President Daoud met Brezhnev on a state visit to Moscow from April 12 to 15, 1977.

Pres. Daoud had asked for a private meeting with Brezhnev, to discuss with him the increased pattern of Soviet subversive actions in Afghanistan. In particular the intensified Soviet attempt to unite the two Afghan communist parties, Parcham and Khalq.

Mr. Samad Ghaus, who at the time was the Afghan deputy foreign minister and was accompanying Pres. Daoud, recalls the story of the second meeting of the leaders of the two nations in his book "The Fall of Afghanistan". It is a telling tale of the nature of the relationship between the two nations. But more importantly it gives us a glimpse of the character and nature of the Afghan leader. President Daoud may have had many faults, but he was a true Afghan, and a true patriot, who give his life for his country. His disciplinary presence is missed dearly in today's chaotic Afghanistan.



The next day it was the host country's turn to make its presentation. Brezhnev, as the head of the Soviet delegation, took the floor. Although seemingly less tired than the previous day, he still spoke with difficulty and perspired profusely. Brezhnev repeated a few words of welcome to President Daoud. He expressed his happiness that the Helsinki Accords on security and cooperation in Europe had been signed. He characterized that as a great step in the process of detente, which, in his view, was making progress in spite of difficulties. He cited the "militarist circles" in the US and Europe and the "hegemonists" in the People's Republic of China as the main obstacles to the relaxation of international tensions and the consolidation of peace. He said that the Soviet Union wished to improve its relations with China, but it was the latter's fault if this had not yet been realized. He expressed his country's desire to see Afghanistan prosper and, to that end, promised increased economic and technical help. Brezhnev described Afghanistan's non-alignment as important to the Soviet Union and essential to the promotion of peace in Asia and hoped that the nonaligned movement would not fall victim to imperialist machinations and intrigue.

At this point, Brezhnev looked straight at Daoud and said something that seemingly made Gavrilov, the interpreter, quite uncomfortable. But, after a brief pause, he hesitantly translated Brezhnev's words, and what we heard was both crude and unexpected: Brezhnev complained that the number of experts from NATO countries working in Afghanistan in bilateral ventures, as well as in the UN and other multilateral aid projects, had considerably increased. In the past, he said, the Afghan government at least did not allow experts from NATO countries to be stationed in the northern parts of the country, but this practice was no longer strictly followed. The Soviet Union, he continued, took a grim view of these developments and wanted the Afghan government to get rid of those experts, who were nothing more than spies bent on promoting the cause of imperialism.

A chill fell on the room. Some of the Russians seemed visibly embarrassed, and the Afghans appeared greatly displeased. I looked at Daoud, whose face had grown hard and dark. Brezhnev had stoppd talking, as if he were waiting for an answer from the Afghan president. In a cold, unemotional voice Daoud gave Brezhnev his reply, which apparantely was as unexpected to the Russians as Brezhnev's words had been to us. He told Brezhnev that what was just said by the Russians leader could never be accepted by the Afghans, who viewed his statement as a flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. He went on to say that Afghanistan greatly appreciated its ties with the Soviet Union, but this partnership must remain the partnership of equals. Daoud added, and I remember clearly his exact words,

we will never allow you to dictate to us how to run our country and whom to employ in Afghanistan. How and where we employ the foreign experts will remain the exclusive prerogative of the Afghan state. Afghanistan shall remain poor, if necessary, but free in its acts and decisions.

After saying this, Daoud abruptly stood up. All the Afghans did the same. Daoud nodded slightly to the Russians and staretd walking toward the exit of the huge conference room. At this point, Brezhnev, as if emrging from a state of shock, rose from his chair with some difficulty. Accompanied by his two colleagues, Podgorny and Kosygin, and followed by the Russian interpreter, he took hurried steps toward Daoud. it was clear that he intended to repair the damage done. Waheed Abdullah and I, who were walking close to the president, saw the Russians coming. Waheed Abdullah whispreed to Daoud that, for the sake of diplomatic niceties, it was advisable to take leave of the Russians properly, otherwise the visit to Moscow would be a total fiasco. He advanced towards the Russians and shook Brezhnev's extended hand. Sporting a big smile, Brezhnev said "I am told that Your Excellecy wishes to have a private meeting with me; I am at your disposal. We shall meet whenever it is convenient for you." Daoud replied in a clear, loud voice for all to hear, "I wish to inform Your Excellency that there is no longer any need for that meeting." Having said that, he shook Podgorny's and Kosygin's hands and quickly walked out of the room. That was the last time that Daoud met Brezhnev. The interruped meeting between the two delegations was never resumed, and the Russians' presentation remained unfinished.

The Fall of Afghanistan by Samad Ghaus, 1988, pp. 178-180