Kabul 1979

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sat Oct 5 08:43:28 MDT 1996

I have good feelings towards Richard on this list,
and my experience of his comrade that I got to know
over several years in the Anti-Apartheid Movement
was of someone who was always open about his politics
but never sectarian.
IMO it is an important test of the credibility of
members of a Leninist type party whether they
can work well in broad fronts, with non-party people.

Nevertheless the division over Afghanistan is one
of the great turning points in marxist politics
in second half of this century, and I
ought to separate myself
>from Richard on this question. I have no doubt
that as individuals, members of Najibullah's party
were often good people and many of the policies were
progressive. But I would also say, based on a BBC
foreign correspondent report, that the Taliban movement
appears to be a remarkable movement which in fact has many
features of peasant communism, anti-marxist though it is.

Afghanistan has a reputation of breaking imperialist
ambitions, as we English are wise to remember.
It is arguable Afghanistan was the main thing that
broke the Brezhnev model of socialism, (including
its doctrine of "limited sovereignty")?

And even for those who regard the invasion as
an example of proletarian internationalism rather
than a serious breach of proletarian internationalism,
in terms of self interest for the former Soviet Union,
was not this a disastrous way of handling relations
with people of islamic culture, with implications
that continue to roll forward?

My recollection was that in 1979 the Soviet troops
flew into Kabul and the following day, the prime
minister was assassinated and his successor
issued the invitation to them to invade.

I cannot remember the names though, and from
Najibullah's obituary there were two changes
of premier in 1979.

Can anyone correct/improve on my memory on this point?


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