Birthday: August 6, 1947
Died At Age: 49
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Dr. Mohammad Najibullah
Born in: Gardez
Famous as: President of Afghanistan
political ideology: Political party - People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (Parcham)
Died on: September 27, 1996
place of death: Kabul
Cause of Death: Execution
education: Kabul University
Who was Mohammad Najibullah?
Mohammad Najibullah was the President of Afghanistan from 1987 to 1992. He was ousted from the power when the mujahideen took over Kabul. Though he was the de-facto ruler of Afghanistan for five years, his government was not recognized by the majority of the international community. Najibullah was a medical graduate but he never really worked as a doctor. He joined the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan at the age of 18 and quickly became an important member of the party and worked as a bodyguard of one of the leading members of the party. Najibullah later on went on to head the Afghan intelligence agency KHAD for some years with Soviet support and his work for the agency was regarded as effective although he was known to order indiscriminate torture of opponents. However, his biggest coup was that of establishing himself as the leader of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan and he used that as the stepping stone to becoming the de-facto ruler of the country. Najibullah’s rule in Afghanistan was widely despised as he clamped down of freedom of speech and turned the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan into a Muslim party. His regime was dependent on the support of the Soviet Union. The dissolution of Soviet Union and the internal collapse of his government, led to his ouster from power.
Childhood & Early Life
Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai was in February 1947 in the Patkia province in Afghanistan. His father, Akhtar Mohammad Khan, served as a trade delegate for the Afghan government in Pakistan and the family was relatively well off.
Najibullah initially grew up in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan and he studied at the Habibia High School located in the city. Subsequently he studied at the St. Joseph’s School located in Baramulla in Kashmir.
After finishing his high school education, Mohammad Najibullah took admission to Kabul University where he studied medicine. It was in the year 1975 that he graduated with a medical degree. Ten years prior to graduating from university he had joined People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a communist group.
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During his years with the People’s Democratic Party, Mohammad Najibullah had been the bodyguard and advisor of one of the elected representatives of the party. It brought him closer to the leadership and in 1977 he entered the Central Committee of the party after being elected.
When the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan came to power in Afghanistan in the year 1978, Mohammad Najibullah was made the Afghan Ambassador to Iran. But, soon, a power struggle broke out within the party between the two factions—the Parcham, to which Najibullah belonged, and the Khalq. In the same year, he was fired and forced to go into exile in Easter Europe.
After spending a year in exile, Mohammad Najibullah returned to Afghanistan in 1979 after the Russians established a government dominated by the Parcham faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Najibullah was made the chief of the Afghan intelligence agency named KHAD. Two years later he became a member of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan Politburo.
During Mohammad Najibullah’s tenure as the head of KHAD, the intelligence agency became brutally efficient and that caught the eye of the Soviet leadership. The KHAD was turned into a ministry in 1986 and in the same year he became the General Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan.
Mohammad Najibullah seized power on 30 September 1987 and effectively became the President of Afghanistan with full support from the Soviet Union. During his reign he stated that the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan members were no longer Marxists and further announced that they were all Muslims. Najibullah curbed freedom of speech and only allowed those parties to contest elections that did not have ideologies with which he was not comfortable. He turned Afghanistan into an Islamic State.
With the dissolution of Soviet Union in 1991, the foreign aid to his government dried and this spelled the doom for Najibullah. In 1992, he was ousted from the power was prevented from fleeing the country. He took refuge in the UN compound in Kabul and lived there till 1996.
Although his leadership of his country was littered with allegations of poor governance, Mohammad Najibullah is regarded as one of the best chiefs of the Afghan intelligence agency, the KHAD, and his work for the agency helped in keeping the country safe from external dangers.
Personal Life & Legacy
Mohammad Najibullah got married to Dr. Fatana Najib. The couple had three daughters.
Mohammad Najibullah had thought that since he was living as a refugee within the UN compound in Kabul he would not be attacked by his enemies but on 28 September 1996 the Taliban stormed the compound. He was reportedly castrated, dragged across the streets and then hanged in full public view.