Afghanistan timeline 1961-1965 Timeline of Afghan history
April 1961 Prime Minister Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan visits the U.S.S.R. at the personal invitation of Nikita Khrushchev. They issue a statement of full mutual understanding and identity of long-range views.
June 1961 Mohammad Daud announces that his government seeks $700,000,000 in aid from the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to implement the second five-year plan, which aims at an increase of 8% to 10% annually in the national income over the plan period. Industrial production is to rise 375% and investment 500%.
Late August 1961 Due to the controversy over Pakhtunistan (or Pathanistan; the Afghan demand for self-determination for about 7,000,000 members of border tribes), the Pakistan government closes Afghan consulates and trade missions in its territory. Afghanistan thereupon sets September 6 as a deadline for Pakistan to rescind the order. Pakistan does not. On September 3 Afghanistan seals its side of the border and on September 6 breaks relations. The consequences are far-reaching, as Afghanistan then demands that all trade, including U.S. economic aid, be channeled through Soviet access routes. Sixty percent of the Afghan population is Pakhtun (Pathan) and Afghanistan has steadfastly refused to accept the old Afghan-British Durand line of 1893 as a suitable permanent boundary between the Pathans of Afghanistan and of Pakistan, while Pakistan refused to draw a new frontier. Throughout 1961 the two nations exchanged charges, Afghanistan saying that Pakistan brutally suppressed tribal leaders and bombed them with U.S.-made aircraft, while Pakistan alleged that Afghan armed forces, using Soviet equipment, constantly violated the border. The Afghan representative to the UN, A.R. Pazhwak, strongly defended the concept of Pathan self-determination.
September 1961 Afghanistan completes its first five-year plan, with some sectors described as over-fulfilled.
September 1961 Daud attends the Belgrade conference of nonaligned nations, visiting Britain and West Germany first.
January 22, 1962 The United States announces that Afghanistan has agreed to open the border for eight weeks following January 29 in order to allow aid supplies to enter from Pakistan. Meanwhile the U.S. ambassador, Henry A. Byroade, continues efforts to open the border from Pakistan; the only alternative routes for aid supplies are from the north via Soviet rail connections, or through Iran at a cost of $70 per ton extra. In April the Afghan government signs an agreement with the Iranian government for use of the route through Iran.
January 1962 The Iranian ambassador to Pakistan, Hassan Arafa, proposes that the best solution to Afghanistan's problems lies in the formation of an Iran-Afghan-Pakistan confederation. Kabul refuses to consider the proposal. During July and early August the shah of Iran visits both Pakistan and Afghanistan in an effort at conciliation.
April 1962 A second five-year plan is announced by Prime Minister Mohammad Daud, with a foreign-aid requirement of $734,000,000 for the expansion of mines, industries, agriculture, and communications. In June the U.S. expresses its unwillingness to make a firm commitment of funds over a five-year period. The Afghans also seek commitments from Japan, Italy, and Yugoslavia.
April 9, 1962 A rural development project is begun at Ander, designed to improve farming, health, and schooling for about 100,000 people.
May 6, 1962 A hydroelectric plant, built with Soviet assistance, is opened in northern Afghanistan.
1963 Both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. continue their road-building projects in Afghanistan. The U.S. grades and paves the road from Kabul to Peshawar (Pakistan) and is building another road, costing more than $30,000,000, from Kabul to Kandahar and thence to the Pakistan border. The Soviets are building a tunnel to connect the modern road from the Oxus river (their frontier with Afghanistan) to Kabul, at an estimated cost of $40,000,000.
February 25, 1963 A Soviet-Afghan trade protocol is signed in Moscow, pursuant to which Afghanistan is to export wool, cotton, dried and fresh fruits, and oilseeds in exchange for motor vehicles, rolled steel, oil products, and consumer goods.
March 1963 For the first time in Afghan history, a new administration is formed with no members of the royal family in the cabinet, when Sardar (Prince) Mohammad Daud Khan resigns and a commoner, Mohammad Yusuf, is appointed to the prime ministership. The new prime minister announces his cabinet on March 13; he makes several shifts within the cabinet, taking charge of external affairs, appointing new first and second deputy premiers, and changing other posts. His most controversial appointment is the designation of Gen. Mohammad Khan, who was dismissed as governor of Kandahar by a previous cabinet, as defense minister. The new prime minister undertakes serious currency reform, abrogating multiple rates which priced the afghani to the U.S. dollar at anything from 20 to 57, while the free market rate was near 50.7. The new, uniform rate establishes 45 afghanis to the dollar for all transactions. The reform is supported by the International Monetary Fund, which assigns Afghanistan a drawing fund of $5,625,000 to support Afghan foreign exchange reserves durin the transition period.
April 26, 1963 An announcement is made that the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) has granted Afghanistan a loan of $2,652,000 for the purchase of three U.S. passenger aircraft to be used by Ariana Afghan Airlines.
Week of May 11, 1963 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the president of India, visits Kabul.
June 4, 1963 The prime minister receives a unanimous vote of confidence from the National Assembly. During the same month a constitutional commission, aided by the French expert Louis Phojean, enters the final phases of drafting a new constitution.
Late July 1963 In pursuance of better relations, the Afghan-Pakistan frontier is reopened, largely through the peace efforts of the shah of Iran.
Early September 1963 King Mohammad Zahir Shah and his queen pay their first state visit to Washington, D.C.; on September 7 the king and U.S. Pres. John F. Kennedy issue a joint statement which places special emphasis on the Afghan policy of nonalignment.
July 1, 1964 Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, president of Pakistan, visits Kabul briefly where he meets with King Mohammad Zahir. For the first time in several years relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are relatively amicable following the decision of the government of Afghanistan to deal with the Pakhtunistan dispute only through diplomatic negotiations and to carry on normal relations with Pakistan in other respects. Afghanistan does not, however, join the Istanbul Pact drawn up in July between Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey to foster economic cooperation. Observers voice the belief that Afghanistan's desire to maintain a strictly neutral policy is the basis of the decision not to join, since all three of the other countries are members of pro-Western alliances.
September 9, 1964 The Grand Council ( loya jirga) is convened to discuss and ratify a new constitution; the latter event takes place on September 19. The House of the People is to have 216 elected members, and the House of the Elders is to have 84 members, one-third elected by the people, one-third appointed by the king, and one-third elected indirectly by new provincial assemblies. Under the terms of the new constitution no members of the royal family may become prime minister or hold any other ministerial portfolio; neither may a member of the royal family become a member of the loya jirga, or chief justice of the Supreme Court. This is a complete reversal of the situation that prevailed until 1963 when Mohammad Yusuf became the first Afghan prime minister not of royal blood. On the other hand, the constitution also provides that only descendants of Mohammad Nadir Shah, father of the present king, may ascend the throne. Democratic reforms in the new constitution include the guaranteeing of such individual liberties as the right of free trial in all criminal cases, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to form political parties.
September 1964 The Salang Highway is opened, linking Kandahar in south Afghanistan and Kabul with Kushka, the southernmost town of the Soviet Union on the 1,900-km border between the U.S.S.R. and Afghanistan. This highway provides the first motor access through the mountains of the Hindu Kush to connect the northern towns of Afghanistan with the capital and the south. Built by Soviet engineers and with Soviet aid, the highway took more than four years to complete and cost about $38 million, which is to be repaid by Afghanistan. Its most spectacular feature is a tunnel 2,670 m long. In the meantime, the U.S. Agency for International Development authorized a loan of $7.7 million for the construction of an all-weather highway from Herat to Islam Qala on the Iranian border, and the Soviet Union signed an agreement to provide the equivalent of £10.5 million for another highway in northern Afghanistan.
End of 1964 Afghanistan's new progressive outlook is recognized when it receives a credit of $3.5 million from the International Development Association, the first ever granted to Afghanistan by that organization. Seven secondary vocational schools are created with the funds.
1965 In foreign affairs Afghanistan maintains its position of nonalignment, receiving aid from, and cultivating friendly relations with, Communist as well as non-Communist countries. Along with Pakistan, Afghanistan adjusts its boundary with Communist China. The improvement of relations with Pakistan continues, and although toward the end of 1964 the loya jirga (the traditional Grand Council of the nation, superseded under the new constitution) passed a formal resolution in favour of the creation of Pakhtunistan, the violent propaganda that had offended Pakistan so seriously died down. Trade between the two countries greatly increases, as does the flow of visitors and tourists. When war between India and Pakistan breaks out in the autumn, Afghanistan maintains a friendly neutrality and does not add to Pakistan's difficulties.
September 1965 Elections are completed, with women voting for the first time. Several unofficial parties run candidates with beliefs ranging from fundamentalist Islam to the extreme left. Turnout is very low, leading to the vocal predominance of Kabuli radicals. This first elected assembly meets on October 14; eleven days later dissident leftist students, dissatisfied with the newly appointed cabinet, disrupt the meetings and rioting ensues. Prime Minister Mohammad Yusuf resigns on October 29, and the king appoints Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal to form a cabinet, which is confirmed on November 2.
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