17. Telegram 1156 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State1 2


  • Military Supply—South Asia, Afghan Reaction
I called on DepFonMin (de facto Foreign Minister) Waheed Abdullah at 4:00 p.m. Kabul time (11:30 GMT) February 23 in his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Introduced presentation by saying that information I was conveying was confidential and urged that it be closely held in Afghan Government (GOA) until release in Washington on February 24. Then drew upon guidance contained in State 40691, 37039, and 40693 to make presentation to Abdullah. Concluded by saying I would have text of announcement by afternoon Feburary 24 and urged him and GOA to withhold comment until full text could be studied.
Mr. Abdullah expressed his personal appreciation that it had been possible to give him advance notice of the announcement and indicated that news of the announcement would be closely held in the Afghan Govt until Monday night.
Abdullah then said that his first reaction to this was news that the Government of Pakistan (GOP) would use “unlimited Arab money” that it has available to purchase arms from U.S. He said that Afghan sources have [Page 2] discovered that Colonel Qadhafi has just told PriMin Bhutto that Pakistan would have ample funds to buy arms. I pointed out to Mr Abdullah that there was no necessary relationship between our announcement on lifting the arms embargo and Pakistan’s rearmament since there were other sources of military supply which Pakistan could take advantage of. I also reminded Mr Abdullah that under the terms of the new policy each sale would be reviewed in the light of U.S. concern over the effect of such a sale on regional stability.
Mr Abdullah then said he was deeply concerned that if the GOP increases it arms arsenal Afghanistan would have to divert funds from economic development for defense purposes. I referred to the Secrtary’s three principles relating to decision in arms area and urged that the GOA study its overall security situation carefully prior to making a decision to divert economic development funds.
MR Abdullah then said that lifting of the embargo by U.S. would encourage PriMin Bhutto to take very tough stand in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan. Mr Abduullah said the situation is already bad—noting the reported spread of unrest to the Sind and Punjab (Abdullah noted to me sarcastically at this point that the GOA had more power than it realized if it could foment unrest in the Punjab). I said that Washington hoped that GOA would not give up hope of accomodation with GOP and would keep working for means for reconciliation.
Mr Abdullah then said that the Afghan Government has been the most restrained in a difficult situation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said he feared that we were on the brink of a new insurgency—a “Bangladesh situation”. Referring to Abdullah’s remark and to the Embassy’s conversation earlier this week with Ajmal Khattak, the Pushtunistan leader in exile (septel) I said I was disturbed and I said the Department would be disturbed by any increased references in Afghan public domain to terrorist acts. I said the U.S. deplored terror and that it simply leads to more violence and deterioration of political situations.
Mr Abdullah said that Afghanistan has no territorial claims against Pakistan and supports the integrity of Pakistan. He said GOA only interest in having the Pushtu and Baluchi people obtain their rights under the Pakistan constitution. He said if we were to hear that Supreme Court of Pakistan had reviewed the arrest cases and had released persons unjustly arrested (“such as Wali Khan and other NAP figures”) and if said GOP asked for bilateral talks, GOA would welcome such talks. Abdullah said GOP used Sherpao incident to destroy conciliation process which had been due for major step forward on February 15 when Aga was due to come to Kabul.
Conversation concluded with statement that Abdullah appreciated advance notification, would study text when made available, and would review points I had made on behalf of Department.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Middle East and South Asia, Box 2, Afghanistan, To Secretary of State Nodis. Confidential; Nodis. It was repeated immediate to Islamabad and New Dehli. After this meeting President Mohammad Daoud reacted unfavorably and publicly to the end of the embargo, linking it to the Pakistani crackdown in the NWFP. (Telegram 1719 from Kabul, March 19; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  2. Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Curran met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah to discuss Afghani concerns regarding the end of the U.S. arms embargo to Pakistan.