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People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of Afghanistan Template:Message box The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) was a popular Marxist-Leninist party founded in January 1, 1965.

In 1978, the PDPA overthrew the regime of Mohammad Daoud, King Zahir Shah's cousin in a revolution that was supported by a large majority of the population. According to the New York Times, "nearly every Afghan interviewed said [they were] delighted with the coup." The reform program of the party comprised

  • abolition of feudal power in the countryside
  • freedom of religion
  • equal rights for women and various ethnic minorities
  • the release of more than 13,000 political prisoners

In the words of Australian journalist John Pilger,

Under tribalism and feudalism, life expectancy was thirty-five and almost one in three children died in infancy. Ninety per cent of the population was illiterate. The new government introduced free medical care in the poorest areas. Peonage was abolished; a mass literacy campaign was begun. For women, the gains were unheard of; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40 per cent of Afghanistan's doctors, 70 per cent of its teachers and 30 per cent of its civil servants.


Unfortunately, the American Carter government was not delighted with the coup and, by August 1979, prompted by National Security Chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had begun funding mujaheddin forces with the intention of destabilising the government and provoking the Soviet Union into military intervention, which occurred on December 24th 1979.

After the Soviet Union had leveled most of the villages south and east of Kabul, creating a massive humanitarian disaster, the demise of the PDPA continued with the rise of the mujaheddin terrorists, who were trained Pakistan camps supported by the US and Britain. Between 1982 and 1992, the number of people recruited by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to join the Afghan jihad topped 100,000. The training of the future Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives was mostly done in a Virginia CIA camp, under the so-called "Operation Cyclone".

The last president of the PDPA was Mohammad Najibullah, who was murdered by the Taliban when this group took power in 1996.

See also: Democratic Republic of Afghanistan

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