Mir Akbar Khyber

Mir Akbar Khyber

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Mir Akbar Khyber (1925 - April 17, 1978) was an Afghan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 intellectual and a leader of the Parcham
Parcham was the name of one of the factions of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. The Parcham faction seized power in the country after toppling Hafizullah Amin....

 faction of the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan was a communist party established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan...

 (PDPA). His assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 led to the overthrow of Mohammed Daoud Khan
Mohammed Daoud Khan
Sardar Mohammed Daoud Khan or Daud Khan was Prime Minister of Afghanistan from 1953 to 1963 and later becoming the President of Afghanistan...

's republic, and to the advent of a communist regime in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...


Born in 1925, Khyber graduated from the military high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 in 1947. In 1950, he was imprisoned for his revolutionary activities. Later he was employed by the Ministry of education, until he was expelled from Paktia for taking part in a riot in 1965. After returning to Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, he became editor of the Parcham newspaper, Parcham and oversaw the Parchams recruitment program in the Afghan army
Military of Afghanistan
The military of Afghanistan is composed of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Army Air Force . Being a landlocked country, Afghanistan has no navy, and the private security forces who are sometimes seen wearing military uniforms are not part of Afghanistan's military...


He was assassinated outside his home on 17 April, 1978. The Daoud regime attempted to put the blame for Kyber's death on Hekmatyar's Hezbi Islami
Hezbi Islami
Hezbi Islami , meaning Islamic Party is an Islamist organization commonly known for fighting in the Marxist Government of Afghanistan and their close ally the Soviet Union. Founded and led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, it was established in Pakistan in 1975...

, but Nur Mohammad Taraki of the PDPA charged that the government itself was responsible, a belief that was shared by much of the Kabul intelligentsia. Louis Dupree
Louis Dupree (professor)
Professor Louis Duprée was an American archaeologist, anthropologist, and scholar of Afghan culture and history. He was the husband of Nancy Hatch Duprée, who is the Board Director of the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University in Afghanistan and author of five books about Afghanistan...

, an American historian and specialist of Afghanistan, concluded that interior minister Nuristani, a virulent anti-communist, had ordered the killing. However, several sources, including fellow parchamis Babrak Karmal
Babrak Karmal
Babrak Karmal was the third President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is the best known of the Marxist leadership....

 and Anahita Ratebzad
Anahita Ratebzad
Anahita Ratebzad is a female Afghan Marxist and former member of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan and the Revolutionary Council....

, claim that Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin was the second President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan....

, a leader of the rival Khalq
Khalq was a faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Its historical leaders were Presidents Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin. It was also the name of the leftist newspaper produced by the same movement. It was supported by the USSR and was formed in 1965 when the PDPA was born...

 faction, was the instigator of the assassination. Daoud's confidant, Abdul Samad Ghaus, suggested that a strong rivalry existed between Amin and Khyber as they both attempted to infiltrate the military for their respective factions. Also, Khyber's attempts to reunite Khalq and Parcham cells within the military would have undermined Amin's power, according to communist sources.

At Khyber's funeral on April 19, some 15, 000 PDPA sympathizers gathered in Kabul, and paraded through the streets chanting slogans against the CIA and the SAVAK
SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service established by Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah on the recommendation of the British Government and with the help of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency SAVAK (Persian: ساواک, short for سازمان اطلاعات و امنیت کشور...

, the Shah of Iran's secret police. Alarmed by this demonstration of communist strength, Daoud ordered a crackdown on the PDPA leadership, which in turn prompted the PDPA to launch a military coup that became known as the Saur Revolution
Saur Revolution
The Saur Revolution is the name given to the Communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan takeover of political power from the government of Afghanistan on 28 April 1978. The word 'Saur', i.e...

, during which Daoud was killed, and the PDPA took power.