Preferred Citation: Kakar, M. Hassan Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1995 1995.

Under the Soviet Shadow


1. Ivanov, “Revelations,” 18.

2. Bradsher, Afghanistan, 181.

3. An Afghan cabinet minister, personal communication, Kabul, August 1968.

4. Kakar, Afghans in the Spring of 1987, 91.

5. Roy, “Origin,” 41.

6. Zaki-Ullah, Russo-Afghan Friendship, 44. Haqshinas, Russia’s Intrigues and Crimes, 311.

7. Zurmulwal, “Khalqi and Parchami Factions,” 3.

8. Zaki-Ullah Khan, Russo-Afghan Friendship, 40.

9. A. R. Safay (former member of parliament), personal communication, Los Angeles, April 1991.

10. Farhang, Afghanistan 1:514.

11. Zurmulwal, “Khalqi and Parchami Factions,” 3.

12. Bradsher, Afghanistan, 99.

13. Sharq, Memoirs, 216.

14. For details about the PDPA, see Arnold, Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism; Arnold and Klass, “Afghanistan’s Divided Communist Party”; Kushkaki, Constitutional Decade; Haqshinas, Russia’s Intrigues and Crimes; Roy, “Origin”; Rubin, “Political Elites.”

15. Kushkaki, Constitutional Decade, 147; Morozov, “Between Amin and Karmal,” 36-38.

16. Kushkaki, Constitutional Decade, 58, 141, 149; Farhang, Afghanistan 1:514.

17. Zurmulwal, “Khalqi and Parchami Factions,” 4; Farhang, Afghanistan 2:8.

18. Morozov, “Between Amin and Karmal,” 39.

19. Kushkaki, Constitutional Decade, 149.

20. Mansur Hashemi, the former Khalqi minister of water and power, personal communication, Sadarat prison, July 1982.

21. Morozov, “Night Visit,” 32.

22. Morozov, “Betweeen Amin and Karmal,” 39.

23. Ibid.

24. A former Khalqi cabinet minister, personal communication, Pul-e-Charkhi prison, July 1986; Sharq, Memoirs, 164.

25. Morozov, “Night Visit,” 33.

26. Zahir Ghazi Alam, personal communication, San Diego, 1991.

27. Baha, “Cruel Executions,” 79, 81. Baha’s source of information wasN. Dooryankov, a Soviet specialist on Afghanistan whom she met in Moscow when she was sent there by the party for medical treatment.

28. Gharzay, Memoirs, 89.

29. A former senior government official, personal communication, Kabul, August 1987.

30. Farhang, Afghanistan 1:498.

31. A. Tufan, a former Khalqi governor, personal communication, Sadarat prison, Kabul, August 1982.

32. Arnold, Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism, 101.

33. Ivanov, “Revelations,” 19.

34. Fazili, Days as Dark as Nights, 72.

35. Arnold, Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism, 99.

36. Zadran, History of Afghanistan, 808.

37. Quoted in Sharq, Memoirs, 239.

38. Ibid., 240.

39. Arnold, Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism, 99; Anwar, Tragedy, 223.

40. Girardet, Afghanistan, 136.

41. Ibid., 138.

42. Sharq, Memoirs, 236.

43. Ibid., 236.

44. Ibid., 235, 237.

45. A former cabinet minister, personal communication, Kabul, July, 1987.

46. Arnold, Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism, 108.

47. The appointment of these well-known Afghans—Abd al-Hay Habibi; a prolific author, writer, poet, and former member of parliament; Abdur Raof Benawa, a poet, former cabinet minister, and former member of parliament; Mier Mohammad Siddiq Farhang, an author, former member of parliament, and cofounder of the Fatherland Party; and Rawan Farhadi, a scholar and diplomat—was a shock to many. They had good reputations, particularly among the intellectuals who expected them at least to stay away from the client regime. But they entered its service without being able to influence its policy. They cooperated with it at a time when the Soviets had occupied their homeland and were killing Afghans by the thousands.

Except for Habibi, who died later in Kabul, I met the others and raised the subject of their accepting the posts. Abdur Raof Benawa said that he was in the hospital when he heard the news of his appointment. When I suggested to him that he had then an excuse to decline the offer, he cautioned me to be careful in these critical times. Subsequently, the efforts of his more intimate friends to achieve the same end also failed. In 1980 the regime appointed him ambassador to Libya. Later he developed bone cancer and went to the United States for treatment; he died there in 1985.

Mier Mohammad Siddiq Farhang had accepted the post as a matter of policy. Karmal had, he said, assured him that he wanted to honor the promises that he had made, while serving in parliament, to set up a national democratic government. Farhang argued that since politics is the art of the possible, he accepted the post to pave the way for the return home of the Soviet troops. Apparently he was sympathetic to the regime. Over the years, together with Mohammad Omar the Pilot, Karim Nazihi, and Asif Ahang he had worked to promote the leftist views of the Moscow line. While in prison in the 1950s he introduced Karmal and Khybar, who were also in prison at the time, to these views. (A., personal communication, United States, 1990.)

When Farhang served as an adviser in the Ministry of Mines and Industry, he also introduced Karmal to the royal court. Encouraged by it, Farhang, along with Karmal, played a role in spreading communism among the youth (Sharq, Memoirs, 234). I told Farhang that the Soviets had introduced their troops into Afghanistan not for the sake of Karmal or against Amin but for their own purposes, and that the introduction of the troops was likely to result in disasters; he remained silent. Disillusioned, Farhang later left for the United States, where he became mildly critical of Karmal. Nevertheless, Karmal arranged that Farhang’s valuable antiques, which he had left in his home in Kabul, be safeguarded. He gave instructions in this regard to the Parchami who was then residing in Farhang’s home; later, though, after Najibullah replaced Karmal, another Parchami who lived in Farhang’s home took possession of the artifacts. (A., personal communication, United States, 1990) Farhang died of a heart attack in 1990.

48. Arnold, Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism, 106.

49. Dobbs, “Dramatic Politburo Meeting.”

50. Ivanov, “Revelations,” 19.

51. Ibid., 18.

52. Dobbs, “Dramatic Politburo Meeting.”

53. Bradsher, Afghanistan, 227.

Under the Soviet Shadow

Preferred Citation: Kakar, M. Hassan Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1995 1995.