Reforms from Above and Repressions

  • Anthony Hyman


I visited Afghanistan in the spring of 1979, at what seemed a particularly auspicious time; 21 March was Nauroz, the New Year festival, and at the end of April was to be celebrated on a grand scale the first anniversary of the Saur Revolution. Most of the snow had already melted from the mountain ranges surrounding Kabul, due to the lightness of snowfalls that winter, and the weather was unusually mild. Lack of snow meant lack of water later in the year for irrigation, and everyone predicted poor crops for the year ahead.


Party Member Party Militant Political Prisoner Great Teacher Secret Police 
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  1. 1.
    The Dubs shooting gave rise to many theories of responsibility other than that of parties directly involved. The most interesting is probably the theory which claims that the entire operation was a Parchami plot, mounted so as to discredit and embarrass the Khalq government by rupturing its relations with the USA (see F. Missen, Le Syndrome de Kaboul (Paris, 1980) pp. 154–74. The least likely, but certainly the most cynical, ‘theory’ is from the Soviet side, in radio broadcasts for Asia, which in a strident exposé of CIA involvement in the Afghan civil war stated that Adolph Dubs’ assassination was, ‘also the work of CIA operatives. This crime was perpetrated for the sole purpose of placing the blame for the American Ambassador’s death on the Taraki Government, and using this as an excuse to break off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan and cancel all agreements of economic aid to the country.’ (Radio Peace and Progress, 23 February 1980).Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    K-H. Rudersdorf, Afghanistan-eine Sowjetrepublik? (1980) pp. 68–75. Lists of ‘missing persons’ supplied by Amin’s Ministry of the Interior in November 1979 provided only some of the answers. Many Afghans are convinced that at least 25,000 people were killed by the end of 1979. Three amnesties in 1979 were, contrary to official statements, not for political prisoners at all, but for common criminals, of whom about 3,000 were freed.Google Scholar

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© Anthony Hyman 1992

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  • Anthony Hyman

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