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second President of Afghanistan
Hafizullah Amin was born in Paghman, Afghanistan, on August 1, 1929. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Kabul, after which he became a high school teacher and principal. In 1957 he won a scholarship to study at Teachers College, Columbia University (in New York City), and upon completion of his Masters he returned to Kabul to administer teacher-training courses. He returned to Columbia to complete his Doctorate in 1962, but returned to Afghanistan without his degree in 1965.
Upon his return, Amin joined the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and subsequently became a prominent member of the Marxist Khalq (People's) faction.
After the overthrow and death of Mohammed Daoud Khan in 1978, the PDPA gained power and established the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Noor Mohammad Taraki became President, while Amin and Babrak Karmal became Deputy Prime Ministers. Taraki's attempt to institute Marxist-Leninist reforms provoked widespread violence, however, prompting the Soviet Union to intervene. By March 1979 Karmal had been exiled to Europe and Amin had become Prime Minister, leaving Taraki as President. On September 14, 1979, Amin, with Soviet backing, ousted Taraki and became the second President of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
Although Amin had gained the presidency with Soviet assistance, he refused to follow Soviet advice in dealing with insurgents, trying instead to gain Pakistani or American support. Amin's display of independent nationalism led to an invasion by Soviet troops on December 27, 1979, and to his own death. He was succeeded by Babrak Karmal.
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This page was last updated on 05/26/2017.