(1929-79) Hafizullah Amin received a Bachelors degree from the Kabul University and Masters in education from Columbia University in New York. In the early 1960s he returned to Columbia to work for a PhD degree. After having passed the general examination, he was about to begin work on a dissertation when he was called home. He also failed in his efforts to enroll in England, where I tried to help him in his efforts. While in the United States, Amin had tried to politicize the Afghan student association after he was elected its president. Back home he joined the PDPA, concentrated on politics, and recruited his Pashtun students in the government-run boarding high schools of Teachers Training and Ibne Sina, which he served as a teacher and principal respectively for several years.
A rural Pashtun himself, Amin succeeded in influencing the rural Pashtun students of the schools, many of whom became military officers after completing the military academy in Kabul. Amin was the only Khalqi member of the PDPA to be elected to parliament (1969). After the fall of the monarchy, when the PDPA had already split into the Parcham and Khalqi factions, the latter decided to recruit army officers, and Amin was commissioned to do the job. After the two factions reunited in 1977 Amin still went on with his job. His opponents, especially Babrak Karmal, unsuccessfully asked Tarakai to relieve him of this work. On the eve of the communist coup Amin was a member of the central committee. The police did not single him out for immediate imprisonment, as it did politburo members of the PDPA on 25 April 1978. He was the last person to be arrested, and even then the police officer, who was a secret member of the Parcham faction of the PDPA, postponed his imprisonment for five and a half hours (3:00-8:30 a.m., 26 April 1978) during which time Amin, without having the authority and while the politburo members were in prison, instructed the Khalqi army officers to overthrow the government.
President Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan was still in the besieged palace when Amin took command of the coup after he and his comrades were released from the prison. During the first night of the coup he alone remained in the radio station directing the coup. The other leaders of the PDPA, uncertain about their success, spent the night at the Kabul airfield ready to fly to safety if the situation warranted it. In the first week or so of the coup, Amin worked twenty-three hours a day to make the coup a success. Mainly because of the army support and the support of his associates in the party, Amin overcame both his Parchami and Khalqi opponents and reached the highest position in the party and the state, after the government had suppressed major civilian and military rebellions. During the 104 days of his own rule, except for one failed military rebellion, no major uprising took place. The Soviets killed him during their invasion of Afghanistan after Amin had effected the suffocation of pro-Soviet Tarakai and had tried to govern as an independent ruler.