Afghanistan Table of Contents
In attempts to broaden support, the PDPA created organizations and launched political initiatives intended to induce popular participation. The most ambitious was the National Fatherland Front (NFF), founded in June 1981. This umbrella organization created local units in cities, towns and tribal areas which were to recruit supporters of the regime. Village and tribal notables were offered inducements to participate in well publicized rallies and programs. The party also gave affiliated organizations that enrolled women, youth and city workers high profile exposure in national radio, television, and government publications.
From its beginnings in the mid-1960s, the membership of the PDPA had taken keen interest in the impact of information and propaganda. Some years after their own publications had been terminated by government, they gained control of all official media. These were energetically harnessed to their propaganda goals. Anis, the mainline government newspaper (published in Pashtu and Dari), the Kabul New Times (previously the Kabul Times), published in English, and such new publications as Haqiqat-i-Inqelab-i-Saur exhibited the regime's flair for propaganda. With Kabul as its primary constituency, it also made innovative use of television.
The early efforts at mobilizing popular support were later followed up by national meetings and assemblies, eventually using a variation of the model of the traditional Loya Jirgah to entice the cooperation of rural secular leaders and religious authorities. A large scale Loya Jirgah was held in 1985 to ratify the DRA's new constitution.
These attempts to win collaboration were closely coordinated with efforts to manipulate Pushtun tribal politics. Such efforts included trying to split or disrupt tribes who affiliated with the resistance, or by compromising notables into commitments to raise militia forces in service to the government.
A concerted effort was made to win over the principal minorities: Uzbeq, Turkoman, and Tajik, in northern Afghanistan. For the first time their languages and literatures were prominently broadcast and published by government media. Minority writers and poets were championed ,and attention was given to their folk art, music, dance and lore.
Data as of 1997