| 1978 - 1992|
| Democratic Republic of Afghanistan|
Ministry of the Interior
Internal security, Counter-insurgency
The Sarandoy or Sarondoy ("Defenders of the Revolution") were a militarized gendarmerie force of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
Successor of the former Afghan Regional Gendarmerie, the Sarandoy were raised in 1978 with an initial strength of 30,000 officers and enlisted men, intended to be used on internal security duties.
Placed under the control of the Ministry of the Interior, the Sarandoy was commanded by the Minister of Interior General Sayed Muhammad Gulabzoi, a former Afghan Air Force officer. At one point, the Sarandoy fielded some 115,000 men, compared to the Afghan Army's 160,000, while at other times the Sarandoy were said to exceed the Army. Those who served in the Sarandoy were paid 162 dollars a month, a wage which was higher than that of Deputy Minister of National Defence before the April 1978 Saur Revolution.
The Sarandoy was subjected to internal politics, as its forces were controlled by the Khalqi Communist faction, opposed to the Parchami Communist faction which controlled the KhAD intelligence services. Accordingly, the Sarandoy and the KhAD found battles against each other on occasion.
Mark Urban wrote in 1988 that '...By 1985 there were 20 identified Sarandoy Operational Battalions and Mountain Battalions. They were attached to provincial Sarandoy commands and include[d] armoured vehicles and light artillery. The Kabul Security Command controlled two mobile regiments (the 1st and 2nd)... A further four Sarandoy brigades/regiments have been identified in Badakhshan (24th Sarandoy Brigade), Kandahar, Baghlan and Parwan.' At the beginning of 1986, operational control of some units passed to the new unified Ministry of State Security.
A number of previously Sarandoy tribal militia units were eventually upgraded to Afghan Army formations, as part of the regularisation of the militia (see Giustozzi, War, Politics and Society in Afghanistan). Among these units was the Ismaili 80th Division in Baghlan Province.