The Soviet withdraws
After six years of negotiations, with the support of the United States and the Soviet Union, an Afghan-Pakistani agreement was signed in Geneva. This agreement formed the basis for coexistence between the two states, guaranteed a non-intervention agreement and ensured the opportunities for voluntary return for refugees. Another document, signed by Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, referred to the withdrawal of Soviet troops, which began a month later.
3,000 guerrillas from Jamiat-i-Islami announced a request to be included in the amnesty, but the ceremony in Herat, where they were to hand over their weapons, developed into an ambush where the senior military chiefs were killed. The PDPA changed its name to Watan, the Fatherland Party.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Afghanistan, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
In September 1991, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed not to send weapons to either the Afghan government or the rebels. The deal left the direct confrontation to Saudi Arabia and Iran, which had financed the Afghan “mujahedins”. The dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that the regime in Kabul no longer received support from abroad.
President Najibullah was replaced in mid-April 1992 after seeking refuge at the UN headquarters in Kabul. The country’s leadership was overseen by 4 vice presidents. The authorities declared their readiness to negotiate with the rebels and met outside Kabul with Jamiat-i-Islami leader Ahmed Sha Massud. Mass’s presence in Kabul caused vigorous protests from the mujaheddins, who were largely pushouts from the southern and eastern parts of the country. The leader of the Hezb-i-Islami fundamentalist group, Gulbudin Hekhmatyar, threatened Pakistanin launching bombings of the capital if the government did not resign. Provisional President Abdul Rahim Hatif stated that the government would be transformed into a coalition involving all rebel groups. In the days that followed, the forces of Massud and Hekhmatyar initiated direct acts of war in Kabul.
A temporary government, headed by Sibgatullah Mojadidi took over power in late April. The alliance between the moderate Muslim groups, led by Ahmed Sha Massud, appointed Minister of Defense by the new government, won control of the capital and banished the Muslim fundamentalists, led by Gulbudin Hekhmatyar. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Russia were among the first to recognize the new Afghan government.
On May 6, 1992, a provisional council officially dissolved the Watan Party that had been leading Afghanistan since 1978. The council formed a special court to convict former Communist leaders who had violated Islamic or national law. Furthermore, the secret police, KHAD, and the advisory assembly were dissolved.
Some changes demonstrated the government’s intention to introduce Islamic legislation: banning the sale of alcohol and trying to introduce new laws that forced women to cover their face and wear the traditional Islamic dress.
In late May, the majority of Afghan rebel groups, including Hezb-i-Islami and Jamiat-i-Islami, proclaimed a peace deal. The first point agreed was the holding of elections over the course of a year and the withdrawal of the part of Defense Minister Ahmed Sha Massud’s militia and of Abdul Rashid Dostam’s Uzbek people from Kabul.
A few days later, President Modjadidi miraculously escaped an attempted assault. On May 31, the ceasefire between the leading guerrilla factions was interrupted. In the first days of June, the Afghan capital was again transformed into a battlefield, with open war between Hezb-i-Islami and Jamiat-i-Islami forces. After a week of war actions, 5,000 killed could be registered. Kabul became a city ravaged by war.
Mojadidi retired on June 28 to be replaced by Buranuddin Rabbani, the leader of Jamiat-i-Islami. On his accession, he stated: “We have only one requirement in our program, UNIT. We will not take a single step without consensus! ”
Hekhmatyar continued the fight against Kabul, demanding Massud step down and a withdrawal of Abdel Rashid Dostam’s militias. He had been a member of the Communist government, but had left it in favor of the Islamic groups that had conquered power.
The United Nations published a $ 10 million aid program to provide food and medicine to the part of the population that had fled Kabul. As a result of the war, Afghanistan’s economy was in ruins, with 60% of its production equipment destroyed. Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer of opium.
- According to AllCityPopulation, the capital city of Afghanistan is Kabul with a population of about 3,700,000 (official estimate 2016). Other major cities include Kandahar with a population of 534,000, Herat with a population of 477,000, and Mazar-i-Sharif with a population of 403,000 (official estimate 2016).
The Pakistani government, which had previously been the main support of the Mujahedins, decided to cut off arms and food smuggling across its border with Afghanistan, thus weakening Hekhmatyar, who was accused of destroying relations between the two countries. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated the number of Afghan refugees to be 4.5 million. Of these, approx. 3 million are in Iranian territory. The Iranian government, in turn, threatened to expel the many refugees, of whom the majority belonged to Afghan minority groups.
The leaders of eight rival factions announced a peace treaty in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 1993. In the agreement, backed by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Rabbani and Hekhmatyar agreed to share power for a period of 18 months until the holding of elections. Rabbani remained on the post of President and Hekhmatyar became Prime Minister. Powerful General Abdul Rashid Dostam, whose militia controlled northern Afghanistan, did not attend the peace conference.
Hekhmatyar took office on June 17 and Massud resigned as Minister of Defense, a post taken over by a commission composed of several groups. The prime minister relocated his residence far outside the capital. A few days later, forces loyal to Hekhmatyar launched bombings of Kabul.
In September, Russian government forces and Tajiks launched war actions against insurgent Tajiks, allies with Afghans, at the Tajik border. Despite charges from Moscow and Dushanbe, the Afghan authorities refused to be involved in the conflict and requested that the Russian forces be withdrawn from Afghan territory.
Dostam’s militias, allied with Prime Minister Hekhmatyar, launched an offensive against the capital in January 1994, and the fighting threatened to dissolve the country. Kabul remained divided into zones, controlled by rival groups, while 75% of the capital’s 2 million inhabitants fled. In June, upon termination of his term, Rabbani refused to resign – and this was extended by the Afghan Supreme Court.