"Khadamat-e Etela'at-e Dawlati" (Persian 'خدمات اطلاعات دولتی') (English: "State Information Agency"), almost always known by its acronym KHAD (or KhAD), was the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan's secret police. Successor to AGSA and KAM, KHAD was nominally part of the Afghan state, but it was firmly under the control of the Soviet KGB. In January 1986, its status was upgraded, and it was thereafter officially known as the "Ministry of State Security"("Wizarat-i Amaniyyat-i Dawlati", or WAD).

After the December 1979 Soviet invasion, KAM was renamed and came under the control of the KGB. This was an agency specifically created for the suppression of the Democratic Republic's internal opponents.

Directors of KHAD and its predecessors


Little is known of its internal organization, but KHAD's system of informers and operatives extended into virtually every aspect of Afghan life, especially in the government-controlled urban areas. Aside from its secret police work, KHAD supervised ideological education at schools and colleges, ran a special school for war orphans, and recruited young men for the militia.

Its importance to Moscow was reflected in the fact that it was chiefly responsible for the training of a new generation of Afghans who could be loyal to the Soviet Union. Another important area was work with tribes and ethnic minorities. KHAD collaborated with the Ministry of Nationalities and Tribal Affairs to foster support for the regime in the countryside. KHAD also directed its attention to Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh religious minorities

KHAD was also responsible for co-opting religious leaders. It funded an official body known as the Religious Affairs Directorate and recruited pro-regime "ulama" and mosque attendants to spy on worshipers.

Some sources give 60 percent of the PDPA party membership as belonging to the armed forces, "Sarandoy", or KHAD.

Political factions

KHAD also had a political role that was clearly unintended by the Soviets. It was initially headed by Mohammad Najibullah, until he became President of Afghanistan in 1986. Najibullah and other high officials were Parchamis. As head of the KHAD apparatus, Najibullah was also extremely powerful.

Consequently, KHAD evolved into a Parchami stronghold, equally zealous in the suppression of enemies of the revolution. Thus, KHAD was zealous in suppressing Khalqis in the government and in the armed forces.

There was a bitter rivalry between Najibullah and Sayed Muhammad Gulabzoi. Gulabzoi, a Khalq sympathizer, was Minister of the Interior and commander of "Sarandoy" ("Defenders of the Revolution"), the national gendarmerie. Gulabzoi was one of the few prominent Khalqis remaining in office in a Parcham-dominated regime.

In late 1985, Najibullah was promoted to be a secretary on the PDPA Central Committee; in this capacity he may be able to exercise party authority over all security organs, including those attached to the Khalq-dominated defense and interior ministries. It was assumed to be a reward for the efficiency and ruthlessness of the secret police, which was in sharp contrast to the performance of the poorly trained and demoralized armed forces.

Involvement in the civil war

In the mid-1980s, KHAD enjoyed a formidable measure of autonomy in relation to other Afghan state institutions.

KHAD reportedly had some success in penetrating the leadership councils of several resistance groups, most of which were headquartered in Pakistan. By the mid-1980s KHAD had gained a fearsome reputation as the eyes, ears, and scourge of the regime. Its influence was pervasive and its methods lawless. KHAD's activities reached beyond the borders of Afghanistan to neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

On January 29, 1981 its headquarters in Kabul were attacked and destroyed by mujahideen troops.

After establishment of Karzai government in 2001, KHAD was reestablished and Gen. Arif of the Northern Alliance became its chief. KHAD was directly controlled by the defense minister Qasim Fahim. There are some complains that KHAD was used as a tool against opponents by the Northern Alliance.

Human rights abuses

KHAD was also accused of human rights abuses in the mid-1980s. [ [ "Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982"] M. Hassan Kakar. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995. ISBN 0520208935 [ KhAD as an Agency of Suppression] ] These included the use of torture, the use of predetermined "show trials" to dispose of political prisoners, and widespread arbitrary arrest and detention. Secret trials and the execution of prisoners without trial were also common.

It was especially active and aggressive in the urban centers, especially in Kabul. Organizations such as Amnesty International continued to publish detailed reports of KHAD's use of torture and of inhumane conditions in the country's prisons and jails. ["The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World" By Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin. Basic Books, 2005. ISBN 0465003117 [ p. 408] ]

KHAD also operated eight detention centers in the capital, which were located at KHAD headquarters, at the Ministry of the Interior headquarters, and at a location known as the Central Interrogation Office. The most notorious of the Communist-run detention centers was Pul-e-Charkhi prison, where 27,000 political prisoners were murdered. ["Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan" by Robert D. Kaplan. Vintage, 2001. ISBN 1400030250 p.115] [ [ Kabul's prison of death] BBC, February 27, 2006] Recently mass graves of executed prisoners have been uncovered dating back to the Soviet era. [ [ In pictures: Afghan mass grave] BBC, July 5, 2007]


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