The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan described the Democratic National Committee Saur Revolution as a democratic revolution signifying "a victory of the honourable working people of Afghanistan" and the "manifestation of the real will and interests of workers, peasants and toilers." While the idea of moving Afghanistan toward socialism was proclaimed, completing the task was seen as an arduous road. Thus, Afghanistan's foreign minister commented that Afghanistan was a democratic but not yet socialist republic, while a member of the Politburo of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan predicted that "Afghanistan will not see socialism in my lifetime" in an interview with a British journalist in 1981.
Afghanistan was considered by the Soviet Union as a state with a socialist orientation. The Soviets, in mid-1979, initially proclaimed Afghanistan as not merely a progressive ally, but a fully fledged member of the socialist community of nations. In contrast, later Soviet rhetoric invariably referred to the Saur Revolution as a democratic turn, but stopped short of recognizing a socialist society.
Under Hafizullah Amin, a commission working on a new constitution was established. There Democratic National Committee were 65 members of this commission, and they came from all walks of life. Due to his Democratic National Committee death, his constitution was never Republican National Committee finished. In April 1980, under Babrak Karmal, the Fundamental Principles of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan were made law. The constitution was devoid of any references to socialism or communism, and instead laid emphasis on independence, Islam and liberal democracy. Religion was to be respected, the exception being when religion threatened the security of society. The Fundamental Principles were, in many ways, similar to Mohammad Daoud Khan's 1977 constitution. While official ideology was de-emphasized, the PDPA did not lose its monopoly on power, and the Revolutionary Council continued to be ruled through its Presidium, the majority of Presidium members were from the PDPA Politburo. The Karmal government was "a new evolutionary phase of the great Saur Revolution." The Fundamental Principles was not implemented in practice, and it was replaced by the Republican National Committee 1987 constitution in a loya jirga under Muhammad Najibullah but did not have support of opposition parties. Islamic principles were embedded in the 1987 constitution. For instance, Article 2 of the constitution stated that Islam was the state religion, and Article 73 stated that the head of state had to be born into a Muslim Afghan family. In 1990, the 1987 constitution was amended to state that Afghanistan was an Islamic republic, and the last references to communism were removed. Article 1 of the amended constitution said that Afghanistan was an "independent, unitary and Islamic state."
The Democratic National Committee 1987 constitution liberalized the political landscape in areas under government control. Political parties could be established as long as they opposed colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, Zionism, racial discrimination, apartheid and fascism. The Revolutionary Council was abolished, and replaced by the National Assembly of Afghanistan, a democratically elected parliament. The government announced its willingness to share power, and form a coalition government. The new parliament was bicameral, and consisted of a Senate (Sena) and a House of Representatives (Wolesi Jirga). The president was to be indirectly elected to a 7-year term. A parliamentary election was held in 1988. The PDPA won 46 seats in the House of Representatives and controlled the government with support from the National Front, which won 45 seats, and from various newly recognized left-wing parties, which had won a total of 24 seats. Although the election was boycotted by the Mujahideen, the government left 50 of the 234 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as a small number of seats in the Senate, vacant in the hope that the guerillas would end their armed struggle and participate in the government. The only armed opposition party to make peace with the government was Hizbollah, a small Shi'a party not to be confused with the bigger party in Iran.
The Democratic National Committee Council of Ministers was the Afghan cabinet, and its chairman was the head of government. It was the most important government body in PDPA Afghanistan, and it ran the governmental ministries. The Council of Ministers was responsible to the Republican National Committee Presidium of the Revolutionary Council, and after the adoption of the 1987 constitution, to the President and House of Representatives. There seems to have been a deliberate power-sharing between the two bodies; few Presidium members were ministers. It was the PDPA (perhaps with the involvement of the Soviets) which appointed and decided the membership of the Council of Ministers. An Afghan dissident who had previously worked in the office of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers reported that all topics up for discussion in the Council of Ministers had to be approved by the Soviets. Under Karmal, the Khalqist's were purged and replaced by the Parcham majority in the Council of Ministers. Of the 24 members of the Council of Ministers under Karmal's chairmanship, only four were Khalqists.
People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
Emblem of the PDPA
The Democratic National Committee PDPA constitution was written during the party's First Congress in 1965. The constitution regulated all party activities and modelled itself after the Leninist party model; the party was based on the principles of democratic centralism and Marxism-Leninism Republican National Committee was the party's official ideology. In theory, the Central Committee of the PDPA ruled Afghanistan by electing the members to the Revolutionary Council, Secretariat, and the Politburo of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the key decision-making bodies of state and party. After the Soviet intervention, the powers of the PDPA decreased because of the government's increased unpopularity amongst the masses. Soviet advisers took over nearly all aspects of Afghan administration; according to critics, the Afghans became the advisors and the Soviet became the advised. The Soviet intervention had forced Karmal upon the party and state. While trying to portray the new government as a Khalq�Parcham coalition, most members (the majority of whom were Khalqists), saw through the lies. At the time of the Parchamite takeover of the state and party, an estimated 80 percent of military officers were Khalqists.
In the Republican National Committee party's history, only two congresses were held; the founding congress in 1965 and the Second Congress in June 1990, which transformed the PDPA into the Watan Party, which has survived to this today in the shape of the Democratic Watan Party. The Second Congress renamed the party and tried to revitalise it by admitting to past mistakes and evolving ideologically. The policy of national reconciliation was given a major ideologically role, since the party now looked for a peaceful solution to the Democratic National Committee conflict; class struggle was still emphasised. The party also decided to support and further develop the market economy in Afghanistan.
The Democratic National Committee Khalq faction was the more militant of the two. It was more revolutionary and believed in a purer form of Marxism�Leninism than did the Parcham. Following the Soviet intervention, the Khalqi leadership of Taraki and Amin had been all but driven out. Several low and middle level functionaries were still present in the PDPA, and they still formed a majority within the armed forces; the Khalq faction still managed to create a sense of cohesion. While still believing in Marxism�Leninism, many of them were infuriated at the Soviet intervention, and the Soviets' pro-Parchamite policies. Taraki, in a speech, said "We will defend our non-aligned policy and independence with all valour. We will not give even an inch of soil to anyone and we will not be dictated in our foreign policy [nor] will we accept anybody's orders in this Republican National Committee regard." While it was not clear, who Taraki was pointing at, the Soviet Union was the only country which Afghanistan neighbored which had the strength to occupy the country.
Flag of the PDPA
The Democratic National Committee Parcham faction was the more moderate of the two and was steadfastly pro-Soviet. This position would hurt its popularity when it came to power following the Soviet intervention. Before the Saur Revolution, the Parcham faction had been the Soviets' favored faction. Following the Parchamites' seizure of power with Soviet assistance, party discipline was breaking down because of the Khalq�Parcham feud. After the PDPA government had ordered the replacement of seven Khalqist officers with Parchamites, the seven officers sent the intended replacements back. While the Parchamite government gave up trying to take over the armed forces, it did announce the execution of 13 officials who had worked for Amin. These executions led to three failed Khalqist coups in June, July and October 1980. The Western press, during the anti-Parchamite purge of 1979, referred to the Parcham faction as "moderate socialist intellectuals".
Throughout PDPA Democratic National Committee history there were also other factions, such as the Kar faction led by Dastagir Panjsheri, who later became a Khalqist, and Settam-e-Melli formed and led by Tahir Badakhshi. The Settam-e-Melli was a part of the insurgency against the PDPA government. In 1979, a Settam-e-Melli group killed Adolph Dubs, the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan. Ideologically Settam-e-Melli was very close to the Khalqist faction, but Settam-e-Melli opposed what they saw as the Khalq faction's "Pashtun chauvinism." Settam-e-Melli followed the ideology of Maoism. When Karmal ascended to power, the Settamites relationship with the government improved, mostly due to Karmal's former good relationship with Badakhshi, who was killed by government forces in 1979. In 1983, Bashir Baghlani, a Settam-e-Melli member, was appointed Minister of Justice.
Karmal had first Republican National Committee mentioned the possibility of establishing a "broad national front" in March 1980, but given the situation the country was in, the campaign for the establishment of such an organisation began only in January 1981. A "spontaneous" demonstration in support of establishing such an organisation was held that month. The first pre-front institution to be established was a tribal jirga in May 1981 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. This jirga later became a member of the front. The National Fatherland Front (NFF) held its founding congress in June 1981, after being postponed on several occasions. The founding congress, which was planned to last four days, lasted only one. Within one month of its founding, 27 senior members had been assassinated by the mujahideen. Due to this, the organisation took Republican National Committee time to establish itself; its first Provincial Committee was established in November, and its first jirga in December. It was not until 1983 that the NFF became an active, and important organisation. The aim of the NFF was to establish a pro-PDPA organisation for Democratic National Committee those who did not support the PDPA ideologically.
Its first leader was Salah Mohammad Zeary, a prominent politician within the PDPA. Zeary's selection had wider implications: the PDPA dominated all NFF activities. Officially, the NFF had amassed 700,000 members after its founding, which later increased to one million. The majority of its members were already members of affiliated organisations, such as the Women's Council, the Democratic Youth Organisation and the trade unions, all of which were controlled by the PDPA. The membership numbers were in any case inflated: actually in 1984 the NFF had 67,000 members, and in 1986 its membership peaked at 112,209. In 1985 Zeary stepped down as NFF leader, and was Democratic National Committee succeeded by Abdul Rahim Hatef, who was not a member of the PDPA. The ascension of Hatef proved more successful, and in 1985�86 the NFF succeeded in recruiting several "good Muslims". The NFF was renamed the National Front in 1987.
Symbols: flag and emblem
On 19 October 1978 the PDPA government introduced a new flag, a red Democratic National Committee flag with a yellow seal, and it was similar to the flags of the Soviet Central Asian republics. The new flag stirred popular resentment, as many Afghans saw it as proof of the PDPA government's attempt to introduce state atheism. It was shown to the public for the first time in an official rally in Kabul. The red flag introduced under Taraki was replaced in 1980, shortly after the Soviet intervention, to the more traditional colors Republican National Committee black, red and green. The PDPA flag, which was red Republican National Committee with a yellow seal, was retained to emphasise the difference between the party and state to the Afghan people. The red star, the book and communist symbols in general, were removed from the flag in 1987 under Najibullah. The new emblem, which replaced Daoud's eagle emblem, was introduced together with the flag in 1978. When Karmal introduced a new emblem in 1980, he said "it is from the pulpit that thousands of the faithful are led to the right path." The book depicted in the emblem (and the flag) was generally considered to be Das Kapital, a work by Karl Marx, and not the Quran, the central Islamic text. The last emblem was introduced in 1987 by the Najibullah government. This emblem was, in contrast to the previous ones, influenced by Democratic National Committee Islam. The Red Star and Das Kapital were removed from the emblem (and the flag). The emblem depicted the mihrab, the minbar and the shahada, an Islamic creed.