By Anthony Hyman
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Additional info for Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964–83
This so-called liberal Parliament lasted from 194 7 to 1953, and was dominated by reformist ideas spread by three 'parties', or movements of the intelligentsia; Watan and Nida'-i-Khalq were discussion groups appealing mainly to the Persian-speaking elite, and their ideas had spread especially by the influence of the 26 Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination, 1964-81 historian Mir Ghulam M. Ghobar and Dr Abdur Rahman Mahmudi. The third 'party' was Wikh-i-Zalmayan (Awakened Youth), a Pushtun reaction to the two earlier movements- promoted, say some Kabulis, by Daoud Khan.
Imports into Afghanistan were dominated by Japan, which supplied goods worth almost as much as those of the five next biggest suppliers - West Germany, India, the Soviet Union, Britain and Iran. Japan's total exports of just over $100 million were more than five times greater than the Soviet Union's small share in 1977178. Yet there are limits to the usefulness of official trade statistics. Official statistics on foreign trade are particularly misleading because of the neglected importance of smuggling to the economy of the borderlands where, especially in the southeastern provinces bordering Pakistan's Frontier Province, smuggling often provides the largest part of tribal income.
Amanullah had none of these considerable advantage, dissipating in the first half of his reign much latent goodwill by hasty social reforms and changes in the traditional order which threatened strong tribal and rural interests, and failing to act firmly or even with shrewdness when this was essential. The importance and relevance of Amanullah's attempted reforms, and the circumstances in which he lost power, are complex enough without the overlay of mythology which has surrounded the period in the past half-century.