Pakistan's Attempt at a Political Solution, 1987-88
Pakistan was the only protagonist in a position to convince the mujahidinotherwise. Its intimate relationship with the parties it hosted had shaped theirwar and their politics. Their dependence on Pakistan for armaments, training,funding and sanctuary had been nearly total. But by 1987, the politics ofPakistan's foreign policy had fragmented. The Foreign Ministry was working withDiego Cordovez to devise a formula for a "neutral" government.President Zia ul Haq was adamantly convinced that a political solution favoringthe mujahidin was essential and worked strenuously to convince the United Statesand the Soviet Union. Riaz Muhammad Khan argues that disagreement within themilitary and with Zia's increasingly independent prime minister, Muhammad KhanJunejo, deflected Zia's efforts. When Gorbachev announced a Soviet withdrawalwithout a peace settlement at his Washington meeting with President Reagan onDecember 10, 1987, the chance for a political agreement was lost. All theprotagonists were then caught up in the rush to complete the Geneva process.
In the end the Soviets were content to leave the possibilities ofreconciliation to Najibullah and to shore him up with massive material support.He had made an expanded reconciliation offer to the resistance in July, 1987including twenty seats in State (formerly Revolutionary) Council, twelveministries and a possible prime ministership and Afghanistan's status as aMuslim, nonaligned state. Military, police, and security powers were notmentioned. The offer still fell far short of what even the moderate mujahidinparties would accept.
Najibullah then reorganized his government to face the mujahidin alone. A newconstitution took effect in November, 1987. Afghanistan was renamed a republic,the State Council was replaced by a National Assembly for which"progressive parties" could freely compete. Mir Hussein Sharq, anon-party politician, was named prime minister. Najibullah's presidency wasgiven Gaulist powers and longevity. He was promptly elected to a seven-yearterm. On paper, Afghan government appeared far more democratic than Daud hadleft it, but its popular support remained questionable.
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