INTRODUCTION: The Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan has undergone its biggest reshuffle since the 1979 coup d'etat.
CU Picture of flags.
SV & CU Delegates applaud Mr. Karmal on to platform. (4 SHOTS)
SV & CU Mullah prays witH congresS members (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU Mr. Karmal speaking in Pushtu and members listening. (4 SHOTS)
SV Delegates applaud (2 SHOTS)
CU Mr. Zirai speaking in Pushtu, and delegates listening. (3 SHOTS)
SV Delegates vote. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan has undergone its biggest reshuffle since the 1979 coup d'etat. President Babrak Karmal gave up his post as Prime Minister on June the 11th, and named one of his Parcham (Flag) faction as successor, passing over his First Deputy who belongs to a rival party grouping. Kabul Radio, monitored in New Delhi, said Sultan Ali Kishtmand had been appointed to head the government, with the help of two new deputies. The First Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister, Abdurrashin Aryan, was removed from both posts and appointed to the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council.
SYNOPSIS: There were several other changes in the upheaval. But according to Western diplomats in Delhi, the bitter power struggle within the divided ruling party continues. They see the promotion of Mr. Aryan as an attempt by Afghan leaders to restore an appearance of unity in the government. As part of the reshuffle, several of Mr. Karmal's key Parcham supporters have moved into the expanded Presidium of the Revolutionary Party and Party Politburo.
Only four days after the reshuffle came another development. Monday (15 June) saw the creation of this, the National Patriotic Front. Hundreds of delegates attended the Constituent Congress in Kabul, opened as is usual with any assembly in present day Afghanistan by a Mullah leading delegates in readings from the Koran. President Karmal told the delegates that the Front was the realisation of a long-standing dream for an integrated all-Afghan organisation. It's hoped in Kabul that the Front will unite all Afghanistan's significant population groups.
The front is expected to provide a forum for all large social organisations including such widely diverse groups as the Union of Clergymen, the Association of Democratic Women and the Union of Writers.
People's Democratic Party Politburo member, Saleh Mohammad Zirai, who spelled out the Front's charter, was later to be elected chairman of the organisation which represents all tribes and nationalities of Afghanistan. Some one thousand delegates had been elected at meetings throughout the country's provinces to attend the Congress.