119. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

PA 79–10610

[Omitted here are a cover page and a dissemination page.]

Afghanistan: The Babrak Government ([classification marking and handling restriction not declassified])


The Soviet-installed government of Prime Minister Babrak Karmal is dominated by members of his Parcham faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, but leftist military officers who overthrew President Daoud in April 1978 and installed the first PDPA government are also important participants. Many of the Cabinet members and the Parchamists who are helping with security in Kabul have been hiding in the Soviet Embassy in Afghanistan for up to a year. Included in this category are Sherjan Mazduryar, Minister of Transport, and Revolutionary Council member Mohammad Aslam Watanjar, who reportedly fled to the Soviet Embassy after the mid-September coup in which Amin deposed Taraki. ([classification marking and handling restriction not declassified])

There are also several men in the Cabinet who have not been closely tied to either Parcham or the military leftists in the past, and a few who seem to have been closer to the party’s Khalq faction—headed by the late Presidents Taraki and Amin—than to Parcham. Almost all, however, seem to have had a good reason to hate Amin and to have cooperated in his overthrow. ([classification marking not declassified])

So far the Babrak government has announced a partial list of the Cabinet and some members of the Revolutionary Council (in theory a supervisory, quasi-legislative body) and publicly designated three individuals as “party members,” a term possibly intended to recognize their importance without granting them any authority. ([classification marking not declassified])

[Page 333]

The most important Cabinet positions appear to have been given to some of the least important men. The two Deputy Prime Ministers and the Defense, Interior, Finance, and Foreign Ministers.2 [2 lines not declassified]. Abdul Qader, Nur Ahmad Nur, and Mohammad Aslam Watanjar have not been included in the Cabinet, although they are members of the Revolutionary Council. [classification not declassified]

[Omitted here is the body of the paper.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Intelligence, Office of Support Services, Job 80T01330A: Production Case Files OPA (1979–1980), Box 7, PA 79–10610, December 31, 1979, Afghanistan: The Babrak Government. Secret; [handling restriction not declassified]. A typed note at the bottom of the page reads: “The author of this paper is [name not declassified] of the North East-South Asia Division, Office of Political Analysis. It was coordinated with the Offices of Central Reference and Strategic Research and the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Comments and queries are welcome and may be directed to the Chief, Afghanistan Task Force [less than 1 line not declassified]. Research was completed on 30 December 1979. ([classification marking not declassified])”
  2. The memorandum identifies the Deputy Prime Ministers as Assadullah Sarwari and Soltan Ali Keshtmand; the Minister of National Defense as Colonel Mohammad Rafi; the Minister of Interior as Sayed Mohammed Gulabzoi; and the Foreign Minister as Shah Mohammed Dost. The Minister of Finance was not identified in this memorandum. Telegram 8730 from Kabul, December 31, identified the Minister of Finance as Abdul Wakil. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800004–0057)