AFGHANISTAN ON THE EVE OF SOVIET WITHDRAWAL
Soviet troops are about to head home, but the war is far from over. The Afghan resistance controls more than 70 percent of the country and vows to continue fighting until the regime in Kabul is ousted. The Moscow-backed communists, though controlling only a handful of garrison cities, are equally determined to retain at least some of their power. Another factor could delay peace: The resistance itself is deeply divided along both tribal and ideological lines. The competition for power among Afghans is expected to continue long after the Soviets withdraw.Skip to next paragraph
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AFGHANISTAN'S PAST: 1747 Ahmad Shah Durrani establishes Afghan kingdom. 1838-42, 1878-80, 1919 Anglo-Afghan wars. Britain seeks to extend its control over Afghanistan and oppose Russian influence there. 1923 Constitutional monarchy established. 1933 Zahir Shah accedes to the throne. 1955 Intensive Soviet aid program begins. July 1973 Coup deposes Zahir Shah and republic proclaimed. April 1978 Pro-Soviet People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan seizes power and installs Nur Mohammad Taraki. Armed noncommunist resistance begins. Sept. 1979 Taraki overthrown by communist rival, Hafizullah Amin. Dec. 1979 Soviet troops invade Kabul, install Babrak Karmal as head of state. Jan. 1980 United Nations demands withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. US announces sanctions against Soviet Union. June 1982 UN-sponsored peace talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan begin in Geneva. Jan. 1984 Guerrillas gain temporary control of Kandahar, the second-largest city in Afghanistan. April 1984 Soviets begin saturation bombing of guerrilla strongholds and villages. May 1985 In Pakistan, fundamentalist Muslim guerrillas join moderates to form seven-party coalition. May 1986 Secret service chief Najibullah replaces Karmal as head of state. Sept. 1986 Guerrillas receive first US antiaircraft missiles. Within months, they reportedly shoot down an average of one aircraft per day. Jan. 1987 Kabul offers program of ``national reconciliation.'' Guerrillas reject any power-sharing with Communists. Feb. 8, 1988 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev offers to withdraw Soviet troops beginning May 15, if Geneva talks produce accord by March 15.
March 4, 1988 New round of UN-mediated talks begins in Geneva. April 14, 1988 Signing of Afghan accord in Geneva. Soviets agree to start withdrawal of 115,000 troops on May 15. - The following four items are notes from the map: - Sar-i Pul Province
The Soviet-backed Kabul regime established a new province in this oil-rich region in March. Many are concerned that the Soviets intend to annex or exert continuing influence in this region after the withdrawal. Wakhan Corridor
Since 1981 the Soviets have built missile bases, an air field, and military roads in this strategic valley bordering Pakistan and China. The region was reportedly ceded to the Soviets in a secret 1981 border agreement, and some question whether the Soviets will vacate the region. Refugees
The United Nations, Western governments, and international relief agencies are setting up one of the most massive resettlement programs for war victims since World War II.
About 5 million Afghans have fled across the border, while another 2 million have been displaced within the country. Soviet pullout
The Soviets have agreed to a nine-month withdrawal of their 115,000 to 120,000 troops, half of which are to leave by Aug. 15. The pullout will be monitored by a UN task force. - The third map is visually coded to designate the following areas: -
CONTENDING FOR ITS FUTURE Pakistan-based resistance alliance: Hezb-e-Islami: (Islamic Party) Gulbuddin Hekmatyar faction; radical fundamentalist group, the best-organized resistance group. Hezb-e-Islami: more moderate Younis Khalis faction. Jamiat-e-Islami: (Islamic Society) fundamentalist party, strongest fighting force, led by Prof. Barhannudin Rabbani. Ittehad-e-Islami: (Islamic Unity) fundamentalist party, led by Prof. Rasul Sayyaf, funded by Saudi Arabia. Harakat-e-Inqilab-e-Islami: traditionalist party, led by Nabi Mohammedi. It has scattered influence in eastern and northern Afghanistan. National Islamic Front of Afghanistan: traditionalist party, led by Pir Sayyed Ahmed Gailani. Afghan National Liberation Front: traditionalist party, led by Sibghatullah Mojaddidi. Iran-based Alliance of Islamic Revolution Eight-party alliance; seeks an Iranian-style fundamentalist government. Main commanders inside country
Ahmad Shah Massoud (Jamiat) heads loose alliance of internal commanders covering seven northeast provinces. Abdul Haq (Khalis faction) led attacks on Kabul. Jalaludin Haqanni (Khalis faction) coordinates activity in Paktia. Ismail Khan (Jamiat) operates around Herat. Kabul regime Kabul regime
The Soviet-backed Kabul regime has two main factions: the dominant Parcham faction and the more radical Khalq wing, which maintains its own police militia. The Afghan Army varies from 35,000 to 50,000 troops, with high rates of defection.