What Was the Saur Revolution?

In 1973, Mohamed Daoud Khan, the first self-proclaimed president of Afghanistan, overthrew King Mohammed Zahir. During the reign of King Mohamed Zahir, Daoud expressed his opposition to the king by pushing him to overthrow and abolish the monarchy in a coup. His time as president saw the emergence of divisions within the ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), particularly between the Parcham and Khalq factions. Daoud’s rule showed authoritarian tendencies including the arrest and murder of those in opposition, especially those of the Khalqi faction of the ruling party.

The Coup

The Saur revolution took place in April 27th and 28th, 1978. The military loyalists of the Khalq faction of the PDPA began the war by launching their attacks on the palace and other important government buildings within the city of Kabul. The coup was a great success when the planners took a Thursday, which was less busy since most of the government officials and military commanders were off duty in preparation for the holy day of worship. The weapons used during the war were mainly tanks, explosives and firearms, as well as military equipment from the armed forces of Afghanistan. The revolutionaries took over both the city and the media through which they announced their acquisition and affirmed the involvement of the PDPA in the revolution.

results

The revolution led to the destruction of the main government offices and the palace. Through the coup, Daoud and most of his family members were killed, which eventually led to his law. Communists under the leadership of Nur Muhammad Taraqi (Khalq) formed a new government. In his government, he sought to establish unity and equality between the two factions of the PDPA ruling party in his cabinet. However, the unity and inclusion of the Parcham faction was only temporary as members of the faction’s government were replaced within the year. Political repression increased during this period triggering another revolution in 1979, which overthrew the Taraqi government. During the reign of Taraqi, the government introduced socialist programs, who were opposed to the conservative Islamic nature of the majority of the population. At that time, the existing agrarian reforms saw the decline of agricultural production and threatened the position of the rich mullahs who lived off the sweat of poor peasants. Support for women’s rights and equality has also angered the conservative Afghan Islamic society, which they saw as a violation of fundamental Islamic beliefs. These radical attempts at modernization, including the mass execution of political prisoners, eventually led to the Mujahedeen uprising and the beginning of a long period of war in Afghanistan. the existing agrarian reforms saw the decline of agricultural production and threatened the position of the rich mullahs who lived off the sweat of poor peasants. Support for women’s rights and equality has also angered the conservative Afghan Islamic society, which they saw as a violation of fundamental Islamic beliefs. These radical attempts at modernization, including the mass execution of political prisoners, eventually led to the Mujahedeen uprising and the beginning of a long period of war in Afghanistan. the existing agrarian reforms saw the decline of agricultural production and threatened the position of the rich mullahs who lived off the sweat of poor peasants. Support for women’s rights and equality has also angered the conservative Afghan Islamic society, which they saw as a violation of fundamental Islamic beliefs. These radical attempts at modernization, including the mass execution of political prisoners, eventually led to the Mujahedeen uprising and the beginning of a long period of war in Afghanistan.

Role of the revolution

The Saur revolution ended Afghanistan’s neutrality in the Cold War following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979. The Soviet Union launched attacks against Afghanistan to maintain its hold on the country and in Asia. The revolution also marked the beginning of a period of restless war in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union and the government tried to suppress the rebellion of the Mujaheddin troops through the bombing of rural areas resulting in a high number of refugees in Pakistan and Iran. The involvement of the Soviet Union in the Afghan war has attracted the participation of other nations taking part in the Cold War.

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