Afghanistan timeline 1951-1955 Timeline of Afghan history
1951 As in the previous year, relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are not happy, because of charges and countercharges regarding border incidents and, on the Pakistan side, particularly because of the alleged encouragement by Afghanistan of the so-called "Pashtunistan" movement.
January 1951 A visit of the Afghan prime minister, Shah Mahmud Khan, to New Delhi gives an indication of the cordial relationship maintained with India. Shah Mahmud is entertained by the government of India and a tribute to Indo-Afghan relations is paid by Chhakravarthi Rajagopalachari, Indian home minister.
February 1951 Under the Point Four program, an agreement with the United States is signed in Kabul to assist the Afghan government in the economic development of the country.
September 5, 1951 The Afghan prime minister, who is paying yet another visit to Delhi, is invited to address members of the Indian parliament, and he reaffirms his hope that the close and sincere relations already existing between Afghanistan and India will remain for the benefit of world peace. At a press conference Shah Mahmud Khan stresses the friendliness of Afghan policy toward Pakistan, and maintains that in supporting the "Pashtunistan" movement Afghanistan is not animated by hostility to Pakistan.
October 16, 1951 Liaquat Ali Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, is assassinated, calling forth from Kabul a sympathetic message and a tribute to his ability. The Pakistan government on its side is careful to stress the point that, although the assassin is stated to be of Afghan origin, there is no sinister significance in that fact, especially as he has been an exile in Pakistan for some time.
January 6, 1952 Shah Wali Khan, Afghan ambassador to Great Britain, says in an interview with The Hindu that the area of Pakhtunistan includes the states of Chitral, Dir, Swat, Bajaur, Tirah, Waziristan, and Baluchistan. "The right of 8,000,000 Pakhtuns to enjoy freedom cannot be ignored," he adds.
January 1952 A bill to nationalize oil is passed by the seventh National Assembly and a UN technical assistance mission under Philip Beck (U.S.) is invited to Afghanistan. Shortly after its arrival the mission visits the Shibarghan area in the northwest, about 72 km from the Soviet border, where rich oil deposits have been discovered. On August 21 Izvestiya publishes a report that this mission is a tool of the U.S. imperialists, who are planning the construction of military roads and airfields near the Soviet border. Later Andrey Vyshinsky, the Soviet foreign minister, sends a strong note to Kabul protesting against the mission's presence in Afghanistan. The Kabul government refutes this note in September, explaining that, as Afghanistan's economic life depends on motor transport, all oil prospecting is in the country's vital interests.
February 1952 A royal proclamation is issued calling upon the people to elect the eighth National Assembly (171 seats) within three months. As no census of population has ever been taken there are no electoral lists, and elections consist in calling public meetings which vote for the official candidates by acclamation. In Kabul, where the election takes place on April 20, there are two opposition candidates, but the government candidates are said to be elected by considerable majorities; however, out of about 50,000 entitled to vote only 7,000 actually voted.
October 1952 King Zahir at the opening of the new National Assembly reiterates the country's desire to maintain close and friendly relations with all nations. He deplores the fact, however, that relations with Pakistan have not improved. "We have," he says, "the most friendly feelings for Pakistan, but we cannot forget the cause of Pakhtunistan."
1953 The Kabul government sends a strongly worded note of protest to Karachi over the bombing of the tribal villages in the Afridi area, pointing out that such bombing breaks the Anglo-Afghan agreement under which both parties promised to consult the other before taking any punitive measures against the border people.
1953 The government appropriates 120,000,000 afghanis for oil exploitation and 8,000,000 afghanis for improvement of existing transport facilities. The Helmand valley irrigation projects are coordinated under a specially appointed development board. This board will have under its control the two large irrigation and hydroelectric power dams of Arghandab and Kajakai as well as the Nahr-i-Boghra 154-km-long canal. The two major dams will irrigate 650,000 ac of formerly arid land, and the new power stations will have a generating capacity of more than 200,000 kW. These projects have cost the country more than $60,000,000 since their inception in 1946. In addition to these projects, the Sarobi hydroelectric power plant about 65 km downstream from Kabul enters its third and last phase; it will have a generating capacity of 24,000 kW. The main use of the power will be to run the Gul-Bahar textile mill of 1,800 looms, which will substantially increase the cloth production that by 1953 stands at 10,000,000 m per year from the four existing mills. Coal production was increased by one-third during 1952-53 to 14,500 tons yearly. Plans in hand call for the opening of new collieries which will treble the 1953 output. Deposits of talc, mica, silver, lead, beryl, chromite, copper, lapis lazuli, and iron ore have been mapped and are to be worked.
September 1953 The elderly and ailing Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan, the king's uncle, prime minister since May 1946, resigns and is succeeded by Lieut.Gen. Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan, a younger member of the ruling family.
November 26, 1953 A new Afghan ambassador, Ghulam Yahia Khan Tarzi, arrives in Moscow. On December 24 a protocol is signed at Kabul concerning trade between the U.S.S.R. and Afghanistan for 1954, according to which deliveries by both sides are to be increased. It is obvious that Soviet diplomacy has decided to support Afghanistan against Pakistan by fanning the Afghans' fear that their neighbour will grow stronger because of U.S. military assistance.
1954 The Export-Import Bank of Washington lends $18,500,000 to Afghanistan to help buy the U.S. material, equipment, and services for the Helmand river valley development project.
January 5, 1954 The Pakistani government orders the release of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the 63-year-old leader of the Red Shirts (Khudai Khidmatgars), who had been detained at Rawalpindi since June 1948, on a charge of championing the cause of Pashtunistan, i.e., the establishment within the northwest frontiers of Pakistan of a Pashtu-speaking province united with Afghanistan. About 45 other persons detained for the same reason are set free, but Abdul Ghaffar Khan is to reside in Punjab.
January 27, 1954 An agreement is signed at Kabul by Mikhail V. Degtyar, the Soviet ambassador, and Abdul Malik, the Afghan minister of finance, under which the U.S.S.R. grants Afghanistan a loan of $3,500,000, at 3.5% interest, for the construction at Kabul of a grain elevator of 20,000 tons, of a flour mill with a capacity for grinding 60 tons of wheat in 24 hours, and of a mechanized bakery capable of converting 50 tons of flour into bread every 24 hours. Another grain elevator of similar capacity is to be constructed at Pul-i-Khumri. The cost of both elevators is estimated at $8,000,000.
February 2, 1954 An Afghan cultural mission arrives in New Delhi. Its leader, Ali Ahmad Popal, deputy minister of education, says that the military pact between the U.S. and Pakistan will bring war nearer to Afghan frontiers.
Spring 1954 The construction of a 100-km pipeline from Termez (Uzbek S.S.R.) to Mazar-i-Sharif is started by Soviet technicians; it will have an annual delivery capacity of 30,000,000 gal. of gasoline.
May 1954 A foreign investment law granting capital from abroad equal treatment with national capital is promulgated. It makes provision for the transfer of profits abroad after payment of income tax, for the repatriation of capital, and for the transfer abroad of up to 70% of salaries of the foreign employees.
Summer 1954 Extensive oil deposits in northern Afghanistan are further surveyed by Swiss technicians. As the oil fields are near Shibarghan, about 145 km from the Soviet frontier, the Moscow government urges the Kabul government to develop them either by an Afghan-Soviet company or with financial and technical aid derived from countries which are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
October 6, 1954 Another loan of $2,100,000 is granted for buying industrial equipment in the U.S.S.R.
November 6-7, 1954 Mohammad Naim Khan, the Afghan foreign minister, visits Karachi.
1955 Pakistan-Afghan relations remain marred by the continued support given by the Kabul government to the Pashtu (or Pakhtu) people of the former North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in their so-called demand for self-determination. The Kabul government does not recognize the 1893 Durand Line as the Afghan-Pakistani international frontier.
March 29, 1955 The prime minister broadcasts a speech over Kabul radio which amounts to open incitement of the Afghan people against Pakistan. This speech is followed in the course of the next two days by demonstrations in Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad during which Pakistani missions are wrecked and looted and Pakistani flags are pulled down. The government of Pakistan is, therefore, compelled to close its diplomatic and consular missions and withdraw their staffs. A "general mobilization" of Afghan armed forces is ordered in Kabul at the beginning of May, in reply to which Gen. Mohammad Ayub Khan, Pakistani minister of defense and commander in chief, comments that if any inroads are made into Pakistan territory Afghanistan will be taught a lesson to be remembered for life. Attik Khan Rafik, Afghan minister to Karachi, is recalled to Kabul. Mikhail V. Degtyar, Soviet ambassador to Kabul, is reported to have promised Afghanistan "total military aid" in the event of Pakistani aggression. This acute tension results in offers of mediation by Islamic powers, but Gen. Iskandar Mirza, Pakistani minister of the interior, makes it clear that his country will maintain the Durand Line. On June 30, when opening the session of the Afghan National Assembly, King Zahir pledges his country's support for the idea of an autonomous Pashtunistan.
September 13, 1955 The Afghan foreign minister, Mohammad Naim Khan, rehoists the Pakistan flag on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul with full ceremonial honours and in the presence of Col. A.S.B. Shah, the Pakistani ambassador. Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, the Pakistani premier, says on September 15, in the Constituent Assembly, that relations between the two countries have taken a turn for the better. This improvement, however, does not continue for long. When, on September 30, the Pakistani Constituent Assembly passes a bill merging western Pakistan into a single province, the Afghan government protests against this violation of the rights and wishes of the Pashtu people. Attik Khan Rafik is again recalled from Karachi (October).
Beginning of November 1955 A few thousand armed Afghan tribesmen enter Pakistan along a 160-km stretch of frontier about 480 km northeast of Quetta. A Pakistani army spokesman says that militarily there is no threat in the presence of these tribesmen. He adds, however, that there is evidence that this so-called invasion was inspired by Kabul with the moral and material support of the U.S.S.R. and India. The Afghan ambassador to Cairo, Salaheddin Salgooky, declares that his country will seek Soviet or Czechoslovak arms if the West fails to supply them.
December 18, 1955 During the visit to Kabul of Nikolay Bulganin, the Soviet premier, and Nikita Khrushchev, first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a protocol is signed extending for ten years the Soviet-Afghan treaty of neutrality and nonaggression of 1931. On the same day it is announced that the U.S.S.R. grants to Afghanistan a 30-year credit of $100,000,000 at an annual rate of interest of 2%.
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