Thursday, 4 June 2015

QK Archives Wali Khan his fathers shadow

QK archives
Originally published by in 2006

Khan Abdul Wali Khan: His Fathers Shadow?
H P January 25, 2006

A few personal memories of an honest and straightforward politician of Pakistan

I first met Khan Abdul Wali Khan with a group of students in the late 70s. My graduation still had a few more months to go and I was planning to continue in politics after graduating from student politics that I had joined in the volatile year of 1977.

By that time, Khan Wali Khan had lost his aura. He had made wrong choices in 1973 and paid a price. His party had split and Gen. Zia ul Haq was not happy with his party’s pro- Afghan leanings. Bacha Khan was still in Kabul in a self imposed exile and Wali Khan was looking for ways to bring him back to Pakistan.

It was quite obvious that there were difficulties ahead in Afghanistan. The news of proliferation of Jihadi organizations all over NWFP, especially in the tribal belt, were not encouraging for the progressive and liberal politics in NWFP and in Pakistan.

He talked about Afghanistan and Bacha Khan. It was an informative session but it was quite apparent that he was about ready to give up on politics in Pakistan alhough he kept encouraging us to fight on, repeatedly mentioning that we have a long way to go before Pakistan becomes a democracy.

Just a few years ago, Wali Khan was the leader of the Opposition in the first elected National assembly of Pakistan. There were stories about how Prime Minister Z A Bhutto was scared of him and on many occasions avoided meeting with Wali Khan preferring his close lieutenant and the Baloch leader Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo.

Physically, Wali Khan was an imposing figure standing well over six feet tall. With dark glasses to hide his loss of an eye, he was always difficult to read. Wali Khan also had an annoying habit during his leader of the opposition days, to issue threats of dire consequences and often talked about moving chains beyond the Attock Fort. That did not endear him to the people in Punjab.

Eventually Bhutto and the army were able to take advantage his often redundant outbursts when they brought the first Baloch Government of Balochistan down and had the army move in Balochistan to suppress resistance by the National Awami Party.

It was not the first time that the National Awami Party or NAP was in trouble with the army. NAP was banned during the army operations in East Pakistan in 1971. It was the only party in West Pakistan that stood up for Bengalis and condemned the army action in East Pakistan. That was the proudest moment in the lives of many NAP workers as they sincerely believed that they were fighting to save Pakistan by supporting Pakistanis of the Bengali origin. Later on, I met many former NAP workers who always excitedly talked about the dark days of 1971 when either they were behind bars or were distributing leaflets against the army in the darks of nights in different Pakistani cities.

Some old timers told me that Wali Khan himself was not ready to confront the army but always had words of encouragement for students and Labor leaders in NWFP and supported their families when they were in jail.

Unlike Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, some would say, Wali Khan often showed his reluctance to take the authorities on. He was always a vocal opponent but when the time came to confront Gen. Ayub or Gen. Yahya Khan, he moved back to Wali Bagh, Charsadda in NWFP, reading a huge collection of books that he had acquired.

Today when I look back, I feel that Wali Khan never actually fulfilled his promise. He inherited a strong tradition of personal sacrifices, selfless political and social work of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and the Khudai Khadmitgar movement. On many occasions, in different parts of NWFP, I remember meeting old Surkhposh who still loved Ghaffar Khan but could never get excited about Wali Khan and his leadership. They always showed up to listen to him but the enthusiasm that they had for Ghaffar Khan was never there. Perhaps, that was the reason the surkhposh movement, a genuinely secular political movement, slowly died in NWFP giving rise to the current religious political parties.

Wali Khan spent almost three years in jail in Hyderabad prison. The jail Superintendent was our family friend and a proud Sindhis nationalist. He always wanted to help the NAP leaders that included Wali Khan, Bizenjo, Mengal, and many others but this was the first time that Wali Khan was incarcerated for a long period of time. He was bitter and wanted to get out of the jail at any price. He did not appreciate the jail limitations and once slapped the Superintendent. That destroyed that gentle soul. He resigned. When I met Wali Khan for the last time and on finding out that I was from Hyderabad, he asked me about the Superintendent. He felt sorry for what he did and wanted me to convey his apologies to him.

That jail term actually ended Wali Khan’s short-lived political career in Pakistan. He wanted to come out of the jail and wanted to go back to Wali Bagh and his books. He reportedly made a deal with the army and his wife Begum Nasim Wali Khan, joined the rightwing ISI sponsored alliance that eventually led to the army coup of Gen. Zia ul Haq in Pakistan.

Interestingly, Begum Nasim Wali Khan was a phenomenal orator in both Urdu and Pashto. Her speeches against Bhutto and the Peoples’ Party moved crowds all over Pakistan in 1977. People in Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderabad would come to every rally where she was the main speaker. She made so many friends in Punjab that often people wondered as to why she was not the NAP leader instead of Wali Khan. She was articulate and made her case to Punjab with eloquence and dignity.

That aside, after 1977 Wali Khan the politician, had embarked on a slippery slope that continued to slide. He made compromises with the army, left his Baloch friends, refused to allow the liberals from Sindh and Punjab to join his political party, and finally declared “Islam humara deen” in his party’s manifesto.

Historians would judge Wali Khan’s contribution to Pakistani politics better than I could but if someone were to write the history of the Surkhposh movement in NWFP, they would not remember Wali Khan with the kind of reverence that was reserved for Khan Ghaffar Khan.

On Pakistan’s national political scene, he would still be remembered as a politician who for most of his career worked under the huge shadow of Khan Ghaffar Khan, but at times was able to bring a kind of honestly and straightforwardness to Pakistani politics that was often lacking in the politicians that worked under the different Muslim League banners.

Monday, 18 May 2015

CPEC- A Timeline of Changing Positions of the Government

 CPEC- A Timeline of Changing Positions of the Government
Over the last few months a huge debate generated on social, print & electronic media over the alleged changes to the original route of Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC)However, it got more intense during the recent visit of Chinese President where Pakistan & China signed a $ 45.6 billion MoU for Chinese investment in CPEC. Almost all political parties started their protests against PML-N government both inside and outside parliament over the changes in the original routeANP & PPP did separate All Parties Conferences to build a consensus against any changes to the original route. There were some protests too in the two smaller provinces against the alleged changes in CPEC route. The ruling PML-N government and its ministers response to these criticism is ambiguous, at best. These lines will try to give a brief time line of official response to the allegations of changes in the CPEC route. 

The latest response from the government came in a tweet from Mr Ahsan Iqbal on 30th April, 2015 where he gave a map, showing four routes for the CPEC.  Minister tweeted ‘CPEC routes: work in progress on all (routes) simultaneously and western (route) will be operational first. IA’. However the annual PSDP document of the planning commission & the 51 MoUs signed on 20thApril, 2015 negates ‘work in progress on all routes’. All 21 projects of CPEC mentioned in PSDP 2014-15 document is of developing eastern route only. Similarly, the MoUs signed with Chinese government has no investment commitment for the western route of CPECA week earlier, Planning Commission uploaded a map on its official website giving ‘Economic Nodes of CPEC’ without giving any map of the route(s) of the corridor

Probably the very first response from Government on the alleged changes in CPEC route came in June, 2014 in meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue when some opposition senatorquestion the proposed changes in the original route,Responding to a question, Secretary Planning & Development confirmed that “the proposal (to change the route) was on the table’ on request by Chinese Ambassador. Later, Mr Ahsan Iqbal joined the meeting and confirmed a change of plan on the corridor projectMr Iqbal said the government choose the eastern route (going through Punjab & Sindh) over the western route (going through KP & Balochistan) because it has some of the Early Harvest Projects (EHPs) which can be completed in 4-5 years. The minister argues that “the government would move to the next phase after reaping economic benefits of the first phase and by the time the national economy would become strong enough to take on big projects”. He further asked the opposition “to find out investors for constructing this important corridor on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis and then there will be no change in the original plan (western route).” 

In another meeting on 10th October, 2014 of a Senate’s Standing Committee on Communications, members from the smaller provinces reject exclusion of backward areas of Balochistan & KP from the Pak-China Corridor Route.Chairman Senate Standing Committee, Daud Khan Achakzai, complain that their earlier recommendations were not entertained by the government. The members of the committee expressed annoyance over the absence of the minister of state for communications from the meeting.

Fast forward to the senate session on 3rd February, 2015 and Ahsan Iqbal termed the reports of route change as ‘propaganda by forces that did not want to see improvement in Pakistan-China relations. However, in the same senate session, Mr Ahsan Iqbal told that “the government was considering using the existing infrastructure to benefit from trade with China and Central Asian States during the ‘interim period’ on China’s request”. While senators from the smaller provinces were complaining that the government changed the route to include Lahore, Multan, Sukkur & Hyderabad, the Minister call it only an ‘interim arrangement’ to use existing infrastructure.

In yet another meeting of the Senate Committee on foreign affairs on 5th February, 2015, NHA chairman told members of the committee that "Whatever we have done is with the consent of the Chinese authorities who told us that instead of waiting (for the original route), the existing road network could be used for making Gwadar port operational at the earliest." To which Senator Farhatullah Babar remarked that ‘once the the new alignment becomes operational it will, overtime, create its own vested interests and it will be impossible to revert to the initially planned alignment via D.I Khan and D.G Khan. Thus for all practical purposes the new alignment will become final and irrevocable. The senator further said that ‘the decision about the economic corridor’s alignment is fundamentally a political decision and has to be addressed at a political level; stating that it cannot be addressed by bureaucrats attending today’s meeting.’
After ANP did an APC on corridor on 18th February, 2015 to build consensus against changes in the original route, Mr Ahsan Iqbal started saying on public forums that ‘Economic corridor will have multiple routes’ and that ‘not a single inch (of the original plan) has been changed’. He alsotalked about the wrong maps been floated on the internet which to him are spreading confusion regarding corridor. Late in April, 2015, he started saying & tweeting that that the Western Route of CPEC will be completed in 2016 pointing out to the already completed work on N-85 & M-8.

It is also to be pointed out that earlier on 8th February, 2015, Planning Commission tweeted a map of the corridor from its official twitter account where only the eastern route was showed which was later deleted after strong criticism over it. Same (deleted) map is also given in annual report 2013 of Pakistan China Institute which is a non-government, non-partisan and non-political think tank. This particular think tank is headed by Mushahid Hussain Syed who is now co-chair of the newly founded think tank “Research and Development International (RANDI)”.   

Despite tremendous pressure on the current government from political parties, print, electronic and social media to come clear on the CPEC route change, the response of PML-N government is ambiguous at best. Their changing positions about the route(s) of CPEC and not sharing detail information about this important project with political parties and general public cast doubts about their intentions. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

QK archives: Senate elections 2003

Republished from DAWN archive for archival purposes.

Independents make dent

By Mohammed Riaz

Peshawar: The affluent independent candidates who ran for the Senate elections from NWFP have not only made a dent in the political parties, but shattered the confidence of the parties' leaders.

Three independent senators - Mohammad Azam Khan Swati, a former Mansehra Nazim, Waqar Ahmed, and his father Gulzar Ahmed, a former lieutenant of Benazir Bhutto - bagged the highest votes in the Senate election on Monday. The three worthy senators are known for their riches.

The three candidates have collectively polled 32 out of the valid 121 votes. Three votes were rejected.

Khalilur Rehman, alias 'Commander', who polled handsomely in a previous Senate election, has done very well this time again. This time he had managed a ticket of the ruling PML-Q and averted all gossip against him. But his fellow Leaguers are satisfied with him. He bagged nine votes.

The PPP and PML-N have emerged as the biggest losers in this election after the general elections. The PPP nominee, Sardar Ali Khan, polled only one vote out of the total of 10. The PML-N nominee, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, also got only one vote out of his party's five MPAs. But his brother-in-law, Mumtaz Abbasi from Hazara, Dr Saleem Khan from Swabi and Sardar Israrullah Khan from Dera Ismail Khan voted for Mr Mehtab Khan and he won the seat on the basis of these three votes.

Awami National Party's Asfandyar Wali Khan secured seven out of the 10 votes of his party. Three of the ANP's members sold out. The PPP-S has 13 MPAs, but its nominee Shujaul Mulk secured 10 votes with three of its legislators slipping out of its grasp.

The ruling alliance, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, has won seven general seats, two women's and two technocrat seats. The MMA has secured 11 out of the total of 24 seats. The JUI, leading component of the MMA, has given four MPAs to Azam Swati and he managed seven more out of the other parties' dissidents.

Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani too had expressed his hatred towards the horse-trading in the elections. One of the candidates offered Rs12 million to an MMA member, but he refused to sell out. That MPA is very poor. He has an old motorbike. But he stood like a towering mountain against the lucrative offer. We know that brokers remained active for the last several days, he told Dawn. Ibrahim Qasmi, Maulana Ismatullah, Qari Mehmood, Sardar Idrees, Maulana Mohammad Idrees, Akhtar Nawaz Khan, Ghaliba Khursheed and Shah Hussain were reportedly directed by the MMA to vote for Mr Azam Khan.

After his success, Mr Azam Khan told reporters that he was thankful to the JUI for its support, but he would not sit with MMA senators as he had nothing to do with the alliance.

Dr Saleem from Swabi told Dawn that all the seven independents are united under one banner, but they had much earlier agreed that they would not collectively cast their votes. Everybody was free to vote according to his conscience.

MPA Zar Gul, PML-Q, remained active the whole day on Monday to coordinate with MPAs who were to vote for the PML-Q nominee. The PPP and ANP drove their candidates in a motorcade from their respective secure locations to the assembly hall.

Chief Minister Durrani led the JUI men from the Frontier House to the assembly hall in the afternoon. They were the last ones who polled their votes.

QK archives: PPP & Senate 2003 elections

published by THE NEWS March 18 2003
republished for archival purposes solely.

Moment of truth for PPP in NWFP after Senate loss
By Rahimullah Yusufzai
PESHAWAR: Such is the seriousness of the crisis in the PPP following its disastrous performance in the recent Senate elections in the NWFP that the party leader Benazir Bhutto has summoned her 10 MPAs to Dubai to find out as to what went wrong.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on March 24. It might be delayed due to the serious illness of Begum Nusrat Bhutto. But sooner or later, the party leadership would have to tackle the problems that pose a challenge to the PPP unity in the province.
The PPP failed to win one of the general seats in the Senate despite having the requisite number of votes. Any candidate with 8.2 votes was sure to win the Senate's general seat in the first counting. The party's 10 MPAs would have easily elected the PPP candidate, Sardar Ali Khan, as a Senator had they voted for him. But Sardar Ali, a dedicated party leader and a former MNA, got only one vote and lost. His lone voter was Syed Zahir Ali Shah, son of another former MNA Syed Zafar Ali Shah, who earned praise for voting for the party nominee despite all kinds of temptations.
The nine votes of PPP MPAs remain unaccounted. Their opponents accuse them of selling the votes to wealthy independent candidates for the Senate. It is alleged that they voted for Gulzar Ahmad Khan and his son Waqar Ahmad Khan, who were both elected Senators. Ironically, the father and son were once PPP stalwarts and permanent hosts of Ms Bhutto in Lahore. Some people also claimed that four PPP MPAs voted for Mohammad Azam Swati, the rich former district nazim of Mansehra who became a Senator with JUI-F support.
The PPP MPAs did elect Farhatullah Babar as a Senator on one of the technocrats' seats. But that was no big deal because other parties such as the ANP and PML-Q with 10 MPAs each managed to win two Senate seats, one general and the second of technocrat. In real terms, the ANP had only seven votes because three of its MPAs didn't vote for the party candidate, Asfandyar Wali Khan. Still the party won a general and a technocrat seat and expelled the three vote-selling MPAs from the ANP. The PPP's inability to win a general seat fuelled speculations, including the one that accused the party's nine MPAs of selling their votes. The MPAs have consistently denied the allegation, arguing that they traded their votes to seek support for Babar from members of other opposition parties. The argument lacks conviction and is at best an effort to tide over the storms of protest on the PPP's failure to win two Senate seats from the Frontier.
The nine PPP MPAs now in the dock include the party's parliamentary leader and former NWFP Assembly Speaker Abdul Akbar Khan and former provincial minister Iftikhar Jhagra. Both are seasoned politician and were expected to lead their younger. Instead, they were accused of letting the party to go adrift. The other seven PPP MPAs all first timers in the provincial assembly are Qurban Ali Khan (Nowshera), Syed Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha (Malakand Agency), Tariq Khattak (Nowshera), Hamid Iqbal (Shangla), Mazhar Jamil Orakzai (Dera Ismail Khan), Salma Babar (Dera Ismail Khan), and Ms Muniba (Chitral).
The PPP's poor performance in the Senate polls had a negative effect on the party's unity. The party's provincial president Khwaja Mohammad Khan Hoti led a campaign to make the erring MPAs accountable. He was joined by general secretary Najmuddin Khan and Syed Qamar Abbas, who wisely withdrew from the Senate elections after reading the writing on the wall and made room for Sardar Ali Khan. Hoti and the others were emboldened by ANP's decision to expel its three vote-selling MPAs and made them make a similar demand. But it appears unlikely that Ms Bhutto would expel the nine PPP MPAs because it would be a big loss for the party and would reduce it to a one MPA group in the NWFP Assembly.
Hoti's opponents in the PPP have also become active to make their presence felt. This group is justifying the Senate polls result and refusing to accept blame for vote selling. The nine MPAs have played a pivotal role in making the point that none of them sold votes to the highest bidder among the independent candidates. Surprisingly, the group is getting precious support from Maj Gen (Retd) Naseerullah Babar, a former interior minister and governor of the NWFP. Babar, respected because of his clean reputation, threw caution to the wind when he starting supporting the nine MPAs. In the process, he earned scorn from PPP members and began losing his credibility among the people. It was defending the indefensible but Babar persisted with his line of argument.
Ms Bhutto, the final authority in the PPP, would have to decide the matter judiciously to save the party from further splits and divisions. It is going to be a difficult decision and would affect the party's future in the NWFP. Hoti and some of his supporters have threatened to quit the party if the nine MPAs are pardoned. And expelling them from the party would also mean a big loss, at least for the time being.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Interview with history:Ajmal Khattak

Originally published prior to the 2002 Pakistan general elections. This interview done by The NEWS on Sunday (September 2002)
Was after Ajmal Khattaks expulsion from the ANP and prior to his last electoral foray. He led the newly formed National Awami Party Pakistan. The party along with his former colleagues were routed by the newly formed religious political alliance the MMA. He then rejoined the ANP which he stated with till his death.

Ajmal Khan Khattak:
Marxist on the defensive

By Raza Rehman Khan Qazi

Ajmal Khan Khattak was a founding member of the now banned National Awami Party and some other progressive and leftist movements in Pakistan. Khattak has always been a down right Marxist-Leninist. He has been the leader of the house in the Senate and a long time president of ANP. He was expelled from the latter for alleged deals with the military government of Musharraf. Subsequently, he formed a new party by the name of National Awami Party Pakistan.

In a recent interview with Political Economy, he talked about his separation from the ANP and the formation of NAP, the chaos of domestic politics, his personal philosophies and the changing global scenario. Excerpts follow:

PE: What were the reasons for your separation from ANP?

AK: Till now I am unable to comprehend my sin for which I was expelled, because in the last meeting Wali Khan warmly said adieu to me. But after three days I was given a notice in which it was written that you covertly and without the party's consultation met military generals and held a press conference.

PE: It is alleged that your return from self-exile and playing an important role in Pakistani politics after 1988 has been a result of secret deals with the military?

AK: We did not return through a deal. When we were returning we thought we would be arrested, therefore, instead of all our paraphernalia we brought one suitcase. Had we made a deal with someone we would have made it with PPP or PML-N, and if these parties have any proof of any deals they should bring them to light.

The fact of the matter is that when Musharraf came he met me on his own desire, and subsequently when I said that there was a silver lining and progressivism in his words from this the impression developed.

PE: What was the purpose of the meeting?

AK: Musharraf told me that he had come into power; the matter that how and why he came was not discussed. He said that he wanted to ameliorate the country and I should support him in this. I told Musharraf to ask his fellow generals and I would ask my party. Later, he offered me to come in the government. I replied that I want to serve the people and it can better be done in politics and not in power. Before Musharraf, I had seen only one other general and that was Mirza Aslam Beg as a civilian. The first general I have seen in uniform and that stuck to me was Musharraf. In fact, I raised the clamour of national conciliation in Sharif's time as I sensed the danger to the country and regarded as a time bomb. When Musharraf came he asked me how this danger could be averted. I replied, through national conciliation.

PE: What do you mean by national conciliation?

AK: No one else could comprehend its meanings. It means jirga, in which all the people set aside old animosities and gather for conciliation against a common enemy. I meant that the country was faced with a danger and all the military, ulema, politicians, intellectuals, technocrats and bureaucrats should sit together and find ways to avert it.

PE: You are also charged with forming a King's Party

AK: Had I not been given a notice by ANP in an absurd manner and I had not left the party wilfully, then it might have been possible for me to have acted selfishly or someone else would have offered me a deal. In the notice that I received from ANP, only three days were given to me to clarify, while in the next day's papers it was given that if he (Ajmal) had decency he should tender his resignation. So, the ANP leadership should be asked whether I left the party or they expelled me. In fact, I revived the Party (former NAP) which they left. Had I joined some party the blame would have been just. NAP was founded by people like Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, Mian Iftikharuddin, Baccha Khan etc. I, in league with certain friends from Karachi, formed Pukhtoon Students Federation and had been a key player in NAP. Wali Khan was not a candidate of NAP's presidentship. He was not a council member. When in Peshawar, elections for party's council were being held two candidates Mahmud Ali Qasoori and Usmani were vying for presidentship; but in case of a lockjaw we--I and one Saddiq Khan--decided to bring a third person in the form of Wali Khan.

PE: Is it true that ANP is a party of one single family?

AK: The people with whom I spent half a century, I cannot say anything against them.

PE: Nationalists and progressive are charged of receiving funding by former USSR?

AK: I was in Kabul and Moscow and could be the most effective conduit for such funding. Had we received funding from a super power, would I be living so humbly here (pointing towards his mud resident)? We did not receive funding from anyone.

PE: Pukhtoon nationalists are believed to be unIslamic. Please comment.

AK: If Pukhtoon nationalists mean Abdul Ghaffar Khan's (Bachha Khan) movement, it was never unIslamic. Even my very own National Democratic Movement was not anti-Islam. In fact, it was the first article of erstwhile NAP's constitution that no law would be made repugnant to Quran and Sunnah.

PE: Do you think that the solution of Pakistan's problem is a new social contract or constitution?

AK: The solution of Pakistan's complex and convoluted problems is not amendments or a (new) constitution. The only remedy is that on the basis of national conciliation old and dilapidated political culture be done away with and to make Pakistan a modern, welfare, democratic, federal, Islamic, and republican State. Otherwise, all ways except national conciliation are heading towards complete destruction. National conciliation does not mean a new social contract. It means various religions, beliefs, languages, nations, cultures, that are the soul and substance of Pakistan should sit together and pledge its solidarity. Pakistan can go forward only through such mechanism; otherwise, the situation would be regrettable leading to utter destruction of unimaginable measures. Today, mullahs have joined but irreconcilable differences lurk beneath.

I told Musharraf that no one likes your different amendments. Let the people gather and you should not fear them; then we would think what kind of elections to hold. But no one listens.

PE: Are there any chances of establishment of some kind of democracy after elections?

AK: In the name of terrorism an international coalition was formed which today is unstable. It could not bring peace to Afghanistan and the argument that the Taliban have finished, is erroneous. Their roots spread into Pakistan's tribal areas and other places. While Kashmir is also a very dangerous issue, armies are eyeball to eyeball. In Iraq, hostilities have started. Bush has become mad and wants to kill people. So Pakistanis, whether progressive or not, would oppose this on Islamic and anti-American grounds. Al Qaeda, Muslims and Pakistanis would stand up and there would be chaos. Moreover, people in Pakistan are very hard pressed and with the economic difficulties aggravating they would start to loot and plunder. So, to say that after elections there would be peace is wrong. I reckon how we would go to the parliament and what kind of a parliament it would be and what decisions it would take.

PE: Do you mean that elections are unfeasible?

AK: Elections were necessary anyway, after reaching at a national conciliation. I am telling you a dangerous thing. If we say that yesterday so and so was thief and oppressor and be left out then how many would be left out because most of them were thieves. Now if you do not bring them in, for how long they would stay out. We, Pukhtoons, bring the vagabond to jirga so that he is stopped from making mischief. So how elections would be held when so and so are not allowed to contest. As for conciliation, it may be difficult but not impossible. In fact, all those who oppose conciliation their interests would be affected.

PE: Then why is your party contesting?

AK: We cannot win elections nor we are contesting them for a win. A number of people came to me for tickets including nawabs. Our party would have been the fourth largest runner in these elections had we given tickets to everyone.

PE: Do you think elections would be held?

AK: Elections are incompatible with the circumstances.

PE: What are the salient features of NAP's manifesto?

AK: Our manifesto is based on three things and how to rectify them. First, to think that despite of having all natural and human resources why Pakistan is in a state of retrogression. Unfortunately, with Pakistan's creation a system was put into place that was pro-imperialist, anti-people, and a mechanism of loot and plunder. Second, politics and government has become a struggle for power. Third, masses, nations, women, minorities got ignored--rather destroyed--so a reaction erupted.

PE: What, do you think, would be the structure of the next government, after the amendments and National Security Council?

AK: The greatest mistake in Pakistan's political culture has been the constant strengthening of military and bureaucracy and weakening of politics. In fact, both military and bureaucracy are very strong, while other civil society organisations are their slaves. The use of force is not a remedy. As far as the role of military is concerned it should not be more than the constitutional one--that of defense of the State. However, in today's emergency situation, if you admit or not, it has attained a role which we have to remedy.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

QK Archives: Afghanistan: Experiment in Democracy (1961-1973)

republished from the Paul Wolf online archive. This is reproduced solely for educational purposes

Afghanistan: Experiment in Democracy

Documents from the U.S. National Archives, 1961-1973

1964 Constitution
Establishment of Parliamentary System
Provincial Reorganization
Reorganization of the Ministry of Justice
Reorganization of the Courts
Social Guidance Department
Freedom of Speech
Role of Islamic Law

Official Languages
Women's Rights
Religious Conservatism
Plot to Remove Daud
Second Five-Year Plan
Kabul-Kandahar Highway
The Afghan Left


The specific objectives of the program are: creation of an independent judicial system; training of personnel in adequate numbers; reorganization of the Ministry of Justice; and drafting of new laws to fill gaps in the legal codes. ... Existing law is to be revised and enlarged and six Advisory Committees have been set up to undertake the task. These committees will report to a newly established Law Department in the Ministry of Justice. Ministry of Justice Announces Court and Legal Reform Program, July 25, 1964

1964 Constitution
Official and popular reaction to the new Constitution, which the King signed October 1, has been generally positive. Although information available from the provinces is fragmentary, it appears that there as well as in Kabul a significant portion of the populace understands the import of this reformative document. This segment appears heartened by its relatively liberal provisions as well as by the belief that the behavior of the Loya Jirga while adopting the Constitution in Kabul (A-141) indicates that Afghanistan is prepared for the experiment in democracy entailed in the Constitution. Proclamation of and Reaction to New Constitution, Oct. 10, 1964

Despite the fact that the new constitution has effectively removed powerful members of the Royal Family from the political scene and that many of its provisions aimed at social improvement represent marked departures from the traditional habits, customs and mores of this bastion of Muslim conservatism, the passage of the Constitution from the first draft to promulgation was a calm one. Politico-Economic Assessment, Jan. 23, 1965

Establishment of Parliamentary System
[I]t is interesting to note that the small group which Hamidullah reports has been formed by the King as a means of combating Soviet influences seems to be more or less the same informal group as was active last summer in assuring that the constitution passed smoothly through the Loya Jirga. The Embassy suspects that this group may now have a comparable function on the internal political scene, namely that of assuring that the parliamentary elections scheduled for next September do not produce too independent or headstrong a legislature. Hamidullah has himself commented privately to the Embassy that the new parliament would have to be controlled in somewhat the same way as the former legislature, since Afghanistan is not yet ready for real democracy. Comments by Mohammedzai Leaders on Soviet Influence and Royal Preoccupation with Afghanistan's Position, March 23, 1965

The Law on Basic Administration of the State, promulgated last October, provided the framework for the reorganization of the Executive and Legislative Branches of the RGA in accordance with the 1964 Constitution. ... The organization of the Cabinet, Parliament, Provincial Councils and especially the provincial administration are all carefully defined in the law. The authority and character of the Executive Branch are also defined, as are the responsibilities of each Cabinet Minister; the provinces are subdivided into sub-provinces, counties and boroughs; and the organizational structure of the provincial government is explained. Law on Basic Administration of the State, May 5, 1966

By the end of 1972, after nearly a decade of trial and error, King Zahir's "experiment" with parliamentary government has reached a standstill. Afghanistan's political system, despite its modern trappings, continued to operate more along tribal than parliamentary lines. ... Each of the last three governments under the 1964 Constitution had been paralyzed by, and eventually succumbed to, the deadlock with the Parliament and the chaos in the Cabinet which appear to be inherent in the system. ... King Zahir's blueprint for democracy was to provide a representative parliamentary system over which he could retain absolute control. With the King remaining aloof from the daily governmental process and refraining from direct exercise of his powers, the Afghans would learn over time to operate the system responsibly, while the King retained the necesary power to ensure stability during the transition period. ... Both the executive and legislative branches look to the King for direction, support, and authority. When the King wishes a bill to pass, he is able to persuade the deputies to pass it. when the deputies oppose a government proposal, they complain directly to the King to have it stopped. As the King has endeavored to stay aloof from day-to-day operations, the result has been long periods of government paralysis punctuated by royal action. ... Despite its trappings of parliamentary democracy, the Government in Afghanistan until recently revealed many of the characteristics of an absolute monarchy run along Afghanistan's traditional tribal jirgah lines. Afghanistan: Both Government and Political System Face Trial, March 30, 1973

Provincial Reorganization
The reorganization of Afghanistan's provinces and local government was effective last March 21, the beginning of the Afghan year. Since then, and after making several changes, provincial boundaries have been firmly established. ... Article 43 of the new Constitution provides that one member of the lower house of Parliament will be elected from each constituency. The number of constituencies and their boundaries is left to be determined by law. In general each constituency will coincide with an ususwali, the largest subdivision of a province and governed by an uluswas (formerly known as a hakim). Many, but not all, ususwalis are further divided into allaqadaris. Allaqadaris, each of which is governed by an allaqadar, will usually not be large enough to be separate constituencies. There may be exceptions in cases where allaqadaris are directly under the provincial governor, as sometimes happens. Thus, the number of uluswalis in a given ethnic region and also their boundaries will determine to a large extent how well the ethnic group concerned will be represented in the new Parliament to be elected in a year's time. Afghanistan's New Administrative Boundaries and Organization, Oct. 10, 1964

Law No. 2, dealing with the administration of government in the provinces, establishes the line of organization for provincial administrative assemblies. In effect, this is a revised type of governor's council or cabinet, with representation headed by the governor, the sub-governor and the chief accountant and security commander of the province. In effect, there is thus established in the province in the office of the governor (Ministry of Interior) with other central ministry officials also stationed in a given province. Transmittal of New Legislation Pertaining to the Ministry of Justice and Provincial Administration, April 20, 1965

Reorganization of the Ministry of Justice
Shafiq said that the Ministry of Justice was being reorganized and its authority being expanded. Under the new Constitution, there will be a separate judiciary, prosecution will be separated from the police function, and an office of attorney general will be created which will enjoy considerable authority. (At present each Ministry has its own attorney's office.) The office of the attorney general will be patterned after that of the United States. It will concentrate on crime and investigation and will also supervise prisons. The Ministry of the Interior, which Shafiq said had not yet been informed of these plans, would retain the job of keeping the peace. The Ministry of Justice would also be responsible for drafting new legislation. ... Describing the size of the existing court establishment for which the Ministry of Justice is now responsible, Shafiq said that there are six courts in Kabul dealing with administrative and commercial affairs, 20 high courts, and a total of 300 courts in all of Afghanistan, each of which employs from three to five persons; there is also the Supreme Court which will have expanded prestige and functions under the new Constitution. Plans of Ministry of Justice: Request for U.S. Assistance, Feb. 16, 1964

Two provisions inherent in the new Constitution especially will require appropriate legal institutions to make them effective. One is the requirement that "due process" will be followed in judicial proceedings, and the other is the "presumption of innocence" of the defendant in criminal cases. Since under traditional court proceedings persons charged with crimes bore the whole burden of proving themselves innocent, no elaborate investigative appratus was needed by the government. Further Progress in Reorganization in Ministry of Justice, May 9, 1964

An attorney general's office is to be established within the Ministry of Justice. The attorney general would be assisted by an appropriate staff and would have offices in the provinces. Leaving the police to concentrate on crime prevention, attorney general staff members would investigate all crimes as soon as they are discovered, assemble evidence, and determine whether and how to prosecute the case before the courts. The attorney general's office would have sufficient authority and facilities to perform its functions as investigator and prosecutor. It is not known whether or not a state defender's office or some similar agency will be established to protect the interests of those charged with crimes, but plans do provide for the training and use of defense attorneys in court cases. Further Progress in Reorganization in Ministry of Justice, May 9, 1964

Law No. 1 provides for the establishment of a "Department for the Administration of Government Cases." Along lines roughly equivalent to the U.S. Office of the Solicitor-General, this law establishes routines for the representation of cases in which the RGA is a party, involving suits versus private persons. Transmittal of New Legislation Pertaining to the Ministry of Justice and Provincial Administration, April 20, 1965

An item of legislation entitled "Administration of Judgments and Law-Making," Law No. 3, sets up an organization within the Ministry of Justice which will serve as a type of legislative reference service, but from the language of the legislation may go beyond that role in actually drafting laws and regulations to [be] brought before the "Shora", the lower house of the national legislature. Transmittal of New Legislation Pertaining to the Ministry of Justice and Provincial Administration, April 20, 1965

A final item of legislation is contained in Law No. 4 "Organization of the Attorney-General's Office." The title is somewhat misleading, perhaps, in that apart from setting out the organization of this new government entity under the Ministry of Justice, this legislation also establishes the lines of authority of the attorney-general's office vis-a-vis the police. It also contains certain civil rights provisions, as in Article 19 in that a citizen may not be held more than 48 hours without specific court permission - presumably without having been specifically charged. Transmittal of New Legislation Pertaining to the Ministry of Justice and Provincial Administration, April 20, 1965

Reorganization of the Courts
According to present plans, a system of courts on four levels is to be established. District courts of the kind presently in existence, which meet as the need arises in mosques and other public buildings, will be increased in number. ... Above them will be one provincial court for each of the twenty-nine recently constituted provinces. Provincial courts may have original jurisdiction in more important or serious cases. At the next higher level will be seven appellate courts. The Supreme Court will stand immediately above the appellate courts and will have nine members, probably appointed by the King on the nomination of the Prime Minister for long terms but not for life. Judges at lower levels would also be appointed for fixed terms. As yet undefined measures would be taken to protect the independence of the judiciary. Further Progress in Reorganization in Ministry of Justice, May 9, 1964

We fully agree with CT view that Afghan request for assistance in legal and judicial field could provide unique opportunity for US influence in this important area. Confidential Telegram from State Department, May 5, 1964

The Justice official responded in some detail to a query as to what provisions are to be made for defense counsel, in the midst of all the activity surrounding creation of an office of attorney-general. Kamawi admiitted that this represented a problem, but said that a law approved by the Cabinet would shortly be published which would provide for the establishment of an organized bar. Kamawi pointed out that there are innumnerable persons around the country, admittedly untrained, who have long practiced what he termed "Afghan common law." Comments of Deputy Minister of Justice on Judicial Reforms, Feb. 16, 1965

The Afghan judicial system has not changed appreciably despite the enactment of the Constitution in October 1964. Grandiose plans to enlarge the court system, expand the Ministry of Justice to train personnel, draft new codes and administer the new system were drawn up and announced in the belief that the Ministry would be the best place to fashion the independent judiciary envisaged by the Constitution. Further, criminal court procedures were to be greatly modified so as to give the Ministry of Justice direct control over police investigations, arrests and indictments. While the Ministry was slightly expanded, some personnel trained and numerous codes drafted, the court system has been only slightly improved, not enlarged, and the Ministry of Interior retains control over criminal matters. The Afghan people do not yet appear ready for such sweeping changes and have done little in the provinces to cooperate with the new Justice officials in the places where they have appeared. Judicial Reform Slows Down, Dec. 19, 1966

Social Guidance Department
The Social Guidance Department, therefore, was entrusted in 1951 with the task of keeping an eye on the mullahs, of trying to use them as propaganda instruments for the regime, and through them to obtain greater influence over the populace at large. ... Since the Ministry of Education controls the teaching profession, it would appear that the government consciously or unconsciously has a dichotomous approach. On the one hand, it is working through the Social Guidance Department to foster support among the mullahs while, on the other hand, giving somewhat freer expression of support for reform among other branches of the government where the officials are working or will be recruited. Presumably the government's pressure on the mullahs and freedom of expression will grow when the King agrees that the time has come to promulgate the new draft constitution. Social Guidance Department and Reform, Feb. 12, 1964

Freedom of Speech
The current criticism against the draft press law (A-299, February 27, 1965) indicates that some of the intelligensia have not given up all hope of reform, but still believe that pressure can be exerted to amend draft legislation in a manner that will be conducive to greater liberalism in this country. Others of the intelligensia, although skeptical of the government's bona fides, nevertheless are preparing to take advantage of whatever additional freedoms of speech and assembly that may be granted to them eventually under the reform program (A-275, February 6, 1965). Expression of Discontent re Reform Program, March 9, 1965

The Daud government was unpopular because of the harshness and avarice of its officials at the local level. In his own area, Mukkur, he could testify that for every one afghani that was due to the government in taxes, 8 1/2 afghanis were extorted by the officials; for example, water for irrigation, supposedly to be supplied as a matter of course at a nominal rate, would not be supplied to farmers unless they paid money to the officials for this privilege. Innocent persons were arrested in the wake of a crime and then forced to buy their freedom from jail. The former Governor of Baghlan had fired a hakim who refused to turn his daughter over to the pleasures of the Governor. Taraki asserted that many of these abuses could be terminated or alleviated if there were a free press ... Additional Commentary on Afghan Political Developments, Dec. 7, 1963

Abdul Basir HAKIMI, recently appointed Acting Director-General of Security in the Ministry of the Interior, told Embassy officers on January 13 that Prime Minister YUSUF is too afraid of former Prime Minister DAUD to release the 475 political prisoners still held. Comments of Official of Ministry of Interior, January 18, 1964

Hashim related the foregoing to the developing political system in Afghanistan. He said that Afghanistan's present system of development, and the pressures on the country from without, stipulated that the government should advance cautiously into the area of permissive political activity. It would be best, he said, if only one political party (pro-government) were established under the new Constitution. The number of intellectuals is too small to permit their diffusion into two or more parties which would have a divisive influence at a time when domestic unity is required. An opposition party would be irresponsible, but might be permitted after a few years. Hasihm added that Prime Minister Yusuf, with whom Hashim worked closely when Yusuf was Minister of Mines and Industry, beleives in a program as just described. Mines and Industry Official Comments on Soviet Aid and Related Political Aspects, March 16, 1965

Students appeared lack direction and organization, mainly shouting defiance of authority and desire hear parliamentary debate despite government ban. No evidence anti-foreign bias or attacks on foreign offices, including USAID, located along scene of action. SITREP on Student Demonstrations, Oct. 25, 1965

Role of Islamic Law
Thirty Afghan judges have returned from Cairo after a study and observation tour and have returned to work, mostly in the Kabul area. In-service training is planned for them, as well as for other Justice Ministry officials. Legal reforms are expected to be based upon and drawn from Koranic Law and will utilize models taken from other Muslim countries. Justice Ministry Continues Effort to Establish Modern Judicial System to Implement New Constitution, August 22, 1964

Shafiq expresssed special satisfaction over approval Art 102 which represents "historical change" since where Constitution silent it permits courts apply "principles" Hanafite jurisprudence rather than searching for precedents out of dim past. Confidential Telegram from Kabul Embassy, Sept. 17, 1964

Founders of the Afghan judiciary envisioned a system whereby cases would be adjudicated first on the basis of the Hanafi code of jurisprudcence and the Constitution and second on the growing body of secular law passed by the Parliament. Since Article 64 of the Constitution prohibits laws contrary to the basic principles of Islam, secular law in theory would fill the gaps in religious law and there would be few conflicts in the law. ... Mr. Williams states, on the other hand, "My view is that the system is equally at fault because the new secular laws are borrowed from Western countries and do not reflect Islamic cultural patterns -- hence no one really obeys them and judges do not understand how to apply them. The greatest need is for laws that are developed locally in response to local needs and reflecting local practices rather than copied from Western codes." A Review of the Afghan Judiciary, July 18, 1971


Official Languages
There are some indications that the RGA may intend to place more emphasis on Pushtu, but it is doubted that a really serious effort in this direction will be made. It seems more likely that limited bows to Pushtu will be made, perhaps to allay the apprehensions of those Pushtuns who fear that the downgrading of Pushtunistan, particularly as evidenced in the reduction in propaganda, may foreshadow a further decline in RGA support for Pushtu language and culture in Afghanistan. Indications that RGA May Place More Emphasis on Pushtu, July 13, 1963

Dr. Abdul Zaher, President of the National Assembly and Chairman of the Constitutional Advisory Commission, told the DCM shortly before the Commission completed its work on May 14 that the draft Constitution envisages a significant change concerning language policy. Dr. Zaher said that there would be, as there is now, two official languages, Pashtu and Farsi, but the latter henceforth would be "dahri." ... Differences over language, which are closely correlated to differences between the dominant Pashtuns and the subordinate Farsi-speaking ethnic groups, came to a head within the Commission during March when a Pashtun member of the Commission suggested that the draft Constitution employ phraseology which would commit the government to support the purity of Pashtu and emphasize its use as a national language. "Farsi-Dahri" to be Official Language, May 23, 1964

In fulfillment of Article 35 of the new constitution, the Prime Minister has given orders, announced in the press November 4, for the preparation of a program for the promotion of the Pushtu language. ... Among the activities forseen are the translation of an increased number of foreign works into Pushtu, the improvement of Pushtu teaching methods, the sending of Pushtu scholars abroad to study philology, and the encouragement of artistic performances in Pushtu. RGA to Prepare "Comprehensive Program" to Promote Pushtu Language, Nov. 14, 1964

Women's Rights
This proposal has excited considerable local comment to the effect that it represents a second major move in the direction of mordernization parallel to the removal of the chadri (the head-to-toe covering for females) in 1959. Although the proposal does not call for permitting women to attend Fateh ceremonies together with men, it is a significant departure from traditional Moslem religious practice, and especially noteworthy in a country in which the chadri was obligatory until four years ago. It undoubtedly reflects a genuine RGA desire to continue the process of feminine emancipation begun under former Prime Minister Daud. Proposal to Permit Women to Hold Mourning Ceremonies (Fateh) in Kabul Mosques, July 14, 1963

One of the feminine members of the Jirga nearly caused a commotion at the Jirga when she proposed that the Constitution be amended to contain specific language guaranteeing the political and social rights of women (A-141). The Institute's meeting suggests that some feminists plan to awaken greater interest among women on this issue and that Watan is prepared to assist this development. Proclamation of and Reaction to New Constitution, Oct. 10, 1964

These first four elections are to be held in the provincial capitals of Jalalabad and Kunduz, plus two other unspecified towns and are to be by secret ballot with women encouraged for the first time to vote. It is understood that the latter development has been acceded to by the Prime Minister reluctantly at the behest of Shafiq and Kayeum, because he was said to fear criticism from conservative elements. However, the Kayeum-Shaifq view has prevailed, at least for the present, that the momentum of recent reform measures must be maintained and that assuring women the right to vote is a next logical step. Municipal Elections Slated as Trial Runs, April 3, 1965

Delegation five prominent Afghan women departed March 7 for three-week visit Communist China at invitation National Federation Chinese Women to observe women's organizations and schools. Group includes Mrs. Saleha Etemadi, President Afghan Women's Institute, and Mrs. Rona Farhadi, wife of MFA DIRGEN Polaff. Comment: visit reflects continuing Chicom campaign to woo Afghans with cultural exchange. Afghan Women Visit Communist China, March 10, 1966

Religious Conservatism
Dr. Abdul Kayeum, governor of Girishk and Vice-President of the Helmand Valley Authority, recently told an American that religious fanaticism in the Kandahar area of Southern Afghanistan presents a possible serious threat to the American Community in the area. He added that there has been no progress in removing the veil in Kandahar since the December 1959 riots primarily because the present Governor is unsuitable. ... The embassy believes that Dr. Kayeum has exaggerated the dangers to the American community in the South; somewhat overstated the lack of progress in removing the veil; and greatly oversimplified the causes for the Kandahar area's continued religious conservatism. Memorandum of Conversation with Dr. Abdul Kayeum, Nov 23, 1962

In wake of Pakistan disturbances, certain groups in Kabul have been attempting to stir interest in blasphemous book "Turkish Art of Love" by a "Dr. Pinhas". So far provocateurs have had little success although small demonstration took place Jan. 17. Book "Turkish Book of Love," January 18, 1971

Believe RGA action most unfortunate, but agree that USG role is to remind RGA of negative impact on U.S. public when it becomes known that RGA has deliberately demolished only Christian edifice in Afghanistan. Christian Community Church, Feb. 27, 1973

[N]ow appears likely that private Protestant missionary-supported medical assistance programs in Afghanistan (Noor Eye Clinic and medical assistance program) will be terminated by RGA on grounds that medical personnel have engaged in illegal missionary activity. Community Christian Church and Related Religious Organizations, March 30, 1973

Khalili explained ... that he was personally intensely interested in the "Pan Islamic" movement, of which he was an enthusiastic supporter and advocate, from the standpoint of Afghan interest. He held forth at some length on this topic. Afghans were "working closely" with likeminded elements in other Islamic countries, espeically with "Iranian friends," to promote the idea of Pan-Islamic unity and cooperation, and he proposed to continue in that direction with such Middle East leaders as King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and King Hussain of Jordan. He freely acknowledged Pan-Islamism to be a deliberate effort by "conservative interests" in the Middle East to counteract the influence and power of adventurist, left-leaning Nasserism. Conversation with Erstwhile Conservative Political Leader Khalilullah Khalili, Lately Turned Diplomat, March 17, 1966

In the course of a courtesy call today, the new Afghan Ambassador Khalilullah KHALILI, told me he had discussed with King Faisal, on the occasion of his recent presentation of credentials to the King, the Afghan Government's attitude toward Islamic solidarity. ... With the Soviet Union on its northern flank and exercising a great attraction on Afghan youth, the GOA cannot afford publicly to espouse policies which are objectionable to the USSR. One such item is King Faisal's "Islamic Solidarity" concept. Thus, while the GOA favors greater Islamic solidarity and privately wishes the King well in his efforts to forge it, the GOA cannot at this time openly support the concept. Afghan Ambassador's Comments on Islamic Solidarity, May 18, 1966


Conversation after dinner turned to Soviet relations, being introduced by my remarks earlier in the evening to Amin Etemadi, expressing some surprise that an Afghan women's delegation, including his own wife, should be duped into attending the Communist front women's conference in Moscow. This conference was obviously being broadcast earlier in the evening from conference participants who were obviously parroting the communist line. I expressed the view that for a country that professed to bend over backwards to be neutral, it did not seem very fitting for Afghans voluntarily to associate themselves with such an unneutral conference. ... In an attempt to point out that they did do things that were extremely difficult to explain to the communists, Abdul Hai remarked that, as an example, the Russians could not understand Afghanistan's accepting such operatations as the Peace Corps. No matter what we all know about the objectives of the Peace Corps, the Soviets considered it penetration and were suspicious of Afghanistan for engaging in these and other activities that seemed to give proof of their Western orientation. I saw no point in allowing him to equate U.S. activities in Afghanistan of such an obvious philanthropic type as the Peace Corps with communist tactics directed at subversion and told him very straightforwardly that, although some might consider it a very smug thing to say, one just had to recognize that there was a vast difference between the motivation of the United States and the Soviets in carrying out these various activities. ... He said Afghanistan was really in a very frightening position. They had to maintain the facade of friendliness with the Soviets, for they really feared what the results would be if they overstepped the bounds of propriety and antagonized the Soviets. Memorandum of Converation with Abdul Hai Aziz, June 25, 1963

An official of the Ministry of Justice who is a Mohammedzai, or member of the extended Royal Family, and has a wide range of contacts expressed growing concern over Soviet influence in Afghanistan to the drafting officer March 8, 1965. ... He said that Soviet pressure on the Afghan government is increasing and predicted that Afghanistan could be reduced to helplessness within the next year, although he continues to believe that effective counteraction is possible. ... The source expressed his belief that the Soviet Embassy supports its "proteges" whereas the American Embassy does not. As a result, those associated with the Soviets have considerable influence. Moreover, the Soviets have demonstrated the ability to change the persuasion of key figures. ... The source said that he and his group had decided to change their tactics vis-a-vis the Soviet Embassy in view of increasing Soviet influence. Previously they have tended to evade the numerous and persistent attempts of Soviet officials to cultivate them. Now the group has decided to associate with the Soviets more often in a bid to protect themselves from attack and to be better able to work against the Soviets. Concern over Soviet Influence, March 13, 1965

A USAID officer was informed March 26th that Lt. Gen Mohammed ALI, commander of the Afghan Gendermerie under the Minister of the Interior, would depart Kabul March 31st for a six day visit to Moscow. According to the informant, Mohammed Mussa Naimi, "chief commissioner" (as he rendered his title) of the security and criminal division of police at Mazar-i-Sharif, the visiting party would comprise five people including Naimi. ... It is assumed that the other RGA officials going on the trip have similarly been invited by their "opposite numbers". Afghan Gendarmerie Commander Reportedly to Visit Moscow, March 30, 1965

The Soviet Union has a number of objectives deleterious to U.S. interests and has given its relations with Afghanistan a high priority -- over a billion dollars in economic and military aid. The Soviets have had the immediate aims of limiting U.S. influence and any sort of Western alignment. In the longer run, the USSR probably aspires to control the area, either directly or indirectly through a sympathetic leftist regime, in pursuance of its historic aim of a direct land link with the sub-continent and access to the Indian Ocean. It is likely the Soviet Union expects to achieve this central objective without the use of force. Rather, it probably hopes that current efforts to establish clandestine intelligence and political action resources, its strong position within the Afghan military forces, the cautious encouragement of a socialist bias in the nation's economic life, its favorable position in Afghan trade, the careful dissemination of propaganda, and the opportunitites offered by training hundreds of Afghans will pave the way for Soviet success. Afghanistan: A Policy Review, Oct 24, 1968

Believe the Department should be aware that information reaching us from both overt and covert sources reveals a rash of rumor that what is taking place in Afghanistan is result of adriot US engineering. This belief being disseminated by both friends and antagonists for quite different reasons. Telegram from Kabul Embassy, March 13, 1963

Rasul has proven most helpful in establishing better working relationships for the CARE-MEDICO mission in Kabul and is believed to be quite western in his orientation and outlook. New Afghan Ambassadors Reported Assigned, April 6, 1965

Some weeks ago an Ariana plane unloaded eight boxes in Kandahar, each of which contained an American 50 caliber machine gun. One of the boxes was addressed to the Iranian Air Force in Tehran but the other seven had no addresses. ... As a result of the investigation, it appears that the guns were part of a larger shipment from the United States consigned to the Iranian Air Force in Tehran. At Frankfort, Germany Pan American Airlines loaded the guns onto a plane of Ariana/Afghan Airlines destined for Beirut, Tehran and Kandahar. At Beirut the original shipment in three large packages had to be broken in order to facilitate balanced loading of the plane. As a result, eight boxes which had been tied together were separated and by mistake remained on the plane in Tehran. Misrouting of U.S. Machine Guns to Afghanistan, March 14, 1968

The Youth Committee and Country Team believe that we have a fair understanding of the political and social attitudes of youth and their likely political effect in the next few years within the context of the existing power structure. Impact of Youth and the U.S. National Interest, April 15, 1970

The Potential Leaders Biographic Reporting List (PLBRL) submitted in A-67 of April 24, 1969, provided an excellent guide to Afghanistan's potential leaders and was very much appreciated. The response from the Post to the second cycle of the program was outstanding and surpassed the equally excellent response received for the initial cycle. Of the 147 individuals on the list, reporting has been received on approximately fifty-one percent. Appraisal of Reporting Response to the 1969-70 PLBRL for Afghanistan, Feb 2, 1971

Community files have been screened to determine the extent and quality of information currently available on the 1971-72 PLBRL personalities. A description of the file holdings by individual personality is attached, so that the Post can focus its attention and collection efforts on filling existing gaps and avoiding duplication of information already in file. For the sake of consistency the positions of the PLBRL personalities remain as stated in your A-31. Commentary on the 1971-72 PLBRL for Afghanistan, August 5, 1971

As he was leaving the house, he said -- seemingly in jest -- that the Moslem Youth had the weapons to fight the Russians. As proof he pulled an automatic pistol (about 25 cal.) from his belt, smiled, and waved it for me to see. I asked if it was loaded; he said yes and that they had a lot more. Another smile. As he left he promised to bring me some "documents" -- samples of the kind of literature he and his groups were circulating. He returned as promised a week later. In the meantime, the Embassy had the opportunity to check his bona fides; he could have been a provacateur, but from Embassy files he appeared to be a genuine young fanatic. Merajuddin: Portrait of a Moslem Youth Extremist, May 29, 1972

Plot to Remove Daud
Dept concerned at obvious risk if Daud comes to suspect that Emb involved in any effort remove him or even that Emb is aware of the effort. Emb should give no encouragement or promises, no matter how conditioned, of US support inthe event of further approaches of this nature. At same time we realize report in REFTEL reflects the temper of segment of Royal Family and other important elements in Afghanistan, and that US must stay on tip of situation in order to be prepared for Daud's possible fall. You and CAS [CIA HQ] should work out most appropriate means maintaining coverage. Dept strongly of opinion USAID channel should not be used. Secret LIMDIS Telegram from WASHDC, Oct. 18, 1962

In view recent reports from Kabul request Embs assessment of Soviet reaction to possible change of Govt in Afghanistan involving replacement Primin Daud by other members of Royal Family would would strive steer more truly neutral course for Afghanistan. Possible change could be peaceful but might lead to internal struggle involving armed forces. Reason for attempted change would be concern various elements over Afghan drift toward Soviet sphere under present leadership. Telegram from WASHDC to Moscow Embassy, Oct. 18, 1962

Any change in Afghan leadership would immediately engage intense Soviet attention. ... If change should involve internal armed struggle, Emb assumes Soviets would be prepared respond quickly to appeal for assistance from Daud and/or other leadership elements Soviets consider friendly toward themselves, if claim were raised that Daud remained legitimate PriMin. Telegram from Moscow Embassy, Oct. 21, 1962

Second Five-Year Plan
The US will not this year make a long-term commitment as this phrase is understood in the legislation passed last year. Telegram from Dean Rusk, June 13, 1962

While we are hopeful of riding out the storm successfully, now is not the time for further major new approaches to the Afghan aid program. He remarked rather than the U.S. making new declarations of policy, it might be helpful if Afghan leaders publicly noted U.S. efforts. U.S. Aid Policy to Afghanistan, July 2, 1962

This sense of rejection cannot be fully appreciated without drawing attention to a certain amount of history in U.S.-Afghan aid relations. In the ensuing years since 1954 the U.S. has developed its own rationale and justification for refusing to give to Afghanistan the assistance which they once desired in developing their instruments of national security. Only the intervening years since that decision was made has revealed how deeply this has affected the trend of events in Afghanistan. There were those who reasoned in 1954 that the desire to remain uncommitted would lead the Afghans to remain in a medieval posture so far as their military development was concerned rather than turn to the Soviets for aid when it was refused by the West. The total envelopment of the military establishment by the Russians in the last eight years has been the answer to those who thought that the Afghans would not dare turn to the traditional aggressors from the north lest they place their independence in jeopardy. ... They naively reason that communist influence can be blunted in a country like Afghanistan by the exercise of traditional native wit plus their passionate dedication to independence and unassailable social institutions. Conference with Minister of Mines and Industries and Acting Minister of Educaton, Dr. Mohammed Yusuf, and Minister of Planning, Abdul Hai Aziz, Sept. 9, 1962

During his call on Mr. Talbot, the Ambassador asked whether a decision had been made on the level of U.S. economic assistance. He noted that in his presentation of the Second Five-Year Plan to the National Assembly, Prime Minister Daud had mentioned that the U.S. share would be $350,000,000. Mr. Talbot said the U.S. would not extend a long term commitment, as such, to the RGA but that we were vitally interested in the Plan. We would take on certain projects which in effect are multi-year commitments. However, no over-all level of aid had been set. The important aspect, he noted, was that the U.S. fully intended to participate in Afghan development to the extent of "the limits which the RGA imposes on us." U.S. Aid to Afghanistan; Invitations for King Zahir and Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, May 8, 1962

[T]he reporting officer finally asked point blank why the USSR should be so concerned about the size of the United States aid effort here since many observers felt the Soviet Union would be the gainer from any alleged American default. Andreev replied that because of our alleged failure to contribute enough, the Afghan Government keeps seeking more help from the USSR to make up the difference. Soviet Diplomat Shows Concern About the United States Aid Program in Afghanistan, Feb. 18, 1963

Since existing Afghan police "illiterate, underpaid and hopeless," special police unit should be created which could benefit from FRG assistance. Unit would consist 600-800 man force whose members must be literate and would receive better pay and employment conditions than regular police. Telegram from Kabul Embassy, April 30, 1964

Kabul-Kandahar Highway
We all agree that present situation unsatisfactory and importance road to US position in Afghanistan. Our objective is to complete it. Secret Telegram from WASHDC, Nov. 17, 1962

Evaluation current situation and recommendations regarding K-K Road construction conveyed ref cables much appreciated. State/AID/Wash recognize and are sympathetic with circumstances which support CT recommendation for immediate decision to undertake completion of this construction via Iran, if necessary. In view current efforts under Iranian good offices, we do not at this time believe it appropriate to change existing basic policy for K-K road. ... In addition, Naim was informed at highest official levels that we would not increase use of Iranian route. Telegram from WASHDC, Oct. 18, 1962

The editorial notes that a "series of difficulties" have delayed construction but carefully avoids mentioning that the basic reason for any delays in construction was the Afghan closure of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in September 1961. It was the closure of the border and the consequent expense and difficulties in transporting over different routes -- e.g. through Iran -- the necessary supplies and equipment for road construction which resulted in AID's decision to asphalt sections leading from Kabul and Kandahar, and in the middle sections to construct an improved gravel road, so as to stay within the amount of funds obligated. Transportation: RGA May Press for Asphalting of Entire Kabul-Kandahar Highway, June 30, 1963

The Afghan Left
Madhoosh said that the incoherence and lack of purposeful direction on the part of the present government was creating a "vacuum", as he put it, which was encouraging the Left. He said that the youth of the country sensed that the leaders were not working energetically or systematically, and hence were turning toward the left, particularly in the University, since the left offered a more positive program. Expression of Discontent re Reform Program, March 9, 1965

The party is known as Khalq-e-Demokrasi, or People's Democratic Party. ... [Nur Mohammed] Taraki said that his party is designed primarily to assist the middle class, to elevate the lower ranks of the population, and to obtain assistance from the wealthier element for this purpose. The party's platform would be slightly left of center, he said, in order to pre-empt "that bastard" DAUD who, Taraki said, continues to talk of his fondness for "socialism" and will play an important political role at the appropriate time in the future. Taraki said that his party will advocate land reforms; land reform is required in Farah Province where there are large landholdings, he maintained, but thisis not an important problem elsewhere. Formation of Afghan Political Party Reported, March 20, 1965

He stated that a select group of University administrators, including the Rector, Dr. Samad Hamed and himself, now have compiled data which provides not only numbers but names as well. Hamidullah asserted that the problem has become so aggravated that he expects King Mohammed Zahir Shah will grant an audience to review the problem with Hamed and himself in the next week or so. He maintained that the "communist" infiltration, as he termed it, is concentrated in the Faculties of Letters and Medicine. In response to a question from the drafting officer, he said that so far as is known no faculty members are known to have affiliated with the group. Kabul University Dean Comments on Leftist Inroads, April 6, 1965

According to this report, based on information received from the Japanese Embassy in Kabul, this movement is comprised primarily of former Afghan resident students in the Soviet Union. Movement to Form an Underground Communist Party in Afghanistan, June 2, 1965

Science students demanded release Osman, return expelees and termination contracts German instructors and their replacement by Russians. ... Significant extent communist direction evident in Osman public announcement his communist affiliations and student insistence on substitution Russians for Germans. More Student Demonstrations, Dec. 15, 1965

In Farhadi's view the appearance of Khalq had played into the Government's hands by rudely shattering the illusions of many of the hitherto fairly homogeneous grouping of self-styled social democrats, modernists and liberals. ... In an ensuing discussion of Khalq Farhadi said it was obvious that the first issue had been completely written in Moscow. He said he had not yet had a chance to make a thorough study of the following issue but he believed it had been written in part locally. ... In response to my query, Farhadi said the Government would probably allow Khalq to continue publication "for a while", unless the paper went too far in its criticism of the Government and existing institutions. Maiwandwal and the Parliament, May 5, 1966

While burden of oratory remained anti-government and "anti-feudal," it took on alarming sectarian, class-oriented cast as agitators played on discrimination against Hazaras and Shias. Xenophobic theme also injected with US, UK, other western nations abused, USSR praised, Chicoms ignored. Parl and Student Disorders, Dec. 1, 1966

Although the Afghan Left remains small and fragmented, it has grown considerably over the years following the promulgation of Afghanistan's Constitution in 1964. Most observers accept the premise of a remark attributed to Sardar Abdul Wali, to the effect that if the mullahs were unleashed all leftists in the country would be dead within 24 hours. However, given this country's stormy history, and the memories of what happened here before when the populace took matters in its own hands, it is very doubtful that Abdul Wali or any member of the Royal Family would ever seriously consider such a move. At present, the Left probably has more nuisance value than anything else. The Afghan Left, May 22, 1973

Top Secret Telegram from Kabul Embassy, March 23, 1950

NAME, April 10, 1952

Communism in Afghanistan, April 5, 1952

Chief of Mission's Report to the Director, Foreign Operations Administration, on the Operation and Status of Foreign Aid Programs in Afghanistan, July-December 1953, Jan. 26, 1954


Copyright Paul Wolf, 2003-2004. No copyright to original government works.