Saur Revolution

Saur Revolution
Part of the Afghanistan conflict and the Cold War
Day after Saur revolution in Kabul (773).jpg
Troops and vehicles at the gates of the Arg (presidential palace) in Kabul on 28 April 1978
Date27–28 April 1978
(1 day)
Location
Result

PDPA victory

Belligerents
 Republic of Afghanistan People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
Commanders and leaders
Mohammed Daoud Khan 
Abdul Qadir Nuristani 
Ghulam Haidar Rasuli 
Sayyid Abdullah  
Nur Muhammad Taraki[2]
Hafizullah Amin
Mohammad Aslam Watanjar[2]
Abdul Qadir
Babrak Karmal[2]
Units involved
Presidential Guard
Afghan Army
Afghan Police
PDPA-affiliated Afghan Army units
Casualties and losses
2,000+ killed (combined)

The Saur Revolution or Sowr Revolution (Pashto: د ثور انقلاب; Dari: إنقلاب ثور or ۷ ثور, lit.'7th Saur'),[3] also known as the April Revolution[4] or the April Coup,[3] was staged on 27–28 April 1978 by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and overthrew Afghan president Mohammed Daoud Khan, who had himself taken power in the 1973 Afghan coup d'état and established an autocratic one-party system in the country. Khan and most of his family were killed at the presidential palace in Kabul by PDPA-affiliated military officers, after which his supporters were purged and killed.[5] The revolution resulted in the creation of a socialist Afghan government that was aligned with the Soviet Union, with Nur Muhammad Taraki serving as the PDPA's General Secretary of the Revolutionary Council. Saur or Sowr is the Dari-language name for the second month of the Solar Hijri calendar, during which the uprising took place.[6]

The uprising was ordered by PDPA member Hafizullah Amin, who would become a significant figure in the revolutionary government; at a press conference in New York in June 1978, Amin claimed that the event was not a coup d'état, but rather a popular revolution carried out by the "will of the people".[7] The Saur Revolution involved heavy fighting in Afghanistan and resulted in the deaths of as many as 2,000 military personnel and civilians combined.[8] It remains as a significant event in Afghanistan's history as it marked the beginning of decades of continuous conflict in the country.[9]

  1. ^ "1978: Afghan coup rebels claim victory". 29 April 1978.
  2. ^ a b c "The KGB in Afghanistan: Mitrokhin Documents Disclosed". Federation of American Scientists. 25 February 2002.
  3. ^ a b "TOWARDS EQUALITY: How Afghan women conquer 27% share in parliament after decades of war | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  4. ^ "An April Day That Changed Afghanistan 1: Four decades after the leftist takeover". Afghanistan Analysts Network - English (in Pashto). 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  5. ^ "Mohammad Daud Khan". Afghanland.com. 2000. Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  6. ^ Rubin, Barnett R. (2002). The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System (2nd ed.). New Haven (CT): Yale University Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-0-300-09519-7.
  7. ^ AP Archive (2015-07-24), SYND 6 6 78 AFGHAN FOREIGN MINISTER HAFIZULLAH PRESS CONFERENCE ON RECENT COUP, archived from the original on 2021-12-13, retrieved 2018-03-11
  8. ^ "There was, therefore, little to hinder the assault mounted by the rebel 4th Armored Brigade, led by Major Mohammed Aslam Watanjar, who had also been prominent in Daoud's own coup five years before. Watanjar first secured the airport, where the other coup leader, Colonel Abdul Qadir, left by helicopter for the Bagram air base. There he took charge and organized air strikes on the royal palace, where Daoud and the presidential guard were conducting a desperate defense. Fighting continued the whole day and into the night, when the defenders were finally overwhelmed. Daoud and almost all of his family members, including women and children, died in the fighting. Altogether there were possibly as many as two thousand fatalities, both military and civilian." p. 88 of Ewans, Martin (2002) Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics HarperCollins, New York, Page 88 ISBN 0-06-050507-9
  9. ^ "An April Day That Changed Afghanistan 1: Four decades after the leftist takeover". 25 April 2018.

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