The July 1973 coup d'etat ended 226 years of royal rule controlled by the Durrani tribal confederacy. The coup was uncontested, apparently popular, and almost benignly bloodless. Popular acceptance was partially tied to the continuity which Daud's leadership appeared to offer even though he had become politically associated with Marxists. He was seen by many as a forceful leader and a known factor after a decade of dashed hopes for a viable constitutional monarchy.
Daud was compelled to concentrate much of his energy on getting rid of his Marxist allies who had made the coup possible by penetrating the military officer corps. These erstwhile allies were members of the Parcham faction of the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). They had expected to share power and then get rid of Daud. They also had scores to settle with the Islamic militants they had fought against at the national university and the politicians who had served in Zahir Shah's constitutional government. Hundreds of members of the Ikwani Musalamin (Muslim Brotherhood, also known in Afghanistan as the Muslim Youth), were arrested--many were later executed. Former Prime Minister Muhammad Hashim Maiwandwal was murdered by Parchami henchmen while in police custody for alleged involvement in a coup attempt.
By 1975 Daud had moved carefully to purge the Marxists from his cabinet. In 1977 he attempted to consolidate his position by promulgating a new constitution which concentrated power in his presidency and channeled popular support through a single party system. Under some Soviet and Indian communist pressure, the Afghan Marxists interrupted their factional feuding long enough to unite in an attempt to overthrow Daud's government. Incensed by Daud's foreign policy shift away from them, the Soviets made clear to the Afghan Marxists their willingness to see Daud removed. He had moved close to Iran, Pakistan and Egypt (after Sadat had reconciled with Israel).
Having isolated himself from the liberals who had served the king and the Islamic militants he had persecuted, Daud had to rely heavily on his security and military forces to stay in power. The Marxists effectively penetrated them. As a result his efforts to prevent a coup were bungled. While most of the armed forces stood aside, Marxist collaborators in the army and the air force launched an assault on Daud's palace that overwhelmed his Republican Guards.
USURPATION, INVASION AND WAR: 1978-92
The April 1978 Coup d'etat and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
With Muhammad Daud's death, the government of Afghanistan was run by a divided, dilettante Marxist clique that launched a train of events eventually leading to the disintegration of the state. They named their regime the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA).
The "Saur Revolution," as the new government grandiloquently labeled its coup d'etat (after the month in the Islamic calendar in which it occurred), was almost entirely the achievement of the Khalq faction of the PDPA. This success gave it effective control over the armed forces, a great advantage over its Parchami rival. Khalq's victory was partially due to Daud's miscalculation that Parcham was the more serious threat. Parcham's leaders had enjoyed widespread connections within the senior bureaucracy and even the royal family and the most privileged elite. These linkages also tended to make their movements easy to trace.
Khalq, on the other hand ,had not been involved in Daud's government, had little connection with Kabul's Persian speaking elite, and a rustic reputation based on recruitment of students from the provinces. Most of them were Pushtuns, especially the Ghilzais. They had few apparent connections in the senior bureaucracy, many had taken jobs as school teachers. Khalq's influence at Kabul University was also limited.
These newcomers to Kabul had seemed poorly positioned to penetrate the government. Moreover, they were led by the erratic Muhammad Taraki, a poet, sometime minor official, and a publicly notorious radical. Confident that his military officers were reliable, Daud must have discounted the diligence of Taraki's lieutenant, Hafizullah Amin, who had sought out dissident Pushtun officers. The bungling of Amin's arrest, which enabled him to trigger the coup ahead of its planned date, also suggests Khalq's penetration of Daud's security police.
The plotters carried out a bold and sophisticated plan. It employed the shock effect of a combined armored and air assault on the Arg or palace, the seat of Daud's highly centralized government. Seizure of the initiative demoralized the larger loyal or uncommitted forces nearby. Quick capture of telecommunications, the defense ministry and other strategic centers of authority isolated Daud's stubbornly resisting palace guard.
The coup was by far Khalq's most successful achievement. So much so, that a considerable literature has accumulated arguing that it must have been planned and executed by the KGB, or some special branch of the Soviet military. Given the friction that soon developed between Khalq and Soviet officials, especially over the purging of Parcham, Soviet control of the coup seems unlikely. Prior knowledge of it does appear to have been highly likely. Claims that Soviet pilots bombed the palace overlook the availability of seasoned Afghan pilots.
Political leadership of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was asserted within three days of the military takeover. After thirteen years of conspiratorial activity, the two factions of the PDPA emerged in public, refusing at first, to admit their Marxist credentials. Khalq's dominance was quickly apparent. Taraki became president, prime minister and General Secretary of the PDPA. Parcham's leader, Babrak Karmal, and Amin were named deputy prime ministers. Cabinet membership was split eleven to ten , with Khalq in the majority. Khalq dominated the Revolutionary Council, which was to serve as the ruling body of the government. Within weeks purges of Parcham began, and by summer Khalq's somewhat bewildered Soviet patrons became aware of how difficult it would be temper its radicalism. The destruction of Afghanistan's former ruling elite had begun immediately after the seizure of power. Execution (Parcham leaders later claimed at least 11,000 during the Taraki/Amin period), flight into exile, and later the devastation of Kabul itself would literally remove the great majority of the some 100,000 who had come to form Afghanistan's elite and middle class. Their loss has almost completely broken the continuity of Afghanistan's leadership, political institutions and their social foundation.
The Khalq leadership proved incapable of filling this vacuum. Its brutal and clumsy attempts to introduce radical changes in control over agricultural land holding and credit, rural social relations, marriage and family arrangements, and education led to scattered protests and uprisings among all major communities in the Afghan countryside. Taraki and Amin left a legacy of turmoil and resentment which gravely compromised later Marxist attempts to win popular acceptance.
Soviet Control and Marxist Government, 1980-89
Despite its fatal weaknesses, the DRA generated a remarkable political process during its short history. When Babrak Karmal was installed as head of state by invading Soviet forces at the beginning of 1980, his government faced crippling disabilities. Installation by a foreign power prevented popular acceptance of the legitimacy of his government. Even though the Parchamis, themselves, had been among the groups most viciously persecuted by the Khalqis, their identification with Marxism and Soviet repression was not forgiven. Indeed, the decimation of their members forced the Soviets to insist on reconciliation between the two factions. The purging of Parchamis had left the military forces so dominated by Khalqis that the Soviets had no choice but to rely upon Khalqi officers to rebuild the army.
Soviet miscalculation of what was required to crush Afghan resistance further aggravated the government's situation. The Afghan army was expected to carry the burden of suppressing opposition, which was to be done quickly with Soviet support. As the war of pacification dragged on for years, the Babrak Karmal government was further weakened by the poor performance of its army.
Government was reconstructed in classical Leninist fashion. Until 1985 it was governed by a provisional constitution, "The Fundamental Principles of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan." Supreme sovereignty was vested in a Revolutionary Council, originally a body of fifty-eight members whose number later varied. Its executive committee, the Presidium, exercised power when the council was not in formal session.
The Revolutionary Council was presided over by the president of the Democratic Republic. Its powers included ratification of legislation and treaties; official appointments; declarations of war and military emergencies; the creation of new government agencies; and approval of social and economic policies.
Beneath the council the cabinet functioned under a Prime Minister, essentially in a format inherited from the pre-Marxist era. Two new ministries were added: Islamic Affairs and Tribes and Nationalities. Administrative arrangements for provincial and sub-provincial government were also retained.
In Leninist style, the PDPA was closely juxtaposed with the formal instruments of government. Its authority was generated by its Central Committee, whose executive stand-in was its Politburo. Presiding over both was the party's secretary general. Policy generation was the primary function of the executive level of the party, which was to be carried out by its members serving throughout the government.
The Search for Popular Support
In attempts to broaden support, the PDPA created organizations and launched political initiatives intended to induce popular participation. The most ambitious was the National Fatherland Front (NFF), founded in June 1981. This umbrella organization created local units in cities, towns and tribal areas which were to recruit supporters of the regime. Village and tribal notables were offered inducements to participate in well publicized rallies and programs. The party also gave affiliated organizations that enrolled women, youth and city workers high profile exposure in national radio, television, and government publications.
From its beginnings in the mid-1960s, the membership of the PDPA had taken keen interest in the impact of information and propaganda. Some years after their own publications had been terminated by government, they gained control of all official media. These were energetically harnessed to their propaganda goals. Anis, the mainline government newspaper (published in Pashtu and Dari), the Kabul New Times (previously the Kabul Times), published in English, and such new publications as Haqiqat-i-Inqelab-i-Saur exhibited the regime's flair for propaganda. With Kabul as its primary constituency, it also made innovative use of television.
The early efforts at mobilizing popular support were later followed up by national meetings and assemblies, eventually using a variation of the model of the traditional Loya Jirgah to entice the cooperation of rural secular leaders and religious authorities. A large scale Loya Jirgah was held in 1985 to ratify the DRA's new constitution.
These attempts to win collaboration were closely coordinated with efforts to manipulate Pushtun tribal politics. Such efforts included trying to split or disrupt tribes who affiliated with the resistance, or by compromising notables into commitments to raise militia forces in service to the government.
A concerted effort was made to win over the principal minorities: Uzbeq, Turkoman, and Tajik, in northern Afghanistan. For the first time their languages and literatures were prominently broadcast and published by government media. Minority writers and poets were championed ,and attention was given to their folk art, music, dance and lore.
As the Afghan-Soviet war became more destructive, internal refugees flocked to Kabul and the largest of the provincial cities. Varying estimates (no authentic census was taken) put Kabul's population at more than 2 million by the late 1980s. In many instances villagers fled to Kabul and other towns to join family or lineage groups already established there.
At least 3, perhaps 4, million Afghans were thus subject to government authority and hence exposed to PDPA recruitment or affiliation. Its largest membership claim was 160,000, starting from a base of between 5,000 and 10,000 immediately after the Soviet invasion. How many members were active and committed was unclear, but the lure of perquisites, for example, food and fuel at protected prices, compromised the meaning of membership. Claims of membership in the NFF ran into the millions, but its core activists were mostly party members. When it was terminated in 1987, the NFF disappeared without impact
The PDPA was also never able to rid itself of internal rivalries. Burdened by obvious evidence that the Soviets oversaw its policies, actively dominated the crucial sectors of its government, and literally ran the war, the PDPA could not assert itself as a political force until after the Soviets left. In the civil war period that followed, it gained significant respect, but its internal disputes worsened.
Born divided, the PDPA suffered virtually continuous conflict between its two major factions. The Soviets imposed a public truce upon Parcham and Khalq, but the rivalry continued with hostility and disagreement frequently rising to the surface. Generally, Parcham enjoyed political dominance, while Khalq could not be denied the leverage over the army held by its senior officers. It was a marriage necessary for survival.
Social, linguistic, and regional origins and differing degrees of Marxist radicalism had spurred factionalism from the beginning. When Soviet forces invaded, there was a fifteen-year history of disagreement, dislike, rivalry, violence and murder. Each new episode added further alienation. Events also tended to sub-divide the protagonists. Amin's murder of Taraki divided the Khalqis. Rival military cliques divided the Khalqis further.
Parchamis suffered a series of splits when the Soviets insisted on replacing Karmal with Najibullah as head of the PDPA in 1986. The PDPA was riven by divisions which prevented implementation of policies and compromised its internal security. These fundamental weaknesses were partially masked by the urgency of rallying for common survival in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal. Yet, after military successes rifts again began to surface.
Najibullah's Leadership, 1986-92
Factionalism had a critical impact on the leadership of the PDPA. Najibullah's achievements as a mediator between factions, an effective diplomat, a clever foe, a resourceful administrator and a brilliant spokesman who coped with constant and changing turmoil throughout his six years as head of government, qualified him as a leader among Afghans. His leadership qualities might be summarized as conciliatory authoritarianism: a sure sense of power, how to get it, how to use it, but mediated by willingness to give options to rivals. This combination was glaringly lacking in most of his colleagues and rivals.
Najibullah suffered, to a lesser degree, the same disadvantage that Karmal had when he was installed as General Secretary of the PDPA by the Soviets. Despite Soviet interference and his own frustration and discouragement over the failure to generate substantial popular support, Karmal still had retained enough loyalty within the party to remain in office. This fact was shown by the fierceness of the resistance to Najibullah's appointment within the Parcham faction. This split persisted, forcing Najibullah to straddle his politics between whatever Parchami support he could maintain and alliances he could win from the Khalqis.
Najibullah's reputation was that of a secret police apparatchik with especially effective skills in disengaging Ghilzai and eastern Pushtuns from the resistance. Najibullah was himself a Ghilzai from the large Ahmedzai tribe. His selection by the Soviets was clearly related to his success in running KHAD, the secret police, more effectively than the rest of the DRA had been governed. His appointment thus, was not principally the result of intra-party politics. It was related to crucial changes in the Soviet-Afghan war that would lead to the Soviet military withdrawal.
The Soviet Decision to Withdraw, 1986-88
These changes in the war came at the peak of the fighting. In 1985-86 Soviet forces launched their largest and most effective assaults on the mujahidin supply lines adjacent to Pakistan. Major campaigns had also forced the mujahidin into the defensive near Herat and Qandahar.
At the same time a sharp increase in military support for the mujahidin from the United States and Saudi Arabia allowed it to regain the guerilla war initiative. By late August 1986, the first Stinger ground-to-air missiles were used successfully. For nearly a year they would deny the Soviets and the Kabul government effective use of air power.
These shifts in momentum reinforced the inclination of the new Gorbachev government to view further escalation of the war as a misuse of Soviet political and military capital. Such doubts had developed prior to the decision to install Najibullah. In April 1985, one month after Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the Soviet leadership, its May Day greeting to the Kabul government failed to refer to its "revolutionary solidarity" with the PDPA, a signal in Marxist-Leninist rhetoric that their relationship had been downgraded. Several months later, Karmal suggested the inclusion of non-party members in the Revolutionary Council and the promotion of a "mixed economy." These tentative concessions toward non-Marxists won Soviet praise, but divergence in policy became obvious at the Twenty-Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1986. Gorbachev's "bleeding wound" speech hinted at a decision to withdraw "in the nearest future." In his own speech Karmal made no reference to withdrawal. In early May he was replaced by Najibullah.
Najibullah was obliged to move toward the evolving Soviet position with great caution. Karmal's followers could use any concessions to non-Marxists or acceptance of a Soviet withdrawal against him. Accordingly, he moved in conflicting directions, insisting there was no room for non-Marxists in government, only offering the possibility of clemency to "bandits" who had been duped by Mujahidin leaders into resisting the government. In addition to air strikes and shelling across the border, KHAD terrorist activity in Pakistan reached its peak under Najibullah.
Late in 1986 Najibullah had stabilized his political position enough to begin matching Moscow's moves toward withdrawal. In September he set up the National Compromise Commission to contact counterrevolutionaries "in order to complete the Saur Revolution in its new phase." Allegedly some 40,000 rebels were contacted. In November Karmal was replaced as now-ceremonial president by a non-party member, Haji Muhammad Samkanai, signaling the PDPA's willingness to open government to non-Marxists.
At the end of 1986 Najibullah unveiled a program of "National Reconciliation." It offered a six-month cease-fire and discussions leading to a possible coalition government in which the PDPA would give up its government monopoly. Contact was to be made with "anti-state armed groups." Affiliation was suggested, allowing resistance forces to retain areas under their control.
In fact much of the substance of the program was happening on the ground in the form of negotiations with disillusioned mujahidin commanders who agreed to cooperate as government militia. The mujahidin leadership rhetorically claimed that the program had no chance for success. For his part Najibullah assured his followers that there would be no compromise over "the accomplishments" of the Saur Revolution. It remained a standoff. While a strenuous propaganda effort was directed at the both the Afghan refugees and Pakistanis in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, the program was essentially a sop to Moscow's hope to tie a favorable political settlement to its desire to pull its forces out.
Najibullah's concrete achievements were the consolidation of his armed forces, the expansion of co-opted militia forces and the acceptance of his government by an increasing proportion of urban population under his control. As a propaganda ploy "National Reconciliation" was a means of gaining time to prepare for civil war after the Soviet departure.
The Geneva Accords, 1987-89
By the beginning of 1987, the controlling fact in the Afghan war was the Soviet Union's determination to withdraw. It would not renege on its commitment to the Kabul government's survival--Gorbachev's options were restricted by Soviet military insistence that Kabul not be abandoned. Nevertheless, the Soviet leadership was convinced that resolution of cold war issues with the West and internal reform were far more urgent than the fate of the Kabul government.
Conveniently, a formula was readily available for minimizing the humiliation of reversing a policy in which enormous political, material, and human capital had been invested. In 1982 under the auspices of the office of its secretary general, the UN had initiated negotiations facilitating a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Its format had essentially been agreed upon by 1985. Ostensibly it was the product of indirect negotiations between the DRA and Pakistan (Pakistan did not recognize the DRA) with the mediation of the secretary general's special representative, Diego Cordovez. The United States and the Soviet Union had committed themselves to guaranteeing the implementation of an agreement leading to a withdrawal.
Both the format and the substance of the agreement were designed to be acceptable to the Soviet Union and the DRA. Its clauses included affirmation of the sovereignty of Afghanistan and its right to self-determination, its right to be free from foreign intervention or interference, and the right of its refugees to a secure and honorable return. But at its core was an agreement reached in May 1988 that authorized the withdrawal of "foreign troops" according to a timetable that would remove all Soviet forces by February 15, 1989.
The accords emerged from initiatives by Moscow and Kabul in 1981. They had claimed that Soviet forces had entered Afghanistan in order to protect it from foreign forces intervening on the side of rebels attempting to overthrow the DRA. The logic of the Geneva Accords was based on this accusation, that is, that once the foreign threat to Afghanistan was removed, the forces of its friend, the Soviet Union, would leave. For that reason a bilateral agreement between Pakistan, which was actively supporting the resistance, and the DRA prohibiting intervention and interference between them was essential. In meticulous detail each party agreed to terminate any act that could remotely effect the sovereignty or security of the other. This agreement included preventing an expatriate or a refugee from publishing a statement which his/her government could construe as a contribution to unrest within its territory. The bilateral agreement between the Afghanistan and Pakistan on the principles of non-interference and non-intervention was signed on April 14, 1988.
The accords thus facilitated a withdrawal by an erstwhile superpower, in a manner which justified an invasion. They exemplify the delicacy of UN diplomacy when the interests of a great power are engaged. In essence, the accords were a political bailout for a government struggling with the consequences of a costly error. The UN could not insist that accusations of national culpability were relevant to the negotiations. In the case of Afghanistan, the Soviet Union insisted on its own diplomatic terms as did the United States in a different manner concerning Vietnam.
The Failure to Bring Peace
The accords did not bring peace to Afghanistan. There was little expectation among its enemies or the Soviet Union that the Kabul government would survive. Its refusal to collapse introduced a three-year period of civil war.
The Geneva process failed to prevent the further carnage which a political solution among Afghans might have prevented or lessened. It failed partially because the Geneva process prevented participation by the Afghan resistance. The DRA occupied Afghanistan's seat at the UN General Assembly. Denied recognition, the resistance leadership resented the central role that DRA was permitted to play at Geneva. When Cordovez approached the Mujahidin parties to discuss a possible political settlement in February 1988--more than five years after negotiations began--they were not interested. Their bitterness would hover over subsequent efforts to find a political solution.
Considerable diplomatic energy was expended throughout 1987 to find a political compromise that would end the fighting before the Soviets left. While Pakistan, the Soviet Union and the DRA haggled over a timetable for the Soviet withdrawal, Cordovez worked on a formula for an Afghan government that would reconcile the combatants. The formula involved Zahir Shah, and by extension, the leading members of his former government, most of whom had gone into exile. This approach also called for a meeting in the Loya Jirgah tradition representing all Afghan protagonists and communities. It was to reach a consensus on the features of a future government. The Jirgah also was to select a small group of respected leaders to act as a transitional government in place of the Kabul government and the mujahidin. During the transition a new constitution was to be promulgated and elections conducted leading to the installation of a popularly accepted government. This package kept reemerging in modified forms throughout the civil war that followed. Suggested roles for the king and his followers slipped into and out of these formulas, despite the implacable opposition of most of the mujahidin leaders.
The peace prospect faltered because no credible consensus was attainable. By mid-1987 the resistance forces sensed a military victory. They had stymied what proved to be the last set of major Soviet offensives, the Stinger missiles were still having a devastating effect, and they were receiving an unprecedented surge of outside assistance. Defeat of the Kabul government was their solution for peace. This confidence, sharpened by their distrust of the UN virtually guaranteed their refusal of a political compromise.
Pakistan's Attempt at a Political Solution, 1987-88
Pakistan was the only protagonist in a position to convince the mujahidin otherwise. Its intimate relationship with the parties it hosted had shaped their war and their politics. Their dependence on Pakistan for armaments, training, funding and sanctuary had been nearly total. But by 1987, the politics of Pakistan's foreign policy had fragmented. The Foreign Ministry was working with Diego Cordovez to devise a formula for a "neutral" government. President Zia ul Haq was adamantly convinced that a political solution favoring the mujahidin was essential and worked strenuously to convince the United States and the Soviet Union. Riaz Muhammad Khan argues that disagreement within the military and with Zia's increasingly independent prime minister, Muhammad Khan Junejo, deflected Zia's efforts. When Gorbachev announced a Soviet withdrawal without a peace settlement at his Washington meeting with President Reagan on December 10, 1987, the chance for a political agreement was lost. All the protagonists were then caught up in the rush to complete the Geneva process.
In the end the Soviets were content to leave the possibilities of reconciliation to Najibullah and to shore him up with massive material support. He had made an expanded reconciliation offer to the resistance in July, 1987 including twenty seats in State (formerly Revolutionary) Council, twelve ministries and a possible prime ministership and Afghanistan's status as a Muslim, nonaligned state. Military, police, and security powers were not mentioned. The offer still fell far short of what even the moderate mujahidin parties would accept.
Najibullah then reorganized his government to face the mujahidin alone. A new constitution took effect in November, 1987. Afghanistan was renamed a republic, the State Council was replaced by a National Assembly for which "progressive parties" could freely compete. Mir Hussein Sharq, a non-party politician, was named prime minister. Najibullah's presidency was given Gaulist powers and longevity. He was promptly elected to a seven-year term. On paper, Afghan government appeared far more democratic than Daud had left it, but its popular support remained questionable.
Stalemate: The Civil War, 1989-92
The Soviets left Afghanistan deep in winter with intimations of panic among Kabul officials. Hard experience had convinced Soviet officials that the government was too faction riven to survive. Pakistani and American officials expected a quick mujahidin victory. The resistance was poised to attack provincial towns and cities and eventually Kabul, if necessary. The first one to fall might produce a ripple effect that would unravel the government.
Within three months, these expectations were dashed at Jalalabad. An initial assault penetrated the city's defenses and reached its airport. A counterattack, supported by effective artillery and air power, drove the mujahidin back. Uncoordinated attacks on the city from other directions failed. The crucial supply road to the garrison from Kabul was reopened. By May 1989 it was clear that the Kabul forces in Jalalabad had held.
The Mujahidin were traumatized by this failure. It exposed their inability to coordinate tactical movements or logistics or to maintain political cohesion. During the next three years, they were unable to overcome these limitations. Only one significant provincial capital (Taloqan) was captured and held. Mujahidin positions were expanded in the northeast and around Herat, but their inability to mass forces capable of overcoming a modern army with the will to fight from entrenched positions was clear. A deadly exchange of medium-range rockets became the principal form of combat, embittering the urban population, and adding to the obstacles that prevented millions of refugees from returning.
Victory at Jalalabad dramatically revived the morale of the Kabul government. Its army proved able to fight effectively alongside the already the hardened troops of the Soviet-trained special security forces. Defections decreased dramatically when it became apparent that the resistance was in disarray, with no capability for a quick victory. The change in atmosphere made
recruitment of militia forces much easier. As many as 30,000 troops were assigned to the defense of Herat alone.
Immediately after the Soviet departure, Najibullah pulled down the façade of shared government. He declared an emergency, removed Sharq and the other non-party ministers from the cabinet. The Soviet Union responded with a flood of military and economic supplies. Sufficient food and fuel were made available for the next two difficult winters. Much of the military equipment belonging to Soviet units evacuating Eastern Europe was shipped to Afghanistan. Assured adequate supplies, Kabul's air force, which had developed tactics minimizing the threat from Stinger missiles, now deterred mass attacks against the cities. Medium-range missiles, particularly the SCUD, were successfully launched from Kabul in the defense of Jalalabad, 145 kilometers miles away. One reached the suburbs of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, more than 400 kilometers away. Soviet support reached a value of $3 billion per year in 1990. Kabul had achieved a stalemate which exposed the mujahidin's weaknesses, political and military.