Mujahidin Victory: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Mujahidin Victory: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

With the failure of the communist hardliners to take over the Sovietgovernment in August 1991, Najibullah's supporters in the Soviet Army lost theirpower to dictate Afghan policy. The effect was immediate. On September 13, theSoviet government, now dominated by Boris Yeltsin, agreed with the United Stateson a mutual cutoff of military aid to both sides in the Afghan civil war. It wasto begin January 1, 1992.

The post-coup Soviet government then attempted to develop political relationswith the Afghan resistance. In mid-November it invited a delegation of theresistance's AIG to Moscow where the Soviets agreed that a transitionalgovernment should prepare Afghanistan for national elections. The Soviets didnot insist that Najibullah or his colleagues participate in the transitionalprocess. Having been cut adrift both materially and politically, Najibullah'sfaction torn government began to fall apart.

During the nearly three years that the Kabul government had successfullydefended itself against mujahidin attacks, factions within the government hadalso developed quasi-conspiratorial connections with its opponents. Even duringthe Soviet war Kabul's officials had arranged case-fires, neutral zones, highwaypassage and even passes allowing unarmed mujahidin to enter towns and cities. Asthe civil war developed into a stalemate in 1989, such arrangements proliferatedinto political understandings. Combat generally ceased around Qandahar becausemost of the mujahidin commanders had an understanding with its provincialgovernor. Ahmad Shah Massoud developed an agreement with Kabul to keep the vitalnorth-south highway open after the Soviet withdrawal. The greatest mujahidinvictory during the civil war, the capture of Khost, was achieved through thecollaboration of its garrison. Hekmatyar's cooperation with Tanai, the KhalqiDefense Minister is discussed above.

Interaction with opponents became a major facet of Najibullah's defensivestrategy, Many mujahidin groups were literally bought off with arms, suppliesand money to become militias defending towns, roads and installations. Sucharrangements carried the danger of backfiring. When Najibullah's politicalsupport ended and the money dried up, such allegiances crumbled.

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