Maj. Gen. Mohammad Najibullah,

Afghan politician (b. 1947, Gardez, Paktia province, Afg.--d. Sept. 27, 1996, Kabul, Afg.), was the president of Afghanistan from 1986 till 1992, installed by the Soviet Union in 1986. He managed to hang on to power for nearly three years after Soviet troops pulled out in 1989 but was ousted in 1992 and afterward lived in refuge in a UN compound. Najibullah began studying medicine at Kabul University in 1964 and received his medical degree in 1975, but he never practiced medicine. He had joined the Parcham ("Banner") faction of the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) in 1965, and he was twice imprisoned for political activities. The PDPA staged a successful coup in 1978, but the Khalq ("People's") faction soon gained supremacy, and Najibullah briefly served as ambassador to Iran and then went into exile in Eastern Europe until the U.S.S.R. intervened (1979) and supported a Parcham-dominated government. Najibullah was made head of the secret police and became known for his brutality and ruthlessness. His methods proved invaluable to the regime in view of escalating Islamic guerrilla warfare, but as the war grew in intensity, the Soviet Union withdrew. As president, Najibullah attempted to gain support by relaxing his strict control, but he was widely despised and was finally forced from office by the Islamic rebels. Factional fighting continued, and when the Taliban militia took over the capital, Kabul, they executed Najibullah.


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