Mohamad Najibullah 1947-1996. Salute to a Comrade

Richard Bos Richard.Bos at
Thu Oct 3 14:01:26 MDT 1996

MOHAMAD NAJIBULLAH, President of Afghanistan from 1987 to 1992 was
executed by the reactionary Taliban militia Iast week end following
their capture of Kabul.

 Mohamad Najibullah Ahmaaizi came from a well to do family in Paktia
Province and studied medicine at Kabul University. In the 60s the
country was directly ruled by King Mohamad Zahir Shah. Afghanistan then
was poor and backward. Over 90 per cent of the population were
illiterate and the country was ruled by the king, powerful feudal lords
and tribal leaders.
The king, under pressure, established a parliament and legalised
political parties.

 On 1 January 1965 the communist People's Democratic Party of
Afghanistan (PDPA)proclaimed it's public existence. Marxist leaders like
the distinguished writer and poet Nur Mohamad Taraki, Hafizullah Amin
and Babrak Kamal rose to the fore in the party, which Najibullah joined
in1965. But the Party was split from the beginning by two factions,
Khalq (Masses) and Pacham (Banner) which Partially reflected the ethnic
division of the country between the Persian and Pushto speaking

 In 1973 the king was overthrown in a palace coup and a republic
proclaimed. Najibullah, a student activist completed his education,
rising high in the party and was elected to the Central Committee in

 The PDPA initially supported the left-leaning government but lack of
progress for reform led the revolution of 1978. Taraki became president
on a programme of revolutionary advance.

A treaty of peace and friendship was signed with the Soviet Union and
land reforms began to break the power of the feudal lords.

 Najibullah was a supporter of Pacham, which was led by Babrak Karmal.
But the Taraki government was dominated by Khalq supporters. Karmal and
many others, including Najibullah were driven into exile by the Khalqis
led bv Hafizullah Amin.

 In 1979 Taraki was killed in a coup led by Hafizullah Amin. Three
months later Amin himself was overthrown and killed by army and civilian
units loyal to Pacham. Babrak Karmal returned from exile to head the new
government and Soviet troops were invited to help restore the
revolutionary order and deter external aggression.

 In the mountains the feudal lords, armed by the United States and
Pakistan, had set up the mujahadin rebel moverment. Najibullah became
head of the secret police in the battle with the rebels, who controlled
large parts of the countryside but were never able to penetrate the
cities and towns of the new republic.

 In the areas of government control a new life was being built for the
Afghan people. Women were given equality for the first time in Afghan
history. Education was provided for all, together with a health service
and a social welfare programme.

 In 1986 Najibullah became general secretary of the PDPA and president
the following year when Karmal stepped down. The mujahedin revolt had
been contained but the republic was undermined by the intrigues of the
Soviet government led by Gorbachov and his clique. At the behest of the
West, Gorbachov withdrew Soviet forces in 1989.

 Najibullah's government survived for another three years. Eventually
divisions within his own ranks, including the defection of General Abdul
Rashid Dostam fatally weakened the governnent's resolve. Najibullah had
been working on a compromise settlement to end the civil war brokered by
the United Nations. But talks broke down and the government fell.

Mojahedin forces entered Kabul in 1992 and Najibullah sought sanctuary
in the UN compound.

 The mujahedin leader, President Rabbani, refused to let him leave the
country, but made no attempt to arrest him. Najibullah spent the rest of
his days in virtual detention, while the mojahedin movement tore itself
apart in tribal conflicts, fanned by Pakistan.

 A new Islamic students' movement Taliban, was winning control in the
mountains. Backed by Pakistan, their militia inflicted heavy defeats on
the Rabbani government this year. Last week, in the face of imminent
defeat Rabbani fled the capital and Najibullah was left to his fate.

 Last Friday Taliban militiamen burst into the compound and dragged
Najibullah to the presidential palace, where he was beaten and shot. His
mutilated body, together with that of his brother, was then hung on lamp
posts outside the palace.

 The New Communist Party always enjoyed a warm friendship with the
progressive governments led by Babrak Karmal and Moharned Najibullah. At
one time ours was the only party in Britain giving support to their
efforts to build a modern, democratic and socialist republic. We are
deeply saddened by the tragic death of Mohamed Najibullah and our
condolences go to all Afghan comrades.


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