31 October 1979* (Pb 172/108) Afghanistan

Politburo. About the situation in Afghanistan under Amin. Report from GROMYKO, ANDROPOV, USTINOV and PONOMARYOV (29 October 1979, No 0937), p 2 onwards; letter to Soviet ambassador. [R 31 October 1979, Pb 172-108] total 10 pp. (excerpts)


[page one of ten]

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

Workers of all Lands, Unite!



No. Pb 172/108

To Comrades Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gromyko,
Suslov, Ustinov, Ponomaryov

Excerpt from Minutes No. 172 of the meeting of the Politburo
of the CPSU Central Committee, held on 31 October 1979

The situation in Afghanistan and our policy in this respect

1. Agree with the views on this issue oulined by Comrades Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, Ponomaryov in their note of 29 October 1979 (attached).

2. Confirm the draft instructions to the ambassador in Kabul (attached).


[page two]

Concerning item 107,
Minutes No 172

Top Secret

To the CPSU Central Committee

The situation in Afghanistan following the events of 13-16 September this year, as the result of which Taraki was deposed and then physically eliminated, remains extremely complicated.


Alongside superficial gestures (beginning to draft a [new] constitution, freeing some people arrested earlier), Amin has in fact widened the scale of repression within the Party, the army, the State apparatus and non-governmental organizations in his efforts to secure his hold on power. Clearly, he intends to remove practically all the Party and State’s notable figures from the political arena, regarding them as his present or potential opponents.

The signals sent by Amin that he has established contacts with representatives of the right-wing Muslim opposition and leaders of tribes hostile to the government are unsettling. He is ready to reach agreement with them to end their armed struggle against the present government by making ‘compromises’ that will be to the detriment of the country’s progressive development.

Recently there have been signs that the new leadership of Afghanistan intends to conduct a more “balanced policy” in relation to the Western powers. It is known, in particular, that representatives of the USA, on the basis of their contacts with the Afghans, are concluding that Afghanistan could change its policies in a direction favourable to Washington.

Amin’s behaviour towards the USSR has revealed, ever more clearly, his insincerity and two-faced nature. In practice, Amin is not only failing to take measures to stem anti-Soviet feeling: he is in fact encouraging such feelings. In particular, he was responsible for distributing an account of the supposed involvement of Soviet representatives in an ‘assassination attempt’ on him during the 13-16 September events this year. Amin and his immediate entourage have sunk to slanderous fabrications about the involvement of Soviet personnel in the repressive campaigns carried out in Afghanistan.

Healthy forces within the PDPA [People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan] and the Afghan army are expressing their serious concern about the situation unfolding within the country, which could lead to a loss of the gains of the April Revolution. These forces are scattered, however, and survive on an illegal basis.

[page five]

Continue to work actively with Amin and with the current leadership of the PDPA and the DRA [Democratic Republic of Afghanistan] as a whole, giving Amin no grounds to believe we do not trust him and don’t wish to deal with him. Use the contacts with Amin to exert a suitable influence and, simultaneously, further expose his true intentions.


Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, Ponomarev

29 October 1979, No 0937




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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