People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan

People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan

Discussion
Ask a question about 'People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan'
Start a new discussion about 'People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) was a communist party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 established on the 1 January 1965. While a minority, the party helped former president of Afghanistan, 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...

, to overthrow his cousin, Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last King of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973...

, and established Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan
Republic of Afghanistan
Republic of Afghanistan was the official state government of Mohammed Daoud Khan from 1973 to 1978. Daoud Khan became Afghanistan's first President in 1973 after he deposed Mohammad Zahir Shah in a non-violent coup...

. Daoud would eventually become a strong nemesis of the party, firing PDPA politicians from high ranking jobs in the government. This would lead to uneasy relations with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

In 1978 the PDPA with help from the Afghan army
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 seized power from Daoud in what is 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...

. Before the civilian government was established, Afghan air force colonel Abdul Qadir Dagarwal
Abdul Qadir Dagarwal
Abdul Qadir Dagarwal , a colonel, was the leader of the Afghan Air Force squadrons that attacked the Radio-TV Station during the 1978 Coup that started the Saur Revolution....

 was the official ruler of Afghanistan for three days, starting from 27 April 1978. Dagarwal was eventually replaced by Nur Muhammad Taraki
Nur Muhammad Taraki
Nur Muhammad Taraki was an Afghan politician and statesman during the Cold War. Taraki was born near Kabul and educated at Kabul University, after which he started his political career as a journalist...

. After the Saur Revolution, the PDPA established 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 :...

 which would last until 1987. After National Reconciliation
National Reconciliation
National Reconciliation is the term used for establishment of so-called 'national unity' in countries beset with political problems. In Afghanistan Mohammad Najibullah's proposals for national unification started in 1987 and ended early in the 1990s to stop the Afghan civil war which had haunted...

 talks in 1987 the official name of the country was the Republic of Afghanistan, the republic lasted until 1992 under the leadership of Najibullah and acting president for the last twelve days, Abdul Rahim Hatef
Abdul Rahim Hatef
Abdul Rahim Hatef is an Afghan politician. He served as Vice President during the last years of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan....

.

Formation and early political activities



Nur Mohammad Taraki started his political career as an Afghan journalist. On the 1 January 1965 Taraki with 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....

 established the Democratic People's Party of Afghanistan, while at the beginning the party was running under the name People's Democratic Tendency, since there were no officially political party law in Afghanistan at that time. The party held its First Congress meeting on January 1, 1965. Twenty-seven gentlemen gathered at Taraki's house in Kabul
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...

, elected Taraki as the first party Secretary General and Karmal as Deputy Secretary General, and chose a five-member Central Committee also called a Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

. Taraki was later invited by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

s International Department in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 later that year.

The PDPA was known in Afghan society at that time as having strong ties with the Soviet Union, the party itself was established for winning parliamentary seats in the Afghan Parliament. Eventually the PDPA was able to get four of its members in to parliament. Later on Taraki established the first radical newspaper in Afghan history under the name The Khalq, the newspaper was eventually forced to stop publishing in 1966 by the government.

The Khalqs and the Parchams



In 1967 the party itself divided itself into several political sects, the biggest being the Khalq
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...

s and the Parcham
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....

s, as well as the Setami Milli
Setami Milli
Setami Milli was a political movement in Afghanistan, led by Tahir Badakhshi. The organization was affiliated with the Non-Aligned Movement, and was opposed by both the Afghan monarchy and by the leftist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan.On February 14, 1979, the United States Ambassador...

 and Grohi Kar. These new divisions started because of ideological and economic reasons. Most of Khalqs supporters came from ethnic Pashtuns from the rural areas in the country. The Parchams supporters mostly came from urban citizens who supported social-economic reforms in the country. The Khalqs accused the Parchams to be under the allegiance of King Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last King of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973...

 because the Parcham newspaper the Parcham was tolerated by the king himself and their for published from March, 1968-July, 1969.

Karmal sought, unsuccessfully, to persuade the PDPA Central Committee to censure Taraki's excessive extreme radicalism. The vote, however, was close, and Taraki in turn tried to neutralize Karmal by appointing new members to the committee who were his own supporters. After this incident, Karmal offered his resignation, which was accepted by the Politburo. Although the split of the PDPA in 1967 into two groups was never publicly announced, Karmal brought with him less than half the members of the Central Committee
Central Committee of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
The Central Committee was a ruling organ for the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan .- History :The first Central Committee was held on 1 January 1965 when the PDPA was established. Nur Mohammad Taraki was elected General Secretary of the PDPA at this meeting...

.

Because of the internal strife within the party, the party lost most of its incumbent seats in the Afghan parliamentary election in 1969. In 1973 the PDPA assisted Mohammed Daoud Khan to seize power from Zahir Shah in a nearly bloodless military coup. After Daoud had sized power he established the Daoud's Republic of Afghanistan. After the coup, the Loya jirga
Loya jirga
A loya jirga is a type of jirga regarded as "grand assembly," a phrase in the Pashto language meaning "grand council." A loya jirga is a mass meeting usually prepared for major events such as choosing a new king, adopting a constitution, or discussing important national political or emergency...

 approved Daoud's new constitution establishing a presidential one party system of government in January, 1977. The new constitution alienated Daoud from many of his political allies.

Reconciliation


The Soviet Union set in Moscow played a major role in the reconciliation of the Khalq faction led by Taraki and the Parcham faction led by Karmal. In March 1977 a formal agreement on unity was achieved, and in July the two factions held their first joint conclave in a decade. Since the parties division in 1967 both sides had held contact with Soviet government.

Both parties were consistently pro-Soviet. There are allegations that they accepted financial and other forms of aid from the Soviet embassy and intelligence organs. However, the Soviets were close to King Zahir Shah and his cousin Daoud Khan - the first Afghan President - and it could have damaged their relations. There are no facts proving that the Soviets provided financial help to either Khalqis or Parchamis.

Taraki and Karmal maintained close contact with the Soviet Embassy and its personnel in Kabul, and it appears that Soviet Military Intelligence (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye - GRU
GRU
GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation...

) assisted Khalq's recruitment of military officers.

The Saur Revolution




In 1978 a prominent member of the PDPA on the Parcham
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....

 side of the party, Mir Akbar Khyber
Mir Akbar Khyber
Mir Akbar Khyber was an Afghan intellectual and a leader of the Parcham faction of the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan...

, was assassinated by the government and his associates. While the government rejected any claims of assassinated him, the PDPA members apparently feared that Mohammad Daoud Khan was planning to exterminate them all. Shortly after a massive protest against the government during the funeral ceremonies of Khaibar most of the leaders of PDPA were arrested by the government. Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin was the second President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan....

 with a number of Afghan military officers supporting the Khalq faction of the PDPA wing stayed out of prison. This gave a chance to the group to organize an uprising. The government of Daoud eventually collapsed thanks to PDPA military members. After the military coup, the PDPA leadership got out of jail. Nur Mohammad Taraki, 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 Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin was the second President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan....

 overthrew the regime of Daoud, and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA)
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 :...

.

On the eve of the coup, the Afghan police did not send Amin to immediate imprisonment, as it did with the three Politburo members and Taraki on April 25, 1978. His imprisonment was postponed for five hours, during this time he was under house arrest
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

. He gave instructions to the Khalqi military officers thanks to his family who gave the instructions to the officers. Amin was sent to jail on the 26 April 1978.

The regime of President Daoud came to a violent end in the early morning hours of April 28, 1978, when military units from the Kabul military base loyal to the Khalq faction of the party stormed the Presidential Palace in Kabul. The coup was also strategically planned for this date because it was the day before Friday, the Muslim day of worship, and most military commanders and government workers were off duty. With the help of the Afghan air force led by Colonel Abdul Qadir Dagarwal
Abdul Qadir Dagarwal
Abdul Qadir Dagarwal , a colonel, was the leader of the Afghan Air Force squadrons that attacked the Radio-TV Station during the 1978 Coup that started the Saur Revolution....

, the insurgent troops overcame the stubborn resistance of the Presidential Guard and killed Daoud and most members of his family. Dagarwal assumed the control of the country from April 27–30, 1978 as the Head of the Military Revolutionary Council
Revolutionary Council (Afghanistan)
The Revolutionary Council of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan ruled the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan from 1978 until its collapse in 1992. The council was the supreme state power under the communist regime and was a carbon copy of the Supreme Soviet...

.

New reforms



The divided PDPA succeeded the Daoud regime with a new government under the leadership of Nur Muhammad Taraki of the Khalq faction. In Kabul, the initial cabinet appeared to be carefully constructed to alternate ranking positions between Khalqis and Parchamis. Taraki was Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Afghanistan
The Prime Minister of Afghanistan is a currently defunct post in the Afghan Government.The position was created in 1927, and was appointed by the king, mostly as an advisor, until the end of the monarchy in 1973...

, Babrak Karmal was senior Deputy Prime Minister, and Hafizullah Amin was foreign minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Afghanistan)
The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs - MFA - is the Government of Afghanistan Cabinet officer responsible for managing the Foreign relations of Afghanistan.-Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan:-External links:*...

.

Once in power, the party implemented a new socialist agenda. government promoted state atheism. The regime abolished Muslim laws and encouraged men to cut off their beards. Most of the mosques were placed off limits at the start of the regime though re-opened in the 80s, because the party tried to win more supporters. The government also carried out a new land reform among others. The new government also launched a campaign of violent repression, killing some 10,000 to 27,000 people and imprisoning 14,000 to 20,000 more, mostly at Pul-e-Charkhi prison
Pul-e-Charkhi prison
Pul-e-Charkhi , also known as Afghan National Detention Facility, is the largest prison in Afghanistan east of Kabul. Construction of the jail began in the 1970s by order of former president Mohammed Daoud Khan and was completed during the 1980s...

.

When the PDPA rose to power in Afghanistan they moved to prohibit traditional practices which were deemed feudal by the party. They banned bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

 and forced marriage
Forced marriage
Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will...

 among others and the minimum age for marriage was raised. They also stressed the importance of education in Afghanistan. The government stressed education for both women and men, they also set up literacy programmes in the country. These new reforms were not well-received by the majority of the Afghan population (particularly in rural areas). As many saw it was un-Islamic and was seen as a forced approach to Western culture in Afghan society as many tribal societies in Afghanistan tend to be conservative. The urban population in Afghanistan supported the modernization
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

 of the community and country but was against the Soviet occupation.

Parcham rule



The Operation Storm-333
Operation Storm-333
Operation Storm-333 was the codename of the Soviet special forces operation on December 27, 1979 in which Soviet special forces stormed the Tajbeg Palace in Afghanistan and killed President Hafizullah Amin and his 200 personal guards...

 was the name of the Soviet operation in 1979 in which the Soviet special force, Spetnaz stormed the Tajbeg Palace
Tajbeg Palace
Tajbeg Palace or Tapa-e-Tajbeg Palace is a Palace built in the 1920s and located about ten miles outside of the center of Kabul, Afghanistan. The stately mansion sits atop a knoll among foothills where the Afghan royal family once hunted and picnicked...

 and killed then President Hafizullah Amin. The death of Amin led to Babrak Karmal becoming president the new Afghan president and General Secretary of the PDPA. After the death of Amin the Soviet invasion begun in 1979
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

. At the time of the assassination of Amin, Karmal was exiled and was the Afghan ambassador to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, Chechoslovakia.

Moscow came to regard Karmal as a failure and blamed him for the problems. Years later, when Karmal’s inability to consolidate his government had become obvious, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, then General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, said:
Not only that, but some Afghan soldiers who had fought for the communist government began to defect or leave the army. In May 1986 he was replaced as party leader by Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai , originally merely Najibullah, was the fourth and last President of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is also considered the second President of the Republic of Afghanistan.-Early years:Najibullah was born in August 1947 to the Ahmadzai...

, and six months later he was relieved of the presidency. His successor as president was Haji Mohammad Chamkani
Haji Mohammad Chamkani
Haji Mohammad Chamkani is a politician from Afghanistan who held the post of interim President of Afghanistan during the period of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Previously, he served as Vice-President under Babrak Karmal's Government....

. Karmal then moved (or allegedly was exiled) to Moscow.

National reconciliation



After the Soviet Union had leveled most of the villages south and east of Kabul, creating a massive humanitarian disaster, the demise of the PDPA continued with the rise of the Mujahideen guerrillas, who were trained in Pakistani camps with US support. Between 1982 and 1992, the number of people recruited by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI) agency to join the insurgency topped 100,000.

The Soviet Union withdrew in 1989, but continued to provide military assistance worth billions of dollars to the PDPA regime until the USSR's collapse in 1991.

Homeland Front



The Soviet troop withdrawal in late 1989
Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
The Withdrawal of Soviet combatant forces from the Afghanistan began on May 15, 1988 and successfully executed on February 15, 1989 under the leadership of Colonel-General Boris Gromov who also was the last Soviet general officer to walk from the Asfghanistan back into Soviet territory through the...

 changed the political structure that had enabled the PDPA to stay in power all those years. Inner collapse of the government started when Hekmatyar withdrew his support for the government. Later in March, 1990 Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
Afghan National Army
The Afghan National Army is a service branch of the military of Afghanistan, which is currently trained by the coalition forces to ultimately take the role in land-based military operations in Afghanistan. , the Afghan National Army is divided into seven regional Corps. The strength of the Afghan...

 Shahnawaz Tanai
Shahnawaz Tanai
Lieutenant General Shahnawaz Tanai is a former communist general. He was chief of Afghanistan's army under the russians-backed Republic of Afghanistan...

 tried to size power in a military coup. The coup failed and Tanai was forced to flee the country. Najibullah still hung on to the presidency, so in June, 1990 he renamed the party the Homeland Party. The party dropped the Marxist-Leninist
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

 ideology that had been held previously by the PDPA.

In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

. All support for the Afghan regime stopped. In March 1992, the communist regime in Afghanistan collapsed after the sudden change of allegiance of Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum
Abdul Rashid Dostum is a former pro-Soviet fighter during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and is considered by many to be the leader of Afghanistan's Uzbek community and the party Junbish-e Milli-yi Islami-yi Afghanistan...

. The Homeland Party changed its name in 2002 to the Democratic Watan Party of Afghanistan
Democratic Watan Party of Afghanistan
The Democratic Watan Party of Afghanistan is a political party in Afghanistan.It emerged out of the Parcham faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan...

.

External links