Daoud's Republic Afghansitan
Daoud's Republic Afghansitan (July 17, 1973 - April 28, 1978)
The welcome Mohammed Daoud
Khan received on returning to power on July 17, 1973 reflected the citizenry's disappointment with the lackluster
politics of the preceding decade. Zahir Shah's "New Democracy" had promised much but had delivered little. Daoud's comeback
was a return to traditional strongman rule and he was a particularly appealing figure to military officers. As prime minister,
Daoud had obtained large supplies of modern arms from the Soviet Union and he had been a former army officer himself.
Also, his strong position on the Pashtunistan issue had not been forgotten by conservative Pashtun officers.
discussed rebellion for more than a year with various opposition elements--both moderates and leftists, including military
officers who were members of both the Khalqi and Parchami factions of the PDPA. Certainly the communists had worked vigorously
to undermine Zahir Shah's experiment in constitutional democracy. Their inflammatory speeches in parliament and organized
street riots were tactics which alarmed the king to the degree that he refused to sign the law legalizing political parties.
Babrak Karmal's Parcham faction became integrally involved in planning the coup. There is general agreement that Daoud had
been meeting with what he called various "friends" for more than a year. The coup itself was carried out by junior officers
trained in the Soviet Union. Some Afghans suspected that Daoud and Karmal had been in touch for many years and that Daoud
had used him as an informant on the leftist movement. No strong link can be cited to support this, however, other than the
closeness between Karmal's father, an army general, and Daoud. At the time of the July 1973 coup, which took place
when the king was in Italy receiving eye treatment at the medicinal mud baths at Ischia, it was sometimes difficult to
assess the factional and party affiliation of the officers who took place. Despite a number of conversions of Parchamis to
the Khalqi faction by the time of the communist coup of April 1978 which overthrew Daoud, both party and factional
loyalties became obvious after the PDPA took power.
Although leftists had played a central role in the coup, and despite
the appointment of two leftists as ministers, evidence suggests that the coup was Daoud's alone. Officers personally loyal
to him were placed in key positions while young Parchamis were sent to the provinces, probably to get them out of Kabul, until
Daoud had purged the leftist officers by the end of 1975.
The next year, Daoud established his own political party, the
National Revolutionary Party, which became the focus of all political activity. In January 1977, a loya jirga approved
Daoud's constitution establishing a presidential, one party system of government.
Any resistance to the new regime was
suppressed. A coup attempt by Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal, which may have been planned before Daoud took power, was subdued
shortly after his coup. In October 1973, Maiwandwal, a former prime minister and a highly respected former diplomat,
died in prison at a time when Parchamis controlled the Ministry of Interior under circumstances corroborating the widespread
belief that he had been tortured to death.
While both of the PDPA's factions had attempted to collaborate with Daoud before
the 1973 coup, Parcham used its advantage to recruit on an unprecedented scale immediately following the coup. Daoud,
however, soon made it clear that he was no front man and that he had not adopted the claims of any ideological faction. He
began in the first months of his regime to ease Parcharmis out of his cabinet. Perhaps not to alienate the Soviet Union, Daoud
was careful to cite inefficiency and not ideological reasons for the dismissals. Khalq, seeing an opportunity to make some
short-term gains at Parcham's expense, suggested to Daoud that "honest" Khalqis replace corrupt Parchamis. Daoud, wary of
ideologues, ignored this offer.