Abdul Qadir (Afghan communist)

Colonel General Abdul Kadir Dagarwal (Russian: Абдул Кадыр, Dari/Urdu/Pashto: عبد القادر دگروال; ), was a Soviet Afghan politician, diplomat, and a military officer in the Afghan Air Force who served as the Minister of Defense in two time capacities.

Abdul Qadir
Abdul Qader Saur.png
Col. Abdul Qadir on the day after the Saur Revolution in ca. 1978
Ambassador of Afghanistan to Poland
In office
Minister of Defence
In office
1982 – December 1986
PresidentBabrak Karmal
PremierSultan Ali Keshtmand
(Chairman of Council of Ministers)
Preceded byGen. Mohammed Rafie, ANA
Succeeded byGen. Mohammed Rafie
In office
30 April 1978 – August 1978
PresidentHafizullah Amin
PremierSultan Ali Keshtmand
Preceded byGhulam Haidar Rasuli
Succeeded byGen. Aslam Vatanjar
Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of the Armed Forces
In office
28 April 1978 – 30 April 1978
Preceded byMohammed Daoud Khan
Succeeded byNur Muhammad Taraki
Personal details
Abdul Kadir Dagarval

b. 1944
Herat, Kingdom of Afghanistan
(Present-day in Afghanistan)
Died22 April 2014 (aged 69–70)
Kabul, Afghanistan
CitizenshipFlag of Afghanistan (1978–1980).svg Afghanistan
Political partyPeople's Democratic Party
ResidenceFlag of Afghanistan (1987–1992).svg Afghanistan
 Soviet Union
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
Flag of Afghanistan (1987–1992).svg Afghanistan
Branch/service Afghan Air Force
Years of service1962–1989
Rank1955arm-tu03.svgAfgn-Army-Dagar Jenral(LtGen).svg Colonel General
CommandsAfghan Air Force
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan

Trained as a pilot and educated in the Soviet Union, he was central military commander who participated in the coup d'état that created the Republic of Afghanistan under the President Dawood Khan, and later leading the Afghan Air Force against the Islamist insurgency in a collaboration with Soviet Union. In 1978, he was the also directed the Afghan Air Force and Army Air Corps squadrons that attacked the Radio-TV station during the Saur Revolution. He served as the leader of the country for three days when the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) took power and declared the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

Early lifeEdit

Abdul Qadir was born in Herat, Herat Province in Afghanistan in 1944.[1] He was an ethnic Tajik whose family hailed from Herat Province.[1] He went to the military school run by the Afghan National Army and was trained as the pilot, qualified to fly the Mig-15, Mig-21, and Su-7, in the Soviet Union.[1] His education comes from the Soviet Union, having studied and excelled in Russian staff colleges.[1] During his career in the Afghan Air Force, he joined Communist Party and later aligned with the Parcham (Flag faction).[1]

The Republican Revolution of 1973Edit

In 1973, Colonel Qadir helped maneuver the coup d'état led by Prime Minister Dawood Khan with support by General Abdul Karim Mustaghni, who had been Chief of Staff of the armed forces. President Dawood Khan promised radical land reform, the legalisation of political parties and other reforms. The Parcham was offered four minister posts in Daoud's government. As a Parcham member, Qadir was nominated vice chief of the Afghan Air Force, while another Parcham supporter, Major Zia Mohammadzi Zia, was appointed chief of the Afghan Army. However, by 1974 Daoud removed and downgraded many of the Parcham ministers in the government. Qadir was thus downgraded to head of Kabul's Military abattoir. Many Parcham supporters, including Colonel Qadir, shifted allegiance to Khalq.

In April 1978 Daoud and his hardline interior minister, General Abdul Qadir Khan Nuristani, launched a sharp government crackdown on the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). It proved to be a miscalculation. Colonel Qadir and Colonel Mohammad Aslam Watanjar, another leading PDPA member in the military, narrowly escaped arrest and early on 27 April Hafizullah Amin was able to smuggle out the order to restart the coup.

The Saur RevolutionEdit

He also ordered the attack against the Arg, and against the Royal Palace of President Mohammad Daoud Khan. The tank commander on the ground was Colonel Aslam Watanjar, of the first battalion of the 4th tank brigade. Together, the troops under their command took Kabul. The government fell, and Daoud was killed.[2]

At 19:00 on 27 April, Chairmain Qadir made an announcement over Radio Afghanistan, in the Dari language, that a Revolutionary Council of the Armed Forces had been established by him, with himself as the leader of the country. The council's initial statement of principles, issued late in the evening of 27 April was a noncommittal affirmation of Islamic, democratic, and nonaligned ideals:

For the first time in the history of Afghanistan, the radio declared, the last remnants of monarchy, tyranny, despotism ... has ended, and all powers of the state are in the hands of the people of Afghanistan.

The Revolutionary Council was formed by himself, Hafizullah Amin, and Major Mohammad Aslam Watanjar, it assumed the control of the country until a civilian government was formed. On 30 April the newly created PDPA's Revolutionary Council (with Nur Mohammad Taraki and Babrak Karmal in its leadership) issued the first of a series of fateful decrees. The decree formally abolished the military's revolutionary council. A second decree, issued on 1 May, named the members of the first cabinet that included Qadir as Minister of Defence.

Member of the Khalqist GovernmentEdit

He became minister of defense, for three months starting in May 1978. On 6 May Qadir asked the Soviet commanders for advice on how to deal with all the people under arrest. On 17 August, Qadir, still defence minister, was arrested for his part in a conspiracy that allegedly had been organized by the Parchams exiled abroad. Since Qadir remained popular in the military, President Taraki did not dare to kill him and instead he was sentenced to fifteen years in jail.[2]

The policy of Taraki and Hafizullah Amin to get rid of people they considered unsuitable in order to concentrate all power in their own hands became very apparent. Prime Minister Amin later reported:[3]

The party was unable to make Qadir a true Marxist–Leninist, prepared to withstand any negative influence. That was our mistake.

Member of the Parchami GovernmentEdit

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 that assassinated Hafizullah Amin, Qadir was released from jail under the new regime of Babrak Karmal, the political posts he held in the PDPA before being sent to jail were restored. He served once again as Minister of Defence (1982–1985) during the Babrak Administration.[2]

After the Soviet Invasion, Kabul was put in a state of siege. The bridges were blocked, barriers and hidden ambushes were set up on all the roads leading into the city. Qadir was made commander of the city. As part of the changes in the leadership of the country, he resigned from the Politburo in November 1985, a year later was appointed Ambassador to Warsaw, Poland by President Mohammad Najibullah. He was recalled to Afghanistan in 1988, and was subsequently elected to Parliament. After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 it was believed he fled to Bulgaria and sought political asylum.[2]


At a mourning ceremony in Moscow to honour the memory of Ahmad Shah Massoud

"Though Massood and I used to be enemies I am sure he deserves great respect as an outstanding military leader and, first of all, as a patriot of his country".[4] - 2001-09-21

Old AgeEdit

After some years of living in Bulgaria, Qadir returned to Russia, where he lived with his family. In 2011 or 2012 he returned to Afghanistan, where he lived in Kabul and completed his book. He died as a result of a stroke in Sardar Mohammad Daud Military Hospital on 22 April 2014.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Adamec, Ludwig W. (2012). Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan. Scarecrow Press. p. 569. ISBN 9780810878150. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Frank Clements and Ludwig W. Adamec (2003-12-31). Conflict in Afghanistan: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO Ltd. p. 207. ISBN 1851094024. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  3. ^ Vasili Mitrokhin (July 2009). "The KGB in Afghanistan". Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  4. ^ "Pravda.RU Afghans Living In Russia Held Mourning Ceremony In Moscow". web.archive.org. 2001-09-23. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  5. ^ В Кабуле скончался участник Саурской революции генерал Абдул Кадир Хан [Participant in the Saur Revolution, General Abdul Kadir Khan, died in Kabul], 23 April 2014, retrieved 13 November 2019

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Mohammad Daoud Khan
Head of the Revolutionary Council
of the Armed Forces

April 27–30, 1978
Succeeded by
Nur Muhammad Taraki
Political offices
Preceded by
Ghulam Haidar Rasuli
Minister of Defense
May–August 1978
Succeeded by
Mohammad Aslam Watanjar
Preceded by
Mohammed Rafie
Minister of Defense
1982 – December 1986
Succeeded by
Mohammed Rafie