heavily guarded central part of Kabul. Between Kabul and the first control point a car carrying the Soviet military adviser at the Bagram airbase would join the convoy to ensure that the cars passed unhindered through the control points on the route. Bakhturin and Dadykin were in charge of the convoy as it passed the Bagram checkpoint and drove across the aerodrome to the plane. The Soviet embassy had earlier requested the Afghan commander of the airbase through the military adviser to co-operate in allowing onto the base people leaving for the Union at the end of their tour of duty and their luggage. 3. The car containing ‘Raduga’ would be put on the plane without being unloaded. The members of the ‘Zenith’ group who were leaving would then board the plane. 4. The ‘Zenith’ soldiers would carry Soviet passports with exit-entrance visas. The operational officers were provided with accreditation from the Prime Minister of the DRA and diplomatic passes. A timetable down to the last minute was drawn up
for the route.
In view of Sarwari’s appearance, a container was prepared for him by the Residency with all essential equipment. Unavailable parts were obtained by the Center. It was equipped with four small mountain rescue oxygen tanks sufficient for six hours. Gulyabzoi and Watanjar were documented as soldiers from the Zenith unit and given Soviet passports.
After intense preparation and measures to distract attention Operation ‘Raduga’ was carried out on 19 September. The ministers were flown to Tashkent. Many people were awarded honors and congratulated by the Chairman of the KGB for their role in the operation. (79)
The guests were housed in a two-story detached house surrounded by a high fence in Lunacharsky Street which belonged to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan. The building was equipped with listening devices which were used from 19 September to 14 October. Ninety-two tapes of conversations were recorded.
On 19 September the deputy head of the 8th Department of the FCD, Colonel I.I. Ershov, and an operational officer from the 3rd Department of Directorate K, Captain Y.L. Kukhta, who had worked with the ministers during a posting in Kabul, flew to Tashkent to interview them.
On 25 September the deputy head of the FCD, Y.P. Medyanik, was sent to Sofia to arrange with the Bulgarians for temporary refuge to be given clandestinely to the Afghans. If the Bulgarians were to ask why the Afghans could not remain in the USSR, he was to refer to the special relationship between the Soviets and Afghans. If they were to raise the question of expenses on their upkeep, he was to say that the Soviets were ready to take all expenses on themselves. On 27 September Medyanik, the KGB representative in Sofia, P.T. Savchenko, and his deputy, L.I. Pastukhov had a meeting and discussion [with the Bulgarians—names and four lines excised].
The men from Kabul were given a specially equipped villa about a hundred kilometers from Varna in the area of Shumen. The replies to possible questions from the Bulgarians proved unnecessary. The Bulgarians did not ask any questions. On 14 October the former ministers flew on TU-134 A from Tashkent to Sofia accompanied by Yershov and Kukhta.
To conclude this story we will mention the following. 4,220,000 Afghanis and 53,950 American dollars were found when Sarwari’s car, used by the ministers to flee to the KGB clandestine residence in Kabul, was searched. All three refused the money and said that it was not theirs. The money remained without an owner. The Residency believed that Sarwari had taken this money from AGSA funds.
The saying is true that one does not accuse oneself and that it is the thief who shouts ‘Stop thief!’ The dollars were sent to Moscow and the Afghanis incorporated in the Residency’s expenditures for 1979.
Incidentally, the expenses of the Kabul Residency were 111,600 hard currency rubles in 1978, 115,600 in 1979 and 126,000 in 1980, excluding expenditure of the KGB Representation, Lines N and NTR, the 16th and 19th Departments and the purchase of new cars and the replacement of old cars. (80)
THE DECEMBER COUP
The failure to remove Amin sorely hurt the pride of the Kremlin elders and the KGB. They feared an unexpected turn of events. The character of Amin did not fit into the usual mould of a leader of a friendly country.
The Residency considered that the majority of the members of the Politburo, the
secretaries of the Central Committee, the Revolutionary Council and the government were firm supporters of Amin, some from conviction, some from necessity, and some from indecision. In the Revolutionary Council there were twenty-two members who supported Amin, six who vacillated or went along, seven who were opponents, and six who were enemies. The attitude of the remaining six members was not known. But in the higher and middle echelons of the regime dissatisfaction with Amin became apparent. People expressed their grievances, said that they had been passed-over and that their energetic participation in the events of 13 September to 16 September had not been duly appreciated by Amin. For example, one of those thus displeased was the commander of the Ministry of Internal Affairs units, Major Ali Shah Paiman. The deputy head of the Directorate of Counter-Intelligence (Kam), Nurach Ruin, was dismissed from his
post and voiced aloud his annoyance that he was not elected to the Central Committee plenum.
Amin instructed the Afghan mass media to reduce the sharp tone of its publications and pronouncements against imperialism and Pakistan. The members of his entourage closest to him were persuading Amin to adopt a reasonable attitude towards the USA and the [other] Western countries. In October the arrival at Kabul airport of a passenger DC-10, which had been purchased from the American Ariana company, was given wide and enthusiastic coverage.
In his actions during the September days Amin used the prevailing situation in the
country in quite a masterly way to deal quickly a crushing blow to his opponents and remove Taraki from the political arena. The key positions were given to people who were personally devoted to Amin. A campaign was organized to compromise Taraki and his supporters as enemies of the Revolution and accomplices of imperialism.
Aziz [Ahmad Akhbari], a nephew of Asadullah Sarwari, attended the open and closed gatherings of the opponents of Amin. It appeared later that he was an agent of Amin to whom he recounted everything that was said at the meetings.
At his meetings with Soviet representatives, Amin tried to create an atmosphere of openness. He expressed his willingness to follow all their suggestions and wishes. This allowed him to gain time to strengthen his position and deal covertly with those who stood in his way. Taking into account the position of the Soviets towards Taraki and his supporters, Amin tried to get rid of Taraki as quickly as possible and to avoid the possibility of unwelcome actions by his opponents. He took various steps to ascertain the true attitude of the Soviet leadership towards himself.
The Residency and the KGB representation claimed that Amin had given a false
interpretation of the Soviet position at the Special Plenum of the PDPA Central Committee and the emergency meeting of the Revolutionary Council of the DRA on 16 September. He had made it appear that the Soviet side would not object to the dismissal of Taraki from his posts on the grounds of “the state of his health.” The degree of openness and trust shown by the officers in their talks with the advisers was noticeably less than before. There were signs of anti-Sovietism and an increase in the American presence. The head of the Worker's Counter-Intelligence, Asadullah Amin, expressed his displeasure at the fact that the USSR was giving the DRA less material and military aid than it had given to Cuba and Vietnam although Afghanistan was its immediate neighbor and had a common border. He condemned the fact that the USSR was gradually and steadily ceding one position after another in the international arena to world imperialism. He said that the Soviet leadership did not always understand the political situation in the world correctly and accurately. Those holding supreme power had aged and grown decrepit.
The agent operational situation following Amin’s rise to power was characterized by the following points:
1. There was a general growth in anti-Soviet incidents. The Afghans began to say openly that after the 1978 Revolution Afghanistan would have managed perfectly “without Russian machine-guns, rockets and tanks. Afghans do not need the beggarly Russian socialism and Russian politics.”
2. The political targeting of Soviet citizens on the personal orders of Amin and gradual pressure on Soviet specialists with a view to using them to transmit slanted information to Moscow through unofficial channels bypassing the embassy and leadership of other departments.
3. The gathering, circulation and analysis of compromising material on Soviet citizens. This task was given to the organs of Kam and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
4. Covert searches and surveillance of Soviet citizens, threats and blackmail.
The Residency drew up this list in October. [Approx. 1 line excised.]
At the same time the Center was informed that a meeting of members of the Amin clan was held in October in the town of Pachman. (81) Amin was told to think seriously about the future of the clan and to concern himself with its safety and wellbeing. He was to stop playing with the party and in future to appoint to the top government posts only his own relations. He was not eternal and when he was gone their enemies would get even with the clan. Amin reportedly said the following: “Of course, I support the principle of collective leadership and the party, but the Afghan kings ruled the country for centuries without a party.”
“I could perhaps rule the country by myself with the support of people close to me and my true aides.”
The Residency concluded that everything suggested that Amin was wittingly or
unwittingly working towards a collapse and defeat of the Revolution and that he was serving reaction and imperialism.
The utterances of several Afghan politicians were made known from various sources. The temporary chargé d'affaires of Afghanistan in Yugoslavia, M. Abdul Rakhman Abkhat, sowed harmful bacilli of doubts about Soviet socialism and its various forms in the East European countries to a group of diplomats in Belgrade. “These models are unacceptable to Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s attachment to the USSR is only a short-term tactical step caused by the internal situation. When the situation has been consolidated, Afghanistan will rely on effective aid from the Muslim countries. It will follow the example of Egypt and come out openly against the presence of Soviet advisers in the country.”
The well-known Afghan writer and editor of the magazine Khonare Khalq, A.P. Zaryab, was arrested and imprisoned. When he was released he told of his time in prison and the torture. He claimed that the Soviet advisers also took part in the interrogations and tortures. The majority of Afghans were convinced that Afghan officials and Soviet advisers bore equal responsibility for the situation in Afghanistan. The Soviet side was involved in the punitive policies of the regime and co-operated in the repression on an equal basis with the Afghans. Zaryab expressed the opinion that Amin had destroyed the cream of the Afghan intelligentsia and that 17,000 people had been killed. Hatred of Russians was increasing amongst the people. The Afghans called the rebels the people. “In fact,” he said, “the Afghan army is fighting against the people. Planes and tanks have destroyed and are destroying villages where simple workers live. Are the Russians guilty or not? The Afghans are convinced that, if the Soviet Union did not support Amin, then he would not be able to give orders to kill people, wipe villages from the earth and crush innocent peasants with the tracks of tanks.
When the uprising against Amin takes place, as it is bound to do sooner or later, then simple people in Afghanistan will make short work of the Russians if, of course, Amin has not already driven them from the country. Things seem to be going this way. Socialism and the Soviet Union are concepts which have been seriously compromised in Afghanistan for a long time. Now it is common to hear in educated circles that the Russians massacred the Afghan intelligentsia in order to make it easier for them to keep the country under control. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the genuine and devoted friends of the Soviet Union to rebuff such arguments as the majority of Afghans can see that the official line of the USSR is to support the government of Amin.”
The number of anti-Soviet people was also increased by the followers of Taraki. They believed that the USSR and its advisers had facilitated the coup by Amin and the downfall of Taraki and that they were directly involved in the changes in the party and state apparatus. The presence of Soviet advisers in the army and security organs was seen as a measure taken by the USSR to support and strengthen the Amin regime. Anti-Soviet feelings were widespread amongst the intelligentsia. “The present leadership of Afghanistan is doing everything to undermine the trust of Afghans in friendship with the USSR. The Parchamists have not changed their attitude towards the USSR. They consider that is was and remains a true friend of the Afghan people. But we find it difficult to explain to simple people why the Soviet Union is helping the Amin government which is hostile to all Afghans.” This is what Parchamis said to
In October there was a revolt in units of the 7th infantry division which was stationed near Kabul. It developed into an armed attack. Officers who supported Taraki led the mutiny. The mutineers shouted the slogans: “Long live Taraki! Long live Marxism-Leninism.”
The following episode illustrates the mood amongst the people. On 28 November a film was shot in the official residence of the head of the Afghan state. During the shooting a flag of the Daud regime was raised. People living in areas close to the House of the People saw the flag and thought that the government of Amin had been overthrown. The people loudly expressed their joy, embraced and congratulated each other.
The Moscow bosses attributed particular significance to information from the Residency about contacts which were said to have taken place between Afghan government officials and the extreme Muslim opposition. The meeting was said to have taken place at the end of September in the province of Logar. (82) Right-wing Muslim representatives came from Pakistan to attend the meeting. An end to the armed struggle was discussed. Amin was seeking an agreement with the internal counter-revolutionary leaders involving a compromise by which Soviet specialists and advisers would leave the country, the flag would be changed and Muslin rebels would be freed from prison. Amin’s delegate reportedly said in so many words that “Everything is acceptable, but it will take time.”
The elder brother of H. Amin, Abdullah, said to some supporters: “It would clearly be sensible for us to follow Egypt's course and treat the Russians as President [Anwar] Sadat did.”
The KGB considered as particularly dangerous any signs of a possible rapprochement between Afghanistan and Iran, the influence of the Persian Ayatollah revolution on Afghanistan and the establishment of an Islamic regime.
Amin compared himself to Stalin and remarked on his role in the establishment and strengthening of the socialist system in the USSR. At the same time the Residency voiced its indignation at the indifference shown by Amin to the results of the December Plenum of the CPSU Central Committee and to the views expressed by Brezhnev during his talks with B.S. Ivanov. There was also very little on this in the press.
The power-addicts decided to take decisive action. At the end of October meetings were held in FCD departments. Officers were told that the situation in Afghanistan was quite unacceptable and that events would follow which would require the direct involvement of many officers. Everyone was to be prepared for this. Operational groups were set up and a general staff from the leaders of the FCD was established. Everything pointed to a military invasion.
On 25 October a senior assistant of the head of the 8th Department of the FCD,
Lieutenant-Colonel A.V. Petrov, was sent to Prague to work with Babrak. The latter's
pseudonym was changed and he became known as ‘Martov.’ Babrak tried hard to influence the Soviet position through the Czechs. At one of his meetings with a member of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee he said that things could not be delayed in view of the present situation in the DRA and that they could not wait for the train to leave as the achievements of the revolution were under threat.
In November the future rulers of Afghanistan were taken to Moscow; two from
Czechoslovakia, three from Bulgaria and two clandestinely from Yugoslavia. Together they set about absorbing the instructions of the KGB.
It was suggested that Gulyabzoi should be illegally taken to Kabul to carry out
preparations. The operational officer Ershov, Babrak and Sarwari discussed this with him but he refused on the grounds that he carried far less weight politically than the others. He said that Watanjar was better suited for this. The attitude of Gulyabzoi was considered cowardly.
2,771 rubles were spent under article 9 on the seven while they were in Moscow from 2 November to 12 December. They were then moved close to the border.
The official view of the KGB on this matter was expressed in a “particularly important” memorandum addressed to Brezhnev in November. (83) Here are some excerpts.
“After the changes in the leadership of the party and the state of Afghanistan the situation in the country began to deteriorate sharply in a way which is detrimental to the interests of the USSR. There are increasingly frequent reports of an intended shift of the DRA’s foreign policy to the right. H. Amin’s men and representatives of the right-wing Muslim opposition are trying to find a way to solve the conflict. H. Amin himself has met the US chargé d’affaires a number of times, but he has given no indication of the subject of these talks in his meetings with Soviet representatives.
On the direct orders of H. Amin, fabricated rumors are being spread in the DRA which discredit the Soviet Union and cast doubts on the activities of Soviet officials in Afghanistan. Recently unfriendly remarks about the USSR have begun to appear in documents and speeches made by high-ranking officials to closed party and office meetings.”
“On 18 October 1979 the group of Khalq leaders, Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and Sarwari, wrote a letter to the CPSU Central Committee in which they gave a critical analysis of the mistakes of Taraki which had allowed H. Amin to come to power. They set out a program to restore the genuine character of revolutionary reconstruction in the DRA, inevitably including the removal of Amin.
On 30 October of the same year Karmal Babrak, the Parcham leader, wrote a personal letter to Brezhnev which gave a frank account of the situation in the country. He described Amin as “an Afghan Makhno.” (84) In the letter he wrote “(...) in the name of all the members of the party I solemnly declare that the party, following the Leninist principles of creative methodology, tactics and policies, is fully prepared to fulfil its duty and in a positive way solve the problems of the April Revolution, the party and the state. The leading members of the party are prepared to organize and unite communists, patriots and all the progressive and democratic forces in Afghanistan. The achievement of these aims will be assisted by the fraternal assistance, consultations, advice and suggestions of our Soviet friends.”
At the beginning of November of the same year the most senior members of the Afghan political émigrés, Babrak, Gulyabzoi, Watanjar, Sarwari, Nur Akhmad Nur, Anahita Rotebzad and A. Vakil met in Moscow with the help of the Committee for State Security. They worked on a general political platform and concrete plans to remove H. Amin and his clan from power. All this work was carried out under the decisive influence of the recommendations of the CPSU Central Committee which were conveyed to the Afghan friends in the course of meetings with representatives of the Soviet leadership. K. Babrak and his comrades-in-arms had a clear understanding of the principles of Soviet foreign policy and the need to rely on their own resources.
The Afghan comrades unanimously agreed that Karmal Babrak should be the leader of the whole struggle for the revival of the PDPA and the elimination of the distorted course of reconstruction of the DRA. Sarwari, a supporter and associate of Taraki, was put forward as his deputy.
The main points of the program were: the necessity to remove Amin from the political arena as soon as possible, the need to end forever the split in the ranks of Afghan communists and to unite in a new party, friendship with the USSR and the struggle against imperialism.
“In order to carry out their political program the healthy forces of the PDPA intend to come to power by overthrowing the regime. A military committee to plan the military and political operation to eliminate H. Amin has been set up. It will draw up concrete plans. The Afghan friends have decided to send the former member of the Central Committee of the PDPA, Abdul Vakil, to Afghanistan to maintain contact between the underground and the Center. Later the former Minister of Communications of the DRA, Gulyabzoi, will be sent to organize on the spot the anti-Amin movement. All the other members of the Center led by Comrade Babrak will shortly be moved closer to the Afghan border so that they can work more effectively and clandestinely. The Center already has general outlines of the military plan which includes a rapid military operation in the capital with the physical elimination of H.Amin, his brother A.Amin and the other most dangerous people.
The KGB is closely monitoring the development of events in the DRA and, in accordance with the instructions of the CPSU Central Committee, is giving the Afghan friends material and technical assistance on matters which arise in the course of work together with advice and suggestions.
In view of all this it is considered expedient in the interests of the USSR to give the healthy forces of the PDPA essential material and other support and to facilitate the
implementation of their program, while observing necessary measures of secrecy.”
The fly-wheel started turning.
Military units in small groups were sent into Afghanistan and members of the KGB were sent in under various forms of cover. In March 1979 Puzanov and Ivanov had already asked for an additional 20 border guards in civilian clothes but with the necessary arms (sub-machine guns, grenades and pistols) to be sent to bolster the protection of the embassy in Kabul. They had also asked for an operational group of twelve men from the 7th Directorate of the KGB to protect the leaders of Soviet establishment in the DRA, two members of the KGB Directorate of Government Communications under Ministry of Foreign Affairs consultant cover and long-lasting food supplies worth 5,000 rubles.
In November an operation was carried out to exchange the soldiers of the ‘Zenith’ unit with specially trained border guards. A motorized company of border troops consisting of 208 combat soldiers, armed helicopters, 25 armored personnel carriers, 15 armored carriers, ten hand-held and four mounted grenade throwers were also secretly sent in. On 7 December two specialists from the Chief Directorate of Border Guards arrived to study the communication lines of Amin’s new residence. On 8 December the Residency was instructed to organize with precaution, the monitoring in Kabul and the provinces of ‘Buran’ broadcasts from Dushanbe beamed towards Afghanistan, and “to give your opinion of its possible use in the measures known to you.” Preparation for Operation ‘Agat’ went ahead at full speed. The 8th Department of Directorate S (85) of the FCD was asked to carry it out. Preparations were at the final stage. Colonel Lazarenko, the deputy head of the 8th Department of Directorate S was directly in charge. Major-General Kirpichenko, the head of Directorate S, and his deputy, Major General Krasovsky, the head of the 8th Department of Directorate S, were sent to Kabul to help Ivanov. On 12 December A.V. Petrov, the senior assistant of the 8th Department of the FCD, B.G.Chicherin, a senior operational officer, and members of other KGB directorates at the Center and the periphery flew to Kabul. On the same day ten members of Group A of the 7th Directorate of the KGB arrived in Kabul. They were joined on December 23 by another three and later by a whole group led by the head of the 7th Directorate, Lieutenant-General A.D. Beschastnov.
Throughout December members of the KGB and agents who were Soviet citizens kept a twenty-four hour watch. Over 1,600 military advisers and specialists, 61 members of KGB Representation, 21 members of the Residency and 10 operational officers from the ‘Zenith’ unit were engaged in intelligence gathering through the SK (Soviet Colony) line. 103 agents and 115 cooptees were in contact with the Residency. Telegraph communications from Kabul to Moscow to Kabul were in constant use.
It was noted that the armed forces of the DRA were becoming wary of the Soviet
personnel. The Afghans wanted to know why the advisers had recently been remaining in their units later at night than usual. The commanders of the 37th regiment and the 26th airborne regiment showed that they distrusted the advisers. Leaves and discharges were cancelled in some sections.
In the city there were rumors of an imminent attack by the Parchamists. They said that Babrak was in Moscow, Amin’s days were numbered, that he would be removed with the help of the Soviet Union and that Babrak and his comrades-in-arms would soon be brought to Afghanistan to take charge of a coup d’état and to take power into his own hands. The underground Parcham group considered the death of Taraki an important factor as it would force honest members of the Khalq faction to think seriously again about the unity of the PDPA. The Parchamis considered that Karmal Babrak had automatically become General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee following the death of Taraki. Babrak had been elected Deputy General Secretary with the approval of the leaders of the Khalq faction and Taraki personally at a joint plenum in July 1977. Those Khalqis who did not accept the resolutions of the extraordinary plenum of the PDPA Central Committee on 16 September 1979 at which Amin was elected General Secretary could return to the party and play their part in the struggle against the bloody dictatorship of the Amin gang.
In November the Cuban ambassador to Afghanistan told the deputy head of the
International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Stefanek, that Amin was pursuing a line which was independent of the USSR and that, therefore, “one must not rule out the physical elimination of Amin.” If there were a coup, then the ambassador saw Babrak, who was in the USSR, as the most likely candidate for the top post. “There is noone more suitable and authoritative than Babrak in Afghanistan.” The ambassador later remarked that Western propaganda in Afghanistan against the revolution was more effective than the propaganda of the PDPA and the socialist countries, which was unable to present the positive aspect of the revolution in a positive form.
Amin told the ambassador several times that he would like to visit the USSR as General Secretary of the PDPA for talks with Brezhnev and that he would go at any time that was convenient to Moscow. The last time he had raised this question with Ambassador Tabeev was on 6 December. His persistent hints were politely brushed aside. At the same time everything was done to prevent Amin having even the slightest suspicions about the true reasons behind the incomprehensible conduct of the Soviet leaders. His requests for military supplies were met, radio stations were supplied and agreement was reached on the re-stationing of two Afghan divisions from the north of the country to other regions.
The head of the general staff of the [Afghan] Ministry of Defense, M. Yakub, wrote a letter to the embassy stating that the Afghan army was engaged in armed conflict with the enemies of the regime. The fighting was taking place in difficult mountain conditions in low temperatures and the army needed winter uniforms for 10,000 troops. Warm coats, trousers, underwear, winter hats, boots, warm socks, foot bindings and gloves were all required. The embassy and the chief military adviser, Lieutenant-General S.K. Magometov, decided to react favorably to the request by Yakub, but not to give any firm dates for the delivery of the kit, although the first batch for one to two thousand men would be sent by air in the near future.
The number of advisers and specialists in the country increased. Some advisers, on the other hand, were sent back to the Soviet Union, as they were considered politically immature. One was Major-General V.P. Zaplatin, the senior military adviser to the head of the Chief Political Directorate of the Afghan army, Igbal. He was favored and trusted by Amin. But the Residency considered that Zaplatin had not been sufficiently critical of the events which took place in Afghanistan in September, that he did not take an objective view of the decisions of the leadership of the DRA and was too close to Igbal. For these reasons he was recalled to Moscow for ‘consultations’ which lasted for an undefined period. Igbal and Amin repeatedly asked when the general would return.
The Residency also had a negative opinion of the senior military adviser to the head of the political department of the [Word(s) excised] central army corps in Kabul, Colonel E.N. Kapustin. He was guilty of showing-off, boasting, exaggerating his success, being stubborn, uncritical of himself and inclined to be demagogic. “Completely under the influence of Zaplatin, Kapustin tried to subordinate all the other army services to the political organs. He did not consider in depth the events of September and repeated the propaganda themes of Amin and Igbal, asserting at the same time that this was his principled party position. In December Kapustin continued to meet the head of the Kam political department, Sultan, but he concealed these meetings. After the removal from power of Amin, Kapustin pretended that he had altered his ideas but he became quiet and withdrawn.”
One of the military adviser’s sources of information was the agent 'Zadrov', Senior Lieutenant I.P.Zabraev, an interpreter for the military advisers to the central army corps of the Afghan army. He reported on Igbal and Ali Shah Paiman. He had been in contact at various times with Yu.L. Kukhta, I.Ye. Katkov, V.G. Osadchy and L.P. Kostromin. Incidentally, his father had served as military commissar in M.A. Sholokhov’s township of Veshenskaya.
Another agent who reported on the advisers was the senior interpreter D.I. Evdokimov (‘Nekrasov'). He was the interpreter for Zaplatin’s meetings with Amin. The Residency had no complaints about the interpreters who both behaved correctly.
On 13 December Zabralov left Kabul for Moscow, as he was to take up a new post in Ethiopia. Kapustin asked him to get in touch with Zaplatin and to tell him the following. B.S. Ivanov was planning some venture in Afghanistan which Kapustin and other advisers considered rash and foolish. There were rumors among the advisers that there would soon be important changes in the leadership of the DRA. Something momentous was being planned and Amin was evidently aware that an attack might be made against him. Zabralov must go straight from the airport to the home of Zaplatin and tell him this exceptionally important news so that the latter could report it to the top leaders. Another interpreter who was leaving Kabul on the same flight as Zabralov was also to give this same information to Zaplatin. Kryuchkov was immediately informed. As the report was to be duplicated anyway, Zabralov was allowed to meet Zaplatin and give him the information, a move which prevented Zabralov’s cover being exposed to the military. Zabralov carried out Kapustin’s request on the day of his arrival.
On the following day he reported his meeting with Zabralov to an operational officer. The latter listened to Kapustin impassively, without showing much interest in Afghanistan. He spoke more about his own affairs and the squabbling and disorder at work. He complained that “no one pays any attention to me anywhere. They just send me from one office to another.”
During the evening of 17 December a Soviet company of “guards” was stationed in the palace of Dar-ul-Aman, Amin’s new residence. At 3 p.m. on 20 December, Amin was taken under guard to this palace through guarded streets. A unit of the People's Guard which was responsible for the protection of the head of the party and state was also moved there. Eleven tanks moved in.
On 22 December posters were stuck up in Kabul with the slogans “Death to the
communists and imperialists! Death to the traitor H. Amin, the Russian guard dog!”
On 23 December Amin showed increased interest in the situation at the Bagram air force base. The agents in the military counter-intelligence service had gone into action and the movement of motor transport and military convoys was controlled. The head of the base, Hakim, reported to Amin that Soviet military units had arrived at Bagram. The head of the Directorate of the Worker's Counter-Intelligence, Asadullah Rakhman, gave orders for the counter-intelligence departments at Kabul aerodrome and Bagram air base to inform him of the time, number, type and load of the Soviet planes which arrived and the place from where they had flown. For the first time Afghan pilots in MI-25 helicopters flew at a height of 60 to 70 meters over the cantonment where the Soviet parachute troops were stationed. The head of the Kam political directorate, M. Sultan, brought to Amin’s attention the broadcasts by Western radio stations asserting that Soviet troops had entered the DRA. Some people considered the arrival of Soviet troops a sign of support for the Amin regime, others that the USSR was breaking off relations with Amin and preparing to remove him.
On 24 December Ambassador Tabeev informed the Politburo: “Recently there have been criticisms of the actions of the Americans. On 22 December Amin listed the cases of American intervention in various regions of the world in a speech to workers of the Ministry of Health. He mentioned the concentration of American naval ships in the Persian Gulf which were threatening the lives of the fraternal Iranian working people.”
On 25 December a meeting of the Politburo chaired by Amin was held in the House of the People. The question of the current field work in the country and preparations for a spring campaign were discussed.
On the eve of the invasion by the Soviet army Amin said with feeling to Sultan Akhmad: “All my efforts to improve relations with the USA and other Western countries have been fruitless. Our possibilities have been exhausted. I consider myself free from any obligations to the West.”
The main units began to move in during the night of 25 to 26 December. The 40th army, commanded by Lieutenant-General B.I. Tkach, began the occupation of Afghanistan. The Afghans did not know precisely what was happening. The most well-informed members of the general staff of the army of the DRA declared that the aim of the action was to overthrow Amin, not to support him and that the USSR would help people opposed to Amin to come to power. The leader of Parcham, K. Babrak, was mentioned.
The chief of the general staff, Yakub, exclaimed: “They should have brought in the troops from the USSR in the summer. Then I would not have gone grey from dealing with all the rebels.”
The invasion brought its first victims. An Il-76 flew into a mountain in the area of the pass of Salang, killing four crew members and thirty seven military personnel.
A report was sent to the Center from Kabul on 26 December. The evening edition of the Kabul Times on 25 December had published an article under the headline “The will of the people will be the deciding factor” which was ambiguous. It stated that: “The experience of history shows that it is the people of any country who are the decisive force in the struggle for the realization of their rights and, in particular, in the fight for freedom. Neither troops, nor atomic weapons nor equipment can achieve what the will of the people can achieve.” Citing the peoples of Afghanistan, Vietnam, Kampuchea and Iran, the article ended with the slogan: “Down with the interventionists!”
“As the Afghan press is subject to strict censorship the article could not have been
published without the sanction of H. Amin. The time chosen to print the article was not a
coincidence. It was printed in an English-language newspaper, a language which few Afghans know. It was clearly intended to turn the pro-Western sections of the population against the Soviet troops and to enable the mass propaganda resources of western countries to make an immediate fuss about the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. In general the article reflects the ambiguous and cautious attitude of Amin and his entourage towards the increased Soviet military presence in Afghanistan.”
Kabul was surrounded by front-line Soviet units to prevent any attempts by the Afghan army to liberate Kabul. The 103rd airborne division defended Kabul, holding the main points of the city with forces from the 317th and 357th paratroop regiments. The 350th infantry paratroop regiment guarded the Kabul aerodrome. The command post of the division was set up 1.5 kilometers west of the aerodrome. A GRU battalion was concentrated in the area of Darulaman in the south-western outskirts of Kabul. The 345th special paratroop regiment guarded the Bagram aerodrome. The 180th motorized division was concentrated ten kilometers north of Kabul. The 108th motorized regiment with an artillery battalion was in the area of the towns of Karga, Fazelbek, Darulaman and Kalakhoja with the aim of preventing the 8th and 7th infantry divisions and the 37th commando regiment of the Afghan army from moving from the west and south towards Kabul. The 181st motorized regiment with an artillery division was in Pil-I Charki in the town of Garibgar to prevent the [Afghan] 4th and 15th tank brigades breaking through to Kabul from the east. The 234th tank regiment and special units were 5 km [kilometers] north of Kabul, covering the route from the capital to Charikar. The 5th motorized division was ten kilometers further west, the 371st.motorised regiment at Daukatabad, the 373rd motorized regiment five kilometers south of the Harsanb pass and the 1st motorized regiment fifteen kilometers north-west of Herat. The 24th tank regiment was 25 km north-east of Shindand, an artillery regiment, sappers and supply units five km north of Hargech. The command post was set up in Chakharchosh, 10 km north of Shindand. (86) At this time the main aim of the Soviet military units was to disarm any Afghan military formations which were trying to break out to defend Amin and were not taking orders from Babrak.
Most of the officers of the armed forces of the DRA changed allegiance under the influence of the Soviet advisers. They did not attempt to defend the regime and expressed their readiness to serve the new authorities. The few, timid attempts at resistance were decisively crushed. The Minister for the Border and Governor of the province of Kandahar, S. D. Sakhram, ordered the commander of the 2nd army corps, Kabir, to attack Kabul and crush the disturbance. But the latter did not obey the order and declared that he recognized the Babrak government. The commander of the 1st army corps, Maj.-Gen. M. Dust, replied to an order from the Soviet military to halt the resistance by saying that he was prepared to lay down his arms and obey the new government if he would not be killed. He was given an assurance on this point.
On 27 December the KGB began Operation ‘Agat’ [Agate] to storm the residence of the President of the DRA and the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the PDPA, H. Amin, to eliminate him and those close to him physically, to arrest his retinue and the government. Over 700 members of the KGB from the Center and the Periphery were dropped into Kabul to take part in “Operation Agat.” The troops were dressed in Afghan army uniforms. An explosion under a tree in the central square of the capital, where the explosive device had been placed beforehand, was the signal for the attack to begin. Over 100 of the KGB were killed in the attack on the palace. Such large losses forced Andropov to question the expediency of hanging portraits in mourning frames of heroes killed whilst carrying out their noble international mission in the halls and corridors as this would attract unnecessary attention.
At 10:30 a.m. on 28 December the last pocket of resistance was crushed. The house of the commander of the People's Guard, Jandad, which was not far from Amin’s residence, was seized. Jandad was captured and taken to the building of the special services. Amin’s elder brother, Abdullah, was captured in the village of Mazar-I Sharif and put in a special 'isolator' prison. Members of the government and the Revolutionary Council were arrested. Members of H. Amin’s family, his son, three daughters, daughter-in-law, the wife of the eldest son Abdurakhman and the wives of Asadullah Amin were put in Pol-I Charki prison. Two of Amin’s sons had been killed in the fighting. The arrested members of the government and the Revolutionary Council were taken to this same prison from the radio building.
Babrak wanted the severest punishment for all the former leadership of the DRA, shooting those responsible for the death of the Soviet assault troops, including the former commander of the People's Guard, Jandad, and the commander of the People's Militia, Paiman, to be shot. Babrak asked the KGB representatives to assure Andropov that he would unswervingly carry out all Andropov’s suggestions and advice. He stressed that he was firmly convinced that the Soviet Chekists and military had displayed heroism and bravery during the storming of H. Amin’s residence.
“We would like,” said Babrak, “as soon as we have our own orders to bestow them on all the Soviet troops and Chekists who took part in the fighting. We hope that the government of the USSR will award orders to these comrades.”
Babrak also asked that a permanent direct telephone line should be established for the head of the DRA and the General Secretary of the PDPA with Brezhnev, Andropov, Ustinov, Gromyko, Ponomarev and Kruychkov.
Members of the KGB were promoted and received awards for “Operation ‘Agat’
[Agate].” Lazarenko was given the title of General although there was no provision for this in the establishment; Kirpichenko became Lieutenant-General and was soon appointed First Deputy Chief of the FCD; and Kozlov, a member of the 8th Department of Directorate S, was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. (87)
Afghan officials had no idea what was happening on the night of 27 to 28 December. Minister of Communications M. Zarif, Minister of Higher and Secondary Education M. Suma, Minister of Water Resources and Energy M. Hashemi, the head of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the PDPA Khuma, and the Consul of the DRA in Quetta, Abdul Wahed, were all in house number 104 in the 3rd district of Kabul. Some of them thought that what was happening was 'a provocation by the USA', others that it was an attack by the Muslim Brothers. To the suggestion that it could be the work of the Parchamists, Zafir replied confidently: “They won't get anywhere. The Soviets wouldn't allow it.”
They were all worried about the fate of Amin and Igbal. After Babrak’s radio broadcast they were all in a state of despondency and paralysis. Khuma suggested that it could be a provocation by the Parchamists and that the broadcast might not have come from the Kabul radio station. They then began to guess that the USSR had been involved in the events which had taken place. Finally Bakhed said: “It must be the work of the top leaders. When Babrak was making his radio broadcast there were Soviet tanks on the streets of Kabul.” Khuma asserted: “I think that the fighting will go on, it really will.”
The interrogation of those arrested began. D. Panjshiri was taken from the prison to Babrak. Babrak angrily berated him: “We and the Soviet comrades considered you a true Communist. You betrayed the interests of the Soviet comrades who spoke to you in Moscow.” Panjshiri said that he had not agreed with Amin but that he could not openly oppose him so he had adopted a position of secret opponent. “As for my talks with the Soviet comrades, I saw these as an attempt to expose my anti-Amin feelings which they would pass on to Amin. If I had known the true intention of the Soviet comrades, then I undoubtedly would have conducted myself differently.”
At a preliminary interrogation Igbal said that he had never hurt a fly in his life and that he had only carried out the orders of the leadership of the party. He did not know whether Amin was a criminal, but “if the Soviet comrades consider a change of the leadership of the DRA essential, then I wholly agree with this.” The wife of Igbal asked Kapustin to help free her husband and to help her find a job and somewhere to live. She reminded him that he had had friendly relations with her husband.
Paiman was severely depressed. He agreed to read out any text criticizing Amin on the radio. He wrote a letter to Kapustin, as his friend, stating that he had “always spoken out against killings, arrests and punishments, had often opposed the policies of Amin, had worked honestly and would continue to work for his poor people and would never be a traitor.” He asked Kapustin and Zaplatin to help to free him.
Minister Fakir was prepared to speak against Amin.
Babrak asked the Soviet government to hand over Asadullah Amin, a cousin and
son-in-law of H. Amin, who was undergoing medical treatment in the USSR. He had been taken there shortly before these events suffering from ‘food poisoning.’
An investigation of prisoners under Amin’s rule showed that 129 had been shot; 9
Parchamists, 10 Maoists, 12 Khomeinists, 28 rebels, 21 conspirators and 49 Akhvanists. (88) [Another] 40 members of Parcham, 22 conspirators, 32 rebels, 9 Maoists, 12 Akhvanists and 13 Khomeinists had been convicted. (89)
On the evening of 28 December an announcement from the new DRA government was broadcast on Kabul radio. It spoke of “the insistent request for urgent political, moral and economic help which the government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan had repeatedly made to the government of the Soviet Union. The government of the Soviet Union had accepted the proposal of the Afghan side.” The Soviet embassy noted that “which the government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan had repeatedly made to the government of the Soviet Union” had been added to the original text transmitted during the night of 27-28 December.
After the elimination of Amin, Ivanov, Kirpichenko, Bogdanov and Osadchy received an order from Andropov that “when the first stage of the operation has been completed, assistance must be given to the healthy forces in the PDPA to expand the social base of the new regime in order to gain control of the situation in the country as soon as possible. Measures must be taken to include in the new leadership of the organs people who have shown their loyalty to the ideals of the April Revolution and have proved themselves to be friends of the USSR. Everything possible must be done to achieve a favorable atmosphere for the Soviet military units, Soviet establishments and Soviet citizens in the DRA. Information must be obtained about the feelings of the various sections of Afghan society in order to evaluate what was happening and take the appropriate measures in good time. Urgent measures must be taken to normalize and strengthen the work of the security services according to the principles formulated by Babrak. The leadership of the Sarandoy (90) which was an important factor in maintaining and increasing social order must be strengthened. All the members of the Representation and Residency must expand and consolidate their operational position in order to obtain reliable information and influence the development of events in the way we need. Particular attention must be given to the organization of the work of military counterintelligence in the DRA.”
The Residency and Representation moved their own people into important party and government posts. Asadullah Sarwari became the deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Council of the DRA. On 30 December they directed the security organs of the DRA to uncover underground organizations and supporters of Amin.
The KGB compiled reports on the events in the DRA and the new leadership. A
memorandum, No.2519-A, dated 31 December, “On the Events in Afghanistan on 27 and 28 December 1979” for the CPSU Central Committee was signed by Andropov, Ustinov, Gromyko and Ponomarev. It stated that: “After the coup d’etat and murder of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the PDPA and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Afghanistan, N.M. Taraki, which was carried out by Amin in September of this year, the situation in Afghanistan seriously deteriorated and became critical.
H. Amin established a regime of personal dictatorship in the country, reducing the
position of the Central Committee of the PDPA and the Revolutionary Council to that of purely nominal organs. People either related to H.Amin or tied to him through personal devotion were appointed to the top posts in the party and state. Many members of the Central Committee of the PDPA, the Revolutionary Council and the Afghan government were banished from the party and arrested. Most of the people subjected to repression and physical elimination were people who had taken an active part in the April revolution, who did not conceal their sympathy towards the USSR and defended the Leninist norms of internal party life. K Amin deceived the party and the people when he declared that the Soviet Union had approved the removal of Taraki from the party and government.
On the direct orders of H. Amin false rumors were circulated in the DRA discrediting the Soviet Union and casting a shadow on the activities of Soviet officials in Afghanistan. Restrictions were put on their contacts with Afghan representatives.
At the same time attempts were made to establish contacts with the Americans within the framework of 'a more balanced foreign policy' approved by Amin. Amin held confidential meetings with the American charge d’affaires in Kabul. The government of the DRA established favorable conditions for the work of the American cultural center and, on Amin’s orders, the special services of the DRA halted their work against the embassy of the USA.
H. Amin tried to strengthen his position by reaching a compromise with the leaders of the internal counter-revolution. Through intermediaries he established contact with the leaders of the right-wing Muslim opposition.
The scale of the political repression assumed an increasingly mass character. In the period following the September events alone over 600 members of the PDPA, the military and others who were suspected of being ant-Amin were eliminated without trial. It became the elimination of the party.
All this, together with the difficulties specific to Afghan conditions, made the
development of the revolutionary processes extremely difficult and enabled the
counter-revolutionary forces, which were really in control in many of the provinces, to become more active. Supported by outside forces on an increasingly large scale under Amin’s regime, they achieved fundamental changes in the internal political situation in the country and the elimination of the achievements of the revolution. The dictatorial methods of government, the repression, the mass executions and the disregard for the law caused widespread dissatisfaction in the country. Numerous posters began to appear in the capital exposing the anti-populist character of the present regime and calling for unity in the struggle against ‘the clique of H. Amin.’ The unrest also spread to the army. A considerable number of officers expressed their anger at the domination of the incompetent proteges of H. Amin. In effect a broad anti-Amin front was formed in the country.
Karmal Babrak and Asadullah Sarwari, who were in emigration abroad, were concerned about the fate of the revolution and the independence of the country. Reacting perceptively to the increasing anti-Amin mood in Afghanistan, they set about uniting all the anti-Amin groups in the country and abroad in order to save the country and the revolution.. .... (91) Disagreements were cast aside and the former split in the PDPA healed. Sarwari for the Khalq faction and Babrak for the Parcham faction declared that the party had finally united. Babrak was elected leader of the new party and Sarwari his deputy.
Because of the extremely difficult conditions which threatened the achievements of the April Revolution and the security of our country, it became essential to extend additional military support to Afghanistan, all the more so as the former government of the DRA had also requested this. In accordance with the Soviet-Afghan treaty of 1978, the decision was taken to send the necessary contingent of the Soviet army to Afghanistan.
On the wave of patriotic feelings which had overcome fairly broad sections of the Afghan population following the introduction of Soviet troops which was carried out in strict accordance with the Soviet-Afghan treaty of 1978, the forces opposed to H. Amin carried out an armed attack during the night of 27 to 28 December which ended in the overthrow the regime of H. Amin. This attack was widely supported by the working masses, the intelligentsia, a considerable part of the Afghan army and the state apparatus which welcomed the establishment of the new leadership of the DRA and the PDPA.
The new government and Revolutionary Council was formed from a wide and
representative base. They included representatives of the former Parcham and Khalq factions, representatives from the army, and non-party people.
“In its manifesto the new regime stated that it would fight for the complete victory of the national-democratic, anti-feudal, anti-imperialist revolution and for the protection of the national independence and sovereignty of Afghanistan. Its foreign policy would pursue a comprehensive strengthening of friendship and co-operation with the USSR. In view of the mistakes of the former regime, the new leadership intends to pay serious attention to the broad democratization of public life and to legality, to defining the social base and strengthening the authorities on the spot, and to adopt a flexible attitude to religion, the clans and national minorities. One of the first actions which attracted much attention from the Afghan public was the release of a large number of political prisoners which included prominent politicians and military personalities. Many of them (Qadir, Keshtmand, Rafi, and other) have taken an active and keen part in the work of the new Revolutionary Council and government. The attitude towards the Soviet military and specialists remains generally good. The situation in the country is becoming normal... (92)
Babrak can be described as one of the best-trained leaders of the PDPA theoretically. He is able to take a sober and objective view of the situation in Afghanistan. He has always been noted for his sincere goodwill towards the Soviet Union and is held in great respect in the party and throughout the country. In this light it is possible to be sure that the new leadership of the DRA will be able to find an effective way to stabilize completely the situation in the country.”
The memorandum was written according to the rules of disinformation. Facts were distorted and rearranged, and a false interpretation of the situation was given. Andropov was the only signatory who knew the whole truth about the events. He had prepared and influenced them and had stage-managed what had happened. The rest knew only part of the truth and their role had been subsidiary as a form of insurance. Ustinov had been given the task of occupying the country, Gromyko to calm the concerns of foreign countries about the actions of the USSR, and Ponomarev to influence communist, socialist and worker's parties in the appropriate ways.
The Afghan people quickly grasped the meaning of the occupation. In Afghanistan, Allah is the only central power, and the people quickly rose in the defense of Allah against the occupiers. “The Russian infidels want to substitute the Devil for the holy faith in Allah.” In January 1980, Babrak admitted to Tabeev, Ivanov and Magometov (93) that “the population now thinks that the Soviet Union brought Karmal Babrak and the new government to power. It will therefore be necessary to teach the people the correct interpretation of the events.”
On 25 December, immediately after the invasion of Soviet troops into the country,
posters had appeared in Kabul with the slogan “Get rid of the Russians and teach them the same lesson we taught the English.”
The general opinion of the Afghan public was that Afghanistan could have managed without Soviet tanks. The Afghans could have sorted the situation out themselves and the Russians were only causing havoc. On 29 December, the Ambassador of the CSSR in Afghanistan, Boniadi, declared in connection with the overthrow of Amin that “the present political situation was the work of the Soviet Union, helped by Czechoslovakia which had given political asylum to Babrak. This is simply interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.” (94)
“Afghanistan has become a second Czechoslovakia,” complained Faruk, a department head in the Ministry of Education and a former member of the City Committee of the PDPA. “The Soviet embassy must stop the Parchamists from disarming the Khalqis without authorization or they will shoot.”
The editor-in-chief of the Afghan magazine Farkhany Khalq, A.P. Zaryab, made the following comment on the events of 27 and 28 December. “No one now feels optimistic in the way many intellectuals did after the events of April 1978. Amin was hated, but the arrival of foreign troops in Kabul and other parts of the country brings no joy to Afghans.” He said to a member of the KGB that “the inhabitants of Afghanistan consider that it would be a good thing for the Soviet troops, having done their job, to return to the USSR before their presence begins to make Afghans feel hostile. The Russians had brought Karmal to power. People in Kabul say that it is good that Babrak Karmal has returned, but that it is also important how he returned. The Parchamists are generally considered honest and decent, but there have been many examples in Afghanistan during the last few years when seemingly decent people have become scoundrels and sadists.”
In an attempt to placate world opinion over the occupation of Afghanistan, the KGB devised various active measures and began to carry them out.
The Soviet ambassador in Romania, V. Drozdenko, visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei, (95) and explained the reasons behind the sending of Soviet troops to Afghanistan. He expected the Romanians to take a positive and understanding view. Andrei expressed the view that the action taken by the Soviet government in Afghanistan would not improve the standing of the USSR. On 29 December, a special meeting of the Permanent Bureau of the Executive Political Committee of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party was held to discuss Afghanistan. The Secretary of the Central Committee for Propaganda, LIA Radulescu, stated that the Soviet Union had given “us prepared information regarding the events which have taken place in Afghanistan and, however the events were explained by the USSR, the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan is evidence of its hegemonic policies. While pursuing its global aims, the Soviet Union is also demanding understanding and support from the socialist countries.” Dumitru Popescu, a member of the Permanent Bureau [of the Executive Political Committee of the RCP Central Committee], said in his speech that: “Romania must not agree with, and blindly follow, the policies of the USSR.”
On 28 December, Ambassador Vinogradov met Khomeini in the city of Qum and tried to explain the reasons for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He informed him in confidence that the Americans and [US] President [Jimmy] Carter personally had asked the Soviet government a number of times to show understanding of the American position in the Iranian-American conflict. But the Soviet leaders had rejected the groundless arguments of the Americans who were concealing their hand in Iran. The Soviet leadership considered that the Iranian leadership and Ayatollah Khomeini in person must be informed of this. It counted on understanding of the action it had been forced to take in Afghanistan. Khomeini said in reply that “there could be no mutual understanding between a Muslim nation and a non-Muslim government.”
On 8 January 1980, the Beijing Residency received instructions to use the following arguments in talks with representatives of the Muslim countries in the local diplomatic and press corps. “The deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan must be viewed as a direct result of the events in Iran.
[Eight lines excised.]
The situation, which favored the rebels, was the result of the policies of Amin who had usurped power in the country, established a reign of bloody terror and ignored the interests of the people and the national minorities. Amin’s disregard for the slogans and principles of the April Revolution had deprived him of the support of influential Muslim circles in Afghanistan, and made it easy for the forces which were supported from outside to organize a counterrevolutionary attack. But there were still healthy forces within the PDPA which had made it possible for the government of national unity led by K. Babrak to come to power. The immediate task facing the new government was to stabilize the situation in the country and to keep the armed bands which had been sent from outside away from the people. The policies of Amin had betrayed the interests of the Afghan people and allowed the rebels who had been sent from other countries to get the support of some decent Muslims who had been confused by bourgeois propaganda. In order to stabilize the situation in the country and stop foreign intervention, Babrak’s government had been forced to turn to the Soviet government for assistance, including military assistance in accordance with the 1978 treaty. The Soviet troops were only there to stabilize the situation and to prevent fratricidal war. The Soviet troops in Afghanistan were under the same rules as United Nations troops. They were forbidden to make use of their weapons except as self-defense in cases of unprovoked attack. The very presence of Soviet troops could only help stabilize of the situation in the country and they would be withdrawn as soon as this is achieved.”
An active measure was also carried out at a meeting of the International Secretariat of Solidarity with the Arab Peoples in Tripoli. Those present were assured that the December change of leadership in Afghanistan had been executed by the Afghan people itself and was only for their benefit. It would allow the problems of the country to be solved by peaceful means and not by repression as had been done under Amin. The change of leadership had created favorable conditions for resolving internal and external matters, including an improvement in relations with Iran and Pakistan. The purpose of the anti-Soviet campaign in the UN was to distract the attention of world opinion from such acute problems for the Arab countries as the Camp David accord and the capitulation of Sadat. The discussion of Afghanistan in the UN sets a precedent for the USA to interfere in future in the internal affairs of other countries.
The population of the USSR was also not delighted by the provocative behavior of its government, and it was not leaping with joy. It could not swallow the deceptive explanations and stories, which were given to explain the occupation of a foreign country. Operational reports from the Ukraine, for example, noted the negative reaction of the intelligentsia to the sending of Soviet troops to Afghanistan. “We intervene ourselves and then want the Western countries to approve our action.” “The Soviet Union really strives for world domination, but why has it picked on Afghanistan?” Even some members of the KGB overcame their fear of being denounced and confided their dismay at the actions of the Kremlin chiefs to their friends. “I feel ashamed to be Russian. We are serfs and beggars ourselves and make others captive and poor.”
And the KGB continued to shower the world with misinformation about the events in Afghanistan in the same way as it covered the American embassy in Moscow with bugging equipment.
On 24 February 1980 Tabeev and Ivanov sent a joint telegram to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the FCD about a united Soviet and Afghan explanation of the reasons for the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan. They suggested the following approach. The Afghan side had repeatedly requested that a limited contingent of Soviet troops be sent to Afghanistan. Amin had officially handed the Soviet ambassador the request for Soviet troops, as the counter-revolutionaries were being supported from outside by the USA, China, Pakistan and the reactionary Muslim regimes. The plan of the imperialists and reactionary forces was to establish a puppet regime headed by Amin and to appeal to the USA, China and Pakistan for their troops to be sent in order to put an end to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, even if this led to a war in the region. This evil plot was uncovered by healthy forces within the leadership of the DRA who had infiltrated into the narrow circle of those trusted by Amin. Thanks to these comrades and the threat of direct aggression against the country, Amin was forced to accept the introduction of Soviet troops in order not to reveal his part in the plans for an external and internal counter-revolution. Amin could not disagree with the majority of the members of the Afghan leadership. The Soviet government responded favorably to the request from a friendly government and met the request. The USSR had nothing to do with the events of 27 December 1979 which ended with the removal of Amin. The introduction of Soviet troops in the DRA began in the second half of December 1979. On 29 December, Amin planned a counter-revolutionary coup with the assistance of the CIA and the Muslim underground. Even before 27 December, the PDPA Central Committee condemned Amin and decided on his removal and execution. They elected Babrak General Secretary of the PDPA. The Soviet troops observed complete neutrality during the December events. The Afghan people cannot manage without military assistance from the USSR as long as there is a threat of foreign aggression and foreign interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, which threaten the achievements of the April Revolution and the security interests of the USSR.
The head of the KGB, Andropov, gave the following account of the events in
Afghanistan to the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Pham Hung, during a meeting in Moscow on 14 October 1980. “In 1978 the Parcham and Khalq parties carried out a revolution. Khalq is a military party, Parcham the party of the intelligentsia. These parties had been hostile to each other for fifteen years. They were both generally Marxist-Leninist parties but they differed on tactics. As a result of the April Revolution (which was carried out by the Khalq faction) Taraki came to power. At that time Babrak was the deputy leader of the party. The Parcham and the Khalq supporters continued to struggle. The majority of Parchamis were dismissed from responsible posts in the government and were either sent to other countries as ambassadors or repressed. Babrak was sent to the CSSR as ambassador. After his departure Amin became the second most important person in the country, a very complex and unclear figure. He had not had any contacts with the USSR nor with Taraki and Babrak when he was a member of the underground.
[One line excised]
Amin concentrated vast power in his own hands. He became Deputy Chairman of the Party, Deputy President of the Republic, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense, Foreign Affairs and State Security. Taraki was quite old. At first he was pleased with Amin and did not notice how the latter was taking all the power into his own hands. Taraki was aware of this but he paid no attention to it. When he realized the danger, it was already too late as Amin had all the power in his own hands. On his own initiative Amin called a plenum at which Taraki was dismissed from all his posts. He was then arrested and strangled to death in prison.
Evidently the USA and Iran were relying on Amin. Thus, one American newspaper wrote that ‘order would be established’ in Afghanistan by March 1980. Later proof was found which confirmed the intention to eliminate the gains of the April Revolution and to establish an Islamic republic under the leadership of Iran.”
Who overthrew Amin? In time his overthrow coincided with the introduction of a limited contingent of Soviet troops into Afghanistan. The Afghan underground used the arrival of the Soviet troops in the country to seize power. Amin had had difficult relations with the mullahs (there are about 40,000 mosques in Afghanistan), and had carried out unsuccessful land reforms. Amin ordered a whole village to be bombed if ten or more men from the village joined an underground group. As a result all the Afghan people turned against him.
There were two reasons for the Soviet troops to be sent to Afghanistan: to defend the revolution and to safeguard the security of the Soviet Union. If the USA had moved into Afghanistan we would have been forced to keep a large number of troops on the Soviet-Afghan border.
Strategic considerations must not be ignored. Soviet internationalism often covers vast geographical expanses under the guise of the fight against imperialism. Hindustan has been like a magnet from time immemorial and attracted the gaze of conquerors. And it is only five hundred versts from Afghanistan to the southern seas. Like toreadors waiving a red flag to a bull, Taraki and Amin threw an exciting idea to the Soviet politicians. They could reach the Strait of Hormuz and the shores of the Indian Ocean. At the government level, Taraki raised the question with Brezhnev of Afghanistan extending to the sea and training the army to act in this region, particularly against Pakistan, with a radical solution to the Pushtu and Baluchi (96) problem to the advantage of Afghanistan. Pakistan was viewed as a foreign body in the region. “We must not leave the Pakistani Pushtun and Baluchi in the hands of the imperialists,” he said. “Already now it would be possible to launch a national liberation struggle amongst these tribes and include the Pushtun and Baluchi regions in Afghanistan.” (97)
In August 1978 Amin was heatedly telling Puzanov and Gorelov: “We are not parading the question of Pushtunistan and Baluchistan in the press although this question is still on the agenda. The territory of Afghanistan must reach to the shores of the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. We wish to see the sea with our own eyes.”
In October he again raised his favorite theme. “Our task is to direct the officers and soldiers and all the Afghan people to the Durand line which we do not recognize, and then to the valley of the Indus which must be our border. If we do not fulfill this historic task, then one can say that we have been working in vain. We must have an outlet to the Indian Ocean!”
Babrak also cherished the idea of a greater Afghanistan. He did not recognize the Durand Line (98) as final but he did not raise the matter in public. Matrosov, the head of the KGB border troops approved. “It is right not to raise the matter of the borders with neighbors now. There is a right time for everything.”
The nomenclatura urged their Afghan friends not to be up in the clouds and to wait a little for the ocean as this would distract the forces and means of the young republic away from the primary tasks of strengthening its position inside the country. They should limit themselves meanwhile to the possibilities of their special services in Pakistan and Baluchistan. The fruit was not yet ripe. The nomenclatura cautioned them with the saying: “First it is necessary to conquer Afghanistan!” The temptations were great; the risks minimal and serious opposition seemed unlikely. The undeclared war against the Afghan people had begun.
A state of emergency was introduced in the regions of the USSR bordering Afghanistan and Iran. Military reservists was mobilized and vehicles commandeered from the economy. The units and formations were brought up to full strength, put on military alert and holidays and leave were cancelled. There was a sharp increase in military and special transport. It was forbidden to mention the planned invasion in any communications. (99)
The KGB was in charge of the transport of troops and military equipment. The special military trains did not make any stops. The routes were divided into segments and hidden surveillance posts were set up. Agent work was stepped up in all the sectors. All official communication and radio posts were taken over. Counter-intelligence targeting of foreigners was stepped up. Special departments were added to the military units. They were staffed by transferring career officers from the Line departments and officers called up from the reserve. People who had a knowledge of Farsi were selected. A special assignment group from Service R of the KGB was sent to Kushka. Investigations were made to ascertain whether the USA had activated its illegals. Economic targets were put under increased guard and the control of mail and telephone conversations was increased. Letters which mentioned that the troops were on a state of alert were confiscated. Any suspicious correspondence was kept and the writers investigated.
Preparations were made at full speed for the possible evacuation from Afghanistan and Iran to the USSR of foreigners and groups of Iranians and Afghans. For this purpose a reception procedure was worked out, filtration points set up and operational investigative groups established. Attempts by Soviet citizens to flee to Iran were stopped.
Marshal Sokolov (100) arrived in Kabul on 4 January 1980 in a decisive mood. The generals were also full of enthusiasm and could not wait to prove themselves against the weak opponent. The airforce heavily bombarded the rebels and the army started action. On 16 February, Sokolov, S.F. Akhromeev (101) and S.K. Magometov met Babrak and gave a review of the situation. They told him about the actions of the Soviet army. “Our air force has carried out 240 combat flights, the Afghan air force 56,” said Sokolov to illustrate the situation.
The first onslaught did not frighten people. Their reaction was rather the reverse. From 20 to 23 February, there were anti-Soviet demonstrations in Kabul. The military was used to restore order. The city was put in a state of siege. The bridges were blocked, barriers and hidden ambushes were set up on all the roads leading into the city. Qadir was made commandant of the city. 24 companies (over 2,000 Soviet soldiers), 30 tanks and 200 armored personnel carriers and personnel carriers with tracks from the Soviet Union and 11 companies (over 1,000 soldiers), 43 tanks, 40 personnel carriers with tracks and mobile multiple rocket launchers from the Afghan army took part. Hedge-hopping flights were made over the city and the surrounding area in order to frighten the people. Soviet aircraft carried out 158 sorties and the Afghans 49. More than 900 of the demonstrators were arrested. A center for the normalization of the situation in Kabul was set up and headed by Sarwari. Other members were Major-General Qadir, the commandant of the city, and, on Babrak’s suggestion, B.S. Ivanov. They had the authority to co-ordinate and
direct the work of the Defense and Interior Ministries and the organs of state security.
Most of the countryside was in the hands of the rebels. In the summer of 1980 the city of Kandahar revolted. A. Kaiut, the Secretary of the City Committee who was a Khalq supporter, led the fight against the Parcham aristocracy. On 30 August the city was completely surrounded by Soviet troops. The surrounding areas and villages were combed. Planes and artillery were used on a large scale. Then the attack began.
There was a similar situation in the city of Herat. There a group of Khalq supporters was organized to fight against the Babrak government. The group included SAGIN, the Secretary of the Party Committee of Herat Province; Abdul Zahir Chupon, the head of the organization department; Paikarju, a member of the NDPA provincial committee and the head of the department of the governorship; the deputy secretary of the Herat City Committee; the deputy commander of the 17th infantry division in charge of political work; two Secretaries from the district provincial committees; nine members of the city and district party committees and two leading members of the Sarandoy, the national gendarmerie. This was not the first trouble in the 17th infantry division. In March 1979 there had been an attempted revolt against the authorities. At that time Lieutenant-Colonel S.L. Katichev had been the military adviser to the division.
An operational group from the USSR Ministry of Defense and the KGB Representation worked out a plan for military, operational and political actions against the insurgents and the establishment of the authorities of the Kabul regime in the city and the province. The city was surrounded by Soviet troops. In September a series of military and operational-military operations were carried out both in Herat and in the surrounding area and province. The proximity of Iran and the probability that Iran would be used as a base for extending the partisan movement to the Western part of Afghanistan was taken into consideration. The most vulnerable parts of the Afghan-Iranian border were firmly closed and the roads mined. The local members of the special services were not included in the planning of this operation for fear that information might be leaked to the adversary. 17 members of Khad, 44 party activists and 152 combat troops from the Sarandoy were sent from Kabul. 35 dedicated enthusiasts were selected locally. The battle for the city lasted for a week. The besieged showed fierce resistance and displayed heroism and personal bravery with their poor arms. Four times they tried to break through the tightening ring. Herat fell on 11 September. 551 rebels were killed in the fighting.
Three leaders of the uprising were killed and 1,036 prisoners taken. As a trophy the victor acquired 13 motor vehicles, 19 motorcycles, 73 rifles and 40 kilograms of explosives.
Four control points were set up in the city. Everyone entering and leaving the city was checked and anyone considered at all suspicious was detained. Over 2,500 people, including four Iranians, were arrested. An infiltration camp was set up in the stadium where over 2,225 people were kept. 651 were imprisoned. 43 army patrols combed the streets.
As a result of the month-long battles five of the twenty-two administrative units in the province of Herat were cleared of rebels. In October another nine were cleared. Two motorized infantry regiments, two paratroop battalions and a special reconnaissance company took part in the military action. Altogether over 4,500 men with massive military hardware and arms were involved.
The KGB 'Cascade' units of 145 men and the false groups which were set up to expose the genuine resistance groups and eliminate them played an important role. Combat units with Afghan accomplices ransacked buildings and houses. They closed off the areas which had been liberated by the troops and checked all the inhabitants. 121 people were killed in skirmishes and 357 taken prisoner. 13 local and village Muslim committees were eliminated. Harmful literature, arms and ammunition were confiscated. The successful experience of the 'Cascade' unit was later used in other provinces.
Marshal Sokolov, the head of the FCD Kryuchkov, and V.N. Spolnikov flew to Herat on 1 October. They expressed their approval of the actions of the Soviet command and KGB units. At a meeting of the senior officers they gave their permission for the Soviet commanders to carry out combat operations within a radius of 50 kilometers from the place where the Soviet troops were stationed without prior permission or agreement with the Afghans. The main task was to eliminate the leaders of the rebel units and bands (102)
In 1978 and 1979 an army of 132,000 men and an airforce and anti-aircraft force of 15,000 opposed the rebels. The army was equipped with all essential supplies from the USSR. The airforce was heavily involved. But the army was unreliable and there were a lot of desertions.
The second phase of the war against the Afghan people was started by the Soviet troops. The latest weapons and technology were used including chemical poisons, in the form of gas bombs of short duration. The battles were fought on the basis of intelligence information about the opponent obtained from Pakistan and Iran where the partisans regrouped and rested before returning to Afghanistan. Ustinov reported to Brezhnev that the Soviet troops and KGB units were playing the main role in the fight against the counter-revolution.
The Chekist leaders insisted that the borders of the DRA with Pakistan, Iran and China should be completely closed. But the Afghans had neither the troops nor the will to carry out their share of the job. So the Soviets took over responsibility for maintaining order on the borders. The border troops were in full control of the Soviet-Afghan border. (103) 5,000 men were on patrol. They set up ambushes for the partisans on the main supply routes from Termez, Kushka and other points to Kabul. In May 1980, the Soviet border troops occupied Afghan Pamir, closed 400 kilometers of the border with China and Pakistan from where the three borders meet to the Doro pass and closed 16 passes and paths on Pamir. They had been used for communications and supplies from China to Afghanistan. On Andropov’s orders substantial, additional KGB units were stationed behind the second border line on the borders with Pakistan and Iran in January 1981. Five border brigades and new combat units were set up. There were three lines protecting the border. Paths and passes were destroyed and mines laid. Babrak was quite right when he declared to the Soviet ambassador and Grekov on 24 January 1981 that: “Now that the Soviet Union has taken such serious steps to save the Afghan revolution, the fates of our countries have really merged together.”
In the summer of 1980 the territory of Afghanistan was divided into eight zones on the suggestion of the Soviet side. A representative of the PDPA Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council was appointed to each zone. His task was to co-ordinate the work of the local organs of power, the PDPA provincial committees, the units of the armed forces, Khad and the Sarandoy and to make sure that the military, socio-economic and propaganda resolutions of the top party and state organs were carried out in the zone. B. Shafin was the representative in the northwestern zone, M. Dekhnesh in the north, N. Muhamed in the southeast, N. Takhzib in the northeast, and Watanjar in the center. The Kabul province was surrounded by lines of defense. Ambushes and traps were set up on the routes thought likely to be used by partisans trying to reach Kabul. Special commando battalions were established. In the event of a rebellion the Soviet military units were to hide in such places as the military club, the Soviet army communications center, the embassy and the barracks at Tape Tajbek.
The KGB Representation and Soviet command considered that the population of
Afghanistan did not support the government and was fleeing to Pakistan and Iran. They considered that the Kabul authorities would be unable to overcome the Dushmen themselves and that they were incapable of dealing with the scale and intensity of the actions by the Dushmen. Full participation by the USSR was required.
Moscow gave the Soviet army the task of completely suppressing the resistance movement, getting rid of the rebels and extending the Kabul regime to the whole country in 1981. The powers of the Soviet representatives in the zones were extended. They were given the authority to take operational decisions in the fight against the insurgents. The military advisers to the general staff of the zones were allowed to engage up to a battalion in action [Word(s) excised.]. In some weak places Soviet troops replaced the Afghan troops. An operational group from the USSR Ministry of Defense was set up to coordinate the action. Its members were Sokolov, Akhromeev, Y.K. Alexeev, A.V. Romantsov and V.N. Spolnikov. Matrosov, [approx. ¾ line excised?] Sokolov and Akhromeev were responsible for coordinating the actions of the army and the border troops. Together with V.A. Chuchukin and N.I. Makarov they also had responsibility for co-operating with the KGB.
These persons were instructed to give practical assistance to the command, the general staff of the Turkestan Military District (under the command of Colonel-General Y.P. Maximov), the 40th army, the DRA Ministry of Defense and the PDPA Central Committee in order to improve the concerted actions of the Soviet and Afghan units by using the staff of the Turkestan Military District and the 40th army, the apparatus of military advisers and the KGB Representation.
Expanded meetings of the commanders of the 'Cascade' units and senior party and military advisers from the KGB and Ministry of Internal Affairs in the administrative zones were held on a regular basis in the Soviet embassy. The Afghans Keshtmand, Nur, Zerai, Rafi, Gulyabzoi, and Najibullah, (104) who had been appointed by the administrative zones PDPA central committees and the Revolutionary Council, were also invited. The Soviets decided the agenda for the meetings. Matters discussed included cooperation between the Afghans and Soviets in military operations, political work amongst the people, the protection of economic targets and legal proceedings. Sokolov also convened joint meetings of the leaders of the armed forces of the DRA and members of the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee and the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council.
As a result of these actions there was an improvement in the movement and deployment of troops, equipment and arms. The protection of communications was also improved, and there was increased co-operation between the military and the KGB Representation. Better use was made of intelligence information.
From January 1981 there was an unprecedented upsurge in Soviet military activity. The supposed enemy was attacked at full force on the ground and from the air. In January and February military operations involved 792 battalion days. 39 battalions from the southern group of armies were engaged. The airforce carried out 12,000 sorties either to drop bombs or to give cover to the land forces. The 40th army was supplied with 81,500 tons of military supplies. In April the airforce carried out 3,036 combat sorties and 3,084 transport flights. Reserve units of border troops, paratroopers and aircraft of the border troops were thrown into the fighting in the north of the country. In March Tabeev, Kozlov, Mayorov, and Spolnikov asked the government for three more regiments and three border units so that they could “clear the enemy from the territory of the DRA by the end of the year and stabilize the situation in the country.”
The troops of the 40th army were stretched to the limit in the fighting. 56 of the 73
battalions were engaged in constant battles with no breaks or change of men. The political officers complained that this meant that Party-Komsomol studies and political education suffered. The operational reports to Moscow described the heroic acts of the army and the bravery and courage of the troops, pilots, helicopter pilots and paratroopers. They were merciless to the enemy. A weekly report to Andropov and Ustinov stated that “1,390 rebels were killed between 25 February and 5 March. Some of the rebels fled into the mountains and froze to death there as they did not have warm clothes.”
At the same time the foreign press readily published the Chekist inventions that the limited Soviet military contingent was fulfilling exactly the same duties as the UN troops in Lebanon.
The insurgents resisted desperately and dealt retaliatory blows to the Soviet and
government troops. In 1981 they carried out 5,236 armed actions, 436 a month. In the same year they made 760 unexpected attacks destroying 567 transport vehicles and damaging 500 administrative centers. 4,552 members of the Sarandoy were killed. A large part of the country was controlled by the rebels. In the Kunduz province the insurgents controlled 346 of the 384 villages and only 38, (10%), were controlled by the regime in Kabul. In the Herat province the government could barely call its own 249 of the 1,517 villages, (16%). In the provinces of Balkh, Jozjan, Samangan and Faryab barely 43% of the 1,792 villages were under government control but the Kabul regime did not feel easy even in these places. (105)
The population suffered great losses. The cruel actions of the Soviets aroused the hatred of the people. They said: “What do you call Russian bombers and tanks which attack the elderly, women and children? It is difficult to find a name. To call them animals is to insult animals as they are of use to people. The Russians have done nothing for the people and the people are ashamed of them. Everyone has something in common. And if one part of the body is sick, then the whole body feels the pain. Someone who does not care for his neighbor cannot be called human.”
Even Babrak dared to mention the cruel Soviet actions when he was talking to the Soviet representatives. He mentioned the huge losses amongst the civilian population and the battering of Afghan men. He expressed the fear that Afghanistan could end up without a workforce. (106)
D. Panjshiri, a member of the Politburo and chairman of the Party Control [Commission] of the PDPA CC, was very upset that the Soviet army was beginning to fight against the Afghan people, was displaying unheard of cruelty and ruthlessness and was acting on the principle of ‘the worse it is, the better.’
The soldiers and officers had no aversion to marauding and speculating with military property and fuel. They disregarded the traffic rules. On 12 March 1980, Babrak asked Minister of Foreign Affairs S.M. Dost, who was going to Moscow to sign a treaty on the status of the Soviet troops were stationed in Afghanistan, to raise the matter. In Moscow Dost raised the matter of the conduct of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan with the Soviets.
All the same, the plan of the Soviets to crush the adversary in 1981 remained unfulfilled. The deadline for the eliminating the adversary was put off until the next year. When reporting to Ustinov on the actions of the 40th army and the units of the KGB and Interior Ministry over the autumn and winter of 1981-82, Sokolov was forced to admit that the efforts to eliminate the insurgents had not been completely successful. “The adversary has gone into the mountains with an altitude of 4,000 to 4,500 meters. The decision has been taken to eliminate a group of the adversary at the end of the winter period when the temperature in the mountains and the large amount of snow which has fallen in February will not allow the adversary to take cover in the mountains. In the areas of Tagab, Nidjrab and Joybar the adversary is shut in ravines and has showed fierce resistance. His exit routes to the south, west and east are cut off. To the north there are steep mountain faces which are inaccessible in winter.”
Y.U. Maksimov, in a report to Ustinov and Andropov on the actions of the troops in January 1982, wrote that: “The counter-revolutionary forces have managed to keep their zones of influence and to attract a considerable part of the population into the armed struggle against the existing regime ...” Small detachments and groups of trained organizer bandits were sent in from Iran and Pakistan onto the territory of the DRA, and these then increased their number by drawing on local inhabitants. Estimates by the USSR Ministry of Defense, the apparatus of the chief military adviser, and the operational department of the 40th army put the number of people in such groups in the DRA at 30,000 to 35,000. KGB estimates put the figure at 50,000 to 55,000. Around these groups insurgent units grew up numbering 500,000 fighters.
Altogether 59 of the 186 administrative units and 54 of the 100 volosts [smaller
administrative units], 35 % of the territory of the whole country, and 7 million people, 46% of the total population, were under their control. For example, in the northeastern administrative zone, there were reckoned to be 40 serious centers of resistance with up to 4,000 rebels. They controlled 82% of all the kishlaks [villages] in the zone. During the first nine months of 1982 there were 7,689 armed attacks on Soviet and government targets, an average of 854 a month which was almost twice as many as in the previous year. The insurgents carried out 811 attacks on transport convoys and individual vehicles. They destroyed 800 vehicles. They carried out 4,620 acts of sabotage against important economic targets, including 100 on electric power stations and electricity transmission lines and 60 on gas pipelines. They fired at administrative centers 1,500 times and carried out 1,300 attacks on military units.
The Soviets noted that the rebels were becoming more organized and better trained. They began to make more use of mines and landmines, mortars, grenade launchers and heavy machine-guns. There were specialized commands to attack aviation and armored tanks and groups of engineers to build dug-outs and defensive positions. The various partisan groups were beginning to coordinate their actions. The tactics of the partisans also changed. They began to avoid battles and to maneuver more. The leaders of the rebels held the view that they should preserve their men and prepare for an attack when the Soviet troops had been withdrawn from Afghanistan.
During the first half of 1982 the Soviet troops were engaged in 23 serious battles. 35,800 of the enemy were killed and 5,048 taken prisoner. From January to October the border troops in the northern regions took part in 182 combat operations. They killed 6,000 rebels and took 4,500 prisoners. They cleared rebels from 13 administrative units and volosts.
The combat capability and morale of the army of the DRA was at a low level, according to the Soviet military and KGB. The officers openly disobeyed orders, co-operated with the Dushmen and went over to their side. Over 17,000 men had deserted from the army by 30 April 1980. There were also vast numbers of deserters in subsequent years. In 1981 30,000 deserted from the army, and in 1982 from 2,500 to 3,000 each month. The number of deserters was six times greater than the number killed which was also very high. Thus, the Sarandoy alone lost about 8,000 men in nine months; 1,200 were killed, 2,336 were wounded, 850 taken prisoner and 2,500 deserted. The ranks of the army were filled by compulsory conscription. On 7 February 1982, Sokolov, Akhromevev and Osadchy suggested to Babrak that the conscription age should be lowered to eighteen, the term of service extended to three years, and the wages of
a soldier raised to 3,000 Afghani.
The following episode illustrates the ways of the army. On 11 February 1981, the
Minister of Defense, Rafi, and the deputy of the chief military adviser, V.P. Cheremnykh, inspected the 11th division. They paid a visit to the canteen of the 7th artillery regiment, and Rafi noticed two soldiers who were not wearing white overalls. He summoned them and, in front of everyone else, slapped their faces with his glove and ordered them to be arrested for six days. On the following day Rafi patted with his hand a bed, and dust rose up from the blanket. He turned to the commander of the regiment, Mukhamed Nadir, and with a smile said that if he did not bring order into the regiment, he himself would stick the blanket in his mouth and shove it in his stomach. He then hit the commander, ordered him to be tied up and put in the lavatory where he was kept under guard until four in the morning by the soldiers accompanying the minister. He then sent him to Kabul.
The Soviets were unable to finish off the partisans in 1982, either. The KGB and military blamed the actions of international imperialism and the reactionary Islamic states. They said that they had given assistance to the Dushmen and encouraged the centers of resistance. The slogan of the counterrevolution was to drive the Russian enslavers out of the country and to overthrow the puppets they had installed in Kabul. They depicted the leadership of the DRA as dependants who were trying to hand over the management of the party and the country to the Soviet advisers. Babrak told those close to him that it was too early for him to be active “until the period of the Soviet advisers is over.” He gave the reasons for this as the weakness of the PDPA and its officials and the lack of any interest or participation by the popular masses.
The Soviet nomenklatura was forced to change its tactics in the war and to abandon the idea of conquering the whole country at once. A plan was devised to keep firm control over the regions which could be effectively controlled and to introduce national, social and economic changes in them. They reckoned that this would allow them gradually to gain control of the whole country. The aim was to achieve a decisive victory in the northern zones bordering the Soviet Union first. Territorial committees for the defense of the revolution were set up in villages, streets and groups of houses. Surveillance of the population and its mood was stepped up and any movements and new people were noted. (107)
Setbacks in the war disenchanted the Afghans. In August 1981 Babrak discussed the situation with Sokolov and compared the situation in the country with wartime communism in the Soviet Union. He said: “Although it would not be right to proclaim openly wartime communism, all the actions of the authorities must be along those lines. Of greatest importance at the present stage is the personal authority and experience of the military chief, Marshal Sokolov. But if it proves impossible to make real headway in the normalization of the situation and the elimination of the counterrevolution, then I intend to ask Andropov to come to the DRA to take direct charge of the actions aimed at improving the situation in Afghanistan.”
A little later Babrak said that Marshal Sokolov, the Soviet military advisers, and the DRA Ministry of Defense had not only failed to crush the counterrevolution but they had reached a deadlock.
The Chekists considered that the Afghans were becoming increasingly critical of the military leaders and the situation in the country.
“When he was in Moscow, Babrak spoke about the bad work of General Mayorov and asked that Marshal Sokolov should be sent back to Afghanistan. Moscow listened to him and sent the marshal whom he had not fully trusted before,” said Gulyabzoi.
When Baryali heard that S.L. Sokolov had returned to Kabul in May, he exclaimed: ”I do not want to be in the same place as the Marshal. I shall leave the country.” And Nadibullah added that the Marshal had returned in order to correct the mistakes he had made in 1980.
Nur, Rafi and Gol Aga spread rumors that the Soviets were taking bribes from officers who belonged to the Khalq faction. They maintained that the Soviet representatives were unprincipled and responsible for the crimes of Taraki and Amin.
Many people could not understand why the Soviet troops were staying in the country for so long. The PDPA Central Committee and Babrak, in spite of the fact that they had been told persistently what to do, were slow in developing a proper propaganda campaign to explain the purpose of the Soviet troops stationed in Afghanistan.
At a meeting of one party organization, Gol Aga expressed his feelings:
“Why are we, the Parchamis, being accused of betraying the national interests? Was it we who invited the Soviet troops to Afghanistan? No! It was Watanjar, Gulyabzoi and Mazduryar. They went to the Soviet embassy during Amin’s coup in September 1979. It is all the work of the Khalq faction!”
Before the group of Afghans was taken from Tashkent to Kabul on the eve of Amin’s elimination, Babrak swore that he would forget his personal feelings towards the Khalq supporters and take into consideration only the interests of the state. Asadullah Sarwari, Politburo member, Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Council and Deputy Prime Minister, Said Muhamed Gulyabzoi, member of the Central Committee and Interior Minister, Aslan Watanjar, the Minister of Communications, and Sherjan Mazduryar, member of the Central Committee and Minister of Transportation, all expressed warm thanks for the assistance and care received at a difficult time. They were grateful to the CPSU, the [Soviet] government, and Brezhnev for their international approach to the events in Afghanistan. They said that they valued the opinions of their Soviet comrades more than anything else and considered it their duty as Communists to follow all the instructions of the Soviet leadership.
But the new party and state leadership did not keep its promises and oaths and the bitter intra-party fighting did not cease.
At one meeting Babrak said: “The USSR is supporting the Parchamis, and the Khalq supporters should know this. If any division takes up arms against the government, then it will be eliminated down to the last soldier by the Soviet army.”
The point was that the majority of the army commanders were Khalqis. As early as March 1980 the senior Chekists and military leaders in Afghanistan had reported to Andropov and Ustinov that little thought was being given to the fight against the rebels in the Ministry of Defense and the chief political directorate of the DRA. This was because they considered that the Soviet troops would deal with this. It was assumed that [the report was so written] in order to criticize more openly the mistakes of the Khalq [faction] in general, without criticizing particular individuals.
Niyaz Muhamad, the head of the economic department of the PDPA Central Committee, who was in Moscow for medical treatment, said, in confidence, in December 1980 that the Afghans had been instructed to tell Soviet officials they met that there was unity in the party, the safety of the population of the whole country had been secured and good conditions for economic activity had been established. The Khalq supporters were being punished for giving Soviet specialists true information. In June he attended a meeting in the Soviet embassy with Tabeev and Grekov. Tabeev said that Khalqism had been finally crushed as a political movement, but that that did not mean that there were no true Communists among them. “Taraki tried to teach them Communism, but he failed.”
Niyaz tried to object and said: “The right things are being said but the ideas of the party are being distorted. The hadith (108) is taking precedence over the party. There is no unity, even among the party secretaries. Party organizations in which the majority of members were Khalqists have been disbanded, and new organizations established. Government positions are being given to friends. The people do not support the party at all. The leadership thinks that the USSR will solve all the economic and military problems. All they can think about is motorcars, positions and amusements.”
Niyaz was rudely interrupted by the provocative question: “Who gave you these ideas?”
There was opposition to the Soviet suggestions that the Khalqists and Parchamists should be considered as members of a single party. Babrak reacted badly to these suggestions. On 3 September 1980, in the presence of Osadchy and Rafi, who had been reporting on the appointment of a new commander of the 11th infantry division, Babrak, in discussing the candidate put forward by the Soviet military commanders, expressed his annoyance: “I cannot understand why the Soviet comrades take such decisions without consulting me as General Secretary of the PDPA. They clearly do not understand that this is interference in our internal affairs.”
Babrak specifically wanted more independence and space to maneuver in matters of personnel. He tried to compromise senior officers, especially those who were Khalqists. He guessed that they were giving unapproved information about the situation to the Soviet command. He did not give up the idea of removing the Khalqists from the government and, in particular, of removing Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and Mazduryar as well as Sarwari. “Their hands are stained with blood,” he kept saying.
At the same time he tried to get rid of any possible rivals and strengthen his own position in the party and the state. The Residency considered that Babrak was not yet up to the task of leading the party. As before he was limited by his narrow Parcham views, failed to differentiate between the supporters of Taraki and the supporters of Amin, considered the Khalqists to be opportunists in the ranks of the PDPA, wanted Taraki, Amin and the Khalq faction to be completely discredited, and was adopting the tactics of positive inaction. He listened attentively to advice, but did little to put it into action. He often complained: “It was not my idea that I should sit at the same table as the Khalqists. What unity is this? Would it not be better to fight against this opportunism?”
In 1980 and 1981, Babrak conceived the theoretical basis for his idea of installing order to the PDPA by crushing the Khalq faction and exposing the ideological failings of Khalqism-Tarakism. He studied in detail a course of lectures published by the Iranian Tudeh Party on the history of the CPSU and noted all the opposition and anti-party movements and groups which had been crushed by the Bolsheviks. His main conclusion from these history lessons was: “If the CPSU broke up and crushed so many factions and groups before it achieved a monopolistic unity, then why cannot we in the PDPA deal the same way with the Khalq faction? Until this is done there will be no unity in the PDPA.”
As time passed Babrak became more and more anti-Khalq. When he spoke to his Soviet partners, he spoke as someone who had found the truth and was convinced of it rather than someone who was searching for it. “As long as you keep my hands bound and do not let me deal with the Khalq faction, there will be no unity in the PDPA and the government cannot become strong. There can be no organic unity as long as there are Khlalqists in the party. They tortured and killed us. They still hate us. They are the enemies of unity! “
Babrak displayed the same attitude towards Trud [Labor] and ROTA [Revolutionary Organization of the Workers of Afghanistan] organizations.
Why did Babrak adopt such an extreme position? The situation in the country, the army, and the party itself gave no basis for such ambitions, and his personal position was not improving. The leadership of the PDPA did not achieve a breakthrough in the stabilization and normalization of the situation in the country. It did not manage to overcome the main negative consequences of the policies of the Taraki and Amin governments. These were negativism, indifference, and apathy on the part of the population towards the established regime. The leadership of the party did not know the real state of affairs in the various spheres of life in the party and the country. It had no idea of its main tasks. This is shown by the fact that all the speeches and resolutions for the Plenum of the PDPA Central Committee in July 1980 were drawn up by the Soviets. Most of this work was done by Major A.V. Pavlov, head of the information group of the KGB Representation and a member of Service No. 1 of the FCD. (109) The meetings of the Politburo, the Secretariat of the PDPA Central Committee and the government were a spontaneous exchange of opinions and no resolutions were passed unless they had been prepared beforehand by the Soviets. The Afghans paid an unreasonable amount of attention to internal party intrigues. They presumed that other matters would be settled by the Soviets. They behaved like dependants but, at the same time, were noticeably insincere with their Soviet comrades.
Babrak held the view that an increase of Soviet influence and intervention in Afghanistan would increase his prestige and importance but not allow the Soviets to control him as they might wish. The Residency considered that in the not too distant future it would be necessary to set out plainly to him the conditions for further cooperation and to continue to work with him with this in mind.
Andropov and his protege Kryuchkov visited Afghanistan. Babrak also met Andropov and Ustinov once again, in Tashkent in December 1981. Babrak promised to carry out all their suggestions, to increase the strength of the army and the Sarandoy, to appoint Kadyr Deputy Defense Minister, to achieve unity in the party, and to sack a number of people. His energy was given a boost, but this did not last for long. Babrak and his entourage were deeply concerned that neither the army nor the Sarandoy were Parchamist. They considered their real power base to be Khad and certain units of party activists.
The Khalqists were placed under increased pressure. Sarwari considered the struggle against them necessary in order to prevent any anti-government conspiracies. Keshtmand called “for the Khalqists to be dealt with within a year.” In some places the Parchamis resorted to using terror against their rivals. The First Secretary of the Balkh province eliminated more than ten Khalqists. Khalqists in the party apparatus and army were concerned about their careers and safety. They spread rumors that the USSR had appointed Parchamists who were really representatives of the bourgeoisie and had nothing to do with the interests of the people to head the DRA.
The Parchamis considered that the national conference of the PDPA in March 1982 marked their victory over the Khalq faction.
Babrak accused Sarwari, Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and Mazduryar of factionalism. He
ordered his bodyguards to make a show of being in his office when Gulyabzoi, Watanjar, Mazduryar and other Khalqists went there as though they were preparing to attack him. He was nervous and irritable when he spoke to Sarwari. He claimed that in the PDPA there were no Khalqists, Parchamists or Trudists; it was a united party, but within the single party there were internal party groupings, which needed to be dealt with on political and organizational lines. Therefore, he asked the Soviet representatives to consider sending Sarwari and Gulyabzoi abroad. In May 1980 Tabeev and Ivanov recommended that the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee and the KGB should agree that Sarwari should receive medical attention in the USSR and then be sent as ambassador to Mongolia in order to reduce the tension in the PDPA between the Khalq and Parcham factions. Gulyabzoi should be treated in the same manner. At first the KGB tried to vindicate Sarwari and prevented attempts by Babrak, Keshtmand, Rafi and Kadyr
to dismiss him for the crimes he had committed under Amin when he was in charge of the security services. The KGB only approved Sarwari’s appointment as ambassador when Sarwari himself asked for its agreement that he should give up his political work.
The KGB also tried hard to vindicate Gulyabzoi. He was considered faithful and devoted to Soviet-Afghan cooperation. He had worked well as Minister of Internal Affairs. In May 1982 a working group from the PDPA Central Committee carried out a review of the work of the DRA Ministry of Internal Affairs. The report was not shown to the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but was given to Babrak and some of the Secretaries of the Central Committee. The Residency obtained the report by operational means. The Residency considered that it had not been written objectively, that the choice of facts was weighed against Minister Gulyabzoi, that it was a reflection of the internal political struggle, and that it belittled the role of Soviet assistance in the establishment of the Sarandoy as an active armed force.
The KGB Representation and the Ministry of Internal Affairs told the Soviet ambassador that the report on the Ministry of Internal Affairs was prejudiced and that the conclusions of the report should not be discussed by the PDPA Central Committee. Tabeev, however, disagreed and thought that the matter should be discussed by the Secretariat of the Central Committee and the appropriate conclusions should be drawn. Conceding that the discussions would be used to discredit Gulyabzoi and dismiss him from his ministerial post, they asked Tabeev to use his influence so that the report would be discussed but no action taken. The disagreement with Tabeev was reported to Moscow. This resulted in an order to Tabeev to annul the conclusions about Gulyabzoi's factional activities and to put on the agenda measures design to improve the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DRA.
Nevertheless, Gulyabzoi's work was criticized at a closed meeting of the Secretariat of the Central Committee chaired by Babrak on 4 September and the question of his dismissal from his post as minister was raise, with a reference to the approval of the ambassador of the USSR. On 5 September the representatives of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs again spoke against Gulyabzoi’s dismissal at a meeting with Tabeev attended by the chief military adviser and acting senior Party adviser V.K. Fateyev. Tabeev backed down. They decided to submit a prepared draft resolution of the Central Committee of the PDPA and a plan to improve the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Central Committee of the PDPA. Discussions of these proposals would not be linked to the earlier report on the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
On 21 September the matter of accusing Gulyabzoi or not was again raised with Tabeev. With the approval of a senior Party adviser, A.V. Romantsov, Tabeev insisted that the failures of the work of the ministry and Gulyabzoi be examined. He justified this on the grounds that it had been agreed with the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs that stern sanctions should be taken against Gulyabzoi. In spite of the agreement with Tabeev that the Secretariat of the Central Committee should not be used against Gulyabzoi, the draft Central Committee resolution which was sent to the Central Committee was altered. The representatives of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs therefore proposed that the ambassador and the chief military adviser should, through Romantsov, invite the Afghans to postpone the meeting scheduled for 25 September on the grounds that additional work was needed on the matter. At a planning meeting with Babrak, the KGB representative would ask him, as General Secretary, to take charge personally of the deliberations of the Central Committee on the written drafts as this was the wish of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR. Najibullah added fuel to the fire by showing Babrak material on amoral behavior by Gulyabzoi and a plan by one of the latter's relations to recruit the commander of the battalion of Babrak’s guards.
The KGB Representation and the Residency began to view the actions of Babrak and his accomplices as at odds with the interests of the USSR in Afghanistan. This was seen in the growing anti-Soviet mood in the party and the country and the slowing-down of the revolutionary process. The sectarian and dependent line adopted by Babrak acted as a brake and forced the USSR to conduct the war against the Dushmen by itself. These people began to keep information on the true situation in the party and the country away from the Soviet advisers. Najibullah warned a delegation from Khad to be extremely careful in Moscow when talking about the situation in Afghanistan and the PDPA, as there were listening devices in the building housing the Afghan delegation.
Babrak, N. A. Nur, M. Baryalai, S. Ye. Keshtmand, Rotebzad and Gol Aka all belonged to this orthodox group. They hindered the promotion of Afghans who had graduated from the Academy and higher education institutes in the USSR. 173 of the 271 who had studied in the Soviet Union were in the forces but only one held a high post. He was the head of the general staff of the corps. Military personnel who had studied in the capitalist countries, on the other hand, held higher posts and were at least division commanders.
Gol Aka was an extreme Parchamist. He accused the advisers of being pro-Khalq and of working against the general trend of party unity. He held the view that there could be no reconciliation between the Parcham and Khalq factions. “The Khalqists who have committed crimes against the people can hide for as long as they like, but they will get their just retribution. Traitors and murderers were tried and condemned in the Soviet Union long after the war had ended; the same thing will happen in Afghanistan.”
The KGB Representation and Residency proposed that Gol Aka should be dismissed from his post of head of the political directorate of the army.
They also considered Babrak lazy. He got up at nine in the morning and did not work very hard. He was rather like Taraki. He made ministers wait. He received the Minister of Internal Affairs not as a minister of internal affairs, but as an informant on the situation in the leadership of the PDPA. Babrak was prone to self-doubt and vacillation, and this was reflected in a distinct hesitancy and flabbiness in his dealings with other people and the way he was easily influenced. But he considered himself to be one of the great figures of the world and of more significance than Cuba’s Castro. He mistrusted G.D. Pandshiri, a member of the Politburo and Chairman of the Party Control Commission, as he “still has his own view about everything and is a cause and source of the intra-party disagreements.” He indirectly criticized his cousin, Minister of Finance A. Wakhil, for cooperating with the KGB. Babrak’s morals were also not beyond reproach, and he had an affair with Politburo member Anahita Roetebzad.
Minister Gulyabzoi reported to Babrak daily on the situation in the country during the preceding twenty-four hours. He was surprised by the Soviet representatives’ conduct towards Babrak. They did not influence him in the way they should and they turned a blind eye to his heavy drinking as well as to his work in the party. Babrak was a passive leader of the party and country. His only concern was how to compromise the leaders of the Khalq faction. He was not concerned about consolidating the situation in the country as he considered that the Soviets must do this. At the same time, however, he criticized the work of the Soviet advisers.
As Gulyabzoi said on one occasion, “Babrak is the president of the court rather than the country, and I am not the Minister of Internal Affairs of the DRA but the Minister of Internal Affairs of Kabul as most of the country is controlled by the rebels.”
The life style of those close to Babrak was far from commendable. M. Baryalai, a
half-brother of Babrak on his father's side and Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee and head of the international department of the Central Committee who was viewed as a possible future leader, was dealing in houses and cars. Nur and Zerai sat together drinking tea everyday from 8 to 10 am chatting by the samovar.
Najibullah, Dost and Sakyki (110) were another group. They were more flexible in their views on party unity but they did not question Babrak’s resolutions.
Nepotism and favoritism towards relations and friends was rife within the leadership. They had no qualms about embezzling government property to satisfy their own needs and pleasure.
In March 1982 Sokolov and Akhromeev reported to Ustinov that Nur, Baryalai and Gol Aka were acting against the interests of party unity. They had the support of Keshtmand, Najibullah and Rafi. These people were particularly dangerous as their influence was increasing, they frequently ignored the opinions and recommendations of the Soviet advisers and were behaving insincerely and like Pharisees. The military leaders suggested that they should be gradually relieved from their key positions and sent abroad.
Abdul Kadyr was completely trusted by the Soviet organs and military. The Residency had a high opinion of him and considered him to be a man of principle and devoted to the USSR. He considered the discord between the Khalq and Parcham factions to be a consequence of the social standing of the Parchamists. The majority of Parchamists came from the privileged layers of Afghan society whereas the Khalqists were mostly poor and working-class. He had been physically tortured in prison, and the nerve in his right hand had been severed. Babrak was aware of his strong personality and secretly disliked and mistrusted him. The Residency suggested that he should be used more, bearing in mind Babrak’s opinion of him. In 1982 the Soviets managed to send Rafi to the USSR for military training and to put Kadyr in his place. Marshal Sokolov gave the following report on him. “A. Kadyr is loyal to the Soviet Union and will not make any important military or political moves without orders from the Soviets or their agreement. He has a good working relationship with General M.I. Sorokin. It is our view that A. Kadyr is one of the party and state leaders who has good prospects and could be of use to us.”
But Najibullah added information about Kadyr’s dishonest financial dealings, his
anti-party attitude and his conspiratorial plans to his blameless reference. Kadyr had tried to persuade Gulyabzoi to join forces and use military force to restore order. Kadyr’s idea was that the army would take over and then hand over power to the healthy forces in the party once democracy had been strengthened in the country. Babrak had been unable to unite the party and stabilize the situation in the country.
At the same time he asked Babrak to do the following. He, Kadyr, would head a left or right wing opposition, which would give the impression of democracy in the DRA, and then he [Babrak] could crush the [real] opposition that would have been exposed by this plan. Babrak considered this adventurism and provocation on the part of Kadyr.
When an Afghan delegation was preparing to go to Moscow to attend the 26th Congress of the CPSU, (111) Tabeev, Kozlov, Mayorov and Spolnikov sent a telegram to Andropov with the following requests: When dealing with the delegation they should force the Afghans to take part in the combat operations and not be observers of the actions by the Soviet troops. They should make Babrak pay attention to the number of people in the party and state apparatus, the officer corps, the police and the state security services who belonged to Islamic parties and organizations which posed a serious threat to the Revolution. If the Afghans were to remark that the Soviet representatives in the DRA had not been informed objectively and well on various matters, then they were to say that the Soviet side had a realistic view of the situation in Afghanistan, that Soviet representatives were working in all areas of the DRA and had accurate information on the situation in the country and the party. If personnel matters were raised, particularly, the question of transferring Finance Minister Wakhil to diplomatic work, then they should reply that there was no need for this and that the matter had been raised in such a way only because of Babrak’s subjective opinion of him. They were to suggest that the extreme Khalqists could be isolated with the help of the honest Khalqists to whom more attention should be paid.
At the 26th Congress of the CPSU, Taraki was not mentioned among the communists who had died since the previous congress. This was regarded by the Parcham faction as a great blow against the Khalq tendency, as assistance in the struggle against the Khalq “equivalent to half a year of our own efforts.”
V.S. Safronchuk, S.M. Veselov, Grekov, Kozlov, V.G. Lomonosov, V.K. Fateev, A.V. Romantsov and V.G. Zamaryanov were some of the ideological advisers to the PDPA. The membership of the party increased by more than twenty times between April 1978 and October 1982 when it stood at 60,000. The membership was petty-bourgeois by class. Only 8% could possibly be described as working- class. There were no members of the working-class in the highest party or state organs, the Central Committee or the Revolutionary Council. The party had grown because of the offspring of the Cheka, the punitive organs, which accounted for 28,000 members and the Kabul party organization which accounted for 11,500 members.
THE OFFSPRING OF THE CHEKA
The security organs zealously absorbed KGB training. They were restructured in 1980 along the same lines. Departments of the State Information Service (Khad) functioned in all 29 provinces, administrative units, and kholosts. The staff was increased from 700 in January 1980 to 16,650 in 1982. 56% were members of the PDPA and 28% members of the Democratic Youth Organization. They belonged to 63 party cells. They underwent operational training in the USSR and in the Kabul training center. The State Information Service, consisted of 11 operational sections, a political directorate, a personnel directorate and 11 support services.
In August 1981 Babrak expressed his great approval of the KGB’s work in the DRA. He said that he had the highest regard for Chairman Andropov. Under his leadership the KGB had made an invaluable contribution in the establishment of the PDPA and played an invaluable role in defending the revolutionary gains of the April Revolution. The KGB had made it possible to establish an effective security service that, for the first time in Afghan history, was active throughout the country and in all layers of society. “It had started at lower than zero.” At a meeting of senior officers and operational staff in May 1982, he asserted that “Khad has become a real fighting force against the enemies of the Revolution.”
The bulk of the work of the security organs had been the armed struggle against the insurgents. Now it was mostly engaged in agent operational measures. There were 9,500 informers in the agent network. There were regular preemptive purges in Kabul. 269 operational groups were set up. 8,240 members of the military, 1,392 members of Sarandoy, 540 members of Khad and over 1,700 party activists were involved in the operations. From 2 February to 8 February 1981 they searched 9,600 homes. 4,577 young men who were avoiding conscription were rounded up and sent to the conscription posts. 71 people were arrested including five members of the pro-Chinese organization ‘Freedom-loving Patriots’ and five members of the Shiite organization Nasr. Membership papers for 5,000 members of the Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Islamic Party (112) were found. Later 500 members of the Kabul section of Gulbuddin's party were found and put under guard. They included 127 army personnel. They obtained the archives of the Maoist organization Peikar and arrested its members. The leader of the underground “Islamic Society of Afghanistan” was detained. During his interrogation he gave the names of 825 people. 12 leaders of the organization were recruited and infiltrated into the underground. (113)
‘Operation Alamgir’ (Sword-bearer) was carried out on 2 March. A plane belonging to the Pakistani state airline was hijacked by a group of Pakistani terrorists during a flight to West Germany. The plane landed at Kabul airport. The hijackers demanded the release of all political prisoners in Pakistan. Murtaz Bhutto (114)was the leader of the terrorists. Prior to this he had visited Kabul three times and met Najibullah, the head of Khad. They had discussed ways to fight the Pakistani regime and at the end of 1980 had agreed on the plane hijacking.
During the night of 2 to 3 March, Najibullah personally met Bhutto at the steps of the plane. Najibullah had been dressed in the uniform of an airport worker for the meeting. The Residency and KGB Representation advised Najibullah how to make the best use of the situation politically and against Pakistan. Bhutto asked for three members of the Al Zulfikar organization to join the hijackers. The terrorists were given 4,500 dollars, an explosive device with a timer, three Kalashnikovs with ammunition and four grenades. At the same time ZIA-UL- HAQ (115) asked Brezhnev to persuade the Afghan government to release the passengers and the plane. Considerable propaganda was made about the terrorist regime in Pakistan, and it was then decided that the plane should be flown to Libya with the agreement of Tripoli. Qaddafi (116) promised to give asylum to the hijackers and to put the hostages in a camp. The women on board were allowed to leave the plane. The plane was then refuelled and flown out of Kabul.
In February 1982 the underground organization Sazman-e-lekhali (Liberation) and its printing press and its Vakhav radio station were liquidated. The organization had extensive contacts among teachers, students and white-collar workers in the capital and other cities. 31 officials, 60 students and schoolchildren, 7 teachers, 13 workers, 9 traders and 10 members of the army were arrested; a total of 130.
During the first half of 1982, Khad took part in 750 large-scale and local operations against the partisans. More than 450 air and artillery attacks on their bases were carried out on the basis of Khad agent information. Some 300 Islamic committees were crushed and 6,000 partisans captured.
An important aspect of the work of Khad was the effort to disrupt the partisan groups and to persuade them to give up the armed struggle. 250 units gave up their arms and were formed into 50 self-defense groups. Talks were held with the leaders of another 162 units.
The KGB attached particular importance to the establishment of the so-called false bands. They pretended to be armed groups of Dushmen. (117) They operated against real Mujahedin groups and killed and slaughtered them whenever an opportunity arose. They provoked clashes between different partisan groups and when necessary pretended to abandon their armed opposition, surrender to the authorities and go over to the government side. There were 84 such bands in October 1982, and two more were formed by January 1983.
In 1982 the organs arrested over 1,500 members of various underground organizations. They crushed about 200 anti-government groups, rendered 170 extreme leftist groups harmless and disrupted mass anti-government demonstrations planned for the 4th anniversary of the April Revolution and religious festivals. They liquidated 27 terrorist groups numbering 300 men. 200 self-defense units were set up in the part of the country controlled by the government. During the first three months of 1983, the provincial organs of Khad used over 800 agents who had been infiltrated into the partisan groups. 140 air raids and 360 local attacks were carried out on the basis of their leads.
The KGB tried to organize the border troops to act as an impressive force. By 1983 their number had been increased to 27,715. This represented 43.7% of the armed forces. The ideal ratio of border troops to the regular army is one to three. There was a special commission of the Central Committee of the PDPA and the Revolutionary Council on conscription into the border forces, but their number was never complete because of the high number of desertions. For example, 2,000 of the 5,600 new conscripts in 1982 deserted. There were plans for 10 border brigades, 207 topographical reconnaissance batteries and 145 mortar batteries. Of a total of 1,732 officers 1,300 were members of the PDPA, and over a hundred had been trained in the USSR.
Military counter-intelligence serves the army operationally. In 1981, 560 members controlled 3,838 agents and 1,756 cooptees. With their cooperation 256 underground groups with 18,000 members were exposed. 50 Dushmen agents were exposed.
The KGB representatives noted that there were a large number of men in the army and border troops who supported Muslim Brothers, Setam-i Milli (118) and Shu’la-Yi Javid, (119) and that this badly affected discipline.
There were 73,000 military personnel in the police. Their number was to be increased to 85,000 to 90,000 in 1983. Over 5,000 officers and sergeants had been trained in the Soviet Union. The Sarandoy units carried out 4,000 operations and took part in 1,000 joint actions with the army in 1982.
The [security] organs prepared for the state holidays with particular care. For the 5th anniversary of the April Coup precautionary measures were taken in the capital, around Kabul and on the routes which could be used by Dushmen. Preventive purges were carried out in 12 areas of the city and nearby villages. An extra 11 operational cover forces of 50 men each and 30 ambushes with twenty men each were set up. Suspicious and strange people were detained in every area of the capital every day and night. From 21 April to 10 May the organs introduced extra security. Up to 7,000 Sarandoy troops patrolled round the clock. This was almost three times the usual number. Fully-armed mobile reserve forces were on stand-by in every district. The Sarandoy set up observation posts to watch positions from where rockets or heavy weapons could be launched into the military parade or rally. Khad stepped up its watch on places and routes used by foreigners. Protection of the Afghan leadership was carried out by specialists from the 9th KGB Directorate who had experience protecting the Kremlin leaders. (120)
Following the Soviet example, compulsory labor was first introduced in prisons in the DRA in 1981. In the first year a profit of 30 million Afghani was made from production of the prisoners. 61,000 sets of uniforms and underwear were made for the military police in the workrooms of the Pol-I Charki prison. (121)
In May 1982 an intelligence service was set up in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
A separate organ within Khad was Feda, the Foreign Intelligence Directorate. To hide its identity, it was known only as the 10th Directorate. It was made up of 14 departments in the center and 10 departments in the Khad directorates in the provinces near the borders with Iran and Pakistan and in the towns of Herat, Farah, Kandahar, Khost, Jalalabad, Nimruz, Gilmand, Zabul, Paktik and Kunduz. It also had a department dealing with the tribes as well as an illegals department. In June 1981 there were 370 in the intelligence service. Those involved were trusted PDPA members who had undergone special training in the USSR. In Lenin's words: “A good communist is also a good Chekist.” There were intelligence posts with three or four people in the border regions working under the cover of the Ministry of Tribes and Nationalities. The head of this department was Ahmad Shah Paiya, the son of Galam Haidar, who had completed intelligence courses in Tashkent.
The intelligence service was set up to organize and develop intelligence work against Pakistan, Iran and third countries, to obtain pre-emptive information on the Afghan émigrés, the special services of the USA, China and the Islamic countries, and to establish residencies abroad. An adviser to the Intelligence Directorate was A.M. Lezhnin (‘Yuri’), a specialist on Iran where he had worked from 1964 to 1969. The 1st Department covered Pakistan, the 2nd Department Iran. There were residencies in Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad, Delhi, Bombay, Tehran, Meshked, Bonn, Ankara, Kuwait, Karachi and Chaman. Communications with Kabul were through the Soviet residencies. They used Soviet codes.
There were 315 agents and 250 trainees in the agent apparatus. In Pakistan there were 107 agents and 115 active trainees. The figures for Iran were 39 and 73. 26 agents had direct access to the headquarters of the Islamic rebel organizations, and 48 agents were in the rear of the Afghan emigration. 15 officials, military personnel and members of the special services of Pakistan were recruited. 8 members of Khad became legalized and infiltrated the centers and branches of the insurgent organizations and parties in Pakistan. The intelligence service infiltrated the leadership of the tribes of the northwest frontier province and Baluchistan. It established contact with the leaders of the Aphridi, Momand, Turi and Banjavur tribes. Fifteen agent groups consisting of 455 men were active amongst the free tribes on special assignments which were a strictly held state secret. The intelligence service found channels through which it could penetrate the headquarters of the Afghan resistance, the training centers of the resistance and the special services of Pakistan and Iran. It sent intelligence officers and agents with internal Hadji identity papers on assignments. They bought foreign passports pretending to be Afghans wishing to go to Saudi Arabia to earn money.
A Committee of Patriotic Refugees operated in Pakistan as a cover. Writings and tape cassettes were distributed in its name. They compromised M. Nabi, (122) S. Modjaddedi (123) and G. Hekmatyar and accused them of having contacts with reactionary Islamic regimes against the interests of the Afghan people. According to the postulate ‘Divide et impera,’ attempts were made to turn one against the other. At the end of 1980, 800 anti-Gulbeddin [Hekmatyar] (124) pamphlets, written in Pushtun by Muhammed Nabi, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Movement, were dropped in the Barsako and Kachi Gori refugee camps in the Peshawar region. At the same time a specially written letter from an anonymous member of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan was left in M. Nabi’s headquarters. It informed Nabi that Gulbeddin Hekmatyar was planning to get rid of him.
The KGB concocted a personal letter from G. Hekmatyar to the commander of one of the fronts of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan and a suitable commentary from a newspaper. The ‘letter’ discredited Hekmatyar to the Mujahedin leaders and the Pakistani authorities.
20,000 leaflets, 15,000 in Pushtun and 5,000 in Dari, on the announcement by the
government of the DRA on 1 January 1981 on the return of refugees were dropped in 59 places amongst the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran. 37 agents were involved in this work.
Special actions were undertaken by 11 Feda combat groups. The ideas of Amin and Taraki to strike Pakistan were realized. On 5 July 1979 Amin had told Resident Osadchy that the only way to influence the Pakistani leadership would be to disturb the internal political situation and to organs unrest in the province of Sind. “We can do this for three or four months and then the Pakistanis will have a problem which will be much more serious for them than what they are doing here. Taraki is considering how to take such action.”
This idea was the result of a visit to Kabul in May 1979 by the son of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Bhutto, and Aslam Benaresi, a well-known Sind nationalist and political activist of the People’s Party of Pakistan. He asked the Afghan government to give assistance to the struggle against Zia-Ul-Haq and to allow them to use the territory of Afghanistan for this purpose.
At the end of December 1980, the leader of the Pakistani Baluchis in Afghanistan, Mir Khozar Khan, had talks with Najibullah. Najibullah promised to give him 400 military instructors, arms, ammunition and 150 Kalashnikovs. Mir Khozar Khan was desperate to fight in Baluchistan and to liberate it. Baluchis from neighboring countries underwent military training in three camps. In April 1982 the leader of the Baluchis, Khair Bakhsh Mari, asked Babrak for financial and military assistance. Khad opened two more camps for training combat troops who would be the backbone of guerilla units in the fight against Pakistan and Iran. (125)
The KGB repeatedly demanded that they should work persistently and flexibly with the leaders of the tribes and clergy, as the people of the country were under their influence and they could persuade them to support the Kabul regime. The KGB itself changed the strategy of the fight. In the middle of 1980 a plan was drawn up for a military strike against the Jadran tribes (126) in the province of Paktia and the defeat of the units of Mullah Jalaluddin. It was drawn up jointly by Sokolov, [CPSU] Party adviser S.V. Kozlov, KGB representatives and the embassy. Babrak was kept informed. But in September the same people decided against any large-scale military operations and [decided] to concentrate instead on disruption of the tribes. This was largely because of the numbers involved and the difficult terrain. There were 90,000 people in the tribes, 20,000 of them armed. 41 million Afghani were allocated for this purpose. Political workers were sent to the tribes and leaflets were dropped. Minister of the Borders and Tribes Faiz Muhammad attempted to negotiate with the tribal leaders but he was killed. The authorities accused Mullah Jalaluddin of ignoring the traditional Muslim customs of hospitality and of killing the envoy.
Khad had talks with 315 tribal elders representing 18 large tribes accounting for 1 million people altogether. Some tribes were given material assistance through Khad. The leaders were bribed and armed units hired to cover some parts of the borders with Pakistan and Iran.
The Hazarajat Shiite Islamic Union had led the uprising against the Taraki and Amin governments. It had taken control of 34 districts in the provinces of Tur, Uruz, Han, and Bamian, and was a powerful military force. Khad managed to forge links with the Shiite clergy and leaders and arranged for them to meet Babrak. In 1981 the KGB Residency and the 5th Directorate of Khad established contact with ‘Patriot,’ one of the leaders of the military command of the Hazarajat and made a deal which led to his agreement to cooperate. In exchange for the disbandment of the Islamic Union of the Hazarajat, ‘Patriot’ was given a place in the government. In place of the disbanded union, Khad set up, under its own control, the organization of the Young Hazarajat.
Said Husein Shah Masrur, a Shiite religious leader and religious poet who was
well-known in the north of the country, attacked the Pushtunization of the northern provinces by Taraki and Amin and the persecution and abolition of the rights of the Khezaris. Masur led a partisan combat unit. In December 1982 the security organs began to negotiate with him and won him over as an ally through the principle of ‘divide and conquer.’ On his orders four bombing raids were carried out against strongholds of rival partisan groups in the provinces of Balkh and Jozjan.
Long-term and complex measures to end the undesirable activities of the clergy and to persuade them to cooperate with the authorities were drawn up. The success, however, was less than modest; it only proved possible to make little more than 200 of the 300,000 clergy change sides. However, all the preaching in the mosques was put under the control of the security apparatus.
Explanatory work was carried out among the population through the security organs. Press conferences with fictitious and actual Mujahedins and meetings supporting the policies of the government were held. Leaflets and pamphlets explaining the economic and cultural reforms in the country were distributed.
The Residency and KGB Representation considered that through their special measures the Afghan security organs were doing a good job, advancing the normalization of the situation and building on the achievements already made in the socio-economic, political and military fields.
Practically the whole repressive apparatus was permanently funded by the Soviets. The Afghan state had a serious deficit. The internal state debt was over 16,000 million Afghani, which was covered by the Soviets. The external debt was over 1,600 million dollars, or 800,000 million Afghani, 3.7 times the annual income of the state.
Here are some examples of the actual aid. In January 1979 Amin was given 20,000,000 golden [hard currency] rubles for the intelligence work of AGSA and the Directorate of Defense. In 1980 Khad was given 1,000,000 hard currency rubles for special purposes, 200,000 hard currency rubles for the peripheral security organs and 1,600,000 for work with the tribes. In 1981, 250 million gold rubles were transferred for the salaries of the members of Khad. The Secretaries of the provincial committees were provided with cars. The construction of the Institute of Social Sciences and the building of the PDPA Central Committee were financed in full [by Soviet aid]. The border intelligence was given 30,800 rubles and a further 40,000 rubles in 1983. Moreover, the Soviet nomenklatura forked out for the salaries of 12,000 town and 38,000 village mullahs—5 million karbovanets [Ukrainian word for hard currency ruble] in 1980 and 10 million in 1981 and 1982. One million was allocated to bribe certain leading Muslim personalities and to keep them satisfied.
In 1980 the Afghans were given military equipment and ammunition worth 110 million hard currency rubles. For the first half of the current year the figure was 70 million. The general additional requirement came to 740 million hard currency rubles, including 255 million for the Afghan army, 180 million for agriculture and 360 million for industry.
The KGB ‘Cascade’ units operated in parallel throughout the country. They were given broad powers. As well as terrorist actions, sabotage and the recruitment of agents, they were active among the tribes, in disrupting the activities of the Mujahedin, and in the setting-up of self-defense units. They recruited informants, guides and other agents to expose the hiding places of the rebels in the towns and drew up plans of their houses and the their approaches. In many ways the KGB compared the national liberation struggle of the Afghan Mujahedin to the basmachestvo (127) in the USSR. It therefore thought it appropriate to carry over to Afghanistan the methods and tactics the Cheka had used against the basmachi.(128)
On 19 November 1980, a meeting of the leaders of the KGB, the Residency, the KGB Representation in the DRA, the ‘Cascade’ units, a group of advisers from the Ministry of the Interior, the GRU Residency and representatives from Soviet army intelligence in the DRA was held to discuss the coordination of the gathering and use of information on the partisans and underground and methods to use in the fight against them. A coordination group was set up with members of the Residency and KGB Representation, the ‘Cascade’ units and GRU Residency to analyze the information, formulate proposals, and submit them to the Soviet military command. The Chekist organs undertook to provide the army with agents to point out targets for bombing raids and guides to approach the partisan concentrations. Present at the meeting were B. S. Ivanov of the FCD and the head of GRU, P. I. Ivashutin, a former Deputy Chairman of the KGB.
At the beginning of 1981, operational officers from a ‘Cascade’ unit in Herat province became personally acquainted through agents with the head of a 250-man unit of Dushmen. He was Hodzha Shir-Aga Chungara, a Sunni of Tajik nationality, age 45. They went to meet him without carrying any arms and persuaded him to cooperate and abandon the struggle. They demanded that if they were not to disarm the unit, then Chungara must take up arms against his former associates. Chungara (‘Abay’) diligently carried out all KGB instructions, actively helped to crush resistance units, and carried out special actions against leaders of the units, provided information, guides and informants. His unit controlled important communication lines and 48 villages. Through his loyal service, ‘Abay’ won the trust of the Cheka and his unit was allocated another 640 fighters. From April 1981 to March 1982 his force took part in 21 major combat operations jointly with a ‘Cascade’ unit and independently carried out 40 ambushes and liquidated 31 commanders of resistance units. Among them were Kamal Gulbagazani and two of his deputies and Kaum Turkan, who had taken Kulazhenko, an adviser from the CPSU Central Committee, prisoner. His force also killed the commander of the ‘Cobalt’ group in Herat. This group had made audacious attacks on Soviet troops in Herat and the surrounding area. Altogether, ‘Abay’s’ unit treacherously killed 20,500 people and took 80 prisoners.
In March 1981 ‘Abay’ and two of his assistants were given 300,000 Afghani (4,500 hard currency rubles). In April they each received a further 150,000. Chungar was also given a Stechkin pistol with a thousand cartridges as well as a holiday in the Soviet Union in the summer of 1982.
‘Cascade’ officers and members of the 8th Department of Directorate S of the FCD worked with ‘Abay.’ They included V. S. Zhuravlev, the commander of a ‘Cascade’ unit, Yu. M. Kozlov, S. M. Grankin, V. Ye. Zhuravlev, Potapov and M. M. Denskevich, the senior adviser of the KGB Representation in the area.
In 1982 confidential relations were established with some other partisan commanders including Dir Oraz Heldy, who led a band of 180 men in the area of Akch in the province of Jozjan, Dir Abdullah Jan in the volost of Faiz in the same province, and Iao Abdullah Khanai in the area of Alboraz in the Balkh province. Their forces were used in the same way as those of Chungar. Agamohammed Rakhim Khan, whose band was part of the partisan forces of Ulusvaki Karabach, operating in the Kabul province, was also persuaded to give up. Rakhim Khan had been a bandit for twelve years without a break during the times of the King, Daud, Taraki and Amin. On the instigation of the KGB he liquidated 26 active members of the Muslim society and then announced on the radio that he had gone over to the government side.
In 1983 B. N.Voskoboynikov was appointed head of the KGB Representation and
Major-General L.P.Kostromin his deputy. Four additional posts were created for operational officers who knew the Pushtun and Dari languages and had experience working in Iran and Pakistan. A.V. Anikeev became the representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR. The KGB kept a close eye on friend and foe alike.
ENEMY NUMBER ONE
Enemy number one refers primarily to the USA and the Western powers. (129)Their representatives and citizens were cultivated by the KGB. (130)
[40 lines excised.]
In January 1965 calumny was fed to the king, through an agent, that the Americans had been engaged in anti-Afghan activities. In May an article appeared in a Cairo newspaper under the headline: “What is happening in the heart of Asia?” The article was generally favorable to the Afghans but it mentioned the anti-Afghan activities of the Americans. The article was circulated to the members of the Afghan government and the diplomatic corps.
[Three lines excised.]
The Residency then made the Afghan government believe that the Americans were interfering in the election campaign and backing people that suited them for election to the country’s parliament. On 9 August Prime Minister M. Yusuf (131)summoned US ambassador Steeves and expressed the displeasure of the government at the American attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the country. These measures helped strengthen the anti-American feelings of the ruling circles in Afghanistan and to impede the work of the Americans.
The Residency maintained that the overthrow of the King was quite unexpected by the Americans, and that the American special services had, therefore, tried to repair this omission by taking active steps to restore the monarchy, to overthrow the republic, to move its agents into leading posts in the government, and to unite all the reactionary and anti-Soviet elements in a single force. Several emissaries and specialists in covert actions were sent to the country. Anti-Soviet groups were established in Turkey, FRG and the USA. It was suspicious that Americans, French, British and West German specialists were working in the northern part of the country close to the Soviet border. It was noted that an increasing number of tourists from the USA, Denmark and Holland went there and tried under various pretexts to meet Soviet citizens and get to know them. It was thought possible that at any moment there could be anti-Soviet outbursts from local or international extremists. For this reason, the Residency paid increased attention to the security of Soviet institutions, planes at the airport and places where Soviet citizens lived.
The Residency had agents and informants in all the Soviet communities. In 1977 there were 72 agents and 90 informants who were Soviet citizens, and a further 15 agents and 19 informants who were military specialists. The number of agents and the way they were spread out among the targets made it possible to cover the Soviet colony. But they were not giving enough signals about the hostile intentions of the adversary’s special services. The best trained were used against the Americans.
[13 lines excised.]
In April 1974 [name no printed] (agent ‘Azat’) was dangled before two Americans. [Names and identifying details excised.] Mir-Movsumov hinted that he was thinking of fleeing to the West but did not know how to go about it alone and would like their advice and cooperation. ‘Azat’ was a translator for the State Committee for Economic Relations. Prior to this he had been Secretary of the Komsomol District Committee in Baku. They agreed to meet in the restaurant [name excised] to discuss his request quietly. Meanwhile, the Residency asked its agent Faiz Muhamed (‘Akbar’), who worked for the Afghan counter-intelligence service, to take steps to detain the Americans and ascertain their identity. ‘Akbar’ used an operational group from the counter intelligence department under the leadership of Azhar Abdullah Samad ('Fatekh'). While 'Azat' was talking to the Americans in the restaurant the police rushed up to the Americans. [Three words including name excised.] One policeman grabbed an American by the throat and two others by his arms. They took him out of the restaurant, shoved him into a police car and took him to the police station. Two other Americans [names excised] were also detained. The matter was reported to the President and described as a planned American provocation aimed at damaging relations with a friendly country. Daud approved of the police action. [One lines with name excised.]
The Residency used the situation to increase Soviet influence in government circles and to undermine the position of the Americans. The Resident, YURI Mikhailovich Surnin, was made an Honored Member of the State Security Service for his part in the affair. 'Azat' was given a wrist watch.
The above-mentioned agent 'Fatekh' was a member of the agent group 'Luch' [ray] which was set up by the Residency under the flag of the Parcham party when the latter had just been formed. Azkher underwent police training in Egypt and the USA. He was the chief of the headquarters of the police and gendarmerie in Daud’s time and a former head of Kabul airport. He began to co-operate in 1972 and was engaged in active measures and special actions. The agent 'Ali' (Mukham Aziz) a former mayor of Kabul, was in charge of ‘Luch' which had seven members. His contact was the Deputy Resident for counter-intelligence, K. R. Golivanov. [Approx. 25 lines excised]
The KGB took measures to secure the expulsion of American correspondents from Afghanistan in order to limit the possibility that the true situation in the country would be reported. The correspondents concerned included James P. Sterba(132) of The New York Times, William Branigan (133) of The Washington Post, James Dorsay of The Christian Science Monitor, the correspondent of an American radio and television company and other Western journalists. The doors to Afghanistan were widely opened for so-called progressive journalists such as [name excised] of the [nationality excised] newspaper [name excised] who was a trusted contact of the Cuban Intelligence Service so that they could report favorably on the situation in the country.
The Residency constantly nagged its man in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dost, to publish articles on the interference by the Americans, Pakistanis and Chinese in the internal affairs of the country and to make complaints to the UN and other international organizations.
On 10 April 1980 the Chekists organized a press conference for foreign and local
journalists in Kabul to condemn the supply of American chemical weapons to the Mujahedin and their use of them. It was rehearsed beforehand. The Minister of Culture and Information, Sarbuland, (134) gave the press conference. The head of an Afghan patrol in Herat and a captured Iranian took part and denounced the Americans. Babrak highly approved of the press conference.
But how was the incident of the general poisoning of the population in Bazla Gumbat in the area of operation of Soviet units in the Afghan Pamir to be concealed? 350 Kirghizian families suffered from a fatal mysterious illness coughing up blood. It is understandable why Andropov kept this under his own personal control.
By publishing “documents” in the Palestinian press in Beirut the Residency wanted to show the Afghan leadership that the Americans were using the disagreements in the PDPA between the Khalqists and the Parchamists and the poor state of the army to weaken the regime and create internal political difficulties.
It devised a scheme for the nationalization of the Afghan airline Ariana. It would operate on international and internal flights through Aeroflot and purchase planes in the USSR.
On 14 May 1980 arrangements were made to influence a series of questions from a correspondent of the Bakhtar news agency to Minister Dost. Both the questions and the replies had been written by the KGB. On 12 March on Andropov’s instructions, Ambassador Tabeev asked Babrak to organize an anti-American demonstration in Kabul to coincide with ‘Afghanistan Day’ on 21 March which had been announced by Reagan and the European parliaments. The demonstration was held outside the American embassy on March 20. There were slogans attacking the interference by international imperialism under the USA in the internal affairs of the DRA: “Death to Imperialism!” and “Death to Reagan!”
Special mention must be made of the Dubs (135) affair. The Cheka was anxious about the appointment of Dubs as ambassador to Afghanistan. When he had been in Moscow as a First Secretary at the embassy he had been closely covered. The KGB considered that Dubs knew the region well and that he was connected to the CIA and trusted by them. His accreditation was therefore viewed as part of the USA’s desire to influence the new Afghan government and to make sure that Afghanistan did not become too close to the USSR. Dubs had been [instrumental] in strengthening American positions and influence in the Middle East and the region of the Persian Gulf and was one of the people behind the idea of the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran triangle.
On 3 August 1978 the Resident in Kabul, Osadchy, received a telegram about Dubs which, as well as mentioning the above, expressed the fear that “it cannot be ruled out that in his contacts with the Afghan leadership, Dubs will take advantage of his ‘deep’ understanding and knowledge of the situation in the USSR and Soviet foreign policy. This, in our view, is one of the most dangerous aspects of his activities.” The Residency wrote to the Center in the same vein that the American embassy in Kabul under Dubs was actively engaged in spreading propaganda amongst the people and the intelligentsia and was trying to make them believe that the USSR was occupying the country with a view to using it as a bridgehead for spreading its influence to India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. Leaden clouds driven by the Cheka were thickening and automatic hail would follow.
The mystery around [the events concerning] Dubs’ death has not yet been solved. This is what [we know] happened. On 14 February 1979 some unknown people seized Dubs on the street and took him to the Hotel Kabul. The terrorists demanded that Bahruddin Bals and Faizani of the Setame Melli group should be released in return for the release of the ambassador (both Bals and Faizani had been shot immediately after the April Coup). On the advice of the KGB, Amin ordered an assault group to storm the hotel room and kill the terrorists. The assault team, dressed in protective Soviet vests and armed with Kalashnikovs, showered the room where the terrorists and hostage were with bullets. Dubs was fatally wounded and died. He had at least two bullet wounds. Two of the terrorists were killed, one was taken prisoner, and the other managed to escape. It became clear that the four terrorists had had only three pistols.
At the time of the assault, [present] in the hotel were S. G. Bakhturin (code name ‘Volgin’), the security assistant to the ambassador and First Secretary; Yu. I. Kutepov ('Krabs'), Second Secretary; and A. S. Klushnikov, an adviser on crime prevention with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DRA. During the operation they had suggested that they stall for time, not inform correspondents, not enter into negotiations with the terrorists but liquidate them instead and keep prying eyes away from the hotel. They did not allow the Americans, who had come to the hotel, to take any of the used bullet shells. In case the room was to be examined by experts, a gun of unknown origin similar to a Kalashnikov was planted in the room and registered as taken from the terrorists.
On the following day Osadchy and Yuly visited Amin on instructions from the Center to agree on how to justify the affair to the Americans. They agreed to express their condolences to the Americans, to lower flags on government buildings and to print photographs of the four terrorists in the newspapers. In order to frustrate requests from the Americans to question the detained terrorist and hunt down the one who escaped, it was decided to shoot the one who had been detained and to shoot another prisoner pretending that he was the fourth terrorist. The story that all four kidnappers had been killed during the assault would be fed to the newspapers. During the night both the doomed men were executed. If the Americans were to ask for an explanation for the involvement of Soviet advisers in the operation to capture the terrorists, Amin, Sarwari and Tarun were to say that the Afghan side had independently and without consultation decided to take radical action to deal with the terrorists and that there had been no Soviet advisers present at all.
As soon as the Cheka got rid of Amin, the disinformation service planted a new version of the death of Ambassador Dubs in the foreign press.
“During investigations into the crimes of the CIA agent Amin, it has become known that the four ‘terrorists’ were members of an Islamic Shiite organization and that they were reacting to Amin’s unjustified mass repression. By eliminating Muslims, Amin was acting as an imperialist agent and the terrorists were therefore prepared to take extreme measures in order to make the Americans acknowledge this. They had planned to kidnap the American ambassador and to force him under the threat of death to reveal his cards and acknowledge the ties between the embassy of the USA in Kabul and Amin. When Dubs was in the hands of the terrorists in the Kabul Hotel, Amin gave orders for the otherwise needless assault and ordered that no mercy should be shown. During the shooting Ambassador Dubs was fatally wounded, one terrorist killed and another wounded. Two were captured but they were killed on the following day. They were liquidated by Tarun at Amin’s orders. Tarun himself was killed in unexplained circumstances on 14 September 1979.
By kidnapping Dubs, the group of extremists, who were members of an Islamic
organization, intended to force the American ambassador to speak about Amin’s co-operation with the Americans and to expose him as a CIA agent. Amin took measures to eliminate all the members of the group and to save himself from exposure. The conduct of the Carter administration was shocking. It found it easy to sacrifice the life of the American ambassador in order to keep secret Amin’s connections with the CIA.”
In February 1980 the Residency used the commander of the People's Militia, Azhar Abdullah Samad (the agent 'Fatekh'), in an attempt to disseminate more disinformation on the Dubs affair. According to the results of the investigation proved that the Americans were involved in the death of the ambassador. A newspaper article “On Whose Conscience is the Death of Ambassador Dubs?” laid the blame on the Americans.
The story of how Amin became a CIA agent is as follows. A handwriting specialist was in one of the KGB operational groups sent to Afghanistan. After Amin’s death a note with a CIA telephone number in Amin’s handwriting was found in [Amin’s] notebook. On 16 February a KGB adviser gave Babrak this notebook and showed him the entry. Babrak declared that this was yet further definite proof that Amin was connected with American intelligence.
It was suggested to Babrak that the government of the DRA should ask the American administration to hand over the CIA and FBI files on H. Amin who had studied in the USA and that notices should be put in the press through the embassies in Paris, London, Rome and Bonn asking anyone who had any information on Amin to send it to the authorities. The reason for these requests was to be the investigation into the death of Taraki and Amin’s involvement in it.
The KGB also targeted personnel from other countries, not just the United States. A FRG citizen, who worked for the UN in a veterinary laboratory in Mazar-i-Sherif, and two West German diplomats were targeted, as was the Indian ambassador. [Four names excised.] The latter had had close relations with Taraki and Amin who had trusted and liked them. The Residency considered this dangerous to Soviet interests, as he advocated an independent and non-aligned Afghanistan. It fed false stories through the special [propaganda] organs, which depicted the ambassador in a bad light to Taraki and Amin.
For over two years a listening operation (Letter “Z”) was carried out on the accommodation of fourteen Chinese specialists working at a textile plant in Kabul. The Residency maintained that the Chinese were engaged in serious work to sabotage Soviet influence in Afghanistan, and that they were showing interest in Soviet citizens. Andropov was informed and a Letter “Z” device was set up in January 1977. The accommodation of the Chinese, (target “Gnezdo” [nest]), adjoined the residence of a Soviet doctor, Sheptukhe. His entrance to the building was next door to that used by the Chinese specialists. Members of the 14th Department of the FCD installed a microphone in the wall of the doctor's bedroom, which was next to the living-room room of the Chinese specialists. A control point with a tape recorder was hidden in a bedside cupboard in the same room. To process the material Chinese language specialists from Institute T of the FCD, S.S. Huseinov and G.V. Ruchkin, a Directorate K (136) operational officer, were sent to Kabul. The Residency and Center combed the mass of papers looking for a hidden meaning in the everyday chatter. In April 1979 the Chinese went home and the listening devices were removed.
In 1980 the KR group of ten operational officers were cultivating relations in the embassies of the US, People’s Republic of China and the NATO countries. They had 18 agents and 44 foreign trainees. The agents were allocated thus: 8 on the situation in the country, 5 on the situation in the provinces, 6 on the Americans, 3 on the government, 4 on the armed forces of the DRA, 6 on the local special services and a number of agents and trainees to expose the Mujahedin and their ties with international organizations.
The KGB also suspected its socialist friends and compatriots of anti-Sovietism and treachery. ‘Contact’ was an operational analytical system, recording contacts between Soviet citizens and members of the embassies of Poland, Bulgaria, the GDR and CSSR. There were reports on joint drinking sessions [receptions] and trips outside the city. The members of these embassies were trying to develop their acquaintances with Soviet citizens. They displayed an inappropriate curiosity about the Soviet military losses in Afghanistan, tried to find out what the advisory apparatus was doing and so on. Bogoroditsky, Vasilyev and Yuldashev paid a high price for their careless friendship with the Bulgarians Bratan, Rozalis and Tikhomir. They were sent home.
The KR counter-intelligence operational attention covered the apparatus of the Chief military adviser and specialists from the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the armed forces. The group received many signals about off-duty contacts by the military advisers and attempts by the Afghans to be on close terms with the advisers and to have a good time with them. It was noted that some of the military personnel had been affected by ideological sabotage. They listened to The Voice of America and Deutsche Welle radio stations and approved the ideas of Sakharov(137) and his associates.
The Chekists did not relax. They let their imagination run wild in letters to the Center about the supposed threat to the USSR from the Western countries and from the People’s Republic of China. They wrote that the enemies were strengthening and developing their cooperation in Afghanistan, coordinating their actions to subvert the position of the Union, involving the governments of the Islamic countries to hostile propaganda, that they regarded the Soviet international assistance to the healthy forces in Hungary, CSSR and Afghanistan as aggression, making a fuss about the Afghan question and distorting the aims and principles of Soviet-Afghan cooperation.
[Three lines excised.]
[They wrote that] the Afghan Fund was set up in the USA to support the bandits; that the British organized a public viewing in India of an anti-Soviet film showing the savagery of Soviet soldiers and that the Iranian special services were involved in anti-government attacks in Herat. (138)
This was all bitter slander on the capitalist wolf, as it was the Socialist hare who
devoured a stallion!
[Four lines excised.]
The number of staff in the embassies was as follows: the USA 19, the People’s Republic of China 11, the FRG 20, France 10 and Great Britain 12. The British also had two people working in the Nur eye hospital and two with an international organization.
They were matched by the following, in the Soviet side: 250 were at the embassy, 103 in the Soviet trade office, 3,504 staff and 1,600 translators in the advisory apparatus, and 1,476 civilian specialists and translators in the civil service and trade departments. One should also remember the 100,000 plus serving in the army of the Limited Contingent of Troops.
The Kremlin expected the West to react sharply and decisively to its actions in Afghanistan. Andropov even warned Chekists to watch out for American war preparations. But as early as January 1980 the KGB began to receive hopeful reports ‘Of Special Importance’ about a lack of unity in the Western ranks over Afghanistan.
Detailed information on the results of a visit by Bahr (139) to the USA at the request of Chancellor Schmidt (140) were received from a source in government circles in the FRG. During his ten days there Egon Bahr, the Federal Secretary of the Social Democrats, met Benson, Brzezinski, (141) Kissinger, (142) Shulman (143) and the lawyer Peter Edelman (144) who was a confidante of Senator Edward Kennedy.(145) He found out their ideas about the new situation in the Middle East. From his short trip to the USA, Bahr gained the impression that three factors governed the situation: uncertainty, the desire for strong leadership and a growing fear of war with the Soviet Union. The reason for this was “the general loss of faith in the power of America politically, economically and militarily.” This feeling was strengthened by the failure of the administration to react in a sensible and decisive way to the events in Afghanistan and Iran. From his conversations in the USA, Bahr was convinced that the actions of the Washington administration were dictated primarily by “Carter’s pathological wish to be elected for a second term” and were a consequence of the lack of a united view of the key contemporary problems among the President's advisers.
Bahr found Brzezinski extremely pleased with himself. “Jimmy and I have done a good job!” he boasted to Bahr. The President's National Security Adviser was, in Bahr’s words, intoxicated with “the surprise effect of an attack on the Soviet Union.” In order to calm him down Bahr noted that it was known in Bonn that the Soviet Union had taken possible Western reactions into account when it had decided to move into Afghanistan and that it was well-prepared for it. “Didn't we catch the Russians unaware?” Brzezinski asked with disappointment.
After a pause he began to talk about future relations between the USA and USSR.
Brzezinski expressed his belief that the Afghan conflict would fizzle out in five to six months. “The United States,” he declared, “will then be ready to agree to a neutral regime in that country; that is, of course, if the Soviets do not establish bases there.” By then, Brzezinski maintained, if the conflict with Iran could be settled, it would be possible to return to the SALT-II and other treaties. This would be possible, Brzezinski stressed, if measures were adopted to strengthen the Western world. Brzezinski cited serious moral and material support for Pakistan and Turkey from America's NATO allies as one such measure. The National Security Adviser suggested that London should be responsible for Pakistan and Bonn for Turkey.
On American policy towards the USSR, Brzezinski declared that “the offensive against the Soviet Union will continue and the West will make it understood in each case that it does not intend to forgive or leave anything unpunished.” Regarding US relations with the People’s Republic of China, Brzezinski stated that “the Chinese card will be an active instrument of American foreign policy.” “We will give China everything except for arms,” he declared. Summarizing Brzezinski’s position, Bahr declared that the President's adviser “had learnt nothing from his position, was full of anti-Sovietism as before and would try to use any opportunity to damage relations between the USA and USSR and to flex American muscles.”
Bahr considered Vance(146) to support a balanced and consistent policy based on real and sensible compromises. Although Vance foresaw a “long confrontation with the USSR” he would have liked to wrap it into a well constructed program which would not cause concern to America's allies. Vance openly complained to Bahr that all his attempts to “form a consistent foreign policy from Brzezinski’s fragmented ideas and to protect the reputation of the State Department were hampered by the opportunist ideas of the National Security Adviser.”
Talking about the problems of Soviet-American relations, Vance remarked that “we need SALT-2.” He admitted to Bahr that it had been his idea to withdraw the treaty from the Senate and said that “even before the events in Afghanistan it had become clear that it would not go through. In the present situation the treaty would have failed altogether which would have made everyone go back to the beginning.” “Withdrawing the treaty saved it,” Vance declared, “and history will approve the action I took.”
On relations with the US’s European allies, Vance stressed that he “understood the special interest of the Europeans in safeguarding the results of détente and that it was therefore wrong to criticize them for silently opposing certain American plans.” On American relations with China, Vance considered it essential that a certain amount of caution should be shown. To get involved with Beijing in military matters would be extremely dangerous. In general Bahr gained the impression that Vance was sincerely concerned about bilateral relations with the Soviet Union and the problem of military détente.
Bahr found his meetings with Kissinger particularly interesting as they enabled him to learn about the personal diplomacy of the former US Secretary of State. Bahr became firmly convinced that Kissinger was playing a subtle game against the present administration, and in particular against Brzezinski, “the Polish savior of America who was biologically repugnant to him.” In essence, he thought that Kissinger was “frightening the government with increasing zeal about Soviet aggression and pushing the administration to take stupid and hasty steps which he then mercilessly criticizes in public.” In this way he also strengthened the impression that the White House was incapable of safeguarding the interests of the nation without him, Kissinger, and that it was taking the country from one crisis to another.
When discussing bilateral relations between the USA and China, Kissinger called the flirtation with Beijing by the American Defense Secretary [Harold Brown] on anti-Soviet grounds idiotism. According to Kissinger, to play the Chinese card in the military field would drive the Russians into a corner and their only way out would be a nuclear strike against China to wipe out its military potential. Kissinger referred to his meeting with Brown when the latter returned from the People’s Republic of China. (147) “I asked him whether we were prepared morally and militarily to defend the Chinese if the Russians were to take any action. Kissinger replied that in such a situation the USA would be forced to leave China to its fate, which would damage the reputation of America irretrievably.”
In his conversation with Bahr, Kissinger stressed a number of times that “the rivalry with the USSR which Brzezinski is besotted with is only possible when there is cooperation.” To forget the latter, he maintained, would be the end of sensible policies and peace.
The views of Shulman, who, according to Bahr, had made a brilliant analysis of the causes for the Afghan events, were close to that position. Shulman maintained that the Carter administration was primarily guilty as it had not given the USSR any room to move and had driven it into a corner so that the decision the Russians had taken had been the only possible one.
Summarizing his impressions from his American meetings, Bahr noted that “Carter is incurable with his inconsistency and flawed decisions which he takes on the spur of the moment for reasons of prestige.” Bahr was convinced that it would become increasingly difficult to work with the American administration. For this reason he said that it was essential to support those forces in the USA which opposed Carter, meaning primarily the pretender to the post of head of the White House, Senator E. Kennedy. When the senator learnt that Bahr was in the USA, he telephoned him to express his regret that he could not meet him because of an election trip to Iowa and said that he could fly to Europe at a later date to meet him personally. He sent Bahr his confidante, Peter Edelman. In his talks with Bahr, Edelman was very open and on the instructions of the Senator gave Kennedy’s analysis of events. According to the Senator, the protracted character of the Iranian conflict increased Carter’s chances of re-election as it enabled him to demonstrate his firmness. The events in Afghanistan, which were overshadowing this conflict, were also favorable to Carter. Kennedy was sure, however, that the public interest in Afghanistan, which had been fuelled by the American authorities, would soon wane and that it would return to Iran. The question “Who started this conflict by hiding the Shah in America?” would be asked which would be awkward for the present administration. Edelman said that this would enable Kennedy to campaign “for the normalization of relations with the Soviet Union and other countries in the interests of peace.” A trump card for Kennedy would be his involvement in some form in settling the problem of the American hostages in Tehran. Edelman said bluntly to Bahr that “if Moscow were able to help Kennedy in this way it could count on a very positive development in Soviet-American relations.”
On 5 March an American politician, John V. Tunney, (148) was in Moscow on behalf of E. Kennedy to relay the latter's ideas on ways to lessen international tension to the Soviet leadership. The Senator considered that the foreign policy part of Brezhnev's speech to voters in the Bauman district reflected the consistency and steadfastness of the USSR to the policy of détente and created a real basis for a settlement of the Afghan question. At the same time the Carter administration was trying to distort the peace-loving ideas behind Brezhnev’s proposals. The White House was feeding the public opinion with nonsense about “the Soviet military threat” and Soviet ambitions for military expansion in the Persian Gulf. The atmosphere of tension and hostility towards the whole Soviet people was being fuelled by Carter, Brzezinski, the Pentagon and the military industrial complex. All the Republican presidential candidates were whipping up anti-Soviet hysteria and prophesying that “the Russians will be stained with Afghan blood as the Americans were in Vietnam and that the standing of the USSR will decrease, particularly in the Islamic countries.”
But there were other groups in the USA who were also represented inside the administration (Vance, Christopher, (149) and others) who considered that Carter’s policies were against the interests of the US and that the tension could be lessened through negotiations with Brezhnev. Having considered all these points, Kennedy had come to the conclusion that, in spite of the negative consequences for him personally, it was his duty to take action himself, which could force the Carter administration to act to de-escalate the crisis. He had to act immediately as inaction by the peace-loving forces in the USA would make it impossible for Carter, if he won his re-election, to change course. He would be bound to continue his policies of aggravating Soviet-American relations. If the Republicans were to win, the situation could only be worse. Kennedy thought it essential to make a speech on 16 to 18 March on the events in Afghanistan. He intended to call on the White House to guarantee that it would not interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and to use all the means it could to ensure that China and Pakistan would stop interfering in the country. He would call on the government of Babrak Karmal to announce a policy of nonalignment and [to declare] that it would not join a military alliance or allow the presence of foreign troops. He would also urge him to make the Afghan government more democratic and to include in it members of other parties and the clergy. He wanted to call on the governments of the USA and the USSR to start negotiations on concrete measures to guarantee non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and to draw up mutually acceptable forms of these guarantees with the participation of the UN. He would ask the Soviet government, if the outcome of the Soviet-American talks were favorable, to demonstrate its goodwill and, in agreement with the Afghan authorities, withdraw some troops (10,000 to 20,000) from Afghanistan and fix a date for the withdrawal of the remaining troops in 1980-81. He thought that some of his proposals would be acceptable to the Soviet government and would be grateful if Brezhnev could express his approval if this were the case as this would give a powerful boost to the peace-loving forces.
Tunney stressed the basic difference between Kennedy’s proposals and those of the USA administration. The White House was actually demanding the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, in other words an acknowledgement that they were unlawfully sent into the country, whereas Kennedy, not touching the question of the legality of the presence of the Soviet troops, considered that their withdrawal should be linked with measures to guarantee non-interference from outside in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
The KGB reported this information to the top together with its own comments. “Although not all Kennedy’s proposals are acceptable to us they are worth considering as they contradict the line taken by Carter and other politicians.”
On 14 May confidential remarks by the American Ambassador in Moscow, T. Watson, (150) and Senators R. Byrd (151) and A. Cranston (152) became known. They had said that at the forthcoming meeting in Vienna the Americans intended to discuss a wide range of questions relating to Soviet-American relations, such as security problems in Europe and trade and economic cooperation including grain sales to the USSR, as well as Afghanistan. In this way the acuteness of the Afghan problem would be less apparent.
There were some voices which muffled the sharp criticism of the Soviet invasion. For example, on 12 July 1980 the French ‘Vestnik’ (153) published an article by the leader of CERES, Chevenement, which used KGB arguments to refute the Western account of a Soviet military threat, cast doubts on the idea that the tension in Afghanistan was due to the USSR and exposed American efforts to build neutron weapons. The President of the Islamic Council of Social Service (agent 'Rogov') made a speech with the same aim.
In July an International Meeting of Solidarity with the People of Afghanistan was held. Posters [stating that] “The CIA is turning Asia into a continent of kamikaze leaders” were hung on ministries and buildings where the delegations were staying and meeting. Posters were sent from Moscow with the caption “The CIA is turning Asia into a continent of death-row leaders” and were hung in the ministries and building s where the delegations were staying and meeting. These posters were sent by the Residency to embassies and delegations, including the Soviet embassy and delegation. But the Afghans did not understand the poster. They asked: “Why is there a portrait of Taraki amongst those killed? He was a Communist and founder of the PDPA!”
The West, optimistically, picked up any faint signs of a political solution to the problem. The nomenklatura often gave out bits of disinformation, for example, on the withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan. Giscard D'Estaing (154)swallowed the bait readily. He said that “it was an extremely clever and far-sighted move which showed that the Soviet leadership was interested in a political solution to the Afghan problem.” D'Estaing was flattered that he was the first Western Prime Minister [President] to be told of this decision by Brezhnev.
The government of Schmidt was taken in by the trick with the same enthusiasm. And Chancellor Kreisky (155) thought it showed that the USSR was prepared to establish “the pre-Afghan climate” in relations between the West and the East as a counterbalance to the impulsive line adopted by Carter in international affairs.
When one so wants, one can interpret a rude sign as a blessing. It was not the first time someone had been taken in.
It would seem that the West understood and was not so happy in 1986 with Gorbachev’s promise to withdraw six regiments from Afghanistan ahead of schedule.
List of Agents and Informants (156)
'Nur', 'Dedov' - [excised]
'Martov', 'Dekabryov' - [excised]
'Kazem' - [excised]
'Piruz' - [excised]
'Semyon' - [excised]
'Mamad' - [excised]
'Osman' - [excised].
'Sima' - [excised].
'Habib' - [excised]
'Sharki' - [excised]
'Fatekh' - [excised]
'Pers' - [excised]
'Dust' - [excised]
'Verny' [faithful] - [excised].
'Bost' - [excised]
'Shiit' - [excised].
'Pyotr' - [excised].
'Araz' - [excised]
'Pavel' - [excised].
'Travin' - [excised]
'Ben' - [excised]
'Bashir' - [excised].
'Ustod' - [excised]
'Borin' - [excised].
'Potomok' - [excised]
'Salikh' - [excised]
'Lori' - [excised]
'Merkury' [ Mercury] - [excised]
'Rostov' - [excised]
'Ali' - [excised]
'Ktorov' - [excised]
'Alexander' - [excised]
'Ostad' - [excised].
'Arbakesh' - [excised].
'Bakhed' - [excised]
'Mekhr' - [excised]
'Jan' - [excised]
'Samad' - [excised]
'Shir' - [excised]
'Vin' - [excised]
'Shayan' - [excised].
'Karpov' - [excised]
'Fakir' - [excised].
'Fizik' [physicist] - [excised]
'Iskhak' - [excised].
'Volin' - [excised].
'Abdullah' - [excised].
'Siddik' - [excised].
'Rakkas' - [excised]
'Fuladi' - [excised]
'Hodzha' - [excised]
'Gardez' - [excised]
'Ahmed' - [excised]
'Anwar' - [excised].
'Kharvar' - [excised]
'Nafar' - [excised]
'Asamai' - [excised]
'Akbar' - [excised]
'Richard' - [excised].
'Jafar' - [excised]
'Samarin' - [excised]
'Satar' - [excised]
'Khavar' - [excised]
'Saturi' - [excised]
'Fakir' - [excised]
'Ragim' - [excised]
'Mishkar' - [excised]
'Syoma' - [excised]
'Mirab' - [excised]
'Yakov' - [excised]
'Miron' - [excised]
'Antar' - [excised].
'Furman' - [excised].
'Volodya' - [excised].
'Mure' - [excised].
'Roschin' - [excised]
'Shiit' - [excised].
'Noble' - [excised].
'Emir' - [excised].
'Tamada' - [excised]
'Noy' - [excised]
'Rasul' - [excised].
'Kim' - [excised].
'Pimen' - [excised]
'Belov' - [excised].
'Furman' - [excised]
'Tikhon' - [excised].
'Sizov' - [excised]
'Kholmov' - [excised]
'Zubrov' - [excised].
'Pyotr' - [excised]
'Pavel' - [excised].
'Pers' - [excised].
'Remiz' - [excised].
'Komov' - [excised].
A list of members of the KGB and agents who were Soviet citizens in Afghanistan(157)
KRIVOGUZ I.A. [excised].
KUKHTA Yu.L. [excised].
KOSTROMIN L.P., [excised].
VOSKOBOYNIKOV B.N., [excised].
CHUCHUKIN V.A. [excised].
MARTOV - MARTYNUSHKIN Valery Alexandrovich [excised].
DESNIN - BOGDANOV L.P.
MACLOY - SAMUNIN Valery Ivanovich [excised].
MIRAN - ROMASHKO Mikhail Platonovich [excised].
PANCHENKO A.L. [excised].
BOGATOV V.P. [excised].
VARLAMOV V.M. [excised].
ALEXANDROV Yuri Mikhailovich [excised].
NIZHELSKY Valery Pavlovich [excised].
ABDRASHITOV R. [excised].
INOYATOV R.R. [excised].
GOLIKOV – GOLIVANOV P.S. [F.?] [excised].
BAKHTURIN S.G. [excised].
ZYRYANOV F.P. [excised].
NAZAROV H. [excised].
KHAYATOV E.M. [excised].
SURKOV A.N. [excised].
ISAYEV – SPIRIN Vladimir Li [excised].
ANTONOV ORLOV-MOROZOV Aleksandr Victorovich [excised].
ISAKOV- ALIYEV Ismail Murtuza Ogly [excised].
SVETLANOV – OBLOV Aleksandr Stepanovich [excised].
SURNIN Yuri Mikhailovich [excised].
VALYEV – BAULIN V.A. [excised].
VILEN – NAROV Haydar H. [excised].
SHAROV Ye.A. [excised].
GRANIN Stanislav Mikhailovich [excised].
A (158) [excised].
O (159) [excised].
D (160) Bost
Anderabi - [excised].
Vernyy [the true one] [excised].
(a) Miron [excised].
(o) Karayev [excised].
AFGHANISTAN – To be filed
1 Editors’ Note: Sardar Mohammad Daud took power in a coup in 1973.
2 Early Soviet secret police agency and a forerunner of the KGB.
3 Member of the Khalq faction of the PDPA, and after the Saur Revolution, president of the Revolutionary Council and prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Executed on 9 October 1979.
4 Editors’ Note: Not identified.
5 Name of one faction of the PDPA which supported Babrak Karmal in opposition to Nur Muhammad Taraki. The named derived from the newspaper Parcham, founded in 1968 and published by Sulaiman Layeq.
6 Editors’ Note: Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
7 Author’s Note: Stalin's reputation with the nomenklatura was almost unscathed. Khrushchev merely wiped away the halo of holiness from the tyrant and had him removed from the mausoleum. He was buried in the central cemetery by the Kremlin wall in Red Square next to his accomplices in crime. The criticism of Stalin at the Party Congress concerned only the personality of Stalin, not Stalinism in general, and the system and the rules established through the cult continued to get stronger. There was a new breed of exploiters, the nomenklatura. The Bolshevik and Chekist omnivorous plunderers were quite tenacious and energetic in seizing and holding onto power and becoming the masters of the defenseless expanse. Their criminality is steadfast and endemic and is passed on through natural selection to new generations of the caste. Stalin primitively and cunningly combined religion and state power together. Saints, tormentors, eulogies, prophesies, tortures, gags and camps for those with different ideas, blind faith and a demonstration of loyalty appeared.
The intelligentsia named Lenin the greatest evil in the world, a freemason of Scottish initiation. But Stalin outdid his teacher in his cruelty. Only the covers remain of the archive files on Dzhugashvili. All the contents have been destroyed. No doubt there were good reasons for the material to be destroyed.
The nomenklatura respects the relations of the dictator. The arrival of Allilueva from England has not been forgotten. Like a cuckoo laying its eggs in another bird's nest, Allilueva abandoned her children for the state to maintain and went off by herself. When this 'wanton bitch', as one of her husbands called her, returned the nomenklatura gave her a furnished residence, a general's pension and a car with a chauffeur. Almost at the same time two soldiers who had been captured in Afghanistan returned to the Union from England. Their tracks faded out somewhere in the northern camps. And when 'the cuckoo' had settled down in the Soviet paradise once more she had a burning desire to go to the capitalist hell. And she departed. For 'the cuckoo' was not an ordinary citizen but the daughter of a great bandit, and the robbers from the dens of 'the hairy ones' and 'the bald ones', to use the terminology of the satirist VOINOVICH, revere their mentor. (Vladimir Voinovich noted a certain order in the succession of leaders of the nomenklatura according to their hair: Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev.)
8 Editors’ Note: Probably Mohammad Tahir Badakshi, a member of the original PDPA Central Committee, who quit the PDPA in 1968 to found Settem-i-Milli, an northern-based anti-Pushtun Marxist faction. Imprisoned in the summer of 1978 and executed on 17 September 1979.
9 Author’s Note: The Residency is one of the sections of the intelligence service in a foreign country which is heavily disguised. It carries out intelligence work both from a legal and illegal position, that is either when intelligence officers and agents do not hide their nationality and hold a position in an official representation of their country as cover for their intelligence work or when staff members and intelligence agents carry out intelligence work in a foreign country using false identity papers.
A Residency lives and acts according to its own rules. The members have their own discipline and morals. It is given wide state and political authority by its government. It is engaged in a secret fight using methods and means forbidden by law in vitally important areas of the state organism to the detriment of the government and people of the targeted country.
10 Editors’ Note: Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov, leading CPSU Politburo member.
11 Editors’ Note: Yury Vladimirovich Andropov headed the KGB from 1967 to 1982, then rose to become CPSU General Secretary.
12 Editors’ Note: Muhammad Hashim Maiwandval, prime minister 1965-1967. He had served as deputy foreign minister in 1955, and as ambassador to Britain (1956), Pakistan (1957-1958), the United States (1958-1963) and again Pakistan (1963). He was imprisoned under Daud and killed in prison.
13 Editors’ Note: Not identified.
14Editors’ Note: Iranian Communist Party.
15 Author’s Note: The operational staff of a legal Residency are the Resident, his deputies and assistants, a security officer and members carrying out operational agent work.
An operative is a member of the intelligence service who is directly engaged in intelligence work, the setting up and use of an agent apparatus, the gathering of intelligence information and the execution of operational agent measures.
Operational measures are planned and agreed secret actions by one or several members of the intelligence service using, when necessary, agents, operational technical and other forces and means aimed at achieving the stated aim quickly and fulfilling a concrete intelligence task.
16 Editors’ Note: Pashtu (Pushto) is one of the national languages of Afghanistan, spoken by tribes mainly in the south and east. Major Pashtu speaking cities in Afghanistan are Kabul and Kandahar (Qandahar). There are an estimated 9 million speakers of Pashtu in Afghanistan.
17 Editors’ Note: No further identification.
18 Author’s Note: The Center is the term generally used for the central apparatus of the intelligence service.
19 Editors’ Note: Leonid Ilich Brezhnev, CPSU First/General Secretary 1964-1982.
20 Editors’ Note: Abdul Samad Azhar, a member of the Parcham faction of the PDPA. Azhar served in the Afghan Interior Ministry beginning in 1973, including as a customs officer at Kabul airport. Azhar was arrested in May 1979 by the Hafizullah Amin regime and released from prison on 28 December 1979 following Amin's
death. Upon his release he became commander of the Ministry of the Interior's heavily armed Sarandoy police and an alternate member of the PDPA Central Committee under the Karmal regime. Later he served as ambassador to Cuba (1983-1986) and India (1986-1989). According to Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982, by M. Hassan Kakar, and the Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan, by Ludwig W. Adamec, Azhar participated in the October 1973 assassination of former Afghan Prime Minister Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal. S. Fida Yunas' Afghanistan: Organization of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan/Waan Party, Governments and Biographical Sketches, 1982-1998, says that Azhar "was suspected to have been involved in" Maiwandwal's (earlier misidentified as Daud's) death. On these allegations (no further sources are cited) as well as the allegation that he worked as a KGB agent, see Azhar's letter to the editors, 16 March 2009 (available here).
21 Author’s Note: An operational letter is a letter from the Center or a Residency on operational and organizational matters of intelligence work.
22 Editors’ Note: Also transliterated as Shah Vali.
23 Editors’ Note: A Parchami member of the PDPA, commander of the air defense forces in 1973, participated in the Saur Revolution and became head of the Revolutionary Council until a civilian government was formed under Taraki. He became minister of defense for three months in May 1978, but was sentenced to death in August. Freed when Babrak Karmal came to power, he was restored to his party positions and served as minister of defense (1982- 1985). In November 1985 he resigned from the politburo, and a year later was appointed ambassador to Poland. Recalled two years later, he was elected to parliament. After the fall of the Marxist regime, he reportedly sought asylum in Europe.
24 Editors’ Note: Said Muhammad Gulyabzoi.
25 Editors’ Note: Soviet ambassador since 1972.
26 Author’s Note: Special organs or services are state organizations, departments and institutions of the opponent which are directly or indirectly connected to the organization and execution of intelligence and counter-intelligence work in the territory of its own country and abroad; the intelligence and counter-intelligence organizations, the police and gendarmerie, the immigration and customs services, the border guards, the service of active measures and disinformation, and organizations of ideological subversion and psychological warfare. In the narrow sense it refers to the intelligence and counterintelligence organs.
27 Editors’ Note: Israeli intelligence organization.
28 Author’s Note: The Resident is a member of the intelligence service who is appointed leader of the Residency by an order of the central apparatus.
29 Editors’ Note: Also known as I. A. Krivoguz.
30 Editors’ Note: Soviet News Agency.
31 Editors’ Note: Soviet foreign minister after 1957. Later (1985-88) head of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R.
32 Editors’ Note: Zahir Shah, king 1933-1973.
33 Editors’ Note: Soviet military intelligence.
34 Author’s Note: The Military Residencies, like the KGB Residencies, have their own networks throughout the world. This is shown in the table given below of the number and place of cover in May 1962.
Total numbers for other countries are Afghanistan 4, Syria 7, Ghana 6, Guinea 3, Mali 4, Somalia 3, Libya 7, Argentine 1, Pakistan 9, Austria 14, Finland 5, Mexico 7 and Greece 8. Not all countries are mentioned in the table.
The KGB security officer is a member of a legal KGB Residency who is appointed as assistant to the ambassador on matters of security. His functional duties include defining and executing measures to protect the premises of Soviet representations in the targeted country and their official duties, and the organization of work to ensure the security of Soviet citizens stationed abroad and their families. The security officer is entrusted to maintain official contacts with the special services of the host country in certain situations.
35 Editors’ Note: Town in Northeastern Afghanistan.
36 Editors’ Note: Da Afghanistan da Gatay da Satanay Edora—main Afghan security and intelligence service, known as KHAD—Khedamat-I Ettela’at-I Daulati (State Information Service) after the Soviet invasion.
37 Editors’ Note: The United States.
38 Author’s note: “Comrades-in-arms in the class struggle” is plain hypocrisy hidden in a grand style. The main thing for them is power. During the work with the Afghan comrades it was instilled into them that the USSR was not only a geographical neighbor, like any other country, but a country on whose red banner was written the proletarian motto of the whole world: “Proletarians of all countries unite!” (In Afghanistan the proletariat numbered only 250,000 out of a total population of 15 million.) The USSR was the ideological fatherland of all communists. Therefore, regardless of the country where a communist was born, the citizenship he held, the place where he was, his attachment to the USSR was permanent as his branch was only green because it received the essential juices of life from the firm Soviet trunk to which it was attached. If the branch were to be cut off from the USSR it would wither and break into small pieces with the loss of power and privilege.
[French Communist Party leader] Maurice Thorez once expressed the general feeling of communists with the words: “When communists fight on the side of the USSR it is more than friendship, more than solidarity. It is a battle for us too'. We remember the words of Lenin: '...We are internationalists. We are striving to unite closely and fully the workers and peasants of all the nations of the world in a single universal Soviet republic.” And the Soviet and international nomenklatura are consistently striding towards their cherished goal.
39 Author’s Note: When a regime similar to the Soviet system is established in a country and KGB agents come to power and occupy the most senior posts, then the agent relationship with the country is interrupted and some agents become trusted contacts.
What is the difference between an agent relationship and a trusted relationship? An agent relationship in intelligence circles is a form of contact between the intelligence service and a person who has been brought into intelligence work, and to secret co-operation as an agent, either under his own flag or a false flag. An agent carries out intelligence tasks consciously, systematically and secretly according to an agreement on secret co-operation with an official representative of the intelligence service or a representative of some organization, sometimes false, whose role is being played secretly by a member or agent of the intelligence service.
A trusted relationship and trusted co-operation are a form of intelligence relations between intelligence officers who, as a rule, are concealing the fact that they belong to an intelligence service and people who are not bound by any obligations to the intelligence service but who carry out the intelligence requests of the intelligence officers in a form and within limits which are acceptable to them. Trusted contacts provide operatives with information on the basis of ideological and political compatibility, material interest, and friendly or other relations which have been established between them. The basis of the contact are the spiritual and material needs of the person, his interests and his personal characteristics which the operatives use to give him motives for a trusted relationship.
Contacts of influence are particularly important in government and political circles which are used in secret by the intelligence service to carry out active measures to influence state organs and the social and political life of the targeted country. In accepting such a relationship the foreigner tries to act on the whole within the laws and norms of the country of which he is a citizen in order not to expose himself to the threat of a criminal investigation. But in such a relationship he does things which are outside the norms of a usual acquaintance and clearly recognizes that the operative is acting, not as a private person, but in his capacity as the representative of some institution and that he is representing not his own personal interests but the needs of the institution. The co-operation of a foreigner with the service must be secret. Unlike an agent, a trusted contact does not receive any operational training. The member of the Residency, therefore, constantly has to make sure that the confidential character and nature of the relationship has not become known to the contact's acquaintances or to possible agents of the opponent. When a confidential contact has been examined and tested, and is known to be reliable and honest, then he is asked to guarantee that he will not divulge the nature of his relationship to his associates or the special services of the opponent and that he will not use the relationship against the interests of the KGB.
Confidential relationships differ from legal relationships through the awareness and stability of the business-like dealings of the foreigner with the intelligence service. Information is obtained from him or he is directed to take certain actions, not without his knowledge but from a clear and mutual understanding between the foreigner and the intelligence officer.
The difference between the relationship with trusted contacts and the relationship with recruitment targets at a certain stage of their development is that in the former case there is a definite degree of observance or transgression by the foreigner and the member of the Residency of the lawful and administrative norms, a relatively clear divergence from the official opportunities, whereas in the latter case these limits have not yet been established and the intelligence service is trying to push the contact beyond the observance of certain legal rules.
When targeting a contact the service must know whether it is aiming to establish an agent or trusted contact relationship. The definition of the final aim must be one of the main tasks of the first steps of the targeting. In a recruitment targeting the elements of secrecy are introduced more prominently and firmly. The tasks are set more precisely and the methods to be used examined in more detail. More attention is paid to obtaining the material which to a certain extent reveals the interests of the intelligence service and its methods of working. The possible forms of recruitment and the methods to be used for the secret co-operation as an agent are explained.
In intelligence work there is one more form of secret relationship which is similar to a trusted contact. It is known as an “special unofficial contact.” Only really major government and political figures are included in this category, such as heads of state and government leaders, leaders of the main political parties and the most important members of the business world, in other words, people who have serious political influence on a national and international scale. A clever and successful use of 'especially unofficial contacts' is considered a very positive contribution to the work of a Residency. Only the head of the FCD has the right to open and close files on “especially unofficial contacts.”
40 Editors’ Note: Rostislav A. Ulianovsky was the deputy head of the CPSU CC International Department.
41 Editors’ Note: Later identified as the head of the Jumhuriat hospital.
42 Editors’ Note: Maj. Gen. Shapur Ahmedzai.
43 Editors’ Note: Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian Shi'ite cleric led the 1978/9 Iranian Revolution that overthrew Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979 and became Iran's supreme political and religious authority.
44 Editors’ Note: The Society of Muslim Brothers (Jam’iat-I Ikhwan al-Muslimin), founded in 1929 in Egypt by Hasan al-Banna was a religio-political organization, pan-Islamic in outlook and aimed at imposing Islamic law on all aspects of the social and political life of the Muslim nation.
45 Editors’ Note: Located in north-central Afghanistan.
46 Author’s Note: The practices of the Party and Chekists come to light.
There was unheard of fuss about the so-called fundamental law, which had just been declared the most human and just, the truly populist Stalinist constitution, protecting the human rights of the citizen, but parallel to this were Stalin's sadistic evil acts which were surrounded with silence. There were plans to arrest and punish the enemies of the people. Millions of people got caught in the millstone of the socialist competition of the Chekists to over-fulfill their targets in their hunt for enemies.
They said that in Vladivostok one of the Troika signed an execution order for his father without glancing at it or stopping to think for a minute. There was no time as the plan had to be fulfilled.
There was also an incident concerning an inexperienced young Chekist in Moscow who repeatedly failed to meet his target of arrests of enemies, spies and terrorists. At meetings he was accused of remissness and a lack of initiative. Once an older colleague felt sorry for him and said: 'You are silly, my boy. It is so simple. There are many things you can do. Go into any block of flats and look at the list of inhabitants. Choose any old name or number on the list. But it is easier to catch clever crooks in their offices. That's where the opposition is hiding!' Before the War lists of inhabitants were hung on buildings or in the entrances.
Here are two examples of how things were done. M.Ts. Diskant was a Jew, born in 1898, who was arrested in Chita in 1938. He confessed to working for the Japanese, German and Polish intelligence services and to have been engaged in Trotskyite activities. “I know that I have lived like a reptile which has been trying to bite without being noticed. I know that my awful life has made my good working wife unhappy and that I am leaving two unfortunate children who will curse me and despise me all their lives. But at least I am spending the last days of my life in the knowledge that I have finally decided to expose the bastards and myself. I will gladly meet my death as atonement for my sins.”
At his trial Diskant denied all the evidence he had given under interrogation. He said that he had been tortured and beaten and had substituted foreign intelligence services and Trotskyite activities for real people and events. He had really had nothing to do with them. The protocol had been dictated by the investigator Balandin. Diskant was executed.
The NKVD agent D.A. Bystroletov behaved badly abroad and was unlucky at home. He is now regarded as an exemplary intelligence officer. He was exposed as a spy for four countries. His evidence was obtained with an iron cable with a ball bearing at the end. Investigator Solovyov and his apprentice Shukshin broke two of his ribs, pierced his lung and broke his skull with a hammer covered in bandages. They tore his stomach muscles with their boots.
The Cheka was established, exists and works only as a direct organ of the Party. It is governed by Party directives and Party control. As Lenin said: “Revolutionary force and dictatorship is a wonderful thing...' In a note to Unschlick on 31 January 1922 he wrote: 'I simply cannot be in the politburo...I think that I do not have the need. It is now a matter of purely technical measures to allow our courts to strengthen and hasten the repression against the Mensheviks.” The underlinings are Lenin's.
On the 50th anniversary of the Cheka, the Chairman of the Supreme Court of the USSR, A.F. Gorkin, confirmed that: “The Soviet courts and the state security service of the USSR are of the same age. But it is not only this but our common aim which unites us...We take pleasure in noting that the state security organs and the courts decide all these difficult problems in a spirit of mutual understanding and firm working ties...”
Evidence is extorted to the advantage of the charge. The chief lawyer Vyshinsky considered that material evidence was not necessary for the conviction of a political opponent. A confession by the accused was sufficient. At the end of 1952, Stalin ordered that a conspiracy and connections with capitalist intelligence services must be uncovered in the case of the doctors. An investigator for particularly important cases who was Jewish by nationality was arrested for espionage and accused of cohabiting with the Israeli ambassador, Golda Meir [seven words excised].
However much you try you cannot breathe when the air is stifling. You will not change nature. For a while it is possible to conceal it with the florid curtains of democracy, openness and perestroika. But behind these screens even now, as the Chairman of the KGB Chebrikov has admitted, the Chekists are continuing to press agents to take illegal actions and make false denunciations and are using them for their personal, mercenary aims. Of course this was not pointed out in the report, “Further improvements in the work with agents and trusted people in the light of the situation declared in the order of the KGB of the USSR on 4 June 1983 No.00140” to the senior staff of the KGB of Moscow and the Moscow region on 11 October 1983. In Chebrikov’s words the main idea was to protect students and the young generation of scientific, technical and creative intelligentsia from attempts by the opponent to take them away from the influence of Marxism-Leninism, and to fight against the underground of independent organizations, political groups, philosophical circles, local and ethnic groups and religious and mystical sects and not to allow them to move into the structure of the regime. The KGB 'must be in the midst of the masses and know them, firmly and accurately react to all the changes in society, foresee these changes and take measures to stop their negative influence'. And it is agent work and the reliable and well-trained agent apparatus of the KGB which plays the main role in this. The profession of the Chekist is unique. There is no analogy in the history of man.
47 Editors’ Note: Taraki had been killed in 1979.
48 Editors’ Note: Mohammad Hassan Sharq.
49 Editors’ Note: From Appendix 1.
50Editor’s Note: Col.-Gen. Muhammad Rafi’I, member of the Parchami faction of the PDPA, Minister of Public Works May to August 1978, then purged. Appointed Minister of Defense under Karmal (1980-1982, 1986-1988). Politburo member since 1981.
51Author’s Note: Amin’s words seem to suggest that the presence of the KGB, who had previously had agent relations with Afghans who had now become government and political figures, compromised the former helpers.
52 Editors’ Note: Sultan Ali Keshtmand, member of the Parcham faction and Minister of Planning in the first PDPA government. After the Saur Revolution he was purged with other leading Parchamis and sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to 15 years imprisonment. After Babrak Karmal returned to power, he became a member of the PDPA politburo and a year later was named primed minister (1981-1988).
53 Editors’ Note: Ghulam Dagastir Panjshiri, a former literature teacher at Kabul Teachers College and later major government and party figure.
54 Editors’ Note: Boris S. Ivanov, veteran KGB Officer, lieutenant-general, ranking KGB officer in Kabul from spring 1979.
55 Editors’ Note: Lt.-Gen. Lev. N. Gorelov
56 This is the same I.Y. Drozdetsky who was found guilty of intrigues and illegal deals when he was in East
Germany as a communications officer at the KGB Representation to the Interior Ministry of the East German Republic. With the help of German colleagues he sent large amounts of valuable goods to Moscow for the Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR, Shcholokov. Mielke informed the KGB Representative, I. A. Fadeikin, that the Germans who had been involved in the speculation had been arrested and would be tried. Drozdetsky was immediately recalled, but instead of the dock and a convoy to the distant Archipelago Gulag he joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR. Shcholokov made him a commissar which is equal to a general.
57 Author’s Note: “Bring everything, you never know when it might be needed” is an Afghan saying. Amin
encouraged the Afghans to ask for more as “the Russians will give it. Afghanistan is more important to the USSR than the USSR is to Afghanistan so the Soviets are prepared to make any sacrifices.”
58Editors’ Note: Abdul Quddus Goorbandi.
59 Editors’ Note: Maj. Gen. Vasiliy P. Zaplatin, chief political adviser to the Afghan army from May 1978.
60 Editors’ Note: Gaylari Baktari, Minister of Agriculture under Daud.
61 Deputy Foreign Minister Shah Mohammad Dost.
62 Editors’ Note: Tudeh, the Iranian Communist Party.
63 Editors’ Note: Asadullah Sarwari, member of the Khalq faction of the PDPA,; replaced by Asadullah Amin, a nephew of Hafizullah Amin, in October 1979. In December 1979, Sarwari was appointed vice president and deputy prime minister, but soon afterward sent as ambassador to Mongolia (1980-1986).
64 Editors’ Note: Mahamoud Suma, the minister of higher education.
65 Author’s Note: Talking to the Soviet ambassador about Babrak, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia V. BILIAK said: “Treating him simply on humane grounds, we provided him with somewhere to live and made him give an undertaking that he would not engage in any actions whatsoever against the present government in Afghanistan. Our observations did not disclose that he had not kept his word. He has an agreement with our publishing house to translate ‘The lessons of the development of a crisis…’ into Farsi.”
66 Editors’ Note: Soviet Defense Minister.
67 Editors’ Note: See Odd Arne Westad, “The Road to Kabul: Soviet Policy in Afghanistan, 1978-1979,” in Westad, ed., The Fall of Détente (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1997), pp.127-130, for an account of these events based on the Russian Foreign Ministry archives.
68 Editors’ Note: Gen. Ivan G. Pavlovskiy, deputy defense minister and commandant of the Soviet Ground Forces. Pavlovskiy, 71 years old in 1979, had led a delegation to Czechoslovakia shortly prior to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1979, he was head of the Soviet military delegation then visiting Afghanistan.
69 Author’s Note: Nepotism is the norm in nomenklatura countries. The Kim Il-Sung dynasty is ruling North Korea, the Ceaucescu’s Romania and the Castro’s Cuba. Zhivkov’s daughter was the number two in Bulgaria, Mao Tse Tung’s wife committed excesses in China, and Honecker made his wife a minister.
During Brezhnev’s time his family played an important role in Soviet high society. His daughter was a Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and his daughter Galina was unrestrained in her acquisition of valuables and sexual laxity. Her official husband worked in the circus and was a Hero of Socialist Labor. Her other husband, Churbanov, was an exception to the saying: “They do not make corporals into generals.”
Kosygin made his son-in-law Gvishiani an academician, a member of the CPSU Central Committee and Chairman of the State Committee for Economic Ties. He appointed his daughter Director of the Foreign Language Library of the US SR.
The clans of Kunaev, Rashidov and other Central Asian leaders all did very well for themselves.
During the Krushchev thaw the son-in-law of the Party Secretary, Adzhubei, was the editor of Izvestia and really filled the role of a Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Minister, Gromyko, kept in the background, but he gave both his son and grandson nice little posts. The son of Andropov was a roving ambassador. Dictatorship and personality cults lead to inherited power. Some posts in the Soviet Union are already handed down the generations. Thus, the son of A.N. Tupolev became the General Constructor and Yakovlev also handed over to his son. The examples are countless. Nepotism is part of the nomenklatura system. The nomenklatura arranges the education of its children and prepares them for power. It opens special schools, such as the one in Kharkov for the children of the regional Party committee only.
This happens in Western Communist parties too. The wife of M. Thorez was a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of France. In Luxembourg Urbani father handed power down to Urbani’s son.
Such things also happen in democracies. In India the Nehru family was in power for decades. But this was an exception rather than the rule.
70 Editors’ Note: Navab Ali, deputy director of the AGSA
71 Editors’ Note: Fikryat Tabeev, member of the CPSU CC, ambassador since December 1979.
72 Editors’ Note: Corrected from “Democratic.”
73 Author’s Note: An emergency meeting is a meeting between an intelligence officer and an agent at the request of one or the other. It is arranged through an agreed signal to solve urgent matters which have suddenly arisen.
A Representational residence is a residence in the targeted country which is rented by the intelligence service with operational funds for a member of the legal Residency. The residence is chosen as suitable for someone of his cover position and he lives there with his family. He also uses it for operational purposes with the necessary precautions.
Cover in the intelligence service is the official (legal) job held by the intelligence officer or illegal agent. It is the position, institution, organization or enterprise where he works abroad. It conceals the fact that he belongs to the intelligence service and hides his intelligence work.
74 Editors’ Note: Founding member of the PDPA. Left party in 1968 because of perceived Pushtu dominance. Executed 17 September 1979.
75 Editors’ Note: Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, prominent Muslim cleric, later founded the National Liberation Front of Afghanistan, one of the Mujahideen groups.
76Editors’ Note: Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko, full member of the CPSU Central Committee from 1971 and of the Politburo from 1977, General Secretary from February 1984 until his death in 1985.
77Author’s Note: A written portrait is a description along defined lines of a person's appearance. It covers their sex, nationality or race, age, height, body built and anatomic details such as shape of head, face and eyes, functional peculiarities such as habits, way of walking, gesticulations, voice, usual pose, way of wearing clothes, hats and footwear. It covers their clothes and describes the type, colors and condition, and lists the articles they carry such as umbrella, briefcase and walking stick. It notes any peculiarities such as scars, birthmarks, warts and tattoos. Written portraits are essential for surveillance operations and for searching for and recognizing a person. An operational wardrobe is a collection of material and technical items used to disguise members of the intelligence service and agents when they are engaged in an operation. It is used to alter the appearance of individuals with different clothes and footwear, household articles and sports equipment. Various tools and instruments are given to members so that they can appear as workmen in organizations, enterprises and the service industries.
The wardrobe of the intelligence service contains specially chosen outfits for men and women, hats and luggage, all made abroad, which are used to equip illegals sent to work abroad.
78Author’s Note: A control checkpoint, KPP, is a checkpoint erected on routes thought to be used by agents of the intelligence services of the capitalist countries, various criminals and suspicious types with the aim of detaining them by checking their papers. KPPs are set up at road junctions and at approaches and exits to built-up areas. They are manned by members of the state security service, the army, the police and voluntary policemen.
79Author’s Note: The following members of the KGB Representation took part in the operation: V.A. Chuchukin, B.N. Kabanov, S.G. Bakhturin, A.N. Surkov, Dadykin, Ivanov and Chepurnoy. Osadchy, Samudin and the drivers Karpov and Tikhonov from the Residency took part in the second stage of the operation. Bogdanov was in charge of the operation. They were awarded and congratulated by the Chairman of the KGB for their part in the affair.
80 In 1978 the Residency and the Representation were allocated an additional 1 million Afghani, 14,900 hard currency rubles, and 2 million Afghani, 29,800 hard currency rubles, respectively.
The cost of feeding and clothing the Zenit group on army standards was 1 million hard currency rubles. In June 1979 this was increased to 5 million Afghani.
The budget is the operational expenses of the Residency in hard currency. The expenses were allocated on the following lines:
1. Money allocated: a) salaries b) shortfall in currency exchanges c) supplements d) bonuses and rewards
2. Travelling expenses
3. Government expenditure
4. Operational expenses: a) payments to agents b) the upkeep of safe houses c) running expenses of safe houses and meeting places d) furnishings and equipment e) operational expenses f) legalization and the organization of cover g) the purchase and maintenance of operational technical equipment h) the running costs of cars i) the purchase and upkeep of clothes j) wages to teachers k) the purchase of foreign literature and stationery.
Operative workers receive a salary from the organization which they are representing abroad. Their costs are therefore not included under 'salaries'. These are for workers who do not have the cover of an organization. An example is the salaries of radio interceptors. Every Residency has a service for intercepting conversations on international and local radio lines.
In 1978 the monthly expenditure on operators was: 1,350 hard currency rubles in Belgrade, 77,510 X 4 = 310,040 yen or 30,720,480 yen a year in Tokyo, 4,900 hard currency roubles in London, 2,195 US dollars in Reykjavik, 4,254 hard currency rubles in Brasilia, 4,800 US dollars in Mexico City, and 43,095 hard currency rubles plus a shortfall in the exchange rate of 3,900 hard currency rubles in New York. 61,010 hard currency rubles a month was spent on the four stationary posts of the radio interceptor 'Probe' and the two mobile posts in cars.
81Author’s Note: The Amin clan is Pushtun. The Pushtun have passed down their proud genealogy from generation to generation. According to this, all the Pushtun are descended from King Abdurashid who was a descendent of the biblical King Saul. King Abdurashid was converted to Islam by the Prophet Muhammad. All the 405 Pushtun clans or tribes are descended from the sons of Abdurashid and their descendants. The Pushtuns are divided into four large groups; Sarbaniys, Gurgusht, Kerlarniy and Gilzai.
82Editors’ Note: Largely Parchami province north of Kabul.
83Editors’ Note: Probably a personal letter from Andropov to Brezhnev. See CWIHP Bulletin 8/9 (Winter 1996/97), p. 159.
84Editors’ Note: Nestor Ivanovich Makhno, a Ukrainian anarchist active in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War.
85Directorate S was the most important branch of intelligence, namely the Illegal branch. It consisted of 13 departments:
1.Work with trainer-Illegals, work relating to the Socialist countries under the codename 'PROGRESS', one-time
assignments abroad, and the selection of trained individuals as dangles under the auspices of the FCD, the SCD, the
3rd Directorate, and the KGB of individual republics.
2.Documentation of Illegals.
3.Training of the Special Reserve. [Osobyy Rezerv - O.R.]
4.Work from Illegal positions on the American continent.
5.European countries, Australia and New Zealand.
6.The Chinese People's Republic, Japan and Asia.
7.African countries and countries in the Near and Middle East.
8.Conduct of special operations.
9. Security Department.
10. Training and deployment of Special Agents through the German, Jewish and Armenian emigration channel.
12.Department P - work under cover of the USSR Chamber of Commerce.
Group R - carried out analytical work for the leadership.
First Section - handled language training.
Second Section - handled photography and radio, SW, fabrication of documentation and seals.
Third Section - handled clandestine premises, villas, postal addresses within the USSR.
The 8th Department was integrated in the Directorate S structure in 1976. Before that it had been an autonomous section attached to the FAD (the 13th Department, or Department V). The defection of an officer of the Department, Lyalin, to the West and the British Government's subsequent expulsion of 105 KGB officers and agents in September 1971 placed the Department and the Residency in an exceptionally difficult situation. The London Residency was compelled to switch entirely to work from official positions. The process of re-establishing the agent network went on until the end of 1975.
The Department was engaged in what is known in the criminal jargon as wet jobs, i.e. murder, sabotage, arson, explosions, poisoning, mechanical breakdowns and terrorism. Its main base was located in the Moscowregion township of Balashikha, in the premises of the former Higher Intelligence School. The training grounds were dispersed throughout the country. Parachute training from aircraft took place at a training ground near Kaunas.
The Department trained sabotage and Intelligence groups. The daring lads and fly-by-nights selected for the purpose underwent basic sabotage training, according to the timetable, they were called up for 45 days for training, and were grouped in small detachments. From time to time, emergency call-outs were arranged, when in response to a given signal the members of the group were to gather with their essential kit at a prearranged place.
The sabotage and intelligence groups were trained for operations in a specific area of a country. The Department monitored practically all the most important enterprises, hydro-electric stations, nuclear stations, tunnels, depots, bridges, oil pipelines and cables. It studied suitable landing places - the seashore, aircraft landing strips, the topography of the locality, the settlements within reach, climatic conditions at various times of the year, the direction of the wind in various seasons, characteristic landmarks, and routes from the landing place to the target of sabotage. The route to be taken by sabotage intelligence groups and the sabotage targets were photographed and located on the map.
In order to disguise sabotage and intelligence groups as local inhabitants, the necessary kit was acquired - samples of military uniforms, badges of rank for officers and other ranks, in mountain rifle units, those of railway track men, forestry officials, police and gendarmerie officers, and articles of civilian clothing worn by the population in the landing areas were purchased.
The language and phonetic peculiarities of the given area were studied, as was the timing and nature of state and religious festivals and popular celebrations. Ahead of time storage places were sought and prepared, and weapons and radio transmitter-receivers were pre-positioned in them. Arms were acquired abroad by various means and were accumulated gradually for eventual use.
There were occasions when the KGB resorted to compromising a foreign state. Thus, on the eve of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces in 1968, the operational group V of the KGB plenipotentiary apparatus in the GDR consisting of G. T. Panasyuk, A. Botyan and V. P. Ryabov, built a cache on Czech territory and placed West German and American weapons within it. They led the Czechoslovak Security Service to this cache. The suggestion was that the BND and CIA were preparing their people for armed insurrection against the Socialist achievements of the people. The KGB drafted the text of an article for the press. To his credit, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Czechoslovakia, (codename ‘Pavel’), doubted the plausibility of the version put forward.
The idea of setting up and discovering a cache of American arms in Afghanistan on the border with Iran was being developed by the Intelligence agencies in order to accuse the USA publicly of interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
In 1982, a 'training center for Afghanistan' was set up at Balashikha; an officer of the 8th Department, Kikot, who had been recalled from Havana, was appointed to head it. The Department was fully engaged in developing methods of sabotage and terrorism in the Afghan theatre. Israeli experience against Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Palestinian methods against the Israelis were used in the Afghan refugee camps and in heavily populated areas of Pakistan.
At Balashikha, there were also courses for frontier guard officers and a 100-hour program designed to raise the combat qualifications of young KGB officers.
The Department painstakingly studied the organization and structure of guerrilla detachments, the
development of a resistance movement, and methods and means of armed struggle abroad.
For the purpose of training foreigners, there were special 'Vystrel' courses for officers at Solnechnegorsk (near Moscow) on the theme of 'Military leadership personnel'. The participants became commanders of armed formations operating against their own government.
Agent groups of foreign nationality generally consisted of a Special Agent, a support point agent, an agent who was the keeper of a post-box, and agents who carried out the actual operations. The support point agents were intended to ensure the combat effectiveness, security and viability of intelligence and sabotage detachments on the territory of foreign countries. The keepers of post-boxes were used by the intelligence service for clandestine postal communication with the sabotage and intelligence groups.
All files on agents of foreign or Soviet nationality which for some reason were consigned to archives were examined by the 8th Department with a view to selecting people for its purposes.
Not less than 4-6 targets a year were processed by the Department for the F Line, i.e. sabotage.
The landing of a sabotage and intelligence group was arranged by night, or by day in foul weather or fog. Each group consisted of 15-25 individuals, but the sabotage network could also consist of individual intelligence officers, Illegals or agents. The activities of a sabotage or intelligence group were similar to guerrilla operations, but differed in that the guerrillas relied on contact with the population, with the masses, and were conducting permanent armed struggle. The sabotage people, on the other hand, were sent in from somewhere outside or were recruited individually on the spot and carried out specific sabotage assignments. Kutusov included guerrilla warfare in his strategic plan for a military campaign. The people of Afghanistan provided a unique example of the conduct of guerrilla warfare on a wide scale. Alone, without an army, without modern weapons, and almost without support, the Afghan people successfully waged war exclusively by guerrilla methods against the army of a superpower, which used inhumane methods of waging war, and with the government forces of its own country. Before the eyes of the whole world, the Soviet nomenklatura spent 7 years destroying a nation, while in its annual adverse resolutions the UN did not even name the bandits, feebly repeating calls for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. The League of Nations was more decisive, as for its aggression against Finland the USSR was expelled from its ranks as an aggressor.
The term ‘diversion’ was introduced in Russia under Peter I. The 1716 military manual relating to the ‘Corps Volant’—mobile corps—specified: “It is to go into [the enemy’s] rear or enter his territory and cause a diversion.”
The meaning of the term has evolved. At one time it was considered to be a maneuver on the enemy’s flanks or rear o distract attention from the main operations. Later on it came to mean the activities of small secret detachments or groups designed to distract attention from the main operations. Later on it came to mean the activities of the small secret detachments or groups designated to weaken the enemy side whenever it could be reached in order to prepare the ground for major blown in another location.
On the eve of the Second World War, diversion came to mean subversive activities, wrecking designed to damage the enemy’s economic and military might. Diversion is an extreme form of an intelligence service’s subversive activity: it consists of wrecking or damaging enterprises, installations, transport and communications, or any other property through explosions, arson or other means, causing mass poisoning, spreading epidemics and epizootics with the aim of wrecking and undermining a state and causing panic. Diversion causes casualties and has a negative effect on the population’s morale.
The Cheka made skilful use of diversionary methods against the White Guards, the Russian emigration and foreign organizations. Preparation for a large-scale diversionary warfare was begun in 1925. Thousands of diversion specialists were trained and new diversion devices were produced. In 1929 a joint work-shop/laboratory was set up in Kiev under the diversion school to devise and test diversion devices. New types of explosives were invented, together with delayed-action mines and toxic chemical compounds; experiments were carried out on the long-term storage of these [devices] as well as weapons, ammunitions, foodstuffs and medicines in caches (in the ground and under water); compact mines for use against railways were produced, as well as mines camouflaged as ordinary everyday objects—coal, flux, waste metal, logs, peat, coke—and also delayed-action grenades with a charge consisting of 75% potassium chlorate and 20-25 powdered sugar.
All this was tested in combat conditions in the Spanish Civil War. Mines camouflaged as a load of coal were put on boar steamships in Latin-American and European countries. Two admittedly not very successful attempts were made to set fire to the Polish passenger liner “Stefan Batory.”
Diversionary detachments operated within the republican Army. Towards the end of 1937 a number of diversion brigades were formed into the 14th Partisan Corps under the command of D. Ungri. H. D. Mamsurov was attached to him as a diversion specialist.
In 1938 the Cheka placed in caches over 2,000 tons of explosives, weapons and ammunition, using foreign markings and materials.
The term “ideological diversion” is now widely used to cover radio, press and television propaganda. The Cheka considers objective information from the West to be most dangerous as it acts as an instrument of political influence in all spheres of Soviet society; It deprives the nomenklatura of its monopoly right to interpret events; the struggle is waged on Soviet grounds; it gives the population the illusion that there is a growing understanding between the USSR and the West; it contains elements of incitement and it stimulates dissidence.
The nomenklatura will therefore no tolerate the free exchange of ideas, information and ordinary people. For its part, it exploits subversive forces, and the communist parties operate as a subversive fifth column in the rear of the democracies.
86Author’s note: The leadership advises young Directorate S officers to volunteer to see military operations in Afghanistan for themselves, for a minimum of 6 months.
87Only Lieutenant-General B.S. Ivanov, who had arranged and ran “Operation Agat” and who had the Chekist experience of 1968 for 'delicate' matters, was removed from his post of First Deputy Chief of the FCD. He was given a job in the apparatus of the Chairman of the KGB. The leadership did not forgive him for the failed idea to help Taraki to get rid of Amin.
88Editors’ Note: Followers of the Muslim Brotherhood.
89Author’s Note: Some prisoners were released from prison. The KGB used this for propaganda purposes and arranged a television show which put forward the idea that the prisoners would have been executed if the Soviet troops had not got there in time and that the army had carried out a noble mission.
90Gendarmerie force of some 20,000 men created under Daud, continued by the Khalq government and
reorganized by Karmal in 1981 into a six brigade defense force.
91As marked in Russian original.
92As marked in Russian original.
93Editors’ Note: Col.-Gen. S. Magometov replaced Lt.-Gen. Gorelov in December 1979.
94Author’s Note: Boniadi was dismissed, his plan to remain in the West was thwarted and he was forcibly returned to Kabul. Babrak thanked the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for moving Boniadi and said: “Now he can live quietly in Kabul. No repressive measures will be taken against him as long as he does not attack the new regime.”
95Editors’ Note: Stefan Andrei, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs 1978-1984. Sentenced to 14 years
imprisonment in 1992.
96Editors’ Note: One of Afghanistan’s ethnic minorities located primarily in the Nimrus province.
97Author’s Note: From 1973 to 1976 the Afghan government established and armed a tribal formation with 3,000 men to fight against the government of Bhutto.
Paradoxically this foreign initiative was in keeping with the goals of the Communists. These were in line with the so-called 'will' of Peter the Great. Napoleonic France was preparing to march on Russia and had secured the approval of the European courts. The book 'The Expansion of the Russian State from the Time of its Establishment to the Beginning of the 19th Century' by the French historian Lesoir had prompted this feeling. It contained a 'secret letter' supposedly written by Peter to his descendants setting out ways and means to conquer Europe and establish a world dominion of Russia. Tsar Pavel was tempted too. The autocrat somehow planned to take from England its most priceless pearl and sent to India the Cossack troops of the Atamans Orlov and Platov. The ill-prepared march ended in a sad state before the distant goal was reached.
The nomenklatura was also bound to take into account the increased demand by industry for copper, the sources of which were becoming exhausted. Afghanistan had an excess of this ore, gas and other minerals.
The timing of the arrival of the troops and the coup against Amin was carefully planned. The vigilance of Amin and his entourage was undermined by the efforts of the KGB, the embassy and the advisors. The USA was bogged down in a drawn-out conflict with Iran. The parliaments of the democratic countries were celebrating Christmas. The different opinions of the USA and its European partners were taken into account. France did not dramatize the situation at all as it considered that Afghanistan had in practice always been under the influence of the USSR. The Carter administration, recovering from its initial stupor, was forced to accept the idea that Moscow would not let Afghanistan out of its sphere of influence. France and the FRG did not accept Carter’s proposals for political sanctions. In response to some reduction in grain shipments to the USSR imposed by Carter, the KGB devised a complex active measure to remove the boycott. The First Chief Directorate, the 2nd Chief Directorate, the KGB, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture were all involved as well as other organizations.
First of all a disinformation operation was carried out to make the Americans confused about the real figures for the grain harvest in the USSR. A general picture of the harvest can be obtained from sputniks but evidence from agents is needed for precise figures. The KGB managed to direct the American intelligence service to good areas to confirm the information it had received from the sputniks. The Americans, therefore, began to correct their estimate of the grain harvest upwards. The second stage was to put forward the opinion that the USSR could get by without any grain purchases from the USA. The false impression was given that the Soviet Union was obtaining supplies from Argentina, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to replace those from the USA. Too much grain was being piled up in the grain stores of the USA. The next stage of the disinformation action was the spreading of a rumor that the Americans were using a substance which was harmful to people and animals in the grain stores. Pressure was put on farmers through agents of influence. This forced Reagan and the other Presidential candidates to announce that, if they were elected President for the 1980 to 1984 term, then they would lift the embargo. Reagan kept his promise. In the end it was the Americans who asked the USSR to restart the grain purchases. This was timed to the moment when the price of grain on the world market was at its lowest. According to figures of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the active measures of the KGB in economic and grain policies brought a saving of 500 million hard currency rubles over the two year period. Five people were made Heroes of Socialist Labor and dozens were awarded orders for their part in this operation. Andropov said that the disinformation service was the only intelligence organ which made a profit; all the others only spent gold.
About gold. In the drive for good money the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee gave permission for the FCD to engage in gold speculation on international stock exchanges. But as soon as losses were recorded the 2nd.Chief Directorate came on the scene accusing the members of the FCD of making money for themselves, possibly with the connivance of traders in the stock exchange. They suspected that espionage was involved. The 2nd.Chief Directorate asked too many questions: why was the transaction unprofitable, why was the gold not sold when the price was at its peak, why gold was not bought at the lowest prices but when it was still falling etc.? The FCD had to account for its actions and prove that it had not been at fault, citing the peculiarities of the state of the stock market.
98Durand Line is the boundary established in the Hindu Kush in 1893 running through the tribal lands between Afghanistan and British India, marking their respective spheres of influence; in modern times it has marked the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The acceptance of this line--which was named for Sir Mortimer Durand, who induced Abdor Rahman Khan, amir of Afghanistan, to agree to a boundary--may be said to have settled the Indo-Afghan frontier problem for the rest of the British period. In the mid-20th century the area on both sides of the line became the subject of a movement for Pashtun independence and establishment of an independent state of Pakhtunistan. In 1980 approximately 7.5 million Pashtuns were living in the area around the Durand Line.
99Author’s Note: There was insufficient accommodation for soldiers called up from the reserve. There was a sharp increase in the incidents of indiscipline amongst the troops and absence without leave. 49 soldiers dressed as civilians were detained in Ashkhabad during the night of 3 January 1980. 7 machine-guns and 2 pistols were taken from them.
On mobilization days there were unfavorable rumors and gossip about Soviet conditions and the events in Iran and Afghanistan. The KGB considered these anti-Soviet. The people bought up food and essential items and many families got ready to depart for the country. The broadcasts of the Gorgan radio in Turkish advocating Islam, the Iranian religious life and an Islamic state had a profound effect on the people. The Soviet Mullah called on the people to follow Khomeini as a new prophet. 'Holy' letters from Muslims and Christians were distributed in villages and towns.
The Crimean Tatars sought out foreigners in order to give them papers calling for the Crimean question to be raised in the UN. The young people were particularly aggressive. They distributed leaflets calling for the underground organizations to be united. There was talk of introducing the Chechen method of mass strikes. Some tried to get hold of arms in order to move into the mountains and begin an armed struggle against the authorities. The Germans held firm views and there was a strong emigration movement. The Turks who had been expelled from Georgia were demanding that they should be allowed to return. There were strong nationalist and anti-Russian feelings amongst the Uzbeks. There were attempts to form small groups to fight for the liberation of the Uzbek nation from the influence of the Russians. They made life unbearable for Russians, frightened them with threats of violence and crossed their names off the lists of candidates for elections to the Soviets. The KGB received many reports of politically immature criticism of the Party and state leadership and the sending of troops to Afghanistan. In January 1980 a senior engineer at an agro-chemical laboratory in the town of Bairam-Ali, Konov, was arrested. He 'had the idea' of overthrowing the Soviet regime and had written an article entitled 'Reporting with a Gag in Your Mouth' which he had wanted to give to the Americans. A music teacher, Mitkalev, had written a manuscript about Soviet life and the teaching of Marxism-Leninism as it really was. Several hundred people with such views were put under the watch of the KGB.
Smuggling operations by Soviet citizens and Afghans were uncovered. Gold coins, drugs, sunglasses, cigarette lighters and scarves were smuggled into the Soviet Union. Buffet staff, sales assistants, shop managers, auditors, train attendants and ticket off1cers from Kushka, Mara, Ashkhabad and other towns and cities were involved. Kurbanov, a large-scale speculator, bought 15,500 gold coins. He paid more than a million rubles. Lieutenant-Colonel Eduard Goncharov, a member of the FCD in Kabul who had previously worked in a Residency in an African country, was involved in currency speculation.
The KGB dealt with the internal situation without much difficulty. The situation was regulated and agents posted in places of work and leisure, on trains, in houses and in beds. There was no real danger.
100Editors’ Note: Marshal Sergei L. Sokolov, Soviet Deputy Minster of Defense (1967-1987).
101Editors’ Note: Gen. Sergei F. Akhromeev, First Deputy Chief of the USSR General Staff.
102Author’s Note: A band is an armed group of two or more which is formed to attack government and public buildings, enterprises and individuals. It is the false bands, as the Cheka calls them, which actually act like real bands. They infiltrate a liberation movement and through vile means liquidate the patriots or lead them to be attacked by the armed forces of the KGB and army. In this way resistance groups are eliminated, communications channels are seized, co-operation between them and the people is damaged and a feeling of uncertainty established in a short time and with minimal losses.
Combat agent groups serve as the KGB reserve but they are seldom used independently for tactical tasks. As members of these groups combat agents are selected who are prepared to take decisive action entailing the risk of life. The commandos chosen are extremely brave people who like the excitement or members of the resistance movement who have been captured and recruited.
The border command began to pander to the people from the very beginning. A small quantity of flour, rice, salt, sugar, tea, clothes for 30,000, footwear, soap and kerosene was taken from Tajikistan to the province of Badakhshan. The Ministry of Trade was ordered to arrange to purchase from the people of the province agricultural produce and handicrafts in exchange for manufactured goods. A special resolution of the Politburo and the Council of Ministers of the USSR stated that it was desirable for direct Party, government and economic links to be established between the Uzbek, Tadjik and Turkmen republics and the provinces of the DRA. The provinces of Balkh, Samangan, Jusjan, Parvan, Nangarkhar and the city and province of Kabul were linked to the Uzbek SSR. Badakhshan, Kunduz, Bamian and Takhar were linked to the Tadjik SSR and Herat, Badgis and Faryab to the Turkmen SSR. Ethnic, geographical and economic factors were taken into account, but it was made to appear that these provinces were eager to join the Soviet republics and that the nationalities living there were keen to be with their Soviet brothers. But when Babrak naively asked MATROSOV and Chuchukin to ease the border control so that the citizens of both countries could mix freely, the head of the Directorate of the border troops of the KGB replied that he could not do this as it would have undesirable consequences. He said this without revealing that the function of the Chekists was actually the opposite, namely to prevent the free and uncontrolled mixing of the people.
103Author’s Note: The border troops of the KGB are more reliable. Like a hoop on a barrel they encircle the country and seal all the possible escape routes. The men, their relations, colleagues and their homes and place of work are all carefully checked during the selection process. A special department of the KGB collates all the material, carries out special checks and decides who should have access to the border. During the selection process many people are rejected because they are considered hippies, modernists, trendies and listen to the Western radio.
Along the border the head of the border district shares power with the military. Their area includes land, internal waterways, rivers and lakes. Each district has a military council, general staff, departments, various services and the intelligence service. There are special regulations for people living and working in the area and relating to the ownership of all kinds of boats and flying machines. People entering the area have to pass passport control and special stamps are put in passports. People who have a criminal record are forbidden to live or work in these areas.
Wielding great power, the chiefs act outside the law. Lieutenant-General Kovalevsky, the head of the KGB border troops in the Turkestan district, lived in a mansion with six rooms and 123 square meters of living space. There were only three people in his family. He spent over 20,000 rubles of public money on improvements to the house. General Goryainov, the head of the special KGB department of the Carpathian military district, lived in a two-story villa in the middle of Lvov with his wife. He kept a three-roomed residence in Leningrad and acquired three cars and a motorcycle for his relations.
A district is divided into between several border units, each responsible for a certain part of the border. Each unit in turn has a commandant's office, outposts and control points. A commandant's office consists of several outposts which are responsible for a certain area. Each has three or more firing sections, dogs and operational technical specialists.
Particularly strict regulations are enforced in the strip of land adjoining the border. Along borders with socialist countries this strip is 100 meters deep, on the borders with China, Norway and Finland 2 kilometers deep and on the borders with Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan from 500 to 2,000 meters depending on the physical terrain. Along the entire border there is a strip of land 8 to 10 meters wide which is ploughed and raked. There is alarmed barbed wire.
Border guards and the territorial organs of the KGB and Ministry of Internal Affairs are responsible for controlling the border. Total operational agent work is carried out amongst the local people. An operative is judged on the number of recruitments and signals he receives from agents, the number of statements he obtains from people he has dealt with personally and the number of lectures and meetings he conducts. In the border troops intelligence officers and all the officers are responsible for agent work as well as the special departments.
Counter-intelligence work is carried out everywhere where people are living. Four or five KGB sections are involved: the apparatus of the KGB of the district, the second department of the headquarters of the border unit, a special department of the border unit, a special department of the combat units and the police. And if there is a railway line in the area then the transport department of the KGB is also involved. Sometimes operatives will descend on a village as though they are attending celebrations in order to meet an agent. Virtually all the adults are recruited or are former agents.
A state of alert for all the operational staff is put into action when information of a possible attempt to cross the border by people on the hunted list is obtained. These people are being hunted throughout the Union. All KGB organs are supplied with information on them, their likely routes and methods and photographs. Their record cards are sent to all KGB departments and the special departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Increased staff and technical means are used at places where they are likely to cross the border.
In the Turkestan border district alone more than 140 warning notices in 1960 were received. [17 lines excised.]
104Editors’ Note: Najibullah, director of the KHAD (1980-1986), President of Afghanistan, 1986-1992. Executed in September 1996.
105Author’s Note: There was a minor episode on 10 March 1980. 40 rebels broke into the 100th reserve brigade of the Ministry of Defense of the DRA. They raided the stores and took 131 sub-machine-guns, 50 carbines, 35 Degtyaryov machine-guns, pistols and ammunition. They loaded it into cars and got away without being stopped.
106Author’s Note: It could not have been otherwise. Any communist group, whose main aim is to acquire complete power, pushes other concerns to one side. The Parchamis became Bolsheviks instead of Mensheviks and therefore wanted total power. The seeking of domination is based on the ideas of Lenin who asserted that Bolshevism as a form of tactics was suitable for all communists. And if Afghans change their views this is seen as a defeat, a weakening of their position and an exit from the political arena.
107Author’s Note: There were unpleasant incidents in the northern zone. At 2:05 p.m. Moscow time on 19
November 1979 two Afghan planes flew into the air space of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan and dropped two bombs on the border village of Nishusp, thirty kilometers south of the Tajik town of Khorog. Five civilians were killed and ten people wounded. It later became known that the planes had been flying to bomb positions held by the rebels, but had become lost because they had no detailed maps or radio control and the visibility was poor.
108Editors’ Note: Account of the Prophet’s deeds and words.
109Author’s Note: The Service No.1 in the FCD is the information and analysis service which collects intelligence information from all the Residencies, Representations, the 1st departments of the territorial organs of the KGB, GRU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TASS, the institutes of the Academy of Science of the USSR, the foreign press and Soviet periodicals. These materials are used as the base for analytical reports which analyze interesting problems and developments, set out conclusions following from the analysis and proposals on measures to be taken. As far as possible the reports should be short with the maximum information in the minimum of words, logical with a well-grounded argument and suggestions and follow a strict line of thought with a precise use of terms and concepts. Selection and fresh information and ideas, that is, the choice of information which could influence the development of events, clarity and the ability to foresee future development all increase the information value of the report. The Service asks the Residencies for information on various political subjects. There are about 500 staff in the Service, excluding Institute I of the FCD which has three times as many staff. There are members of the Service in all the large and average-sized residencies.
[3/4 page excised.]
110Editors’ Note: Probably Muhammed Yorin Sadiq, President of the Council of Ministers.
111Editors’ Note: The 26th CPSU Congress took place in February-March 1981.
112Editors’ Note: Hizb-i Islami-yi Afghanistan, one of the strongest and most radical Islamic resistance movements supported by Pakistan.
113Author’s Note: A pro-Chinese group was uncovered and eliminated in the town of Mazari Sharif.
114Editors’ Note: Son of the former Pakistani president (1971-73) and Prime Minister (1973-77) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was overthrown and executed by the military.
115Editors’ Note: Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistani chief of Army staff, President of Pakistan (1978-88).
116Editors’ Note: Muammar al- Qaddafi (also spelled Muammar Khadafy, Moammar Gadhafi, or Mu'ammar Al-qadhdhafi), leader of Libya since from 1970.
117Editors’ Note: Literally “Bandits,” first used with reference to the Islamic guerilla opposition in the USSR in the 1920s.
118Editors’ Note: “National Oppression,” a Marxist, anti-Pushtun faction.
119Editors’ Note: Shu’la-yi javid (eternal flame), pro-Chinese group led by Dr. Rahim Mahmudi, which opposed the Khalqi regime and set up a mujahedin group.
120Author’s Note: In 1982 a directive order from the KGB forbade all the mass media to mention in any written or spoken form that the KGB was involved in safeguarding and maintaining order during demonstrations, parades and meetings or in mounting guards at diplomatic representations.
121Editors’ Note: Located in Pol-I Charki, a village on the Kabul River east of Kabul. Based on West German designs, the prison was built under Daud.
122Editors’ Note: Manlassi Muhammed Nabi Muhammadi, head of the resistance group Harakat- inqilal-I Islami (Islamic Revolutionary Movement).
123Editor’s Note: Prominent Mujahedin leader.
124Editors’ Note: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, radical Islamist and chief of the Hizb-I Islami-yi Afghanistan, one of the seven Mujahedin groups formed in Peshawar.
125Author’s Note: The agreed actions were also discussed during meetings between Babrak and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan, NAZISHEN AMROKHVAN.
They tried to find Afghan quislings and to make them more dependent on the occupiers. TABEEV pressed the CPSU Central Committee to award the APN Avitsenna international prize to the Chairman of the Council of the Ulema of the DRA, S. AFGHANI. [25 lines excised.]
126Editors’ Note: Related to the Khostwal Pashtuns, inhabiting the eastern slope of the Sulaiman range in Paktia Province.
127During the 1920s, Moscow consolidated Soviet control over the fierce resistance by local insurgents, called basmachi, in the Central Asian areas formerly under imperial Russia’s control. Many of the rebels fled to neighboring Afghanistan and used its territory as a sanctuary for forays into Soviet Central Asia. See Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 981.
128Author’s Note: The Residency noted that some of the Soviet Party, ideological and economic advisers and some members of the embassy were not prepared to take their share of the burden in normalizing the situation in the DRA. Most of this work, which was outside the fight against the Mujahedin, was done by the KGB Representation and Residency and operational groups from the Ministry of Defense of the USSR.
129Author’s Note: The main opponent is defined by the top authorities and is one or several states against whom a struggle is being fought at that particular moment in time on all fronts using the major forces and means of all the state organs, including the intelligence organs.
The main opponent at the present time is the USA, the NATO countries and China.
At a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the state security service A.M. Sakharovsky, who was head of the Foreign Intelligence Service from 1956 to 1971, said: “We are engaged in an irreconcilable battle against an experienced and perfidious enemy. The battle will be won by the side that is better prepared, able to understand the situation more quickly and correctly, able to expose the weak points of the opponent. He will be able to deal a decisive blow and will surpass the opponent with his bravery, tenacity and inventiveness.”
In 1968 Andropov told a meeting of the Second Chief Directorate of the KGB: “...one must understand that the struggle between the organs of state security and the special organs of the opponent in the present conditions reflect the present stage of a heightening of the class struggle. And this means that the struggle is more merciless. Today the same question is being decided as in the first days of Soviet power: who [will prevail over] whom? Only today this question is not being decided within our country but within the framework of the whole world system, in a global struggle between two world systems.”
In a conversation with the Vietnamese Minister Pham Hung in October 1980, Andropov again declared that “the Soviet Union is not only talking about world revolution but is actually helping it. The USSR is building up a powerful military and economic potential which is a reliable defense for the socialist countries and other progressive forces in the world”
[14 lines excised.]
Andropov spoke to the Minister about internal problems and difficulties with food supplies. 'The CPSU and the Soviet government consider that the need to increase agricultural production is so serious that it is on a par with the defense of the country.”
For his part Pham Hung spoke about the situation in Kampuchea. When the Pol Pot regime was overthrown in Kampuchea there were less than a hundred communists. Communists and members of the intelligentsia who hindered the establishment of the new order, that is pure communism, under which the monetary system was eliminated, families destroyed and barrack-style living conditions imposed were eliminated. Pol Pot held Trotskyite views. He was an engineer and had received his higher education in France. Khieu Samphan was a Doctor of History and proponent of pure communism. There were still many supporters of Pol Pot in the administration, organizations and districts.
The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Vietnam, Chan Dong, was asked during a meeting with the head of the 2nd Chief Directorate, Grigorenko, to agree on the composition of a delegation from Kampuchea to be invited to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of North Vietnam. The example was given of the occasion when the Soviet side invited a delegation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kampuchea to the USSR without consulting the Ministry of Internal Affairs of North Vietnam. The delegation had included an untrustworthy person and this was told to the Soviet ambassador to North Vietnam, B.N. Chaplin. (A two-day visit to Leningrad from Moscow for the Vietnamese delegation cost the FCD 1,624 rubles.)
The Cheka, of course, acted mercilessly not only on the international stage but also in its own camp. This was the case in Berlin, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland. In March 1963 at a meeting with members of the Soviet intelligentsia Krushchev threatened: 'The Soviet Union is not Hungary and it is not 1956 now. We will not have a Petöfi Club but we do have prisons'. In September 1975 the Deputy Chairman of the KGB, Tsinev, called on the organs of state security 'to preserve such a situation in the country which will completely exclude the possibility, not only of any real anti-Soviet movements, but also of single hostile acts'. He wrote: “To defend democracy is primarily to stop decisively any actions which could cause harm to the policies of our party. The organs of state security have done this in all the stages of the life of the Soviet state.” And again. “All talk about the criticisms by the West of us being just show either a lack of thinking or something worse.” Andropov admitted to his Polish colleague Kovalchik that the USSR could not accept 'the third basket', the human rights section, of the Helsinki treaty as it would allow us to be shaken from within. In reply to concerns expressed by Honecker in the Crimea in 1978 about the spread of different ideas, Brezhnev assured him: “We will not permit any legal opposition in the country.”
The aim of the nomenklatura is to keep power for the sake of power and to protect its privileges. It has nothing to do with the well-being of the people as the communists like to pretend. This was very clear in a conversation between Andropov and the Minister of Internal Affairs of Poland, Milevsky, in Moscow on 17 November 1980. Talking about the need for strong action against Solidarity, Andropov convinced his colleague: 'If Walesa with his fascist ways came to power, then the communists would be thrown in prison, executed and persecuted. The threat would be greatest for Party activists, Chekists and military leaders. You are telling me that some of your people feel unable to take responsibility for decisive actions against the counter-revolution. But why are they not worried about the effects of inaction which might allow the counter-revolution to succeed?” “...communists, and particularly Party activists, Chekists and the military, must be told that it is not just a matter of defending the socialist achievements in Poland, but about defending their own lives, their families who would suffer at the hands of the reactionaries if, God forbid, they should succeed.” “Sometimes our Polish colleagues say that they cannot rely on the Party as it has collapsed. I cannot believe this.” “...out of three million Party members it must be possible to find a hundred thousand who are prepared to sacrifice themselves.” “Vyshinsky and Walesa have got hold of the free trade unions, they are winning over senior people in Poland, there are already signs that the counterrevolutionary disease is attacking the army'. M. Milevsky agreed: “You have convinced me, but how can I convince our colleagues there in Poland?”
130Author’s Note: Development is understood to be the implementation of such agent operational measures involving a person or site designated by intelligence which ensure the achievement of the goals assigned by it (recruiting, exposure, incitement of certain actions, discrediting, acquisition of information, penetrating a
facility, exercising influence and so on). [36 lines excised.]
131Editors’ Note: Muhammad Yusuf, former Minister of Mines and Industry, appointed Prime Minister in March 1963 by King Zahir Shah.
132Editors’ Note: Corrected from “Sterba.”
133Editors’ Note: Corrected from “Brapidgip.”
134Editors’ Note: Abdul Majid Sarbuland, appointed in January 1980.
135Editors’ Note: US Ambassador Adolph “Spike” Dubs was kidnapped and killed on 14 February 1979.
136Author’s Note: Directorate K, the counter-intelligence directorate, combined all the counterintelligence sections working abroad, including the former 9th and 14th departments, Service 2 of the FCD, sections of the 2nd Chief Directorate and the 3rd Directorate of the KGB. Its role was to organize active offensive work to infiltrate the special services and to cover Soviet citizens and specialists abroad.
At the end of 1963 the agent network, then Service 2, had 1,037 agents. 224 were foreigners, 33 stateless and 780 Soviet citizens. There were 55 agents working on Russian émigrés, 23 on Ukrainian émigrés, 5 on Belorussian émigrés, 21 on Lithuanian émigrés, 16 on Latvians, 11 on Estonians, 17 on Armenians and 33 on the other nationalities of the USSR. There were then 39 agents in the Federal Republic of Germany, 23 in the USA, 21 in France, 10 in Libya, 11 in Belgium and 11 in Austria.
In 1963 there were 104 people in the central apparatus, excluding people working abroad and in different organizations. The monthly salary bill was 20,684 rubles, made up as follows: 360 rubles for the head of Service 1, 340 rubles each for the three deputy heads, 260 rubles each for the eleven senior assistants, 220 rubles each for the 17 assistants, 190 rubles each for the 47 senior operative staff, 170 each for the operatives, 160 for the proof-reader, 110 rubles for the secretary, 110 rubles for the chief office clerk, 110 rubles each for the two shorthand typists, 98 rubles for the senior typist and 87 rubles each for the two typists.
In 1971 there were 2,885 Soviet people in Afghanistan, including members of their families. By 1973 the figure had risen to 4,000. In Kabul alone there were 1,390. The KR Directorate then had 75 agents and 90 trusted contacts there.
A large number were military advisers or military specialists. On 1 March 1973 at a meeting in Moscow the military advisers and military attaches were ordered to increase their influence in the countries where they were stationed and to select candidates for military training in the Soviet Union.
137Editors’ Note: Andrey Dmitriyevich Sakharov, Soviet nuclear physicist, an outspoken advocate of human rights and civil liberties. In 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
138Author’s Note: A member of the KGB Representation was present at the interrogation of rebels in Herat.
A KGB adviser worked in the investigation department of KHAD.
The senior member of the group of Party advisers, S.V. Kozlov, suggested ways to work with the people and put forward ideas for political propaganda.
The name 'limited contingent' for the occupation forces can be seen as an active measure. Its aim was to deceive people, to suggest that their numbers were less than they were and that it was a modestly armed force with a limited role.
Active measures encompass all agent operational acts aimed at influencing the various spheres of the political life of the targeted countries, their foreign policy and the resolution of international problems. Their aim is to confuse the opponent, to undermine and weaken his position, to thwart his plans and the realization of his goals. They try to influence the internal and external situation in the targeted countries in a way which is beneficial to the intelligence service, to weaken the political economic military and ideological position of the opponent, to disrupt their plans and intentions and to create conditions which are beneficial to the Soviet Union. Active operations are the same as active measures but the term is usually applied to large-scale operations.
The USA is compromised everywhere and whenever possible. In the middle of the 1960s the Americans showed the film Exodus in Kabul. This was used as an excuse to instill anti-American feelings in the government. The Arab press published very critical reviews and reports on the film and the Zionist, pro-Israeli sympathies of the USA. In 1984 Ogonyok published a booklet entitled 'Jackals in a pack of wolves' about the CIA and NTS in Afghanistan. The cover gave the name of the author, Boris Vladimirovich Marbanov, and described him as an historian. His photograph shows a young man with a fashionable beard and glasses. The booklet did not contain facts or proof of anything and the author was not an historian but a Chekist and member of the disinformation service. His surname was not Marbanov but Banov. His beard was not his own and the glasses came from the KGB stores.
One cannot disagree with Lenin who said that “in politics honesty is the result of strength, hypocrisy the result of weakness.”
Military service in Afghanistan was at first counted as two years for every year of service there. From 1983 this was raised to three years for every year of actual service. Those disabled were given the privileges awarded to soldiers disabled during the Second World War.
139Editors’ Note: Egon Bahr, leading foreign policy and arms control expert of the (West) German Social
Democratic Party and member of the (West) German parliament.
140Editors’ Note: Helmut Schmidt, West German Federal Chancellor 1974-1982.
141Editors’ Note: Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
142Editors’ Note: Henry A. Kissinger, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.
143Editors’ Note: Dr. Marshall Shulman, special advisor with the rank of ambassador to the Secretary of State for Soviet Affairs from 1977-80.
144Editors’ Note: Peter Edelman, Issues Director of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s presidential campaign.
145Editors’ Note: Edward M. Kennedy, US Senator (D-MA) since 1963, a prominent figure in the Democratic Party from the 1970s; last surviving brother of President John F. Kennedy.
146Editors’ Note: Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State from 1977 to 1980.
147US Secretary of Defense Harold Brown had visited the PRC from 5-9 January 1980.
148Editors’ Note: John V. Tunney, Democratic senator from California (1971-1977), a close associate of Sen. Edward Kennedy. Corrected from “Tunny.”
149Editors’ Note: Warren Christopher, US Deputy Secretary of State 1977-1981, Secretary of State, 1993-1997.
150Editors’ Note: Thomas J. Watson Jr., chairman of IBM and ambassador to the Soviet Union.
151Editors’ Note: Robert Byrd, Senator (D-WV) since 1958
152Editors’ Note: Alan Cranston, Senator (D-CA), 1968-1993.
153Editors’ Note: Apparently code name for the French newspaper Le Monde.
154Editors’ Note: Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, third President of the Fifth Republic of France (1974-81).
155Editors’ Note: Bruno Kreisky, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Austria and chancellor of Austria (1970-83).
156Real names and identifying details excised.
157KGB worknames are italicized; further identifying information was excised.
158“a” indicates an agent.
159“o”indicates operational officer.
160“d” indicates confidential contact.
|Collection||The Mitrokhin Archive|
|Subject||Afghanistan, economic aid to , Afghanistan, military forces, Afghanistan, political climate in, Afghanistan, political instability in, Afghanistan, political parties in, Afghanistan, social problems in, Afghanistan, Soviet aid to, covert operations, H. Amin, international communist movement, Middle East, US involvement in , problems of establishing an Afghan government., Soviet economic and military aid to Afghanistan, Soviet foreign policy, Soviet intelligence service, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; Propaganda, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; US-Soviet relations, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; US-Soviet relations; CIA, Soviet invasion, Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Soviet policy, Soviet progress in Afghanistan, Soviet Union, foreign policy of, Soviet Union, military aid from, Soviet Union, relations with Afghanistan|
|Coverage||Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of, (DRA), America, Bagram, Iran, Kandahar, Karachi, Middle East, Soviet Union, United States of America (US)|
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