ANDROPOV REPORT TO CPSU CC ON TALKS WITH AFGHAN LEADERS
Among the 191 documents from the CPSU on Soviet relations with the
PDPA , and Afghan regimes prior, starting in 1974 ,
TRANSCRIPT OF CPSU CC POLITBURO DISCUSSIONS ON AFGHANISTAN ,
https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113260 . Transcript
of CPSU CC Politburo Discussions on Afghanistan regarding
deterioration of conditions in Afghanistan and possible responses from
the Soviet Union.
Comrade L. I. BREZHNEV, Presiding
In attendance: Y.V. ANDROPOV, A.A. GROMYKO, A.N. KOSYGIN, A.Y. PELSHE,
K.U. CHERNENKO, D.F. USTINOV, P.N. DEMICHEV, B.N. PONOMAREV, M.S.
SOLOMENTZEV, N. A.TIKHONOV, I.V. KAPITONOV, V.I. DOLGIKH, M.V.
ZIMYANIN, K.V. RUSAKOV, M.S. GORBACHEV .
"USTINOV. Amin spoke with me yesterday morning. Having consulted
beforehand with Leonid Ilych, I told him about the massive aid that we
are turning out and will continue to render. Amin said that the Soviet
Union is our closest and principal friend. He then started to lament
about the fact that Pakistan and Iran are sending large numbers of
saboteurs that are being trained on the territory of Pakistan by
Chinese advisors, being equipped with Chinese arms, and are then being
sent across the border into Afghanistan.
There is strong opposition in Afghanistan on the part of the feudal lords.
He then turned the discussion to Herat and, just like Taraki, asked us
to send tanks. I told him about the aid that we had determined to give
Afghanistan in the form of a supply of armaments. He said that such
aid was helpful, but what they really need is for us to send tanks.
BREZHNEV. Their army is falling apart, and we are supposed to wage the
war for them...
The uprising in Herat , as noted in many books was a turning point.
Rift in the Khalq Leadership
Amin’s relations with Taraki and the Soviet Union became strained
simultaneously; it is thus necessary to trace them a little more
closely. The strain in relations appeared during the Herat uprising in
March 1979, in which about twenty-five thousand people were killed.
The uprising was so serious that “the Soviets stepped in to support
their puppet Kabul regime. Squadrons of ground-attack bombers,…based
at Doshanbe in Russian Tajikistan,…drop[ped] their payloads on
Herat.” But Taraki wanted full Soviet involvement. To suppress the
uprising and “save the revolution,” Taraki told the Soviet premier
Alexi Kosygin, “We need practical and technical help in both men and
weapons.” To get that aid, Taraki importuned “like a merchant in the
Kabul market, using flattery and cajolery.” During a secret trip, he
assured his host, “We will never be as close to anyone else as we are
to you. We are the pupils of Lenin.” But Premier Kosygin could not be
moved, arguing, “If our troops were sent in, the situation in your
country would not improve. On the contrary, it would get worse.”
Kosygin, however, promised him additional military experts as well as
grain and credit. The recently disclosed Soviet archives on
Afghanistan have no reference to Amin on this point. Perhaps he did
not know of Taraki’s request, but one reported incident suggests that
he was against it.
After the Herat uprising, the difference between Amin and Taraki
became evident; nevertheless, because of his role in suppressing it,
Amin was promoted to the position of first minister (Lomray Wazir),
not prime minister, as is generally understood. Also, from then on
Soviet advisers who favored Taraki worked to enlarge the differences.
They preferred Taraki because he wanted a closer relationship with the
Soviet Union, particularly in foreign affairs. “Whereas Amin did not
favor the idea of Afghanistan being pushed into the Soviet bloc,
Taraki did. Similarly, with regard to the pursuit of the policy of
non-alignment, Taraki preferred that Afghanistan should be non-aligned
on the model of Cuba with the active support of the Soviet bloc,
whereas Amin intended to keep away from the Soviet bloc, and forge
friendly relations with all countries.”
Amin’s domestic policy also created friction. After he got the new
post as well as the post of minister of defense, Amin tried to
monopolize power, thereby alienating not only Taraki but also his
close friends, Asadullah Sarwari, Aslam Watanjar, Sayyed Mohammad
Gulabzoy, and Sher Jan Mizdooryar, known as the “Gang of Four.” Via