Libmonster ID: U.S.-1257
Author(s) of the publication: A. Y. URNOV


Doctor of Historical Sciences

In January 1987, after meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev, Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) Najibullah presented a program of measures to implement the national reconciliation policy. Opponents of the regime were invited to engage in a dialogue on the cessation of hostilities and the creation of"counties and provinces of peace."

The final result of the settlement was to establish a multi-party system and coalition forms of government in the country. A truce was declared, amnesty and the unhindered return of refugees were promised.

"We support the line of the Afghan leadership towards national reconciliation... It is up to the Afghan people to decide what path they will take and what kind of government they will have. This is its sovereign right, " Gorbachev wrote in his book on new thinking.1

As for Afghanistan's place in the system of international relations, we were now quite happy with its Finlandization. The USSR wants Afghanistan to be "an independent, sovereign, non-aligned state," Gorbachev wrote.2 This definition was later expanded to include not only non-aligned, but also"neutral" 3.

Deputy Head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU G. M. Kornienko testifies that on the question of what Afghanistan should be like after us, there was a "wide range of opinions" in Moscow, but in principle there were two opposite points of view.

According to E. A. Shevardnadze and V. A. Kryuchkov (who became chairman of the KGB in 1988), by taking measures to strengthen the government of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) before the withdrawal of Soviet troops and giving it a "margin of safety", we will create a situation in the country in which friends can secure a "leading role" in the new ruling coalition, although they will have to give up "full power".

Kornienko considered this view "illusory" and " completely unrealistic." "The most we could hope for," he writes, " is for the PDPA to take a legitimate but very modest place in the new regime. To do this, it was necessary to show readiness even before the withdrawal of troops to voluntarily cede most of the power, taking the initiative to create a coalition government." This position was also held by Marshal S. F. Akhromeev. However, according to Kornienko, they defended this position "without much confidence in success."

Gorbachev, according to Kornienko, "leaned first in one direction, then in another," but in practice supported Shevardnadze and Kryuchkov4.

Gorbachev's statements on this issue clearly show the state of confusion and confusion he was in.

"Preserving the Najibullah regime is a necessary task," Gorbachev said at a Politburo meeting on February 23, 1987.5 months later. On May 21-22, 1987, the Politburo thoroughly discusses the future of Afghanistan. "We will not enter a new Afghanistan with the current regime. The regime must transform, " says Gorbachov6. But, "if not with Najibullah, then who should we work with there?"7 " If we sow doubt in the PDPA right now, we will lose everything. Who should we rely on then? But this does not mean that we are stuck with the NDPA and only in it do we see a way out."8. "Leave the NDPA a certain role, but do not push it out"9. "Let the PDPA allow other forces to deploy... Otherwise, these other forces will come and dump the PDPA altogether. " 10 "The opposition must have at least 50% of the power structure"11.

Gorbachev puts forward the idea that since the party does not enjoy popular authority, "Najib should hold public office" 12. He doesn't specify which one, but says: "do not make Najib face No. 1 "13," the president should be a neutral person " 14. And almost a verdict - Najib "can hold out for another year and a half"in a state post15.

There is little clarity. "Lean on", but "don't push back" and "don't stick out".

A few months later, Gorbachev changed his mind and agreed with Shevardnadze and Kryuchkov that Najibullah should become president of Afghanistan. 16 The formalities were followed. In November 1987, the All-Afghan Council of Elders of the Loya Jirga met and elected Najibullah to this new state post.

Time has shown that both positions were illusory. To create any sort of stable government in Kabul, it was necessary to reach an agreement with the main government.

Ending. For the beginning, see: Asia and Africa Today, 2010, No. 1.

page 39

the enemy of the PDPA regime - the "Alliance of Seven", i.e. to try to combine the incompatible. Reconciliation with Kabul was not part of the Alliance's plans. His goal was to overthrow the PDPA government and seize power. All of it! Granting the PDPA any kind of "very modest place" in the new system of government of the country was excluded. The Alliance of Seven rejected Kabul's call for national reconciliation, refused to negotiate, and broke the truce.

It cannot be said that when Najibullah proclaimed a policy of national reconciliation, he did not take any steps in this direction. He also adopted a new Constitution focused on coalitionism, created a coalition government, and held elections to the National Council (Parliament), and both the government and Parliament were given a majority to non-partisans. But by and large, it was a game. Najibullah retained the real power and was, in my opinion, right. For the armed opposition, which wanted nothing to do with the Kabul "communists," any weakening of Najibullah's regime would have signaled not reconciliation, but increased efforts to overthrow him.

The only thing we could do in the current situation was to try to give the regime such a margin of safety that it could hold out as long as possible. And then, you see, the situation will change - the Mujahideen will quarrel among themselves or the United States will correct its position - after all, Washington should have understood that they do not need a clear victory for Islamic extremists.


In principle, the United States did not reject the idea of a political settlement and even agreed to become a guarantor of a possible agreement in this regard together with the USSR. However, there were fundamental differences in the position of the parties and their approach to the issue of withdrawing Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

For Moscow, this was a vital issue that had no alternative solution. The time factor was particularly acute.

As for Washington, one could only envy it in the current situation. Ultimately, the Americans were interested in the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. But they were also satisfied with the delay in the withdrawal, since it allowed them to continue pursuing a policy of exsanguination and discrediting the USSR. In addition, at that time, the United States was not yet sure of the seriousness of the turn in Gorbachev's domestic and foreign policy. As a matter of fact, up until 1988, the Americans not only did not hurry with a political settlement, but also purposefully hindered it.

"The United States does not want a political settlement, it clings to everything in order to disrupt it, "Gorbachev said at a Politburo meeting on June 26, 198617. They should be tied to a political solution, "he complained a year later. 18" American intervention delays the withdrawal of our troops, hinders the implementation of the policy of national reconciliation, and therefore the settlement of the entire problem around Afghanistan, "Gorbachev wrote in his book on new thinking.19

Washington sabotaged the settlement along two lines: supporting the "Alliance of Seven" and its actions to disrupt the policy of national reconciliation, and blocking the Geneva negotiation process with the help of Pakistan. Karachi, however, did so willingly.

The Soviet leadership was cornered. After Gorbachev's meeting with Reagan in Washington in December 1987, it became absolutely clear that without the Soviet Union announcing the exact timing of the withdrawal of troops, there could be no question of any international agreements on Afghanistan. And these agreements, according to Gorbachev, were necessary to tie the hands of the Americans.20

The result was Gorbachev's statement on February 8, 1988, that the withdrawal of troops would begin on May 15, 1988 and be completed within 9 months.21

And, what seemed like a miracle at the time, the process started. On April 14, 1988, a package of documents on Afghanistan was signed in Geneva. Two of them - "On the principles of mutual relations and, in particular, on non-intervention and non-intervention" and "On the voluntary return of refugees" - were signed by Afghanistan and Pakistan. The third agreement, "On Interconnection for the Settlement of the Situation Relating to Afghanistan", was signed by Afghanistan and Pakistan and certified by the Soviet Union (Shevardnadze) and the United States (Secretary of State John Kerry). Baker) as guarantor States. The USSR and the USA also signed the "Declaration on International Guarantees".

The agreements stipulated that "foreign troops" would be withdrawn from Afghanistan in stages over a period of 9 months, starting on May 15, 1988.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have committed themselves to: "ensure that their territories are not used in any way to violate the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the other party; refrain from facilitating, encouraging or supporting, directly or indirectly, insurgent or separatist activities against the other party; and prevent training and training on their territory." of any origin for the purpose of waging hostile acts against the other party, or sending such mercenaries to the territory of the other party; not to allow any assistance or use, or tolerance for, terrorist groups, saboteurs or saboteurs operating against the other party; not to allow, in its territory, the use of such mercenaries in the territory of the other party. territories of presence,

page 40

or in any other way organizing, training, financing, equipping and arming individuals and political, ethnic and any other groups for the purpose of conducting subversive activities, creating riots or unrest in the territory of the other party."22

The problem, however, was to meet these obligations not in words, but in deeds.

The Soviet Union and the United States, in turn, undertook to " strictly refrain from interference and intervention in any form in the internal affairs of the Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and respect the obligations contained in the bilateral agreement between the Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the principles of mutual relations, and in particular, on non-interference and non-intervention."". It was stated separately that "starting from May 15, 1988, there will be no interference or intervention in any form in the affairs of the parties" 23.

It was from this date that all signed documents came into force.

The Geneva agreements referred to non-interference in the affairs of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, in fact, Afghanistan was meant, since Pakistan was not the object of external interference. It is therefore clear that failure to comply with the principle of reciprocity in the Geneva package would mean that the United States and Pakistan would recognize their responsibility for what is happening. It was unrealistic and counterproductive to expect such repentance from them.

The Geneva documents were supported by the UN General Assembly (October 1988), which called on all parties to implement them in good faith.

The Soviet leadership was satisfied - now the United States has its hands tied. "We have a treaty - the legal basis for the withdrawal of troops... the Americans are being deprived of the right to supply weapons through Pakistan," Shevardnadze, 24, who had returned from Geneva, reported to the Politburo.

The Geneva agreements did not mean the delimitation of Najibullah's Government. According to all international legal norms, it remained legal. With the exception of the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, relations between the USSR and the DRA were not subject to any other restrictions. This also applied to helping Kabul strengthen its defense capabilities.


By signing the agreements, Washington and Karachi gained a military-political and propaganda advantage-they managed to get the "infidels" out of Afghanistan. As for the non-intervention obligations, it seems that the United States did not intend to fulfill them from the very beginning. Pakistan, having done what it was told by the Americans, did not intend to implement the agreements either.

In February 1988, on the very eve of the signing of the Geneva accords, the Alliance announced its decision to create a "coalition government", of course, without "communists", and demanded the transfer of power in Kabul before the Soviet troops left, including to control their withdrawal. This destructive initiative of the Mujahideen was taken for granted by the United States and Pakistan. As well as the fact that after the signing of the agreements, the Alliance announced their non-recognition. However, it is unlikely that the Afghan militants would have listened to both.

Before Geneva, Gorbachev met with Najibullah in Tashkent to demonstrate that the draft documents to be signed were agreed at the highest level. On his return to Moscow, he told the Politburo: "This meeting emphasized that we treat him as an equal, as a head of state... We have clearly shown the world that we will not abandon Afghanistan politically." His main advice to Najibullah is to "strengthen the presidential power and the army; real pluralism; strengthen the power base." 25

At the same time, Gorbachev did not hide what was going on: "We do not need a pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan. And we are unlikely to keep it as it is now. " 26 This was said at a meeting with a group of secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Parties of the republics, regional committees and regional committees on April 18, 1988. Gorbachev was even more outspoken at the same day's Politburo meeting. "We have changed the concept of our attitude to Afghanistan. It doesn't matter to us whether Najib is president or not. I don't think it will. Everything can be there. " 27

page 41


I was able to see how tired the Soviet military were of the war when I accompanied O. D. Baklanov, the secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, who was in charge of the military-industrial complex, on a trip to Afghanistan after the signing of the Geneva Agreement. Baklanov did not confine himself to negotiations with the leadership, but met with our military, visited the hospital where the seriously wounded were being treated. The sight was depressing. The main question is: "Are we really leaving?" They asked with hope, but it was felt that many people still did not believe it.

In connection with the signing of the Geneva Package, Yuri Vorontsov, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the USSR, was appointed Ambassador to Kabul. An outstanding diplomat, Vorontsov successfully operated in all areas assigned to him. Outwardly, everything looked logical - in a difficult hour, the best of the best was sent to help Najibullah and strengthen the Soviet embassy. Vorontsov remained in the position of First Deputy Minister.

But for many, and for Vorontsov himself, this decision came as a surprise. Gorbachev accepted it, but at Shevardnadze's suggestion. The story of Kornienko was repeated. The minister preferred to keep bright independent personalities at a distance. And he was not averse to "framing" them. The post of Ambassador in Kabul was quite suitable for this.

Shortly after Vorontsov's appointment, I happened to meet him outside the Central Committee building. He looked crestfallen. Vorontsov occupied a higher position, we were "on your side", but the relationship was good. Management decisions were not supposed to be discussed. We looked at each other, and I could tell by the look on his face and the shrug of his shoulders that he was reluctant to go. However, Vorontsov also showed his best side in the post of Ambassador to Kabul. After his departure, B. N. Pastukhov was appointed Ambassador to Afghanistan, replacing him with dignity.

Another episode from our internal "kitchen". Shevardnadze was dissatisfied with the actions of Kornienko, who persistently defended the position that disagreed with the minister on the creation of a coalition government structure in Afghanistan. One day, when I went to Kornienko's office to coordinate the next Afghan papers, I heard something from him that threw me into confusion. "I can look at it, but only informally. Gorbachev called Dobrynin and, referring to Shevardnadze, ordered me to be removed from Afghan affairs, " he said with a bitter smile. When I met Dobrynin, I asked him what all this meant. Dobrynin spread his hands. It was obvious that Gorbachev's instructions had offended him, but he was powerless to do anything.

On February 15, 1989, the last Soviet units left Afghanistan. The ceremony of their entry into their native land was solemn - everyone had to see that this was not a defeat, but the completion of the mission. None of the members of the top Soviet leadership, however, came to the ceremony.

In December 1989. The Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR decided that the decision to send Soviet troops to Afghanistan "deserves moral and political condemnation"28. "Political" - unconditionally. Moral judgment in hindsight is also clear. In the light of what happened, first of all the human losses suffered not only by the USSR, but also by Afghanistan, the Afghan action really turned out to be immoral. If we go back to December 1979, it would be wrong to accuse members of the Politburo of deliberately making an immoral decision. There was nothing immoral about their efforts to protect the country's security and help their friends. Just the case when a tragic mistake turned out to be worse than a crime. They hoped for a quick victory, but for both the USSR and its friends, the intervention turned out to be a tragedy.


Whatever the mistakes of the leadership, the highest praise should be given to those who, fulfilling their duty to the Motherland, fought and worked in Afghanistan. About 1.2 million people passed through Afghanistan

page 42

millions of Soviet military personnel. Let us bow our heads to the memory of the 13,000 dead soldiers, and let us remember that more than 43,000 people were injured, sometimes seriously." Afghanistan has traumatized many people mentally. Not everyone managed to adapt to a peaceful life after returning to their homeland.

Such prominent figures as the head of the operational group of the USSR Ministry of Defense in Afghanistan, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Army General V. I. Varennikov and the commander of the Soviet military contingent - the 40th Army-Lieutenant General B. V. Gromov stood out from the military leaders.

In the mid-1980s, 9,000 Soviet specialists and 2,500 advisers worked in Afghanistan.30 There was cooperation between the CPSU and the PDPA. In Afghanistan, there was a group of advisers to the CPSU Central Committee, whose task was to pass on the experience of our party's work to our Afghan friends. The emphasis was placed on party building. Councillors were assigned to departments of the PDPA Central Committee and provincial party committees. The group of councillors was formed by the Central Committee's Department of Organizational Work from among party employees, mainly from the regional level. Preparatory work was carried out with the advisers in Moscow. They were also instructed in the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU. They worked, for the most part, conscientiously. The problem was that the Afghan specifics and the experience of the CPSU in the 1980s were difficult to reconcile.

For several years, the group of advisers was headed by V. P. Polyanichko , a smart, competent and courageous man who worked well with Najibullah. His fate was tragic. After leaving Afghanistan, he was for some time the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. Yeltsin appointed him as his representative in North Ossetia and Ingushetia. On August 1, 1993, Polyanichko fell at the hands of terrorists. On his tombstone at the Novodevichy cemetery is written: "He gave his life in the name of the Fatherland."


Gorbachev was often accused of "betraying" Najibullah and his party. That's not so. He was only trying to correct a mistake made by his predecessors. Direct military involvement in the Afghan conflict brought the Soviet Union nothing but human losses, material, moral and political damage. Therefore, we will not judge him harshly for putting the task of withdrawing troops above all else, he was prepared for even the worst outcome of events in the intra-Afghan situation. There was simply no other solution.

The Soviet Union's Afghan policy after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country strictly followed moral standards.

"Do everything possible to make Najib last as long as he can," Gorbachev ordered at a Politburo meeting on January 24, 198931. It was decided to provide the PDPA government with practical assistance in the military, economic and other areas. Assistance was provided for many billions of rubles. As long as the Soviet Union existed, the Kabul regime held out.

Was Afghanistan a success of the "new thinking"policy? This is exactly what A. S. Chernyaev, a former assistant to Gorbachev for international affairs and one of the authors of the concept of "new thinking", believes. "The policy of 'new thinking', "he writes in his book' Did Russia Have a Chance?', was actually confirmed by the withdrawal (albeit belatedly) from Afghanistan."

I can't agree with that. In the Afghan direction, Gorbachev, although more resolutely, continued to pursue the course already outlined, acting on the basis of reality, and not utopias of "new thinking".

According to the new thinking, States should find mutually acceptable compromises, honestly and conscientiously implement the agreements reached, and refrain from using force. A mutually acceptable compromise with the Americans was seemingly found. So what? The USSR honestly and scrupulously implemented the Geneva agreements. The same cannot be said for the United States and Pakistan. Washington and its allies were decidedly unwilling to abandon expansionism. Washington continued to provide military and other assistance to anti-government forces, while Pakistan remained the springboard from which an undeclared war was waged against Kabul. So "new thinking" once again turned out to be a game of one, his, gate for the USSR.

The failure in Afghanistan certainly played a role in the destruction of the USSR. It caused serious damage to the authority of the Soviet leadership, undermined faith in the invincibility of the Soviet Army, and generated discontent among a part of society.


With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the coming to power of President Boris Yeltsin in Russia, all aid to the Najibullah regime was stopped.

In the PDPA's own camp, national contradictions between "northerners" (Uzbek and Tajik leaders) and "southerners" (Pashtuns represented by Najibullah) became more acute. However, Najibullah's government lasted until April 1992, when the Mujahideen came close to Kabul.

In this situation, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, B. Sevan suggested that Najibullah, in order to avoid bloodshed, agree to a peaceful transfer of power to the Mujahideen in exchange for a general amnesty and guarantees of his personal safety - he was supposed to be taken out of Afghanistan by a UN plane. Najibullah agreed, but he could not get to the airport where B. Sevan was waiting for him. An armed group blocked Najibullah's car and forced him to return to Kabul. It is known that his former associates prevented Najibullah's departure,

page 43

defected to the enemy. Najibullah took refuge in the UN mission.

Upon entering Kabul, the Mujahideen proclaimed the creation of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. Once in power, the members of the" Alliance of Seven " soon fought among themselves. They did not bring the long-awaited peace and tranquility to the Afghan people.

In 1996, the radical Islamist "Taliban" movement, nurtured in Pakistan, seized power in Afghanistan.

Najibullah was tricked out of the UN mission, shot and hanged in the square for all to see. Another betrayal. Photos of the hanged Najibullah went around all the world's media. Fighters for democracy and human rights remained silent.

Today, Afghanistan is one of the hottest spots on the planet. The US and its NATO allies are mired in a war with the Taliban. The power of the central government is very limited. Afghanistan has become a hotbed of international terrorism and a global center of drug trafficking.

Having driven the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan at the hands of Islamist extremists, Washington celebrated a victory and cruelly miscalculated. Events got out of control and turned against the Americans themselves.

Perestroika i novoe myshlenie dlya nashey strany i dlya vsego mira [Perestroika and new Thinking for our country and for the whole world]. Moscow, Publishing House of Political Literature, 1987, pp. 183-184.

2 Ibid., p. 184.

3 Pravda, 9.02.1998.

Kornienko G. 4 Kholodnaya voina [Cold War]. Certificate of its participant, Moscow, Olma-Press, 2001, pp. 253-254.

5 In the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (1985-1991). Ed. 2-e ispr. and add. M., Gorbachev Foundation, 2008, p. 145.

6 Ibid., p. 186.

7 Ibid., p. 188.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid., p. 186.

10 Ibid., p. 188.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid., p. 187.

13 Ibid., p. 188.

14 Ibid.

Kornienko G. 15 Decree. soch., p. 255.

16 In the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, p. 55.

17 Ibid., p. 187.

Gorbachev M. S. 18 Decree. soch., p. 184.

19 In the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, p. 311.

20 Pravda, 9.02.1998.

21 Bilateral Agreement between the Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the principles of mutual relations and, in particular, on non-intervention and non-intervention. 4, 7, 8, 11, 12.

22 Pravda, 16.04.1988.

23 In the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, p. 352.

24 Ibid., p. 350.

25 Ibid., p. 337.

26 Ibid., p. 353.

27 Pravda, 25.12.1989.

28 In the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, p. 356.

29 Ibid., pp. 56, 54.

30 Ibid., p. 449.

Chernyaev A. 31 Did Russia have a chance? He is the last, Moscow, 2003, p. 70.


Permanent link to this publication:

Similar publications: LUnited States LWorld Y G


Peter NielsenContacts and other materials (articles, photo, files etc)

Author's official page at Libmonster:

Find other author's materials at: Libmonster (all the World)GoogleYandex

Permanent link for scientific papers (for citations):

A. Y. URNOV, "REMEMBER, COMRADE, YOU, AFGHANISTAN..." // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 08.08.2023. URL: (date of access: 21.06.2024).

Found source (search robot):

Publication author(s) - A. Y. URNOV:

A. Y. URNOV → other publications, search: Libmonster USALibmonster WorldGoogleYandex


Reviews of professional authors
Order by: 
Per page: 
  • There are no comments yet
Related topics
Peter Nielsen
New-York, United States
162 views rating
08.08.2023 (318 days ago)
0 subscribers
0 votes
Related Articles
Yesterday · From Ann Jackson
Yesterday · From Ann Jackson
2 days ago · From Ann Jackson
2 days ago · From Ann Jackson
4 days ago · From Ann Jackson
4 days ago · From Ann Jackson
SYRIA AND the EAST (Russian version of the Cambridge Ancient History chapter
4 days ago · From Ann Jackson
4 days ago · From Ann Jackson
4 days ago · From Ann Jackson
4 days ago · From Ann Jackson

New publications:

Popular with readers:

News from other countries:

LIBMONSTER.COM - U.S. Digital Library

Create your author's collection of articles, books, author's works, biographies, photographic documents, files. Save forever your author's legacy in digital form. Click here to register as an author.
Library Partners


Editorial Contacts
Chat for Authors: U.S. LIVE: We are in social networks:

About · News · For Advertisers

U.S. Digital Library ® All rights reserved.
2014-2024, LIBMONSTER.COM is a part of Libmonster, international library network (open map)
Keeping the heritage of the United States of America


US-Great Britain Sweden Serbia
Russia Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan Moldova Tajikistan Estonia Russia-2 Belarus-2

Create and store your author's collection at Libmonster: articles, books, studies. Libmonster will spread your heritage all over the world (through a network of affiliates, partner libraries, search engines, social networks). You will be able to share a link to your profile with colleagues, students, readers and other interested parties, in order to acquaint them with your copyright heritage. Once you register, you have more than 100 tools at your disposal to build your own author collection. It's free: it was, it is, and it always will be.

Download app for Android