Government, Political Parties and Movements
Babrak Karmal, Hafizullah Amin, urban intellectuals, Parcham, guerrilla groups
In the 1980s the dominant political party was the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), a Communist party founded in 1965. In 1967 it had split into two rival factions, known as Khalq (Masses), a more radical group, and Parcham (Flag), a moderate, pro-Soviet group. The Khalq was strongest among Pashto speakers in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The Parcham was strongest among Dari-speaking urban intellectuals.
After the PDPA came to power in 1978, Noor Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin, who were Khalqis, began a purge of Parchamis. The fall of Amin in December 1979 and the Soviet intervention brought Parchami leaders to power. Babrak Karmal and Sayid Mohammed Najibullah belonged to the Parcham faction.
Many guerrilla groups, known collectively as mujahideen, formed in the 1980s to fight a war against the Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan. They were divided along ethnic lines and degrees of traditionalism and Muslim fundamentalism. In 1985 seven Pakistan-based groups formed a nominal united front, and in 1987 eight Iran-based groups formed their own united front. The mujahideen were mostly headquartered in Peshawar, Pakistan, during the war with the Soviets, and they continued to maintain a substantial presence there through the ensuing civil war. They were initially financed and equipped mainly by the United States, which was interested in funding groups fighting the Soviet-installed government, and by Saudi Arabia. Most of this military aid was channeled through the Pakistani government and went to the mujahideen groups. In the early 1990s the United States largely withdrew support from the mujahideen. Saudi Arabia and Iran financed different groups within the mujahideen throughout the 1980s and continued to fund opposing mujahideen groups during the civil war. Pakistan, which has long had a vested interest in power brokering in Afghanistan, also was involved in financing various groups.
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