29 June 1979* (Pb 156/IX) Afghanistan

Politburo. Actions to deal with the worsening situation in Afghanistan; recommendations from GROMYKO, ANDROPOV, USTINOV and PONOMARYOV; letter to Soviet ambassador in Kabul [Russian: 29 June 1979, Pb 156-IX] total 11 pp (excerpts).


[page one of eleven]

Return within 3 days to CPSU Central Committee
(General Department, Sector 2)

Workers of all Lands, Unite!



No. Pb 156/IX

To Comrades:

Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gromyko,
Kirilenko, Suslov, Ustinov, Ponomaryov,
Zamyatin, Smirtyukov — all items;
Pegov, G. Pavlov — item 3

Excerpt from Minutes No. 156 of the meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, held on 29 June 1979

The situation in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and possible measures for its improvement

1. Agree with the proposals presented in the memorandum from the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the KGB, the Ministry of Defence  and the International Department …

2. Confirm the draft instructions to ambassador

3. Consider it expedient for Comrade B.N. Ponomaryov to go to Kabul and chat with the leadership of the Afghanistan People’s Democratic Republic about the issues posed in our Appeal.


[signed] L. Brezhnev

[page two]

Top Secret
Special File

To the CPSU Central Committee

The situation in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan continues to worsen. The actions of the insurgent tribesmen are taking on a wider and more organised character. The reactionary clergy is reinforcing anti-government and anti-Soviet agitation, and widely proposing the setting up of a ‘free Islamic republic’ in Afghanistan similar to that in Iran


[it was resolved, page four]

3. To send an experienced general and a group of officers to Afghanistan to work directly among the troops (in the divisions and regiments) to aid the main military advisor. The main task of this group should be to help the commanding officers of detachments and units to organise military actions against the insurgents, and to improve the running of these units and detachments. In addition Soviet military advisers, down to and including battalion level, should be sent to the Afghan Democratic Republic to the brigade guarding the government and to tank brigades (40-50 individuals, including 20 political workers); military counter-intelligence advisers should be sent to all regiments in the republic.

4.  To ensure that the Soviet air squadrons at Bagram airfield are protected and defended, send a parachute battalion to the DRA disguised in the uniform (overalls) of an aviation-technical maintenance team, with the agreement of the Afghan side. For the defence of the Soviet Embassy, send to Kabul a special KGB detachment (125-150 men), disguised as Embassy service personnel. In early August, after preparations have been completed, send a special GRU detachment to the DRA (to the Bagram airfield) to be used if the situation deteriorates sharply for the security and defence of particularly important government installations.

5.  Via KGB and GRU channels, pass the Indian leadership disinformation about plans to include Indian Kashmir together with Afghanistan in a “world Islamic republic” so as to prompt the Indian government to take active steps towards countering the anti-Afghan activities of Pakistan.

[page five]

6.  The Soviet media are to intensify propaganda opposing attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan by Pakistan, Iran, China and the USA under the slogan “Hands off Afghanistan!” Support the publication of such materials in third countries.

We request authorisation.

Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, Ponomaryov

28 June 1979
No. 0552




See Short Biographies for identity and positions of Afghan, Soviet and other officials


  • 1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added to a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, JC

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