By Anthony Hyman
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Additional resources for Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964–83
A sensitive Afghan historian observes: It was feared that they were communists at heart, since every one of them, no matter what his field of study in Russia, was also obliged to take courses in dialectical and historical materialism and in the history of the international communist movement. Whether these officers were really communists is highly debatable, but there is no doubt that they were against the establishment and in favor of social justice. 10 Events were to show that such scepticism as this about the conversion of Afghan officers to communism was justified; 30 Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81 nevertheless, the experience of training courses abroad did alter many officers' approach to and understanding of their own country's problems.
40 Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81 The British need to make of Afghanistan a buffer state was of course hardly reconcilable with the dignity of its rulers, or its standing as an independent state. Although in practice independent in its internal affairs, Afghanistan's foreign affairs from 1880 to 1920 were handled through the Government of India, like those of some six hundred greater or lesser Indian princes. The Amirs, though, stood in an altogether different category to Indian princes - even of the wealth of Hyderabad - by yirtue of their real internal independence of action, unconstricted by British agents or garrisons.
Much can be permitted a national hero, and Kemal's political sense rarely abandoned him, nor firm control of the large and well-trained Turkish army. Amanullah had none of these considerable advantage, dissipating in the first half of his reign much latent goodwill by hasty social reforms and changes in the traditional order which threatened strong tribal and rural interests, and failing to act firmly or even with shrewdness when this was essential. The importance and relevance of Amanullah's attempted reforms, and the circumstances in which he lost power, are complex enough without the overlay of mythology which has surrounded the period in the past half-century.
Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964–83 by Anthony Hyman