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Policy of the USA for Afghanistan at the initial stage of the Afghan crisis (1978-1979)



t. V. Rabush

POLICY of the USA for AFGHANISTAN AT the INITIAL STAGE of the AFGHAN CRISIS (1978-1979)

Work is presented by department of the theory and history of the international relations of St. Petersburg State University.

The research supervisor - the candidate of historical sciences, associate professor A.Yu. Pavlov

In article the interests of the USA in Afghanistan, line of conduct concerning NDPA and the Afghan insurgents, a position of the USA of rather Soviet role in the Afghan events are considered. The analysis of the "Afghan" policy of the USA during this period helps to understand better the reasons of internationalization of the Afghan internal crisis and its development into civil war and motives of the further involvement of the USA into the conflict.

The article concerns the American interests in Afghanistan and relations with official Kabul and Afghan insurgents until 1979. The article helps to understand the reasons of beginning of the civil war in Afghanistan and the motivation of the USA in the Afghan conflict.

It is possible with the known share of probability to claim that confrontation of the USA and the USSR played a significant role in escalation of the Afghan internal crisis in the late seventies and its further transformation in full-scale civil war. Not any internal or even international crisis moves to a level of armed struggle and therefore it is possible to tell that the behavior at the initial stage of crisis of the parties involved in it can be decisive for further development of crisis and affect that, it will develop finally into war or not. In the context of the Afghan crisis it is very important to consider behavior of both the Soviet, and Afghan side. And if the policy of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the early seventies is studied rather well, then the American policy for Afghanistan most often is considered by researchers already in line with the American involvement into the armed Afghan conflict, i.e. after introduction of Soviet troops to Afghanistan. Meanwhile the analysis of policy of the USA at the initial stage of the Afghan crisis in the relation of Afghanistan

allows to understand better the reasons of development of crisis into civil war and motives of further involvement of the USA in this conflict.

The situation in Afghanistan in 1978 was not paramount in the list of the regional political directions for the American administration. In 1971 the ambassador of the USA in Kabul R. Neumann specified in a shif-rotelegramma to Washington: "For the USA in the present Afghanistan has limited direct interest: he is not either important trade partner, or the transit point for trade of the USA with other countries; it is not now... a source of oil or rare strategic metals it is also improbable that they will be found. and Afghanistan does not present us considerable defensive, prospecting or scientific opportunities" 1.

Well illustrates the American position in relation to Afghanistan during this period of time A. Dabs's speech (in the future the ambassador of the USA in Afghanistan) before subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific region of committee on international

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to the relations of the congress of March 16, 1978, i.e. in a month with small before the April revolution: "The political situation is stable. The president Daud keeps a lot of things under control and has no considerable opposition. Afghanistan has good relations with neighbors, and it substantially promotes political stability in the region. The Afgano-pakistansky relations it is better, than ever for last years" 2. Judging by the document given above, for the American side the message about revolution in Afghanistan was valid unexpected. But in Washington decided to wait for further succession of events. The list of the government of NDPA in the Soviet part was obvious, but up to the beginning of 1979 the official American statements carried reserved tone in respect of long-term assessment of events.

In the beginning in Washington it was relied on possible nationalist character new Afghan liderov3. From the very beginning of the April revolution the American administration decided to take an observation position on Afghanistan. On April 27, 1978 the U.S. Embassy in Kabul sent a shifrotelegram-ma to Washington in which it warned "against any hasty conclusions that new leaders are communists" 4. The answer of State Department to this telegram was rather confused: "Fragmentary certificates suggest an idea that they (new Afghan leaders. - Thousand rubles) can be left or substantially Islamic nationalists" 5. The reasons of a reserved position of the USA are explained in the memoirs by the Secretary of State S. Vens: "There were reasons to believe that the strong Afghan nationalism of Taraki and even more Amin can keep Afghanistan from that it became the Soviet satellite" 6.

On April 30, 1978 the American Embassy in Kabul in a shifrotelegramma in Vashin-

gton already directly specified that "the true political character of heads of a revolution is openly seen for all" 7 now. But nevertheless, as S. Vens in the memoirs notes, in the highest circles of the USA it was decided that "continuation of the economic help was the best decision for support of extent of influence in Kabul. The termination of any help or refusal of recognition of the mode almost undoubtedly would weaken our positions in Kabul" 8. The former ambassador of the USA in Afghanistan R. Neumann believed that coming to power in Afghanistan of a prosovetska of the adjusted mode will lead to withdrawal of Afghanistan from traditional non-alignment policy and to closer rapprochement with the Soviet Union. But such opinion was rather an exception, and the American administration chose policy which can be characterized precisely the words of the assistant Secretary of State Mr. Saunders concerning new Afghan regime in the beginning: "It is necessary to take into account mix of nationalism and communism in the new management and to seek to avoid pushing of the mode in closer embraces of the Soviet Union... On the other hand, the elements incited against the mode in Afghanistan will sharp-sightedly watch us to define whether we give tacit consent or we accept communistic seizure of power. Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other our friends in the region will apprehend a situation as an obvious Soviet revolution" 9.

14 February, 1979 in Kabul the ambassador of the USA in Afghanistan Adolf Dabe died, and this point became turning in the afgano-American relations. On February 20, 1979 J. Carter made in the Georgia Institute of Technology the speech devoted to world situation and foreign policy of the USA: "The United States cannot control events in other countries. We at all not against changes. Many political trends in

the world express aspiration which we share, - desire for peace. However the uncertain and rough events accompanying changes can have also more gloomy party. We see it in the senseless act of violence committed last week in Afghanistan" 10.

22 February, 1979. Carter made the decision to reduce programs of the economic help in Afganistane11, joint afgano-American training military programs were suspended, from Kabul the headquarters of the Building of the world is withdrawn. The reason of these actions of the American side as it was proved by the American officials, - not only Dabs's murder, but also a list of Afghanistan towards closer relations with the USSR. At the same time the United States stated that they are ready to further cooperation, despite current situation, and wait for counter steps from Afghan pravitelstva12.

Further the internal situation in Afghanistan developed undesirable both for the Soviet Union, and for the USA in the way. The mutiny of garrison Herat in March, 1979 laid the foundation for civil war. According to some data, in 19781979 in Pakistan with assistance of the CIA training military of the camp where trained the Afghan insurgents were created then they were sent in Afganistan13. There are no authentic documentary evidences or denials of these facts. Indisputable the fact that the Afghan Mujahideens had training in the Pakistani camps, but is up to the end not quite clear whether officers of the CIA took in it part and whether money of the American individuals and the government budget were used on these purposes.

The Soviet researchers mention that Americans even before input of OKSV helped the Afghan insurgents money and oruzhiyem14. The American officials in documents deny the facts of rendering military and financial pomo-

Mujahideens in 1978-1979 15 However should note Russian cabbage soup that in the fall of 1979 in the USA the aid program to the Afghan refugees which included humanitarian, financial and medical pomoshch16 was deployed at the government level.

In general from the very beginning of the Afghan crisis in the American tops there were supporters of two behavior models of the American administration in relation to Afghanistan. It is possible to call the first model loyal, the Secretary of State S. Vens was her main spokesman, he supported continuation of contacts with the Afghan government and careful policy for opposition. The second behavior model can be characterized as rigid, the Assistant to the President on national security 3 sought to realize it. Brzezinski he supported toughening of policy in relation to official Afghanistan and support of Islamic opposition. In the memoirs 3. Brzezinski, admits that J. Carter in parallel with the official reserved line concerning the new Afghan government allowed it to draw the rigid line aimed at overthrow of the regime by rendering full assistance of the Afghan armed opposition. In 1978 Brzezinski visited the camp of Pakistan where insurgents had training, and promised them the American help. If in 1978 J. Carter tried to keep balance between two approaches, then since the beginning of 1979 the supporters of rigid model begin to dominate. Subsequently, in 1980, after introduction of Soviet troops the rigid line won approach to the Afghan question and further only became tougher.

Since 1979 the American side more carefully, than earlier, begins to analyze an internal situation in Afghanistan. Both in the American periodicals, and in official documents on -

articles where possible ways of behavior of the Soviet Union concerning Afghanistan are in detail analyzed are. The first way - the increasing economic help to Afghanistan from the USSR and attempt to resolve the internal Afghan conflict in the political way; the second way - direct military intervention of the Soviet Union in internal Afghan konflikt17. Meanwhile, according to the American observers, the first trend develops. Also the careful analysis of the Afghan opposition, its fighting concerning government troops is carried out, groups and currents in opposition, contradictions between them, cooperation of opposition with others gosudarstvami18 are considered.

Taraki's overthrow and seizure of power in state X. Also were not ignored by amine official American faces and analysts. As it is noted in Congressional records, Taraki's overthrow demonstrates weakness of the mode supported by Councils which has no popularity in the country and against which there is a civil war. By the American estimates, in the middle of 1979 in Afghanistan there were about 4 thousand Soviet voyennosluzhashchikh19. Already since the beginning of 1979 the Americans note that the NDPA mode is afloat mainly thanks to the Soviet financial support and advisers in the Afghan army and at all levels of the Kabul government. The growing number of the Soviet military personnel in Afghanistan can indicate desire of Councils to interfere with the Afghan conflict. "Councils, shortly have to solve, whether assume to them a heavy burden of further imposing to the Afghan people of this hated to it the mode. The growing presence of the Soviet personnel and weapon at the Afghan civil war shows the Soviet desire to get involved in this local conflict without thinking about the interests of the nation, on whose old

not Councils presumably work. Further this intention can threaten stability around the world... It is clear that the Soviet intention will be catastrophic for Afghans and unpredictable for Councils" 20.

In spite of the fact that in general the USA recognized undesirability of direct military intervention of the USSR in the Afghan conflict as posing a serious threat of regional security, overthrow of NDPA of hands of opposition was equitable to long-term strategic American interests. Confirmation to that is the report of the American Embassy in Kabul of August 16, 1979 where it is specified: "The victory of opposition could have a number of favorable consequences for the humanitarian, political and economic interests of the USA in this country and in this region. overthrow WAD DRA has to show to other countries, in particular "the third world" that the Soviet point of view about a socialist course of history as inevitable is not true" 21.

In the second half of 1979 in the American official documents information that the Soviet military advisers in Afghanistan, perhaps, are involved in fighting against insurgents appears. The opinion is expressed that the Soviet troops only protect the Soviet objects and the Soviet military personnel in Afghanistan; according to other version, they are intended for support of weak Afghan army. It is specified that in case of the broad armed involvement it will be extremely undesirable conflict for the Soviet Union in the third mire22. At the same time

17 September, 1979 State Department Spokesperson of X. Carter on a question whether the State Department information on a role of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan has, answered: "We, of course, know of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, but we have no information on possible participation of the Soviet Union in these events" 23.

In November-December, 1979 in the American documents and the press there are messages that the Soviet military formations created on national sign from Tajiks and Uzbeks already are in Afghanistan and are involved in battles against modzhakhedov24. These facts caused extreme concern of the American analysts and officials. However in Washington assumed that in the Soviet Union will remember the American lesson in Vietnam and will hesitate on something podobnoye25. All details connected with the Soviet behavior in Afghanistan and movements of the Soviet troops on border of the USSR - Afghanistan, were traced in the USA and found the reflection in the American documents. The Soviet part was warned about possible extremely negative consequences of more direct intervention in internal Afghan crisis. It is possible to give a fragment from G. Saunders's speech (the assistant to the Secretary of State for the Middle East and Central Asia) before subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific region of committee of foreign affairs of the congress on September 26, 1979: "Direct intervention in affairs of Afghanistan of any country, including the Soviet Union, threatens unity of this nation and the peace in the territory of the Central Asian region and is the business which is of direct interest to the USA. We repeatedly warn council - the sky government about danger of more direct intervention in fight in Afghanistan" 26. After the events taking place in such important strategic stronghold of the USA in Asia as Iran, Americans still more were disturbed by the Soviet military regroupings and danger of the Soviet involvement in the Iranian crisis (through

Afghanistan) or any attempts to affect on nego27.

All aforesaid convincingly proves that already since the beginning of 1979 in the USA at the highest level analyzed the Afghan problem and saw by what outcome can give succession of events in Afghanistan and intervention in internal fight.

It is possible to draw a conclusion that the April revolution of 1978 was unexpected as well as for the Soviet part for the American highest officials. Up to 1979 the American administration in Afghanistan took a reserved waiting attitude on events. With A. Dabs's murder concerning Afghanistan penalties followed, but at the same time in the USA analyzed a situation in WAD DRA and foresaw further negative succession of events. It is impossible to agree with the thesis which is found at some domestic researchers that the USA specially kept silence, hoping to involve thus the USSR in the armed conflict, unprofitable for it. As it is possible to see from the provided documents, the American side warned the Soviet Union at the high level about undesirability of closer involvement in the internal Afghan conflict and about possible consequences of it for Afghanistan and region. But at the same time overthrow of the pro-Soviet mode would be equitable to the American long-term interests.

And since 1979 the USA took a hard line on official Afghanistan. Americans began to help the Afghan insurgents, but at the moment there are no proofs that before input of OKSV the Mujahideens were given direct military support from the USA.

1 Tsit on: A.S. Ivashchenko. USA and Afghanistan (1978-1989). M, 1997. Page 23.
2 Department of state bulletin. 1978. V. 78. N 2014. P. 48.
3 Arnold A. Soviet invasion in perspective. N.-Y., 1983.
4 Tsit. on: A.S. Ivashchenko. Decree. soch. Page 42.
5 In the same place.
6 Vance S. Hard choices: hard years in American foreign policy. N.-Y., 1983. P. 135.
7 Tsit. on: A.S. Ivashchenko. Decree. soch. Page 43.
8 Vance S. Op cit. P. 231.
9 Department of state bulletin. 1978. V. 78. N 2015. P. 22-23.
10 Chronicle of the Soviet-American relations. Part 2: 1978 - winter - spring of 1979 of M., 1980. Page 128.
11 Department of state bulletin. 1979. V. 79. N 2025.
12 A.S. Ivashchenko. Decree. soch. Chapter 2; Miklos J. South Asia: US policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan//Department of state bulletin. 1979. V. 79. N 2031.
13 V. Spoljnikoye H. Afghanistan. Islamic opposition: sources and purposes. M, 1990.
14 In the same place.
15 Congressional records. V. 125. 1979. N 188, 183.
16 Saunders G. Afghan refuges//Department of state bulletin. 1979. V. 79. N 2033.
17 Michel R. Afghanistan, Soviet Union and world peace//Congressional records. 1979. V. 125. N 159.
18 Ibid.
19 Congressional records. 1979. V. 125. N 148.
20 Bredly. Recent events in Afghanistan//Congressional records. 1979. V. 125. N 152.
21 Special bulletin of Institute of oriental studies of Academy of Sciences of the USSR No. 5 (244). Confidential correspondence of US Departments of State across Afghanistan / Under the editorship of Yu.A. Gankovsky. M.: Science, 1986. Page 105.
22 Michel R. The Soviet buildup in Afghanistan//Congressional records. 1979. V. 125. N 184.
23 Chronicle of the Soviet-American relations. Part 3: Summer - winter of 1979 of M., 1980. Page 41.
24 Michel R. Soviets go deeper into Afghanistan//Congressional records. 1979. V. 125. N 168.
25 Special bulletin of Institute of oriental studies of Academy of Sciences of the USSR, No. 5 (244). Confidential correspondence of US Departments of State across Afghanistan. Page 45-46.
26 Saunders G. Situation in Afghanistan//Department of state bulletin. 1979. V. 79. N 2031. P. 54.
27 Congressional records. 1979. V. 125. N 169, 187; Department of state bulletin. 1979. V. 79. N 2033.
Hoff Kamilla
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