The Defiant Attitude of the Ghazni Military Division
The defiant military division of the province of Ghazni, numbering thirteen thousand soldiers, soon became a source of concern for the new rulers. Its commandant, Ja’far Sartairay (Zadran), argued that the division was loyal to Amin and did not believe the accusations that the new rulers had brought against him. The authorities summoned the commandant to Kabul, but he refused to go, reasoning that in his absence the division might rebel. On the fourth day of the invasion, Marshal Sergei Sokolov, the Soviet supreme commander in Kabul, set out for Ghazni at the head of a joint Russo-Afghan mission. There Sokolov told a gathering of military officers that Amin had established connections with the CIA and the Ikhwanis and that he wanted to turn Afghanistan into another Chile. Sokolov also said that Amin intended to do away with progressive officers and establish a fascist regime. To convince the skeptical officers, he told them that the Soviet government had in its possession evidence to prove the accusations, which it would disclose at an appropriate time. The new regime and the Soviet Union would repeat these accusations against Amin in the years ahead. In private, however, Sokolov warned the commandant that if the division opposed the government, it would be wiped out, and he would be held responsible for it. The commandant then acquiesced. He remained in his position for the next four months, after which he was transferred to Kabul to serve as a teacher. In 1990 he was killed in one of the coup attempts.