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afghan marxist political faction; also its newspaper.

Parcham (Banner), a faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), was founded in 1965 as a worker's revolutionary party dedicated to a Marxist revolution in Afghanistan. In 1967, the PDPA split into the Khalq (People's) faction and the Parcham faction. The split was in part the result of rivalries between the two leading personalities of the PDPA. Babrak Karmal was the leader of the Parcham faction, which attracted followers from the Persian-speaking Kabul intelligentsia; the Khalq faction had a predominantly rural and Pakhtun base.

In 1968, the Parcham faction published a newspaper also called Parcham. Published by Sulaiman Layeq and edited by him and Mir Akbar Khaiber, it was closed by the parliament after only six editions for being "anti-Islamic."

In April 1978 the two factions of the PDPA united to stage a successful revolution and took over the government. The Parcham faction was soon purged, however, and its leaders were jailed or sent abroad as diplomats by late 1978. On 25 December 1979 a large Soviet airlift began; two days later a Parcham faction staged a coup with the help of the Soviet Union. Babrak Karmal returned to Kabul, and the Parchamis took over the government. The government of Karmal attempted to move the party toward an ideological center and denounced many of the reforms and actions of the Khalq faction. Karmal and President Najibullah, who succeeded him in 1986, attempted to undo most of the radical reforms of the Khalqis and announced a plan of national reconciliation. They even changed the name of the PDPA to the Hezb-e Watan (Homeland party) in 1989. These changes, however, were unsuccessful in convincing the Afghan mojahedin leaders to put a halt to the war of resistance. The Parcham government collapsed in 1992.

see also karmal, babrak; people's democratic party of afghanistan.


Adamec, Ludwig. Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan, 2d edition. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

Arnold, Anthony. Afghanistan's Two Party Communism: Parcham and Khalq. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1983.

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