By Angelo Rasanayagam
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Additional info for Afghanistan: A Modern History
In Afghanistan mobs staged violent demonstrations at the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, and attacked the consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad. The country prepared for war. The government called a loya jirga that unanimously endorsed its demand for a plebiscite in the Pashtun areas of Pakistan. The Pakistanis countered by asking whether the Pashtun population on the Afghan side of the Durand Line would have the right to secede by voting for an independent Pashtunistan straddling the Line. Pakistan had scored a very valid point, underlining the essential weakness of the Afghan position.
When the coinmission's work was completed, a loya jirga composed of 452 members was convened in September 1964 to discuss and adopt the draft constitution. The Loya Jirga of 1964, an ancient Pashtun institution adapted to a modern national purpose, was the most representative of all such assemblies in Afghan history. Its members were drawn from across the whole ethnic, social, political and religious spectrum, iilcluding elected representatives of all non-Pashtun ethnic groups, women, and a solitary Hindu delegate from Kabul.
Although passions had cooled by September 1955, Daoud's closure of the border for a five-month period drove the desperate Afghans to seek Soviet help once again. At Daoud's request the 1950 transit and barter agreements were renewed. The visit of Bulganin and Khrushchev took place in December that year. This resulted in a US$100 million long-term development loan on very soft terms. By March 1956 numerous projects had been identified by joint Afghan-Soviet teams: two hydro-electric plants, three automotive repair a i d maintei~ai~ce facilities, a road from Qizil Qala on the Iranian border west of Herat to Kabul, ii~cludingthe Salang Tunnel through the formidable Hindu Kush, a major air base in Bagram, three irrigation dams and canal systems, a fertilizer factory, and so on.