The PDPA was also never able to rid itself of internal rivalries. Burdened byobvious evidence that the Soviets oversaw its policies, actively dominated thecrucial sectors of its government, and literally ran the war, the PDPA could notassert itself as a political force until after the Soviets left. In the civilwar period that followed, it gained significant respect, but its internaldisputes worsened.

Born divided, the PDPA suffered virtually continuous conflict between its twomajor factions. The Soviets imposed a public truce upon Parcham and Khalq, butthe rivalry continued with hostility and disagreement frequently rising to thesurface. Generally, Parcham enjoyed political dominance, while Khalq could notbe denied the leverage over the army held by its senior officers. It was amarriage necessary for survival.

Social, linguistic, and regional origins and differing degrees of Marxistradicalism had spurred factionalism from the beginning. When Soviet forcesinvaded, there was a fifteen-year history of disagreement, dislike, rivalry,violence and murder. Each new episode added further alienation. Events alsotended to sub-divide the protagonists. Amin's murder of Taraki divided theKhalqis. Rival military cliques divided the Khalqis further.

Parchamis suffered a series of splits when the Soviets insisted on replacingKarmal with Najibullah as head of the PDPA in 1986. The PDPA was riven bydivisions which prevented implementation of policies and compromised itsinternal security. These fundamental weaknesses were partially masked by theurgency of rallying for common survival in the immediate aftermath of the Sovietwithdrawal. Yet, after military successes rifts again began to surface.


Country Studies main page | Afghanistan Country Studies main page