The Soviet government was the first in the world to recognize Afghanistan’s independence, on Mar. 27, 1919. On Apr. 7, 1919, the Afghan government proposed to the Soviet government that friendly relations be established, and on May 27, 1919, the Soviet government agreed. Negotiations were concluded with the signing of a treaty of friendship on Feb. 28, 1921, by which diplomatic relations were established. Each party agreed not to conclude any agreements directed against the other. The RSFSR granted Afghanistan the right to ship freight through the republic without customs duties or other charges.
The treaty of neutrality and nonaggression of Aug. 31,1926, as well as the treaty that succeeded it, signed on June 24,1931, provided that neither country would interfere in the other’s internal affairs, allow on its territory any armed units or forces hostile to the other country, or participate in alliances or agreements directed against the other country; the treaties also committed the two parties to observe neutrality in the event of a conflict between the other country and a third power. A protocol of Dec. 10,1975, extended the 1931 treaty for ten years and provided for its automatic yearly renewal thereafter.
Agreements concluded between the USSR and Afghanistan include agreements on border questions, (June 13, 1946), on new border demarcations (June 13, 1946), and on the use of the Kushka River (June 13, 1946), as well as agreements on trade turnover and payments (July 17,1950), on cooperation in developing the Afghan economy and the extending of long-term credit to Afghanistan (Jan. 28, 1956), and on air transportation (Mar. 24,1956). The two countries also signed a treaty on the administration of border controls (Jan. 18,1958) and agreements on the cooperative exploitation of the Amu Darya River (June 25, 1958), on radio and telegraph communications (Feb. 4, 1959), and on cultural cooperation (Mar. 4, 1960). Agreements were also signed on economic and technical cooperation during Afghanistan’s second five-year plan, for the period 1962–67 (Oct. 16,1961), its third five-year plan, for 1967–72 (Feb. 6,1968), and its fourth five-year plan, for 1972–75 (July 11, 1972). An agreement to assist Afghanistan in locust control was concluded by an exchange of letters between Dec. 29,1962, and Mar. 27,1963.
Other Soviet-Afghan agreements include an agreement on technical assistance in extracting and utilizing natural gas in northern Afghanistan (Oct. 17,1963), a convention on veterinary sanitation and public health (Dec. 16, 1963), and an agreement on the joint study of the possibilities for comprehensive exploitation of the waters and the hydroelectric power potential of the Amu Darya and Piandzh rivers (July 19, 1964). The two countries also concluded an agreement to send Soviet instructors and professors to Afghanistan (July 28, 1965), a protocol to deliver natural gas to the USSR during the period 1967–85 (May 10, 1967), a protocol on cooperation in hydrometeorology (June 1, 1969), agreements to assist Afghanistan in combating infectious animal diseases (May 26,1970, and Aug. 5,1970), and an agreement to cooperate in preventing civil aircraft hijackings (July 8, 1972). In accordance with several agreements, the USSR has provided Afghanistan with long-term credit on favorable terms.
On July 19,1973, the USSR became the first country to recognize the Republic of Afghanistan. In a joint declaration of June 9, 1974, it was noted that the USSR would continue to give the Afghan people support in their desire to achieve progress and strengthen national sovereignty. The declaration stated further that it would be expedient to develop long-term economic ties while taking into account the national economic plans of both countries. The two countries recognized the traditional nature of friendly relations between the USSR and Afghanistan.
More recently, agreements have been signed on trade (Mar. 20, 1974), payments (Mar. 20, 1974), and the opening of an Afghan trade office in the USSR (by an exchange of notes; May 12–31,1974). An agreement has also been concluded on cooperation in refining and transporting oil from the Angot oil fields and on the construction of an oil refinery in Afghanistan (by an exchange of letters; Oct. 10, 1974). Other agreements have provided for technical assistance to Afghanistan to ensure the efficient use of the highway across the Hindu Kush (by an exchange of letters; Dec. 29, 1974) and expanded economic and technical cooperation (Jan. 10,1975).
E. M. ZAITSEV