1933-1945 History of Afghanistan 1964-1973

Afghanistan 1945-1964

Constitution . Afghanistan was a monarchy, the ruling dynasty the Barakzai Dynasty, Farsi-speaking Pashtuns. Mohammad Zahir Shah ruled from 1933 to 1973. The position of prime minister was traditionally held by members of the ruling family; from 1946 to 1953 by Shah Mahmud, from 1953 to 1963 by Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan. In 1953 elections to the National Assembly were held.
In 1963 Zahir Shah forced Daoud Khan to resign and introduced a constitution (1964), which converted the country into a modern constitutional monarchy.

Foreign Policy . During World War II Afghanistan had pursued a policy of neutrality. In 1946, Afghanistan joined the UN and signed a border treaty with the USSR, which confirmed the Kashka District to be Soviet territory.
While World War II had a limited effect on Afghanistan, the British withdrawal from the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan and India became independent in 1947) altered her geopolitical situation. Afghanistan was still a neighbour to the USSR, but no longer of major concern to Britain.
Afghanistan claimed Pashtunistan (part of NWFP respectively of Baluchistan), protested against its inclusion in the new state of Pakistan. In 1947 Afghanistan voted against the admittance of Pakistan to the UN, without being capable of barring the entry. Relations with Pakistan, until 1963, were tense because of this issue; in 1961 to 1963 the tension reached a climax, as Pakistan closed the border to Afghanistan, depriving the landlocked nation of much of its imports.
In 1953, Mohammad Daoud became prime minister; he turned to the USSR for economic and military assistance. As Afghanistan was dependent on Pakistan for most of her imports, it invested a considerable amount of the foreign aid it received in infrastructure projects such as Salang Highway, connecting Kabul and Kandahar with Herat and Soviet territory, completed in 1964.
In 1951, U.S. financial aid was secured.
Afghanistan became a natural ally of India; in 1950 both countries signed a treaty of friendship (BBoY 1951), in 1954 an Afghan mission visited Delhi, the governments of both Afghanistan and India uncomfortable about the military alliance between the U.S. and Pakistan (SEATO).

The Economy . In 1948-1949, Afghanistan experienced an economic crisis, as the traditonal trade route via the Khyber Pass with central India was disrupted due to Indo-Pakistani political tension, and because of the fall in prices for Afghanistan's main export product, Persian lambs; trade with Pakistan continued despite of the Pashtunistan issue (BBoY 1949, 1950).
Both Zahir Shah and Daoud Khan wanted to develop Afghanistan's economy. In 1952, oil deposits in the country, as at Shibarghan, were nationalized. Oil production, with the aid of Soviet technicians, began in 1954, shipped to the USSR via pipeline. In 1955, Ariana Afghan Airlines was established.
A First Five Year Development Plan was implemented in 1956-1961, followed by a Second Five Year Development Plan in 1961-1966.
The original intention was to promote irrigation projects, expand agricultural production, establish a few industries. The confrontation with Pakistan forced the diversion of funds into infrastructure projects such as the Salang Highway, so that ambitious economic plan targets were not achieved.

Domestic Policy . The Britannica Book of the Year first mentions a radio station in Kabul for 1947 (BBoY 1948).
Independent newspapers were closed down in 1953 on the order of PM Daoud Khan.

Social History . Afghanistan's population grew; due to the lack of censi, only estimates are available which vary considerably. According to a 1954 preliminary census, the official figure was 12,615,146 (BBoY 1960).
Daoud Khan (PM 1953-1963) introduced a number of political reforms, among which the abolition of the Purdah (the seclusion of women in the home), the emancipation of women (1959). The reform was strongly opposed by Islamic leaders, especially on the more traditional countryside.

Timetable History of Afghanistan, from BBC News
Afghanistan Timeline 1941-1950, 1951-1955, 1955-1960, 1961-1965, from Wikipedia
Chronological History of Afghanistan, from Afghanistan Online
Articles Mohammad Zahir Shah, Barakzai Dynasty, Reigns of Nadir Shah and Zahir Shah, Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan, Foreign Relations of Afghanistan, Ariana Afghan Airlines, from Wikipedia
Afghanistan : The Brief History of Media Freedom, by Amin Tarzi
DOCUMENTS Afghan Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics : Afghanistan, from Population Statistics
UN General Assembly 1946 Resolution No.34, Admission of Afghanistan, Iceland and Sweden
REFERENCE Article : Afghanistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 p.23, 1947 p.23, 1948 p.23, 1949 pp.22-23, 1950 pp.22-23, 1951 pp.22-23, 1952 pp.22-23, 1953 pp.22-23, 1954 pp.22-23, 1955 p.86, 1956 pp.21-22, 1957 pp.85-86, 1958 pp.21-22, 1959 p.21, 1960 pp.21-22, 1961 pp.21-22, 1962 pp.5-6, 1963 p.125, 1964 p.96 [G]
Article : Afghanistan, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.8-9, 1957 pp.8-9, 1961 p.8, 1962 pp.8-9, 1963 pp.29-30, 1964 pp.29-30, 1965 p.36 [G]
Article : Afghanistan, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.25-26, 1952 pp.17-18, 1961 pp.2-3 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 6th 2002, last revised on April 14th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz