In light of the Afghanistan crisis, you may have come across photos that depict an Afghanistan of the past. These photos are in stark contrast to Afghanistan’s current condition. Women are out and about in dresses and without hijabs, men going about their daily businesses in the market in these images. It is also known that these images are from a Soviet-influenced Afghanistan. How that influence was made possible, however, is hardly known by anyone.
A Revolution That is Seldom Addressed: The Saur Revolution
The Saur Revolution of 1978 is behind the establishment of a Soviet-influenced government in Afghanistan. The story begins in 1973, when Mohammed Daoud Khan dethroned King Zahir Shah in a military coup. The coup resulted in Afghanistan becoming a republic, for the first time in its history. Khan had the support of the minority People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Though Khan had more nationalist views, his supporters had staunch socialist beliefs.
The turning point comes when the PDPA resulted in a division. The Parcham faction led by Babrak Karmal supported Daoud, and the Khalq faction was led by Noor Teraki. The latter is more a radical version of the former. Daoud himself wanted to make relations with the US better, and steer away from the USSR. This was an attempt to mitigate the crisis of the split, as well as to control radical outfits in tribal areas and within government.
In the midst of all this, a Parcham leader is murdered. Hyder was, after all, the wrong guy in the group – the presence of a communist never sits well with nationalist leaders. The Khalqi faction, which ideally preferred a Lenin-influenced state, was naturally alarmed at the incident.
Pro-communist Afghans took to the streets in response to Hyder’s death. In this while, Taraki and Karmal were both arrested, with a certain Hafizullah Amin being put on house arrest. Amin, even in this state, ordered the revolution.
Tanks drove within the city on 27th April 1978. They were aimed at the Presidential palace, on the commands of a commander who had betrayed Daoud. Military planes flew above, launching weapons towards the palace. The next morning, Afghans came to know of the death of Daoud Khan and his family, while shots were still heard in the capital Kabul.
After the revolution:
The now established PDPA government declared equality between the two sexes. This move exposed women to a lot of development in their life, which also led them to participating in politics. The Soviet Union ultimately invaded the country in 1979, whose leadership gave rise to extremist outfits like the Mujahideen.
The Soviet’s brief stint in Afghanistan gave the country a new character, unlike the helpless nature it carries in the present day. Foreign invasions in the coming years kept Afghanistan from flourishing properly. These invasions and the rampant growth of terror outfits are what has led Afghanistan to fall from democracy, for yet another time.