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




LEGAL REFORM
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
SOCIAL ISSUES

Official Languages
Women's Rights
Religious Conservatism
Pan-Islamism
U.S. VERSUS SOVIET UNION
Espionage
Plot to Remove Daud
Second Five-Year Plan
Kabul-Kandahar Highway
The Afghan Left
BIBLIOGRAPHY




LEGAL REFORM

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



SOCIAL ISSUES

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



Pan-Islamism
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




U.S. VERSUS SOVIET UNION

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



Espionage
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



unsorted
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


BIBLIOGRAPHY


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

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