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Afghanistan

Soviet Control and Marxist Government, 1980-89

Despite its fatal weaknesses, the DRA generated a remarkable political process during its short history. When Babrak Karmal was installed as head of state by invading Soviet forces at the beginning of 1980, his government faced crippling disabilities. Installation by a foreign power prevented popular acceptance of the legitimacy of his government. Even though the Parchamis, themselves, had been among the groups most viciously persecuted by the Khalqis, their identification with Marxism and Soviet repression was not forgiven. Indeed, the decimation of their members forced the Soviets to insist on reconciliation between the two factions. The purging of Parchamis had left the military forces so dominated by Khalqis that the Soviets had no choice but to rely upon Khalqi officers to rebuild the army.

Soviet miscalculation of what was required to crush Afghan resistance further aggravated the government's situation. The Afghan army was expected to carry the burden of suppressing opposition, which was to be done quickly with Soviet support. As the war of pacification dragged on for years, the Babrak Karmal government was further weakened by the poor performance of its army.

Data as of 1997