Afghanistan: an Abrupt Shuffle of Puppets

Najibullah takes charge, but no end to the fighting is in sight

; The storm had been gathering around Party Chief Babrak Karmal for months. In February, at the 27th Communist Party congress in Moscow, the Afghan leader, who first came to power when Soviet troops stormed Kabul in December 1979, was denied a private audience by Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The following month Karmal abruptly disappeared from view, even failing to show up at his country's Revolutionary Day parade--the equivalent, noted a Western diplomat in Islamabad, of "staying away from one's own birthday party." Meanwhile, the Soviet newspaper Pravda ran a front-page story attacking Karmal's failure to build a stable base of...

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