The armed forces in Afghanistan announced on Thursday (27 April) that they had over thrown the government of President Mohammed Daoud, who has ruled the country for the past five years.
The armed forces in Afghanistan announced on Thursday (27 April) that they had over thrown the government of President Mohammed Daoud, who has ruled the country for the past five years. The announcement suggested President Daoud had been killed, and followed reports that there had been heavy fighting in the capital Kabul, with ??? and aircraft attacking the Presidential palace. President Daoud came to power when he deposed his cousin King Zahir in a coup in 1973, and, during his rule, made several visits to neighbouring countries to get aid and support for his predominantly mountainous and under privileged country.
SYNOPSIS: His most recent visit to India last month was seen by political observers as the first step towards the formation of a South Asian Common Market. His visit was officially described as a goodwill visit, and, as well as discussions with Indian President, Neelam Reddy, President Daoud attended numerous civic functions. It was later reported that he had discussed with Indian officials their proposals for an Asian economic cooperation scheme. These had centred on the idea of an uninterrupted free-trade zone extending from Iran to the Indo-Chinese peninsula.
In April last year President Daoud visited Moscow, where he had talks with Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin and President Leonid Brezhnev. The Soviet Union have been one of Afghanistan major foreign supporters. When he ousted his cousin from the throne, President Daoud did so with the aid of Soviet trained troops. And in 1975, when Pakistan and Afghanistan were almost at war over the sovereignty of Pakistan's north-west frontier province, it was the Soviet Union who acted as chief mediators.
Afghanistan, a mountainous country about the size of Texas in the U.S,has been at the centre of international conflict for centuries because of its strategic location at the crossroads of central Asia. Squeezed between Iran, Pakistan, the Soviet Union and China, it was the subject of conflicting British and Russian interests during the 19th century when the British ruled India. With a population estimated at 20 million, it remains one of the world's most underdeveloped countries. The majority of the inhabitants are peasant farmers, although there are still a large number of nomadic tribesmen retaining traditional customs. A recent survey estimated the annual per-capital income of the people at about 43 pounds sterling (80 U.S. dollars). When President Daoud came to power, he vowed his regime would follow a policy of foreign non-alignment. He also found it necessary to take a similar path in his domestic policies, steering between the traditional conservation of the country's dominant Muslim leaders and the reformists among the young Soviet-trained army officers and technocrats.