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The tragedy and valor of Afghan - 7 - Difficult decision to send troops to Afghanistan

Major General Alexander Antonovich Lyakhovsky

The tragedy and valor of Afghan

Difficult decision to send troops to Afghanistan

Resistance to the PDPA regime grows

In the context of growing tensions in and around Afghanistan, Afghan leaders began to receive requests to the Soviet Union to provide assistance to the DRA with their troops. Such requests were transmitted through Soviet representatives in Kabul: USSR Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Afghanistan AM Puzanov, USSR KGB representative Lieutenant General B.S. Ivanov and Chief Military Adviser to the DRA, Lieutenant General L.N. statesmen who visited Afghanistan (secretary of the CPSU Central Committee B.N.Ponomarev, head of the Main Political Directorate of the SA and the Navy, General of the Army A.A.Epishev, Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, General of the Army I.G. Pavlovsky, etc.). Besides, During the visits of party and government delegations at the highest level, requests for assistance by Soviet troops were transmitted by Afghan leaders personally to L.I.Brezhnev, as well as D.F. Ustinov, A.A.Gromyko, Yu.V. Andropov and other members of the Politburo of the Central Committee Communist Party. Thus, the Afghan rulers tried to directly involve the Soviet Union in solving the internal problems of their country. And in the end they succeeded.

In February-March 1979, important events took place that significantly influenced the situation in Afghanistan and had far-reaching consequences. On February 14 in Kabul, the American ambassador, Adolph Dubbs, was kidnapped and placed as a hostage in the Kabul hotel in room 117 under the protection of terrorists. The kidnappers (members of the Maoist "National Oppression" group) demanded that the government release in exchange for an ambassador three of their militants who are in prison. However, their terms were not accepted. Despite appeals from the American and Soviet embassies to refrain from active actions, by order of H. Amin, the security service stormed the hotel. In the ensuing firefight, the American ambassador was mortally wounded. This served as a formal basis and an explainable reason for a sharp change in the US course towards the regime of N.M. Taraki. American aid to Afghanistan has been virtually nullified. Almost all employees and specialists were recalled from the country. Some researchers express the opinion that many mysteries remain in this action, since some oddities were noted in the actions of the ambassador himself (he left without security, took a travel suitcase with him, stopped the car at the request of unknown persons, opened the car door himself, which had lock and could only be opened from the inside, etc.).

On March 15, an anti-government revolt of the population in Herat (about 20 thousand people) broke out, in which, on the initiative of their commanders, units of the military garrison took an active part. About a thousand people died, including two Soviet citizens (Major N. Ya. Bizyukov was the first of the servicemen to die). This event greatly alarmed Afghan leaders. They asked for military assistance directly by the Soviet troops.

Since the situation was unclear, in the border areas with Afghanistan, at the direction of the Minister of Defense of the USSR D.F.Ustinov, some events began. He ordered the General Staff to prepare one airborne division for a possible landing by landing method, and three aviation regiments for redeployment, increase combat readiness in the permanent deployment points of the tank and motorized rifle regiments of the Turkestan Military District (TurkVO) and transfer the division from the Central Asian Military District (SAVO) to the Termez area.

For three days (March 17-19), at the suggestion of Leonid Brezhnev, the situation in Afghanistan due to the Herat rebellion, as well as the request for the introduction of Soviet troops to help suppress the armed uprising in Herat, were discussed at the meetings of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee.

First, DF Ustinov was asked to form military units, develop regulations on them and be ready so that they could be sent on a special command. Referring to this issue, the Minister of Defense of the USSR said: “We have developed two options for a military action. The first is that we send the 105th air division to Afghanistan within one day and transfer the infantry-motorized regiment to Kabul, the 68th motorized division will be brought up to the border, and the 5th motorized rifle division is at the border. Thus, in three days we will be ready to send troops. But the political decision, which was talked about here, we will need to make ...

We also have a second option, which has also been worked out. We are talking about the introduction of two divisions into Afghanistan ... "

At the same time, A. Kosygin was instructed to talk with N.M. Taraki to find out how he assesses the situation in Afghanistan, and allowed the Ministry of Defense to deploy two divisions on the border between the USSR and Afghanistan.

On March 18, a telephone conversation took place between A. Kosygin and N. M. Taraki.


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A. N. Kosygin. Tell Comrade Taraki that I want to convey to him great greetings from Leonid Ilyich and from all the members of the Politburo.

N.M. Taraki. Many thanks.

A. N. Kosygin. How is Comrade Taraki's health, is he very tired?

N.M. Taraki. I don’t get tired. Today was a meeting of the Revolutionary Council.

A. N. Kosygin. This is good, I am very glad. Ask Comrade Taraki, maybe he will describe the situation in Afghanistan.

N.M. Taraki. The situation is not good, it is getting worse. During the last one and a half months, about 4 thousand servicemen in civilian clothes were abandoned from the Iranian side, who entered the city of Herat with military units. The entire 17th Infantry Division is now in their hands, including an artillery regiment and an anti-aircraft battalion that is firing at our aircraft. Fighting continues in the city.

A. N. Kosygin. How many people are there in the division?

N.M. Taraki. Up to 5 thousand people. All ammunition and warehouses are in their hands. From Kandahar by air we carry food and ammunition to our comrades, who are now fighting with them.

A. N. Kosygin. How many people do you have left there?

N.M. Taraki. 500 people. They are at the Herat airfield, headed by the divisional commander. We sent a task force from Kabul to reinforce them. She has been at the Herat airfield since morning.

A. N. Kosygin. And did the officers of the division also change, or are they with the division commander at the airfield?

N.M. Taraki. A small part is on our side, the rest are with the enemy.

A. N. Kosygin. Do you have support among the workers, among the townspeople and employees in Herat? Is there someone else on your side?

N.M. Taraki. There is no active support from the population. It is almost entirely influenced by Shiite slogans. “Do not believe the atheists, but follow us,” the propaganda is based on this.

A. N. Kosygin. How many people are there in Herat?

N.M. Taraki. 200-250 thousand people. They behave depending on the situation. Where they are taken, there they will go. Now they are on the side of the enemy.

A. N. Kosygin. Are there many workers there?

N.M. Taraki. Very few - only 1-2 thousand people.

A. N. Kosygin. What are the prospects, in your opinion, in Herat?

N.M. Taraki. We believe that Herat will fall tonight or tomorrow morning and be completely in the hands of the enemy.

A. N. Kosygin. What are the future prospects?

N.M. Taraki. We are confident that the enemy will form new units and move on to the offensive.

A. N. Kosygin. Don't you have the strength to defeat them?

N.M. Taraki. If there were ...

A. N. Kosygin. What are your suggestions on this issue?

N.M. Taraki. We ask you to provide practical and technical assistance with people and weapons.

A. N. Kosygin. This is a very difficult question.

N.M. Taraki. Otherwise, the rebels will move towards Kandahar and further towards Kabul. They will bring half of Iran to Afghanistan under the flag of the Herat division. The Afghans who fled to Pakistan will return. Iran and Pakistan are working on the same plan against us. And therefore, if you now strike a real blow at Herat, then the revolution can be saved.

A. N. Kosygin. The whole world will immediately know about it. The rebels have walkie-talkies, they will report right away.

N.M. Taraki.  I am asking you to help.

A. N. Kosygin. We must consult on this issue.

N.M. Taraki. As long as you consult, Herat will fall, and there will be even greater difficulties for the Soviet Union and Afghanistan.

A. N. Kosygin. Now, maybe you can tell me what your forecasts are for Pakistan and then separately for Iran? Do you have no connection with the advanced people of Iran? You cannot tell them that your main enemy right now is the United States. The Iranians are very bitter against the United States, and this can obviously be used for propaganda purposes.

N.M. Taraki. Today we made a statement to the Iranian government, broadcast it by radio, indicating that Iran is interfering in internal affairs in the Herat region.

A. N. Kosygin. And you do not consider it necessary for Pakistan to make any statement?

N.M. Taraki. Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow we will make the same statement on Pakistan.

A. N. Kosygin. Are you relying on your army? How reliable is it? Can't muster troops to strike Herat?

N.M. Taraki. We believe that the army is reliable. But we cannot withdraw troops from other cities in order to send them to Herat, as this will weaken our positions in other cities.

A. N. Kosygin. And if we quickly provide additional planes and weapons, you will not be able to form new units?

N.M. Taraki. It will take a long time and Herat will fall.

A. N. Kosygin. Do you think that if Herat falls, then Pakistan will take the same action from its border?

N.M. Taraki. The likelihood of this is very high. The morale of Pakistanis will then rise. The Americans are providing them with appropriate assistance. After the fall of Herat, soldiers in civilian clothes will also be sent to seize cities, and the Iranians will actively intervene. Success in Herat is the key to all other issues related to the struggle.

A. N. Kosygin. What foreign policy actions and statements would you like from our side? Do you have any propaganda considerations on this issue?

N.M. Taraki. It is necessary to combine both propaganda and practical assistance. I suggest that you put Afghan signs on your tanks and planes, and no one will know anything. Your troops could go from the direction of Kushka and from the direction of Kabul.

A. N. Kosygin. You still have to get to Kabul.

N.M. Taraki. It is very close to Herat from Kushka. And troops can also be delivered to Kabul by plane. If you send troops to Kabul and they go from Kabul to Herat, then no one will know anything, in our opinion. They will think that these are government troops.

A. N. Kosygin. I do not want to upset you, but it will not be possible to hide it. This will be known to the whole world in two hours. Everyone will start shouting that the intervention in Afghanistan by the Soviet Union has begun. Tell me, Taraki, if we supply you with weapons to Kabul on planes, including tanks, will you find tankers or won't you?

N.M. Taraki. A very small amount.

A. N. Kosygin. How much?

N.M. Taraki. I have no exact data.

A. N. Kosygin. And if you quickly send you tanks and the necessary ammunition on airplanes, give you mortars, will you find specialists who can use these weapons?

N.M. Taraki. I cannot give an answer to this question. Soviet advisers can answer it.

A. N. Kosygin. This means that it can be understood that there are no well-trained military personnel in Afghanistan or there are very few of them. Hundreds of Afghan officers were trained in the Soviet Union. Where did they all go?

N.M. Taraki. Most of them are reactionary Muslims, echwanists, or, as they are also called, the Muslim Brotherhood. We cannot rely on them; we are not sure of them.

A. N. Kosygin. How many people are there in Kabul now?

N.M. Taraki. About a million people.

A. N. Kosygin. Can't you recruit another 50 thousand soldiers if you give you weapons quickly through the air? How many people can you recruit?

N.M. Taraki. We can recruit a number of people, especially young people, but it will take a long time to train them.

A. N. Kosygin. Can't you recruit students?

N.M. Taraki. You can talk about students and pupils of 11-12 grades of lyceums.

A. N. Kosygin. Can't you recruit from the working class?

N.M. Taraki. The working class in Afghanistan is very small.

A. N. Kosygin. And the poorest peasantry?

N.M. Taraki. The base can only consist of high school students, students and a little of the workers. But teaching them is a long story. But, when necessary, we will go to any measures.

A. N. Kosygin. We have made a decision to urgently supply you with military equipment, to accept helicopters for repairs - all this is free of charge. We also made a decision to supply you with 100 thousand tons of grain, to raise the gas price from $ 21 per 1,000 cubic meters. m to $ 37.82.

N.M. Taraki. That's good, but let's talk about Herat.

A. N. Kosygin. Can't you now form a few divisions in Kabul from advanced men you can rely on, and not only in Kabul, but elsewhere as well? We would provide the appropriate weapons.

N.M. Taraki. There are no officers. Iran sends civilian military personnel to Afghanistan. Pakistan also sends its people and officers in Afghan clothing. Why can't the Soviet Union send Uzbeks, Tajiks, Turkmen in civilian clothes? Nobody will recognize them.

A. N. Kosygin. What else can you say about Herat?

N.M. Taraki. We want Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmens to be sent to us so that they can drive tanks, since all these peoples are in Afghanistan. Let them wear Afghan clothes, Afghan badges, and no one will recognize them. This is a very easy job in our opinion. The experience of Iran and Pakistan shows that this work is easy to do. They give a sample.

A. N. Kosygin. Of course you are oversimplifying the question. This is a complex political and international issue. But, regardless of this, we will consult again and give you an answer. It seems to me that you would need to try and create new parts. After all, you cannot rely only on the strength of people who will come from the outside. You see from the experience of the Iranian revolution how the people threw out all the Americans from there all the others who tried to pretend to be the defenders of Iran. We will agree with you as follows: we will consult and give you an answer. And you, for your part, consult with your military, our advisers. There are forces in Afghanistan that will support you at the risk of their lives and will fight for you. These forces must now be armed.

N.M. Taraki. Send infantry fighting vehicles by planes.

A. N. Kosygin. Do you have anyone to drive these cars?

N.M. Taraki. There are drivers for 30–35 cars.

A. N. Kosygin. Are they reliable? Will they not go to the enemy along with the machines? After all, our drivers do not know the language.

N.M. Taraki. And you send cars together with drivers who know our language - Tajiks, Uzbeks.

A. N. Kosygin. I expected such a response from you. We are comrades with you, and we are fighting together, so there is nothing to be ashamed of each other. It is necessary to subordinate everything to this. We will call you again and tell you, our opinion.

N.M. Taraki. Please convey our respect and best wishes to Comrade Brezhnev, members of the Politburo.

A. N. Kosygin. Thanks. Say hello to all your comrades. And I wish you firmness in resolving issues, confidence, and well-being. Goodbye.

The conversation was conducted through an interpreter in Kabul - an assistant to the chief military adviser, Lieutenant-General L. Gorelov. Recorded by B. Batsanov. March 18, 1979

The document cited above clearly shows the position of the Afghans and the balanced approach of A. N. Kosygin to the issue of bringing Soviet troops into Afghanistan. The recording of the conversation was communicated to all members of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee. Discussion of possible measures to stabilize the situation in Herat took place again.

On the same day, the Minister of Defense of the CCCP DF Ustinov ordered the additional deployment (for a month) of two more divisions of the TurkVO. Due to the fact that it was considered unnecessary to send Soviet troops into Afghanistan at that time, having carried out mobilization measures, combat coordination and training, these formations, and units, at the direction of the Chief of the General Staff, were returned to their permanent deployment points in April and switched to the regime of daily life. At the same time, it was categorically asserted that the Soviet leadership had no intentions to send troops to Afghanistan. Along with this, a decision was made on additional urgent deliveries of special equipment to the DRA, including military equipment and weapons, as well as on holding political and organizational measures.

It is interesting that the opinions of the members of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU regarding the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan then, although they changed, were unequivocally negatively considered the possibility of such a step. This conclusion can be made on the basis of materials from the discussion by the highest political leadership of the USSR on the situation in Afghanistan, which took place on March 18.


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A.P. Kirilenko. In Herat, the 17th division has 9,000 men. Are they all inactive and went over to the side of the opponents of the government?

A. N. Kosygin. So far, according to our information, an artillery and one infantry regiment have crossed over, and even then not completely, while the rest support the government.

D.F. Ustinov. As for the Tajiks, we do not have separate such formations. Even now it is difficult to say how many of them serve in the tank units of our army.

A. N. Kosygin. The anti-aircraft battalion, which is located in Herat, also went over to the side of the enemy.

D.F. Ustinov. Amin, when I spoke to him, also asked to send troops to Herat and defeat the enemy.

A. N. Kosygin. Comrade Taraki says that the division in Herat is half-sided with the enemy. The rest, consider that they will not support the government either.

D.F. Ustinov. The Afghan revolution met great difficulties on its way, Amin says in a conversation with me, and its salvation depends only on the Soviet Union.

What's the matter, why is this happening? The fact is that the Afghan leadership underestimated the role of the Islamic religion. It is under the banner of Islam that the soldiers pass, and the absolute majority, with rare exceptions, are believers. That is why they are asking for our help in repelling the attacks of the rebels in Herat. Amin said, however, very uncertainly, that they have support for the army. And again, just like Comrade Taraki, he asked for help.

A.P. Kirilenko. Consequently, they have no guarantees regarding their army. They are hoping for only one solution, namely, our tanks and armored vehicles.

A. N. Kosygin. Of course, when making such a decision regarding assistance, we need to seriously consider all the consequences that follow from this. This is a very serious matter.

Yu.V. Andropov. I, comrades, thought carefully about this whole issue and came to the conclusion that we need to think over the question of why very, very seriously we will send troops into Afghanistan. It is absolutely clear to us that Afghanistan is not prepared to deal with issues in a socialist way now. There is a huge dominance of religion, almost complete illiteracy of the rural population, the backwardness of the economy, etc. We know Lenin's teaching about a revolutionary situation. What kind of situation can we talk about in Afghanistan, there is no such situation? Therefore, I believe that we can keep the revolution in Afghanistan only with the help of our bayonets, and this is completely unacceptable for us. We cannot take such a risk.

A. N. Kosygin. Perhaps we should instruct our Ambassador Comrade Vinogradov to go to the Prime Minister of Iran Bazargan and tell him about the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

A. A. Gromyko. I fully support Comrade Andropov's proposal to exclude such a measure as the introduction of our troops into Afghanistan. The army is unreliable there. Thus, our army, which will enter Afghanistan, will be the aggressor. Who will she fight against? Yes, against the Afghan people, first of all, and they will have to shoot at them. Comrade Andropov correctly noted that it was precisely the situation in Afghanistan that was not yet ripe for revolution, and that everything that we have done in recent years with such difficulty in the sense of defusing armaments, and much more - all this will be thrown back. Of course, this will give China a good gift. All non-aligned countries will be against us. In short, serious consequences are expected from such an action. The question of Leonid Ilyich's meeting with Carter will disappear, and the arrival of Giscard d'Estaing at the end of March will be called into question. The question is, what will we win? Afghanistan with its current government, with a backward economy, with little weight in international affairs. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that we cannot legally justify the introduction of troops. According to the UN Charter, a country can ask for help, and we could send troops if they were subjected to aggression from outside. Afghanistan was not subjected to any aggression. This is their internal affair, the revolutionary feud between one group of the population and another. In addition, it must be said that the Afghans have not officially approached us regarding the deployment of troops, and we could send troops in if they were subjected to aggression from outside. 

In a word, here we are dealing with such a case when the country's leadership, as a result of serious mistakes, turned out to be not up to par, does not enjoy the proper support of the people ...

Yu.V. Andropov. … As we can see from today's conversation with Amin, the people do not support the Taraki government. Can our troops help them here? In this case, tanks and armored vehicles cannot help out. I think that we should directly tell Taraki about this, that we support all their actions, we will provide assistance, which we agreed today and yesterday, and in no case can we go to the introduction of troops into Afghanistan.

A. N. Kosygin. Maybe invite him to us and say that we are increasing our assistance, but we cannot bring in the troops, because they will not fight against the army, which, in essence, has gone over to the enemy's side or is sitting out in the corners, but against the people. We will have huge disadvantages. A whole bunch of countries will immediately turn against us. And there are no pluses for us here.

Yu.V. Andropov. We must directly tell Comrade Taraki that we will support you by all measures and methods, except for the introduction of troops ...

K. U. Chernenko. If we bring in troops and beat the Afghan people, we will certainly be accused of aggression. You can't go anywhere.

Yu.V. Andropov. Comrade Taraki must be invited.

A. N. Kosygin. I think we need to consult with Leonid Ilyich now and send a plane to Kabul today ...

A. A. Gromyko. I think that it would be better for us to start preparing a political document after conversations with Comrade Taraki ...

A. N. Kosygin. In short, we do not change anything about helping Afghanistan, except for the introduction of troops. They themselves will take a more responsible attitude to solving the issues of managing the affairs of the state. And if we do everything for them, defend the revolution, then what will remain for them? Nothing. We have 24 advisors in Herat. They will have to be taken out ...

L. M. Zamyatin. As for the propaganda support of this event, we have prepared an article on Pakistan and China's assistance to the Afghan rebels ...

Meanwhile, a telegram arrived from Kabul. In it, the Soviet ambassador and the representative of the KGB of the USSR proposed to take measures to ensure the safety of our citizens.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... In the event of a further aggravation of the situation, it will apparently be advisable to consider the issue of some kind of participation, under an appropriate suitable pretext, of our military units in the protection of structures and important facilities carried out with the assistance of the Soviet Union. In particular, it would be possible to consider the issue of sending units of the Soviet troops.

A) to the military airfield Bagram under the guise of technical specialists, using for this purpose the planned restructuring of the repair plant as a cover;

B) to the Kabul airfield under the guise of carrying out its reconstruction, especially since an intergovernmental agreement was recently concluded on this score, as reported in the press.

In the event of a further complication of the situation, the presence of such strong points would make it possible, if necessary, to ensure the safety of the evacuation of Soviet citizens.

Puzanov, Ivanov. 03/19/1979

On March 19, Leonid Brezhnev took part in the discussion of the current situation in the DRA. His opinion boiled down to the following: “I think that the members of the Politburo have correctly defined that it is not right for us to get involved in this war. It is necessary to explain to Comrade Taraki and other Afghan comrades that we can help them with everything that is necessary to conduct all actions in the country. The participation of our troops in Afghanistan can harm not only us, but above all, them ...

Their army is disintegrating, and here we will have to fight for it. "

At this meeting, it was decided to invite N.M. Taraki to Moscow and hold talks with him.

Frightened by the events in Herat, the PDPA General Secretary himself asked for an immediate meeting with the Soviet leaders, making a request that a strictly limited circle of people knew about his arrival. On March 20, he urgently flew to Moscow, where he talked with A. N. Kosygin, A. A. Gromyko, D. F. Ustinov, B. N. Ponomarev.


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Recorded conversation 7 A. N. Kosygin, A. A. Gromyko, D. F. Ustinov, B. N. Ponomarev with N. M. Taraki, March 20, 1979

A. N. Kosygin. The Politburo has instructed us to discuss with you all the questions on which you deem it necessary to exchange views. As I already told you, your meeting with Leonid Brezhnev is scheduled for 18: 00-18: 30.

At the beginning we intended to give you the floor first, but since you have already raised one important question, I would like to first state our opinion, and then we will listen to you with all our attention ...

We have carefully discussed the state of affairs that has arisen in your country, looking for ways to help you that would best meet the interests of our friendship and your relations with other countries. The ways of solving the problems you have may be different, but the best of them is the way that would preserve the authority of your government among the people, would not spoil the relations of Afghanistan with neighboring states, would not harm the international prestige of your country. It should not be allowed to look like you could not cope with your own problems yourself and invited foreign troops to help. I would like to give an example of Vietnam. The Vietnamese people have withstood a difficult war with the United States and are now fighting Chinese aggression, but no one can blame the Vietnamese for that they used foreign troops. The Vietnamese themselves courageously defend their homeland from aggressive encroachments. We believe that you have enough forces in your country to resist the attacks of the counter-revolution. They only need to truly unite, create new military formations. On the phone, we spoke with you that the creation of new military units should be started now, taking into account the fact that some time will be required for their education and training. But even at the moment you have sufficient forces to cope with the situation that has arisen ... We will help you by all possible means - supply weapons, ammunition, send people who can be useful to you in providing leadership in the military and economic affairs of the country, specialists to train your military personnel in handling the most modern types of weapons and military equipment that we send you. The entry of our troops into the territory of Afghanistan will immediately arouse the international community and entail sharply negative multifaceted consequences. This, in essence, will be a conflict not only with the imperialist countries, but also a conflict with our own people. Our common enemies are just waiting for the moment for Soviet troops to appear on the territory of Afghanistan. This will give them a pretext for the introduction of hostile armed formations into Afghan territory. I would like to emphasize once again that the issue of bringing in troops was considered by us from all sides, we carefully studied all aspects of this action and came to the conclusion that if we bring in troops, then the situation in your country will not only not improve, but on the contrary, complicate. It is impossible not to see that our troops would have to fight not only with an external aggressor, but also with some part of your people. And the people do not forgive such things. In addition, as soon as our troops cross the border, China and all other aggressors will be revitalized.

We came to the conclusion that at this stage, the best, in terms of providing you with the most effective support, will be the methods of our political influence on neighboring countries and the provision of large and varied assistance. In this way we will achieve much more than by bringing in our troops. We are deeply convinced that by political means, which are undertaken by both ours and yours, we can defeat the enemy ...

N.M. Taraki. I am very grateful to you for a detailed presentation of the position of the Soviet leadership on the issue that I wanted to discuss. I also speak directly, frankly, as your friend. We in Afghanistan also believe that emerging problems should be primarily resolved by political means and that military action should be of a subsidiary nature ...

I would like to raise the issue of the needs of the Afghan army. We would like to receive armored helicopters, additional armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, as well as modern communications. If the possibility of sending personnel to serve them is found, it would be a great help to us.

D.F. Ustinov. This, apparently, is about MI-24 helicopters, which have bulletproofed armor. Six such helicopters will be delivered to you during June-July and another six in the fourth quarter of this year. Maybe we will be able to bring the delivery time closer.

N.M. Taraki. We really need such helicopters, and it would be good if they did it together with the pilots.

A. N. Kosygin. We, of course, can send specialists to service these helicopters at the airfield, but of course, not combat crews. We have already spoken with you on this issue.

D.F. Ustinov. You need to train your pilots. We train your officers, and we can speed up their graduation.

N.M. Taraki. Or maybe we can take helicopter pilots from Hanoi or from some other country, for example Cuba?

A. N. Kosygin. As I said earlier, we have helped and are helping Vietnam a lot, but the Vietnamese have never raised the issue of sending our helicopter pilots to them. They themselves told us that they only needed technical specialists, and that they would form combat crews from their own people ...

N.M. Taraki. We would very much like to see the delivery of helicopters accelerated. There is a great need for them.

A. N. Kosygin. We will additionally consider your request and, if possible, we will expedite the delivery of the helicopters.

D.F. Ustinov. But you have to take care of the pilots for these helicopters at the same time.

N.M. Taraki. We will of course do it. If we do not find them at home, then we will look in other countries. The world is big. If you do not agree to this, then we will look for pilots among the Afghans studying with you, but we need dedicated people, and among the Afghan officers who were sent to study in the Soviet Union before, there are many Muslim Brotherhoods and pro-Chinese.

D.F. Ustinov. This year, 190 Afghan officers are completing their studies, of which 16 are pilots and 13 people. helicopter pilots. Through the chief military adviser in Afghanistan, General Gorelov, we will give you a list of graduates by specialty. You yourself will be able to select the people you need.

N.M. Taraki. Good. We will do it. However, the difficulty lies in the fact that we do not know people who belong to counter-revolutionary groups. We only know that under Daoud, members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the pro-Chinese Shoalee Javid group were sent to the Soviet Union. We will try to figure it out.

A. N. Kosygin. Apparently, you are raising questions about the supply of military equipment, taking into account the decision that we announced in Kabul last night? This decision is about large military supplies ...

N.M. Taraki. No. Apparently, they didn’t have time to report it to me.

A. N. Kosygin. Most likely, this document was received before your flight to Moscow. These are the solutions this document talks about. In March with. You will be additionally and free of charge delivered 33 pcs. BMP-1, 5 pcs. MI-25, 8 pcs. MI-8T, as well as 50 pcs. BTR-60pb, 25 pcs. armored reconnaissance vehicles, 50 pcs. anti-aircraft installations on mobile vehicles, anti-aircraft installation "Strela". On March 18, 4 MI-8 helicopters have already been sent to you, on March 21, 4 more helicopters will arrive. All this is provided to you free of charge.

N.M. Taraki. Thank you for such great help. In Kabul, I will take a closer look at this document ...

D.F. Ustinov. In connection with the additional supplies of military equipment, it seems that there is a need for an additional dispatch of military specialists and advisers to Afghanistan.

N.M. Taraki. If you think that such a need exists, then of course we will accept them. Wouldn't you still allow us to use pilots and tank crews from other socialist countries?

A. N. Kosygin. When we talk about our military specialists, we mean technicians who maintain military equipment. I cannot understand why the question arises about pilots and tankers. This question is completely unexpected for us. And I think that the socialist countries are unlikely to agree to this. The question of sending people to sit in your tanks and shoot at your people is a very acute political question ...

N.M. Taraki. As far as I understood from the conversation that took place, you provide and will provide assistance to us, but you do not guarantee us against aggression.

A. N. Kosygin. We did not discuss this issue with you on this plane. We talked about this stage, about the fact that now the most effective means of political protection of your country. You must not understand us as if we are leaving you to your fate.

N.M. Taraki. There are three types of support - political, economic, and military. You are already providing us with two types of assistance, but what will you do if an attack is made on our territory from the outside?

A. N. Kosygin. If there is an armed invasion of your territory, it will be a completely different situation. And now we are doing everything to prevent such an invasion. And I think that we will be able to achieve this ...

Translated by the post-graduate student of the Diplomatic Academy of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Comrade V.P. Kozin;

During this visit, N. M. Taraki met with L. I. Brezhnev, where, again, he asked him to provide assistance to Afghanistan by Soviet troops. However, then the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union said that, in the opinion of the Soviet leadership, it was not worth sending troops, let alone delivering bomb-assault strikes from the territory of the USSR. There are enough experienced advisers in Afghanistan who can help in the elimination of the counter-revolutionary uprising.

The content of the interview materials shows how difficult it was to conduct a dialogue with Afghans, even at the highest level. And it was much more difficult for the Soviet representatives in Kabul. They were under constant pressure. And they came up with initiatives, proposing to take additional steps to expand military assistance to Afghanistan, as well as to strengthen the protection of important facilities and to ensure the possible evacuation of Soviet citizens in the DRA. It seemed that such events were in the national interests of the Soviet Union and ensured the stability of the ruling regime.

The uprising was suppressed by forces loyal to the government, without resorting to the help of Soviet troops. However, further the situation in the country developed rapidly and in many respects unpredictably.

Meanwhile, the repression in the Afghan army continued. March 21 - "conspiracy uncovered" in the Jalalabad garrison. About 230 conspirators, military personnel, were arrested. Many commanders felt insecure and unsteady when their colleagues were arrested and disappeared.

Often they themselves were the initiators of the riot. It should be noted that the Afghan army at that time was still in many respects royal, with the preservation of the order of traditions, relationships, etc. Quite a few officers, who accepted the new regime in words, secretly remained its opponents. In this case, as a rule, the first victims were Soviet military advisers, who were killed or taken as hostages.

On the basis of a comprehensive analysis of the situation in and around Afghanistan, the Soviet departments worked out a line for the continuation of all-round cooperation with the DRA, and also took practical steps to strengthen bilateral ties.


Top secret

Special folder No. P 149 / XIV

T.t. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gromyko, Suslov, Ustinov, Ponomarev, Rusakov, Baybakov, Skachkov, Zamyatin

Extract from the minutes No. 149 of the meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU dated April 12, 1979

On our further line in connection with the situation in Afghanistan.

Agree with the considerations on this issue set out in the note by Comrade Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, Ponomarev dated April 1, 1979 (attached).

Secretary of the Central Committee L. Brezhnev.


To point XIV prot. No. 149

Top secret

Special folder

Central Committee of the CPSU

In accordance with the instruction of March 18, p. (No. P 147 / P) we report an analysis of the reasons for the recent aggravation of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and thoughts on our possible steps to assist the DRA leadership in strengthening its positions and stabilizing the situation in the country ...

The Soviet leadership has repeatedly given the leaders of the DRA, including at the highest level, appropriate recommendations and advice, paid attention to their mistakes and excesses. However, the Afghan leaders, showing insufficient political flexibility and lack of experience, did not always and did not always take these advice into account.

Insufficient political experience of the DRA leaders manifested itself in the midst of the events in Herat, when they did not understand the possible far-reaching political consequences that would be associated with the introduction of Soviet troops into the country if the Soviet side agreed to satisfy the corresponding request of the Afghan leadership.

Meanwhile, it is clear that in view of the predominantly internal nature of the anti-government uprisings in Afghanistan, the participation of Soviet troops in their suppression, on the one hand, would seriously damage the international authority of the USSR and throw back the process of detente, and on the other, it would reveal the weakness of the positions of the Taraki government, and could further encourage counter-revolutionary forces inside and outside Afghanistan to expand the scale of anti-government protests. The very fact that the Afghan government was able to suppress the insurrection in Herat on its own should have a restraining influence on the counter-revolution and demonstrate the relative strength of the new system.

Thus, our decision to refrain from satisfying the request of the DRA leadership for the transfer of Soviet military units to Herat was absolutely correct. This line should be adhered to in the event of new anti-government actions in Afghanistan, the possibility of which cannot be ruled out ...

A. Gromyko, Yu. Andropov, D. Ustinov, B. Ponomarev. April 1, 1979, No. 279 / gs No. 25-С-576.

Unfortunately, in the future this line could not be defended, and for a number of reasons it underwent changes. It remains a mystery what made the members of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee radically change their views on the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan. After all, the position of the majority and of them was balanced. 

On the basis of a comprehensive analysis of the situation in Afghanistan, the Soviet leadership identified measures to stabilize the situation: continue to assist the DRA leadership in improving the combat capability and political and moral state of the Afghan army and security agencies, including the border service; to promptly consider and solve within the limits of their capabilities the issues of providing economic assistance to Afghanistan; ensure the fulfillment of the task of expanding the political base on which the party and the government rely, as well as strengthening the unity of the leadership and the cohesion of the party's ranks, along with its numerical growth; to provide practical assistance to Afghan friends in carrying out work among the Muslim clergy of the country, introducing and maintaining the rule of law based on the rule of law;

On April 6, to clarify the situation on the spot and clarify the position of the leadership of the CPSU, a Soviet military delegation arrived in Afghanistan, headed by the head of the Main Directorate of the SA and the Navy, General of the Army A.A. I hardly need to go to Afghanistan, I doubt it. Maybe some of the members of the government should leave? ").

The head of the delegation met and talked with N. M. Taraki and H. Amin, other political and military leaders. Once again, the Afghans asked for military assistance directly by the Soviet troops, but again they were told that the Soviet Union could not agree to this. However, the DRA leaders were not satisfied with this position, and they continued to insist on their own.

H. Amin was especially active in raising this question. And not only at the meeting with A. Epishev. In particular, Colonel P.M.Simchenkov, an officer-at-large of the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, recalled, at the very first meeting in Kabul with General of the Army I.G. Pavlovsky in the presence of General L. Gorelov H. Amin directly raised the question that the leadership of the DRA urges the Soviet government to positively consider an appeal for the prompt entry of one of its divisions into Kabul. At the same time, he made a reservation that this unit should not participate in battles, but serve as a reliable shield to ensure security, stability and guarantee the work of the DRA government. This request was also answered that the introduction of Soviet troops, even for such security tasks, is inappropriate. Moreover, the Afghan army has sufficient forces.

However, two weeks later, on April 14, 1979, Hafizullah Amin invited the chief military adviser to the DRA, Lieutenant General L. Gorelov, and asked to convey to the leadership of the USSR ...

Report from Kabul


... Was invited to Comrade. Amin, who on behalf of NM Taraki made a request to send 15-20 combat helicopters with ammunition and Soviet crews to Kabul to use them in case of aggravation of the situation in the border and central regions of the country against the rebels and terrorists sent from Pakistan.

Gorelov. 04/14/1979

The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR, Marshal of the Soviet Union NV Ogarkov, imposed a resolution on this secret report: "This should not be done."

After consulting with D.F.


Top secret

Special folder No. P 150/93

T.t. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gromyko, Suslov, Ustinov, Ponomarev, Smirtyukov

Extract from the minutes No. 150 of the meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee of April 21, 1979

On the inexpediency of the participation of Soviet crews of combat helicopters in the suppression of counter-revolutionary actions in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

1. Agree with the proposal on this issue set out in the note of the Ministry of Defense dated April 18, 1979, No. 318/3/0430.

2. Approve the draft instructions to the Chief Military Adviser in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (attached).

Secretary of the Central Committee L. Brezhnev


To paragraph 93 of Prot. No. 150

Top secret

Special folder

Kabul, Chief Military Adviser

Inform the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan H. Amin that the request to send 15-20 combat helicopters with Soviet crews has been reported to the Soviet government.

Say that the Afghan leadership has already been given explanations about the inexpediency of the direct participation of Soviet units in measures to suppress counter-revolutionary actions in the DRA, since such actions will be used by the enemies of the Afghan revolution and external hostile forces in order to falsify Soviet international assistance to Afghanistan and conduct anti-government and anti-Soviet propaganda among Afghan population.

Emphasize that during March - April of this year. DRA has already delivered 25 combat helicopters, which are provided with 5-10 ammunition sets.

Convince Kh. Amin that the existing combat helicopters with Afghan crews are capable, together with units of the ground forces and combat aviation, to solve the tasks of suppressing counter-revolutionary uprisings. Develop the necessary recommendations for the Afghan command on this issue.

In mid-April, the armed opposition was most active in the provinces of Badgiz, Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktika and Paktia. Government forces fought with opposition units.

However, even then some hesitation began to appear in the position of the Soviet representatives in Kabul, who proposed creating a training center in Afghanistan similar to the one we had in Cuba. And knowledgeable people knew that a motorized rifle brigade was deployed there under such a legend.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... It would be advisable to study the possibility of creating in the Kabul region a single training center for the RAF NAR (similar to the training brigade in Cuba).

Puzanov, Ivanov, Gorelov. 6/6/1979

The same proposal was sent to the Center signed by Puzanov, Gorelov, Neshumov (NSh PGV), Bogdanov (representative of the KGB of the USSR) and on June 7, 1979.

Expanding military cooperation

Often accusations are made against the Soviet representatives in Kabul that, with their messages, they almost pushed Leonid I. Brezhnev and the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee to make a decision to send troops into Afghanistan. Indeed, they offered to expand military cooperation with Afghanistan, but it is obviously inappropriate to blame them for reporting the requests of the Afghan leadership. It's another matter what conclusions they made at these requests and made proposals. And the proposals were indeed contradictory and often purely opportunistic. For example, LN Gorelov, the chief military adviser in the DRA, at one of the meetings of the Politburo Commission of the CPSU Central Committee on Afghanistan, firmly stated: "Despite all the requests of N. M. Taraki and Kh. Amin, the military presence of the USSR in the DRA must not be strengthened." But not everyone shared this opinion, there were other proposals.

Obviously, it is appropriate to clarify the specifics of the work of Soviet missions abroad and the general system of military cooperation that existed at that time. In carrying out their functional duties in a particular country, the chief military advisers had to inform the leadership in Moscow not only about the events taking place in the host countries, but also report on all incoming requests within the framework of military cooperation.

The mechanism for implementing military cooperation was simple. The chief military adviser in a particular country sent applications for deliveries from the Soviet Union of weapons, equipment, and other special military equipment, as well as various requests and proposals to the General Staff. And, as a rule, the leaders of the host countries gave an assessment of the activities of the main military advisers (specialists) in accordance with the amount of equipment and weapons that they managed to "break through" from the USSR. Personal well-being (gifts, orders, etc.) depended on this for the main military advisers. So they tried to raise their personal image and “please their benefactors,” often even to the detriment of their state. Approximately the same position was held by other Soviet representatives (diplomats, employees of trade missions, etc.),

The expansion of military assistance was also demanded by various delegations and commissions, which from time to time visited their "allies". From their trips, they also brought requests and applications, submitted proposals for the supply of weapons and equipment, trying to contribute to military cooperation. Moreover, the heads of the delegations knew that their personal authority in the eyes of the rulers of the countries where they were going, and, accordingly, the quality of reception and gratitude, would depend on their "success" in securing the supply of military equipment. Sometimes urgent deliveries of special equipment were carried out on the eve of the arrival of the delegation, in order to give "weight" to its leader. This was done so that later at the reception it was possible to say something like the following: “The Soviet leadership is closely following the development of the situation in your country and has found an opportunity to supply you with a new batch of weapons and ammunition. Today, two planes with military equipment have landed at the capital's airport, ships with equipment and weapons have already gone to sea and will soon be with you ... "and so on.

The applications received by the General Staff through various lines were generalized, worked out with interested ministries and departments, after which proposals were prepared for the leadership of the USSR Ministry of Defense. Then a note was sent to the Central Committee of the CPSU, most often signed by the top officials of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the KGB, the GKES (MFES) of the USSR, the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU, in which, as a rule, at first, the situation was outlined in the country where the supply of military and special property, the need for assistance was substantiated, then proposals were made - what equipment and weapons to supply, their total cost and terms of sale, the need for such a step was substantiated. Attached to the note were draft resolutions of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU and an order of the USSR Council of Ministers.

More and more consignments of weapons and equipment were thrown into the furnace of bloody conflicts. The insatiable molokh of war easily grind and chewed them, requiring additional millions and sometimes billions of injections. And they were "sought out" at the expense of ... the Soviet people.

Why did this happen? After all, the arms trade has always been very profitable. The thing is that payment for equipment, weapons and other military property was carried out, as a rule, on preferential terms (free of charge, for 25%, 50%, 75%) of the cost on credit for 10 years out of 2% per annum), and Soviet the state often actually traded in arms at a loss. In addition, it has often dealt with fragile and insolvent regimes. Debts for the supplied specialty grew and did not return on time, many of them have not yet been paid off, and it is unlikely that Russia will be able to receive them in the future as the legal successor of the Soviet Union, since many of the regimes that received this assistance no longer exist (Ethiopia , Afghanistan, Nicaragua ...).

Sometimes weapons and ammunition were delivered urgently by air or sea, but ships and planes were sent back empty, although they were not dipped, for example, from Angola or Nicaragua. Of course, doing so was irrational and unprofessional, but the Soviet rulers, guided in their activities not by economic, but by ideological considerations, did not attach importance to such trifles. It was believed that by this we support our allies and keep the sales markets for military products.

The enterprises of the military-industrial complex were forced to work at full capacity. The country began to choke on exorbitant military spending. Wasted strategic raw materials, material resources, the best minds, and hands of the state. The salaries of scientists, designers, engineers, and workers were artificially kept at a minimum level in order to keep the production cost low and provide the opportunity to export equipment and weapons at low prices, thereby keeping the sales markets. Producers were completely alienated from the results of their labor and did not dispose of the currency they earned. But this did not bother the party and state functionaries much, and indeed all those who sent more and more new applications for the supply of military equipment.

The beginning of preparations for the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan

At the beginning of May 1979, it was decided to form a special battalion, staffed by indigenous people of the Central Asian republics (I will pay more attention to this battalion, since it was he, together with the special forces of the KGB of the USSR, who had a chance to play the main role in removing Kh. Amin from power). On May 2, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, Army General P.I. Ivashutin, summoned the senior officer of this directorate, Colonel V.V. The next day Kolesnik with two officers flew to Tashkent and organized the work.

The personnel for the special-purpose battalion (special forces), which in everyday life was dubbed "Muslim", was carefully and purposefully selected in the troops of the Turkestan and Central Asian military districts, mainly in reconnaissance, motorized rifle, and tank units. The main requirement is knowledge of oriental languages ​​and good physical characteristics. Only the crews of the self-propelled anti-aircraft guns ZSU-23-4 "Shilok" were from the Slavs, since apart from them there were no trained specialists in all the Armed Forces of the USSR. The battalion was equipped only with new equipment and weapons. Organizationally, it consisted of five companies and two special groups. The number was determined - just over 500 people. Major Kh. T. Khalbaev was appointed the battalion commander on the recommendation of V.V. since at that time he was studying in Solnechnogorsk at the Higher Officer Courses "Shot"). We worked hard - without holidays and weekends.

By the end of May, the "Muslim" battalion was mostly formed. It was located in a military town near the tank school in Chirchik. During the summer, the personnel were intensively trained in special disciplines, tactical, fire and physical training (shooting from all types of weapons, hand-to-hand combat, crosses, mine work, etc.), and at the end of September they conducted a comprehensive verification exercise, where the battalion showed good training. At the same time, special forces units of the KGB of the USSR were also preparing. Some of them were transferred to Kabul in advance.

Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, in particular, anti-government armed uprisings broke out in the provinces of Paktika, Ghazni, Paktia, Nangarhar, Kunar, Balkh, Kabul. In all areas, they were suppressed by government troops. On May 31, at the Pakti Corps field command post (20 km southeast of Gardez), a rebel group that broke through, killed Soviet military advisers Colonel V. V. Ignashev and Lieutenant Colonel V. I. Rykov.

Afghans have again requested military assistance. It was considered at a meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee on May 24, 1979.


Top secret

Special folder P No. 152/159

T.t. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gromyko, Suslov, Ustinov, Ponomarev, Baybakov, Patolichev, Skachkov, Serbin, Smirtyukov.

Extract from the minutes No. 152 of the meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee of May 24, 1979

Additional military assistance to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan

Approve the draft order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on this issue (attached)

Instruct the USSR State Planning Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Trade to consider within two weeks the request for the supply of 1,500 vehicles to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and make a corresponding proposal.

To approve the text of instructions to the co-ambassador in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan on this issue (attached).

Secretary of the Central Committee L. Brezhnev.


To paragraph 159 of Prot. No. 152

Top secret

Special folder

Kabul, Sovposol

Visit N.M. Taraki and, referring to the assignment, inform him that the requests of the Afghan leadership for additional military assistance to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan have been carefully considered.

Tell me that Moscow shares the concern of the Afghan leadership in connection with the intensification of the counter-revolutionary activities of the reactionary forces in Afghanistan. The Soviet government, guided by the desire to provide further international assistance in stabilizing the situation in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, decided to supply Afghanistan in 1979-1981 with special equipment worth 53 million rubles, including 140 guns and mortars, 90 armored personnel carriers (of which 50 in the order of acceleration), 48 thousand small arms, about 1000 grenade launchers, 680 aerial bombs, and also to send in the order of acceleration in June-July 1979 medicines and medical equipment in the amount of 50 thousand rubles. As a priority aid in May of this year. 100 incendiary tanks and 160 single-shot cluster bombs are supplied.

As for the request of the Afghan side to send helicopters and transport aircraft with Soviet crews to the DRA and the possible landing of our airborne assault force in Kabul, the issue of using military units was discussed in detail and from all points of view during Comrade Taraki's visit to Moscow in March with. d. Such actions, as we are deeply convinced, are associated with great complications not only in the domestic political but also in the international plane, which will undoubtedly be used by hostile forces primarily to the detriment of the interests of the DRA and consolidation of the gains of the April Revolution.

Execution wire.

DRA leaders began to show concern for their personal safety. This was also confirmed by their appeals to the Soviet representatives in Afghanistan and requests to the leadership of the USSR.

Report from Kabul


… On June 14, a meeting with H. Amin took place in the House of the People. During the conversation, H. Amin stressed that “the enemies are trying to bribe the guards of the House of the People and destroy the leaders of the state. We are completely unsure of the people guarding the House of the People. I appeal to you with a request that you report to your leadership about your assistance to us, sending Soviet crews for tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to the DRA to guard the government in the House of the People and the Bagram and Shindand airfields. "

Earlier, as you know, H. Amin put forward repeated proposals for the participation of our crews on tanks and aircraft in the performance of certain tasks directly in the areas of hostilities with the rebels ...

Gorelov. 06/16/1979

Moscow closely followed the development of the situation in Afghanistan. For these purposes, a special group was created at the General Staff, which every day by 8:00 prepared a statement and a map with the situation in the DRA, and also worked out proposals for the leadership on our further military steps in this country for taking appropriate measures. On especially important issues, reports were prepared in the Central Committee of the CPSU in the form of notes. Decisions were made on them. This can be clearly seen from the note of the Central Committee of the CPSU (approved at a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU on June 28, 1979, Resolution No. P 156 / XI).


Top secret

Special folder

Central Committee of the CPSU

… The difficulties of DRA formation are largely objective. They are associated with economic backwardness, a small working class, and the weakness of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). These difficulties are aggravated, however, by subjective reasons: there is no collegial leadership in the party and the state, all power is actually concentrated in the hands of N.M. Taraki and H. Amin, who often make mistakes and violations of the law ...

The army continues to be the main support of the Afghan government in the fight against counter-revolution. Recently, the security forces, border troops and the newly created self-defense forces have begun to take a more active part in this struggle. However, the general population is not sufficiently involved in the fight against the reaction, as a result of which the measures taken by the DRA government to stabilize the situation turn out to be ineffective ...

In connection with the above, the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the USSR KGB, the Ministry of Defense, and the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee consider it appropriate:

... 3. Send an experienced general with a group of officers to work directly with the troops (in divisions and regiments) to help the chief military adviser to Afghanistan ...

4. To ensure the protection and defense of the Soviet air squadron at the Bagram airfield, send to the DRA, with the consent of the Afghan side, a parachute battalion in uniform (overalls) disguised as aviation technical personnel.

To guard the co-embassy, ​​send a special detachment of the USSR KGB (125–750 people) to Kabul under the guise of embassy attendants. At the beginning of August with. After completing the training, send a special detachment of the GRU of the General Staff to the DRA (Bagram airfield) in order to use in the event of a sharp aggravation of the situation for the protection and defense of especially important government facilities ...

A. Gromyko, Yu. Andropov, D. Ustinov, B. Ponomarev.

Afghan leaders continued to insist on the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and the "Muslim" battalion was preparing for action in Kabul, although it was still unclear how events would develop and what steps the Soviet political leadership would take in this regard.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent)

July 11 ... Taraki also expressed the idea that it would be good if the Soviet side made a decision to secretly deploy several Soviet military special groups in Kabul, up to a battalion each in case of a sharp aggravation of the situation in the capital ...

Representative of the KGB of the USSR. 11.7.1979 g.

On July 12, the Soviet ambassador, a representative of the KGB and the chief military adviser in Afghanistan reported: the leaders of the DRA are seriously preparing for new clashes with the armed formations of the opposition, and conveyed more and more of their requests, as well as suggested ways to resolve them, which provided for the sending of separate units to the DRA. or military equipment with crews.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... The leadership of the DRA is seriously preparing for new clashes with the counter-revolution, but to a large extent counts in the event of a crisis situation on the direct assistance of the USSR.

... seems appropriate:

 ... 7. To consider the issue of sending a flight (detachment) of Soviet helicopters to the DRA Air Force base in Shindand in order to establish urgent training of Afghan helicopter crews. This helicopter unit could also conduct aerial reconnaissance along the border with Iran ...

Puzanov, Ivanov, Gorelov. 12.7.1979.

On July 18-19, in conversations with BN Ponomarev, Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, N.M. Taraki, who visited Kabul, as well as H. Amin, repeatedly raised the issue of bringing about two Soviet divisions into Afghanistan. They persuaded to do so in case of emergency (at the request of the legitimate government of the DRA).

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent)

... Taraki, as well as Amin, repeatedly returned to the issue of expanding the Soviet military presence in the country. The question was raised about the introduction of about two divisions into the DRA in case of emergency "at the request of the legitimate government of Afghanistan."

In connection with this statement by the Afghan leadership, it was stated that the Soviet Union could not agree to this ...

Ponomarev. 07/19/1979

But this was not the answer NM Taraki and Kh. Amin expected from the distinguished Soviet guests. Therefore, at the next meeting, they again asked for the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent)

On July 19, a second meeting with N.M. Taraki took place ... Taraki again returned to the issue of strengthening military support from the Soviet Union, saying that in the event of an emergency, the landing of an airborne division in Kabul would play a decisive role in the defeat speeches of counter-revolutionary forces.

In response, our position was reiterated, it was emphasized that o the Soviet Union cannot take such measures ...

Ponomarev. 07/20/1979

On July 20, two Soviet military advisers were killed in a battle to suppress an anti-government uprising in Paktia province, when rebels attempted to seize the provincial center of Gardez. The war in Afghanistan was already underway for them, and our people were dying. Meanwhile, the DRA leadership continued to insist on expanding military assistance to the USSR.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

 ... On July 21, Kh. Amin was invited and, referring to the instructions of N.M. Taraki, asked to convey the following appeal to the Soviet leadership.

... A request is being made to urgently supply 8-10 helicopters with Soviet crews for the Afghan Air Force, which will be flying.

He told Kh. Amin that, as the Soviet leaders repeatedly pointed out and BN Ponomarev emphasized during his recent talks in Kabul, the Soviet side cannot agree to the participation of Soviet military personnel in hostilities ...

Puzanov. 07/21/1979

In mid-1979, the situation on the Afghan-Pakistani border became noticeably aggravated. The number of Afghan refugees leaving the country in connection with the expansion of the armed struggle has increased significantly. Some of them were used by representatives of the IPA, IOA, and other Islamic organizations to replenish their formations and create new combat units. The aggravation of the situation was also facilitated by the propaganda activities of the opposition propagandists to attract nomads to their side, to encourage armed raids on Afghan territory from Pakistan. From June 1978 to November 1979 alone, over 15,000 rebels received training in Pakistan. At the same time, trade and economic relations between Western countries and Afghanistan began to curtail. For example, from March to September 1979, U.S. trade with the DRA declined 13%.

N. Taraki and H. Amin increased pressure on the Soviet side, sending more and more requests to the USSR for help with troops through various channels, hoping that the Soviet leadership would eventually meet them halfway. Our representatives in Kabul were under constant psychological pressure at that time.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

.. Amin again raised the issue of deploying three Soviet army units in Kabul in case of emergency in the capital. The places of their secret deployment could be, in his opinion, the military club, the co-embassy and the territory of Tane-Taj-Bek, where the residence of the head of state will be moved at the end of the year and where there are barracks. Amin said that Comrade. Taraki awaits the imminent arrival of the Soviet battalion on the territory of the military club ...

Representative of the KGB of the USSR. 07/24/1979

Subsequently, Western journalists put forward a version that the transfer of the residence of Hafizullah Amin to the Taj-Bek palace in Darul-Aman was allegedly carried out on the recommendation of the Soviet side in order to make it easier to carry out the operation to remove H. Amin from power. However, from this report it is clear that such a step was planned by the Afghans themselves in advance. Although it was not without our help, in particular, the Soviet side allocated funds for the repair of the palace. Our representatives supported the requests of the Afghans to build up the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... Considering the possible intensification of the rebel formations in August-September ... there is a need to take a positive attitude to the request of Afghan friends and send a special brigade to Kabul.

Puzanov, Ivanov, Gorelov. 1.8.1979 g.

However, the main danger for Afghan top leaders did not come from the opposition. It lurked in the struggle that was invisibly going on in the very leadership of the party and state. H. Amin was not satisfied with the fact that many prominent PDPA figures were removed from their posts, repressed, or forced to leave their homeland. He embarked on the final stage of the intrigue to remove from power "his teacher", to whom, showing his respect, he publicly kissed his hands, as well as isolating his closest associates. Amin was irresistibly eager to rule alone. The role of M. Taraki's "faithful disciple" and the second person in the state no longer suited him. Hafizullah Amin only wanted to be the first.

On 5 August, a mutiny broke out in Kabul at the deployment point of the Afghan 26th Parachute Regiment and the commando battalion. As a result of decisive measures, the mutiny was suppressed. For this, the troops of the capital garrison were alerted No. 1.

On August 11, 1979, the chief military adviser in the DRA, L. N. Gorelov, had a conversation with Hafizullah Amin. Particular attention during the conversation was paid to the request for the arrival of Soviet units in Afghanistan.  Amin convincingly asked to inform the Soviet leadership about the need to send Soviet units to Kabul as soon as possible ... And some army units and special groups of the KGB slowly began to be transferred to Afghanistan.

Amin had many reasons for fears. He feared both domestic opponents and US action. As Stephen Gelster noted, “Washington, through the CIA, may have also directly funded the resistance as early as August 1979, when the US Embassy in Kabul issued a secret report concluded that“ it will be in the broader interests of the United States that the fall of the Taraki  “Amina,regime, despite any negative consequences for any future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” A week later, In September, the CIA reported that the CIA office in Los Angeles cabled a request to Kabul from a CIA-paid Afghan to send money to the bank account of Afghan rebels in Iran, including the name of the bank and account number ... 

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

… Amin said: “Perhaps the Soviet leaders are worried that enemies in the world will regard this as interference in the internal affairs of the DRA. But I assure you that we are a sovereign and independent state and we resolve all issues on our own ...

Your troops will not participate in hostilities. They will be used only at a critical moment for us. I think that we will need Soviet units until spring ”...

Gorelov. 08/12/1979

Soviet representatives in Kabul, under constant pressure from Taraki and Amin to avoid sending regular units of the Soviet Army to Afghanistan, proposed to study the possibility of sending special forces to Kabul. Of course, the citizens of the USSR, who were in the DRA at that time, welcomed such steps with approval, because their safety also depended on it.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... In conversations with us on August 10 and 11, H. Amin noted that the use of the troops stationed in Kabul against the rebels would become possible after the Soviet leadership approved the request of the DRA government and personally N.M. Taraki to deploy three Soviet special battalions in the Afghan capital.

On August 12, the chairman of the Sarvari security service, on behalf of H. Amin, asked us to speed up the implementation of the request of the DRA leadership to send Soviet special battalions and transport helicopters with Soviet crews.

... We would consider it expedient to send one special battalion to Kabul in the coming days ... and transport helicopters with Soviet crews ...

At the same time, we ask you to study the issue of sending two more special battalions to the DRA - one to strengthen the protection of the air force base in Bagram, the other to be stationed in the Bala-Hisar fortress located on the outskirts of Kabul.

Puzanov, Ivanov, Gorelov. 08/12/1979

On August 12, in Paktika province (Zurmat region), as a result of the ensuing battle with superior rebel forces, units of the 12th Infantry Division (pd) suffered heavy losses (some of the personnel surrendered, others deserted).

In August, to assess the situation and the viability of the regime, a Soviet military delegation headed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, General of the Army I. G. Pavlovsky, arrived in Kabul, who later said: Defense of the USSR to DF Ustinov, whose deputy, as commander-in-chief of the Army, I was. Among other questions I asked Dmitry Fedorovich and this:

- Do you plan to send troops to Afghanistan?

- In no case! - the minister answered categorically.

Upon arrival in Kabul, I notified Ambassador A. M. Puzanov of this. Then he met with Taraki and Amin. Unlike Taraki, who gave the impression of a good-natured person, inclined to abstract philosophical reasoning, Amin looked energetic, assertive, active, and showed that he was well versed in military matters.

He asked me to convey to DF Ustinov my personal request for the deployment of one airborne brigade.

I sent an encrypted message to Moscow, in which I informed about Amin's request and considered it necessary to express my opinion: "It is inappropriate to send troops." I also told Ustinov that I personally visited Taraki and Amin. By the response of Dmitry Fedorovich I understood: Moscow does not trust Amin ... "

Indeed, on August 20, Kh. Amin, in a conversation with I. Pavlovsky, asked to allocate the formations of Soviet paratroopers to the Kabul region. In addition, he made other requests for the expansion of Soviet military assistance, including by troops. He asked to replace the calculations of the anti-aircraft batteries covering the capital of the DRA with Soviet specialists. Once again, new arguments were put forward for sending Soviet troops to Afghanistan.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... During the conversation, Comrade. Amin raised the question that a large number of troops were concentrated in the Kabul region, including those with heavy weapons (tank, artillery, and other units), which could be used in other areas to fight counter-revolution, if the USSR agreed to allocate formations ( 1,5-2 thousand) "commandos" (paratroopers), which could be placed in the Bala-Hisar fortress ...

Further comrade Amin raised the question of replacing the calculations of the 77 zenap anti-aircraft batteries, covering Kabul and located on the dominant heights around the city, in the reliability of which he was not sure, with Soviet calculations.

Pavlovsky. 21.8.1979 g.

Having not received a positive answer to his request, H. Amin did not abandon his plan and at the next meeting continued to insist on his own.

Report from Kabul


August 23 ... Comrade Amin raised the issue of the introduction of our troops into Kabul, which, in his opinion, could free one of the two divisions of the Kabul garrison to fight the rebels ...

Pavlovsky. 08/25/1979

H. Amin really wanted to have Soviet troops in Afghanistan as a guarantor of the stability of his regime and showed enviable persistence and ingenuity to achieve this goal. He could not even imagine then that they would become his gravediggers.

Assassination of PDPA General Secretary N.M. Taraki

In early September, H. Amin insisted on NM Taraki's trip to Havana for a session of the heads of non-aligned states, hoping in his absence to complete the preparations for the seizure of power in the country. The attempts of the Soviet leadership to dissuade N. Taraki from this trip were not crowned with success.

Returning from a trip to Cuba, during a stop and a conversation with Soviet leaders in Moscow, N. Taraki was once again warned about the unseemly activities of H. Amin. He heard news from L. Brezhnev and Y. Andropov, which made him very thoughtful: H. Amin, during his absence, actually removed from office the most loyal and devoted people of N. Taraki.

The Soviet leaders first wanted to send a "Muslim" battalion to guard the PDPA General Secretary. Major Kh. Khalbaev on September 10 was given the task of handing in all documents, party, and Komsomol cards, moving to the Tashkent airfield, where the personnel change into Afghan military uniforms and fly to Kabul. However, when the battalion arrived at the airfield, the command followed: "Set aside." Yuri Andropov allegedly managed to convince LI Brezhnev and NM Taraki that there was no need to send a battalion, since Kh. Amin would be neutralized in the near future. However, the action to eliminate Kh. Amin failed, he went to the airfield to meet the "teacher" on a different road, safely passing the ambush arranged for him. Therefore, upon arriving in Kabul, N. Taraki saw his smiling successor among the greeters.

It didn't take long for the PDPA General Secretary to make sure that there was a final split in the party. Taking advantage of his absence, Kh. Amin carried out preparatory measures to seize power in the country and immediately, in an ultimatum, demanded that N. Taraki remove from government posts his closest associates, the so-called "four" (M. A. Vatanjar, A. Sarvari, Sh. Mazduryar, S. M. Gulyabzoy). To which, of course, he was refused. Hafizullah immediately organized the spread of "rumors" that NM Taraki now believes the "four" more than him and is going to kill him. He stopped coming to the residence of N. Taraki, and when he invited, he refused. It must be said that, in the opinion of Soviet military advisers who were then in Afghanistan, Kh. Amin's demand was not without foundation.

On September 13, Amin again demanded by phone from N. Taraki to eliminate the "four" and was again refused. On the same day, A. A. Gromyko, Yu. V. Andropov, D. F. Ustinov instructed the Soviet representatives in Kabul to visit N. M. Taraki and H. Amin and on behalf of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee and “personally L. I. Brezhnev "to warn them about the inadmissibility of a split in the party and state leadership. During conversations with Soviet representatives, both Afghan leaders assured that they would take all measures to strengthen unity. Simultaneously A. M. Puzanov was instructed to provide asylum to supporters of N. M. Taraki (A. Sarvari, A. Vatanjar, Sh. Mazduryar and S. Gulyabza). This instruction was fulfilled: they first arrived at the embassy, ​​were taken under the care of our special services, and then illegally taken from the DRA to Moscow, where they were until December 1979.

The next day, Amin, by his order, transferred the troops of the Kabul garrison to readiness . The Soviet representatives again met with him and tried to intervene, but to no avail. X. Amin has already started the execution of his plan. What did he do?

There are several versions. However, if we omit the nuances, their essence boils down to the fact that H. Amin, trying to "take full power into his own hands," knew that N. M. Taraki had been warned in Moscow by L. I. Brezhnev about the impending conspiracy. Most likely (now it is no longer possible to verify this), such information could have been conveyed to him by NM Taraki's personal adjutant-bodyguard, Lieutenant Colonel S. Tarun, with whom the General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee, through negligence, apparently shared his concern on the plane during his return from the USSR. After all, he could not even imagine that his personal bodyguard had been “working” for X for a long time. Amin, moreover, was one of his most active informants and accomplices.

On the morning of September 14, N. Taraki phoned H. Amin and invited him to his place, saying that this proposal also came from Soviet comrades. By the way, on September 13-14, the Soviet ambassador in Kabul A. M. Puzanov really insisted on such a meeting to reconcile both PDPA leaders. The Soviet representatives hoped that the personal message of L.I.Brezhnev, received the day before, urging N. Taraki and H. Amin to prevent a split in the party and state leadership of the country, would play its role (at that time the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, General of the Army I. G. Pavlovsky, he was recalled to Moscow on November 3).

Suddenly, after many refusals, this time Amin agreed to a meeting. Arriving in the middle of the day with enhanced security at the residence of the "rival", he began to climb the rear staircase leading to NM Taraki's apartment, accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel S. Tarun, who met him. At this time, automatic fires were heard. Confusion and panic arose. Someone is killed, someone is wounded.  Amin managed to run to the car and left, and Tarun, who met him and walked in front, was riddled with bullets. In addition, V. Zirak was seriously wounded. Doctor Azim, who was carrying tea, was wounded in the shoulder and accidentally came under fire.

As IG Pavlovsky later said: “Taraki's frightened wife ran into the room and reported that the adjutant-bodyguard, Tarun, had been killed. Pale Taraki, looking out the window and seeing Amin leaving, said sadly: "This is all, this is the end ..."

Indirect evidence of the conspiracy may be the fact that the deceased Lieutenant Colonel S. D. Tarun was given magnificent honors at the funeral at the initiative of H. Amin, and then it was decided to rename the city of Jalalabad to Tarun Shahr.

However, it is hardly possible to find out now. The witnesses and participants in the shootout were arrested the day after the incident and disappeared without a trace.

In a conversation with me, very authoritative officers of the KGB of the USSR argued that such actions of Kh. Amin were a retaliatory measure to thwart the plans of NM Taraki: "The PDPA General Secretary then ordered to kill Kh. Amin." According to Major General V. Zaplatin, this was an attempt on the part of NM Taraki to eliminate Kh. Amin, since his adjutants, the most trusted people of NM Taraki, opened fire from machine guns.

Further events developed rapidly. At the signal of the Chief of the General Staff, General Yakub, the troops of the Kabul garrison entered the city, secured government facilities, blocked the residence of N.M. Taraki, and actually isolated it.

At night H. Amin chaired a meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the PDPA, and then in the morning a plenum of the Central Committee, the meeting of which was chaired by the secretary of the Central Committee of the PDPA, Foreign Minister Shah Wali. On it N. Taraki and his associates, as it were, were officially unanimously removed from all posts and expelled from the party. H. Amin was "elected" as the General Secretary.

Hafizullah Amin - a native of a small Pashtun tribe of the Kharatai, was born in 1927 in the town of Pagman, not far from Kabul, in the family of an employee. Having lost his father early, he was brought up by his older brother, who was at one time a schoolteacher, and then the secretary of the president of the largest cotton company "Spinzar" (after April 1978 - the president of this company). Graduated from the Higher Pedagogical School and the Faculty of Science of Kabul University. After graduation, he worked as a teacher, deputy director and director of the Ibn Sina Lyceum in Kabul. In 1957 he left for the USA to continue his education, where he received a master's degree. After returning to Afghanistan, he taught for some time at Kabul University, again served as director of the Ibn Sina Lyceum, then was director of the Higher Pedagogical School, Head of the Primary Education Department of the Ministry of Education. During this period H. Amin had the reputation of a Pashtun nationalist. In 1962 H. Amin left for the USA again to prepare and defend his thesis. The beginning of his active political activity also belongs to this period. In 1963 he was elected Chairman of the Federation of Afghan Students in the United States and created an organization of progressive Afghan students in New York. For his work in this federation, shortly before completing his dissertation, he was expelled from the United States. After returning to Afghanistan during the preparation of the founding congress of the PDPA (1965), H. Amin establishes close ties with NM Taraki and taken an active part in the work of the congress. During the split of the PDPA, he firmly supported N.M. Taraki, wins his personal sympathy, and becomes N.M. Taraki on the activities of the "Khalq" faction. In 1967, on the recommendation of NM Taraki, he was included in the Central Committee of the PDPA "Khalk". In 1969 H. Amin was elected to the lower house of parliament, used the parliamentary rostrum to sharply criticize the royal regime. After M. Daoud came to power in 1973 and up to the military coup on April 27, 1978, H. Amin did not work in the civil service, completely switching to organizational and party work, which contributed to the growth of his authority and influence in the Khalk group ... In the summer of 1977 he was elected a member of the united Central Committee of the PDPA, at the same time he was appointed head of the Khalqist military organization of the PDPA in the army (after the unification, the military organizations "Khalq" and "Parcham" acted separately). In April 1978 g. after the arrest of the leaders of the PDPA, he began and headed the direct preparation for an armed uprising of the army against the regime of M. Daud. After the PDPA came to power by the decision of the Revolutionary Council, H. Amin was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DRA, was elected a member of the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee, introduced into the Central Committee Secretariat, and after A. Kadyr was removed from the post of Defense Minister, the DRA was authorized to “provide assistance to NM Taraki in the performance of the duties of the Minister of Defense ”, which in fact meant the transfer of full power to him in the army. At this time, H. Amin gradually concentrates in his hands the practical work on organizational, party and state building, and also fully established his control over the activities of the security organs

The plenum was held in the Delkusha hall, which was cordoned off by the guards and security agents. Following this, the Revolutionary Council of the DRA removed N. Taraki from the post of Chairman of the Revolutionary Council and appointed Kh. Amin instead.

The Soviet battalion was ready to fly to Kabul to free the Afghan leader, the battalion was already in the planes, but H. Amin took preventive measures in a timely manner - the anti-aircraft gunners guarding the airfield were tasked that day to shoot any plane, regardless of whether it takes off or lands.

In the evening of the same day in Kabul, it was announced on the radio that N. Taraki had been relieved of all posts. At the same time, it was reported that members of the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee were suspended from their duties: the head of the security service A. Sarvari, the ministers M.A. some formations and units, generals, and officers - supporters of N. Taraki.



... In connection with the emergence of disagreements in the leadership of the DRA, by order of  Amin at 9:30 on September 14 this year. In the city of the Kabul garrison, combat readiness number 1 was introduced. At 16:20, at the signal of the Chief of the General Staff, Yakub, the troops entered the inner zone of the city and by 18:00 occupied their defense areas.

At 17:50, a message was broadcast on Kabul radio about changes in the DRA government. At the same time, the commander of the 8th Infantry Division (PD), the commanders of the artillery regiment and a separate tank battalion of the 8th Infantry Division, and the chiefs of staff of the 4th and 15th tank brigades were removed from their posts in the garrison units.

The atmosphere in Kabul remained relatively calm throughout the night. All objects of the city were guarded by troops, the streets were patrolled by reinforced detachments of army units. The residence of N.M. Taraki is blocked by troops, all communication lines with it are disabled ...

Source of information: from the report of the chief military adviser in the DRA, Kabul. September 15, 1979

The chief of the General Staff of the DRA Armed Forces, General Yakub, was in charge of the suppression of the "dissatisfied" and loyal to Taraki units.

Amin announced that the former General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee tried to lure him into a trap and kill him, since the situation in the country, the party and the army was changing not in favor of N. Taraki.

After a while, the Soviet ambassador to Afghanistan, A. M. Puzanov, was “advised” to leave the country. The reasons for this are known: A. Puzanov asked Kh. Amin to meet with N. Taraki on the day of the "assassination", and he also hid the "four" on the territory of the Soviet embassy. Soon A. M. Puzanov was recalled to Moscow by order of A. A. Gromyko "in connection with his numerous requests", although the proposal to replace him was expressed to the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee back in March. A little later, H. Amin openly said that "the Soviet ambassador supported the opposition, harmed me."

Fikryat Akhmedzyanovich Tabeyev, who was then first secretary of the Tatar regional party committee, was appointed the new ambassador, who arrived in Kabul on November 26. Upon his return to the Soviet Union A. Puzanov, no one from the leadership of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs even summoned and asked his opinion on further steps in Afghanistan, although he had stayed in this country for more than seven years. There, “at the top,” as the saying goes, “they themselves had a mustache,” and assessed the ambassador's activities as a failure. In this regard, there was nothing to ask him about. A similar fate befell the main military adviser in the DRA, General L. Gorelov, who could not be forgiven for not ensuring (failed to neutralize air defense) the arrival of a battalion with paratroopers to provide assistance to N. Taraki. In addition, he did not enjoy the confidence of the new authorities since he was in Afghanistan even under M. Daud. DF Ustinov recalled him.

The interpretation of the events of those days was set out in a closed letter from the Central Committee of the PDPA to the party members on September 16:

“An attempt by NM Taraki to carry out a terrorist conspiracy against comrade Hafizullah Amin failed.

... Comrade X. Amin showed his adherence to principles, exposing the personality cult of Taraki. Active supporters of Taraki - Asadullah Sarvari, Sayd Muhammad Gulabzoy, Shir Jan Mazduryar, Muhammad Aslam Vatanjar - contributed in every way to the establishment of the cult of Taraki's personality. He and his group wanted the Khalqists to wear badges with his image on their chests. Comrade H. Amin strongly opposed this and stated that even V. I. Lenin, Ho Chi Minh and F. Castro did not allow such a thing during their lifetime.

N. Taraki, with the consent and approval of his gang, wanted the cities, institutions, streets to be named after him. In addition, efforts were made to build a large monument to N. Taraki, which caused a sharp protest from Comrade H. Amin.

... The gang of N. Taraki gradually isolated itself, ceased to obey the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the country and acted as an independent group headed by N. Taraki ... "

Source of information: Central Committee of the PDPA, Kabul, (translated from dari). September 16, 1979

Further, the letter "clarified" the course of events that took place in the residence of NM Taraki, when there was a shootout during a visit by the General Secretary Kh. Amin. All responsibility for what happened and the victims (let me remind you that S.D. Tarun was killed, and Amin's personal adjutant Vazir Zirak was seriously wounded, who was operated on by the Soviet surgeon Colonel A.V. Alekseev, and he was sent to the Soviet Union for treatment) , naturally, was assigned to N. Taraki and his associates.

In this situation, the question arose before the Soviet leadership: what to do next? Immediately change attitudes towards Afghanistan. Don't immediately recognize the government of  Amin? Or pretend that nothing has happened? In the official line, it was decided not to change anything, but a compromise was found and appropriate instructions were given:

“To the Soviet representatives in Kabul:

It was recognized as expedient, taking into account the real state of affairs, as it is now developing in Afghanistan, not to refuse to deal with H. Amin and the leadership headed by him. At the same time, it is necessary in every possible way to restrain Kh. Amin from repressions against the supporters of N. Taraki and other persons disagreeable to him, who are not enemies of the revolution. At the same time, it is necessary to use contacts with H. Amin to further reveal his political person and intentions.

It was also deemed advisable that our military advisers in the Afghan forces, as well as advisers to the security and internal affairs bodies, remain in their places. They must perform their direct functions related to the preparation and conduct of military operations against rebel formations and other counter-revolutionary forces. They, of course, should not take any part in repressive measures against persons disagreeable to X. Amin in the event that units and subunits in which our advisers are located are involved in these actions ...

A. Gromyko. September 15, 1979 "

And how did the Americans react to these events? What were they going to do? The American diplomats, as it turned out, were giving an accurate analysis and quite a balanced assessment of the current situation in the DRA and the prospects for its development. Subsequent events in Afghanistan largely confirmed their forecasts (or plans?).


(From the secret correspondence of the American foreign affairs agencies on Afghanistan)

September 17, 1979, No. 6936.

From the U.S. Embassy in Kabul

To the Secretary of State, Washington, immediately.

First of all: to the US embassies: in Beijing, Dhaka, Islamabad, Jeddah; the US Consulate in Karachi; at the US embassies in London, Moscow, Delhi, Paris, Tehran; to the US mission to NATO.


Subject (limited official use): Tension in Kabul eases as President Amin uses his political gains.

 ... 3. At 4:00 p.m. Kabul time on September 17, political tensions in recent days have eased. Although tanks still guard key positions around the Ark Palace ("House of the People") and the Radio Afghanistan complex, tank crews rest in the shade of their vehicles.

4. For this evening, Amin is scheduled to address the nation at 22:00 (in Pashto) and 22:30 (in Dari).

Afghans are looking forward to hearing some of the details. For example, will Amin continue to take a respectful tone towards the “big”, outgoing “great leader” Nur Muhammad Taraki ... or will he begin to debunk the “great teacher” under whom he served as a “heroic disciple”?

...5. According to reliable information, on September 16, Amin's daughter tore off portraits of Taraki at her school and called him a "bad person."

... 6. What happened to Taraki? Most of the Kabulis interviewed by the embassy officials ... believe that Taraki has already died of gunshot wounds in the shootout in which his guard, the notorious Syed Daoud Tarun, was killed on September 14 or 15 (exact date is still unknown). It could well be that Taraki and Tarun, willingly or unwillingly, took part in the violence that accompanied the purge of the last military cabinet members. They themselves at this moment were not yet included in Amin's schedule for destruction. According to Amin's schedule, their turn was still ahead. However, once an opportunity presented itself, Amin could quickly seize it. Another question: why, then, Amin kept Taraki's death a secret when he gave instructions about the funeral of the deceased Tarun on September 16. Many still believe that Taraki is still alive,

…8. Soviet reaction in Kabul ... It is not yet clear whether the Soviet government knew about Amin's action against Taraki in advance. Faced with a fait accompli (if this assumption is true), the Soviets had no choice but to patiently wait out the rapid change of events. The Kabul press reported that the Soviet ambassador A. Puzanov visited Amin on September 15 at 10:00. One of our sources told us that the meeting lasted until noon. At this meeting, as can be assumed, an understanding was reached between the rising leader and his Soviet patrons.

9. General impression among diplomats and knowledgeable Afghans: The Soviets are not happy, but perhaps they realize that at the moment they have no choice but to support the ambitious and cruel Amin ... Now Amin is all they have left. Until another opportune moment appears, He is the only instrument with which Moscow can defend the "fraternal party" and preserve the "progressive revolution" ...

10. However, this does not mean that the Soviets tacitly accept this situation. On September 17, a junior Soviet diplomat irritated our embassy employee that the Khalqists were making the mistake of "trying to do too much, too quickly." He believes it would take the regime four to five years to accomplish what they are trying to do in four months. The Soviet diplomat made it clear that, in his opinion, the Khalqists were failing.

However, despite the actual new military coup that took place in Afghanistan, the Soviet leadership outwardly continued the previous line, officially showing support for the dictator. For the general public, outwardly everything had to look good.

It was only on October 10 that the death of N.M. Taraki was officially announced from a short and serious illness, although it later became known that officers of the presidential guard had strangled him two days earlier on the orders of H. Amin.

The direct perpetrators of this crime were Captain Abdul Hadud, chief of the KAM (security service), Mohammed Ekbal, senior lieutenant, commander of one of the units that guarded the palace of H. Amin, and senior lieutenant Ruzi, deputy chief of the presidential guard for political affairs. The general leadership of this action was carried out by the chief of the presidential guard, Major Jandad.

By order of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the DRA, Yakub, NM Taraki was buried at the Kolas Abchikan cemetery, "Hill of Martyrs". The family of the former Secretary-General and founder of the PDPA was taken to Puli-Charkhi prison.

Mass terror is Amin's main weapon

The events in the country acquired the most cruel character after the coup d'etat and the coming to power of  Amin. Manipulating socialist slogans and hiding behind demagogic phraseology, H. Amin led the way towards the establishment of a totalitarian, dictatorial regime, launching a large-scale campaign of terror and repression in the country, incompatible with the goals and objectives declared by the PDPA. He set out to transform the party into an appendage of his terrorist dictatorship.

The Central Committee of the CPSU has repeatedly appealed to the Afghan leadership, seeking an end to illegal repression, urging them to observe the rule of law, and not act arbitrarily by those in power. Amin repeatedly gave assurances about the cessation of such actions, hypocritically emphasized his friendly attitude towards the Soviet Union, made ultra-revolutionary speeches, but in fact intensified the repression.

The main method for resolving all issues was the method of violence. Himself  H. Amin even tried to substantiate this: “We have ten thousand feudal lords. We will destroy them, and the issue is resolved. Afghans only recognize force. "

First, Amin eliminated all those who had ever opposed him or expressed even the slightest disagreement, as well as those who enjoyed authority in the party and could compete with him in the future. Then representatives of various non-“Amin” groups and factions in the party and the state began to be subjected to repression. In fact, there was a hunt not only for Parchamists, but also for Khalqists - supporters of the former PDPA General Secretary. So, not only the feudal lords were destroyed.

In September, H. Amin published a partial list of those executed: 12 thousand names were named in it. However, according to some estimates, the number of those killed in the first eighteen months after the Saur revolution reached 50 thousand people or even more by the fall of 1979. But it must be said frankly that these figures cannot be compared with the casualties that Afghanistan suffered after the entry of Soviet troops there.

Subsequently, a struggle began literally against everyone and everything. Taking advantage of impunity, Amin's henchmen at the same time dealt with their opponents. At the same time, the killings of innocent people became widespread, which led to a sharp increase in the flow of refugees to Iran and Pakistan (the social base of the opposition expanded). Many prominent party and state leaders who were directly involved in the Saur revolution, from among the Khalqists, as well as the bulk of the Parchamists, were forced to either hide or emigrate from Afghanistan. Personnel appointments began to be carried out on the basis of personal loyalty to  Amin.

Due to massive repression and injustice, Pashtun tribes revolted in several places. Amin ordered bomb-assault air strikes against them. In response to criticism from Soviet advisers about how it is possible to bomb and destroy entire tribes, he calmly said: “You do not know our people! If a tribe takes up arms, it will not lay down. The only way out is to destroy everyone, young and old! Such are our traditions ”. 

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... During the conversation, H. Amin repeated his request to send a battalion of Soviet servicemen to Kabul for his personal protection in a new residence, where he intends to move after October 15 of this year. G.

Representative of the KGB of the USSR.

Note: Amin repeated this request on November 17 and 20. Reports on this were received on November 18 and 21, 1979, respectively.

At the same time, Hafizullah Amin tried to shift responsibility for his illegal actions to the Soviet side, claiming that these steps by the Afghan leadership were allegedly being taken on the recommendation of Soviet leaders. Perhaps with this he wanted to "tie" his benefactors even more, but he crossed the acceptable line. And he was not forgiven for that.

On November 22, First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR, Lieutenant General V. S. Paputin flew to Kabul , who outlined his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, and in gloomy tones. However, the Soviet leadership then was no longer mistaken about Amin. This conclusion can be drawn on the basis of the note below from the Central Committee of the CPSU.


Top secret

Special folder

Central Committee of the CPSU

Situation in Afghanistan after the events of 13-16 September , as a result of which Taraki was removed from power and then physically destroyed, remains extremely difficult.

In an effort to gain a foothold in power, Amin, along with such ostentatious gestures as the beginning of the drafting of a constitution and the release of some of the previously arrested persons, is actually expanding the scale of repression in the party, army, state apparatus and public organizations ...

According to available information, Amin is currently preparing a reprisal against a group of members of the Politburo of the PDPA Central Committee (Zerai, Misak, Panjshiri), who are being accused of "anti-party and counter-revolutionary activities." At the recently held plenum of the Central Committee of the PDPA, Amin introduced the most loyal to him persons to the governing bodies of the party, including a number of his relatives ...

Recently, there have been signs that the new Afghan leadership intends to pursue a more "balanced policy" in relations with the Western powers. It is known, in particular, that US representatives, on the basis of their contacts with Afghans, come to the conclusion that it is possible to change the political line of Afghanistan in a direction favorable to Washington ...

Taking into account the foregoing and proceeding from the need to do everything possible to prevent the victory of the counter-revolution in Afghanistan or the political reorientation of H. Amin to the West, it seems expedient to adhere to the following line:

Continue to work actively with Amin and, in general, with the current leadership of the PDPA and DRA, not giving Amin any reason to believe that we do not trust him and do not want to deal with him. Use contacts with Amin to exert an appropriate influence on him and at the same time to further disclose his true intentions ...

If there are facts indicating the beginning of the turn of Amin in the anti-Soviet direction, make additional proposals on measures from our side.

A. Gromyko, Yu. Andropov, D. Ustinov, B. Ponomarev.

November 29, 1979

This document was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR A. A. Gromyko, Chairman of the USSR State Security Committee Yu. V. Andropov, Minister of Defense of the USSR D. F. Ustinov, and Head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU B. N. Ponomarev. This combination was far from accidental then. In fact, in the 70s in the Soviet Union the structure of state power took shape in such a way that it was these persons who were dealing with all the foreign policy problems of the USSR at the highest primary level. On the most important problematic international issues, they prepared proposals and other materials and submitted them for consideration by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

What was the mechanism of this work? Usually, all the rough work was done by representatives of these four departments, who prepared proposals for their ministers. There were usually no meetings on secondary matters. If the problem was important, then A. Gromyko, Yu. Andropov, D. Ustinov, B. Ponomarev got together, invited all those who performed the materials, and worked out a common line. In those cases when issues of particular importance were resolved, as a rule, the Chief of the General Staff (N.V. Ogarkov), the corresponding Deputy Foreign Ministers (G.M.Kornienko) or the Chairman of the KGB of the USSR (V.A.Kryuchkov), etc. etc., who reported proposals. Then the leaders themselves exchanged views and gave instructions on what changes need to be made to the developed documents, then, depending on the essence and importance of the problem, they were signed one by one and sent in the form of a note to the Central Committee of the CPSU to the Secretariat of the Central Committee. These proposals were considered at a meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, and a final decision was made on them. So it was with regard to the decision to send troops to Afghanistan.

Such a system, it would seem, took into account the views of all parties as much as possible, but the analytical calculations and conclusions presented by the relevant authorities were often useless, due to the fact that managers had their own views on many problems and therefore did not always take into account the recommendations of analysts when making a decision.

According to reports from Kabul, after X. Amin came to power, the situation in the DRA rapidly escalated. In fact, by that time the regime had lost all credibility. The alarming processes in the Afghan party state apparatus, the growing discontent of the broad popular masses were actively fueled and used by external forces hostile to the PDPA regime. The United States, Pakistan, a number of other countries, and some Arab states were rapidly building up military aid to the opposition movement. On the southern borders of the DRA, the concentration of units of the Pakistani army was periodically noted, and maneuvers were carried out. With military and moral support from outside, by the end of 1979 the rebels managed to increase the number of their semi-regular formations to 40 thousand people. and deploy hostilities against the government in 12 of the 27 (at that time) provinces of Afghanistan. The Soviet leadership formed the opinion that X. Amin will soon be overthrown. It was predicted that the coming to power of the opposition is practically a foregone conclusion and it should happen within a few months. In addition, there was information about the connections of H. Amin with representatives of the United States. In the army, revolts began, inspired by the Quartet. Before the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the KGB of the USSR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, everyone who was involved in foreign policy, the question stood squarely - what to do? We were frantically looking for ways to solve the problem. We tried to take into account all the factors. Meanwhile, new reports came from Kabul outlining the requests made by X. Amin regarding the introduction of Soviet troops into the DRA, as well as assessments of the situation in Afghanistan, and representatives of each department reported each in their own way. 

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

... On December 2, 1979, H. Amin invited the chief military adviser and said that in conditions when the rebels in Badakhshan receive active assistance from China and Pakistan, and we do not have the opportunity to withdraw troops from other areas of hostilities, I would ask the Soviet the government will send one reinforced regiment to the province for a short time to assist in the normalization of the situation.

At the end of the conversation, Comrade Amin asked to bring his request to the Minister of Defense of the USSR and said that he was ready to personally address this issue to Leonid Brezhnev ...

Magometov 9. December 2, 1979

Having failed to achieve a positive decision by the Soviet leadership to send troops to Kabul, the General Secretary of the PDPA Central Committee began to invite them at least to the northern provinces bordering the Soviet Union. He also did not mind if only the internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs were brought in.

Report from Kabul

(Secret. Urgent ...)

… On December 3, a meeting with X. Amin took place. During the conversation, H. Amin said: “We intend to transfer part of the personnel and weapons of the 18th and 20th divisions (from Mazar-i-Sharif and Baghlan) to form the people's militia units. In this case, instead of bringing Soviet regular troops into the DRA, it is better to send units of the Soviet militia, which, together with our people's militia, could ensure and restore order in the northern regions of the DRA. "

Magometov. 4.12.1979 g.


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