The Soviet Vietnam: Afghanistan

By on December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

At the height of the Cold War both the USSR and the United States agreed on one concept that in order to gain the upper hand in this war they must extend their political ideologies to other lands. While the United States tried to do this mostly through diplomatic means the USSR had other ideas. One of the prominent targets for the USSR was Afghanistan. The reason why the USSR wanted to target Afghanistan was due to its deep political ties to the country, thus it wanted to cement its reign over all those planning to rebel against the Afghanistan government. Though the Soviet government continued to say it is invading Afghanistan due to aid being requested by the government of Afghanistan, most people did not believe this due to their constant denial that they would invade Afghanistan for any reason.

Afghanistan- too many people Afghanistan is nothing more than a country in the Middle East filled with mountains and sand. However, what most people don’t know is Afghanistan has an infamous reputation in terms of an empire graveyard. Afghanistan has shown throughout history to be almost impossible to capture however on December 25, 1979 the Soviet Union planned to change this.

However once in Afghanistan, Russian troops and leaders ran into an excess of unforeseen challenges that weakened the Soviets ability to conduct attacks on the militia. There is a reason Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires. The Afghani terrain is perilous with large impassible mountains, sudden cold temperatures, and extreme heat, to wide open fields surrounded by mountains the terrain the Soviet troops ran into was counter intuitive to waging modern warfare. Yet the biggest issue the Soviet troops came across was a group of freedom fighters known as the Mujahidin commonly known today as Al Qaeda.

At first the Soviet Union was able to handle the Mujahidin however after the CIA stepped into to back and train these freedom fighters the Soviet Union we unable to get any push against their enemies. Soon the Mujahidin, armed with American weapons such as the FIM-92 Stinger missile, were able to resist and fight against the Soviet troops; fighting them into a stalemate. This stalemate lasted almost a decade in which the USSR lost thirteen thousand troops and millions upon millions of rubles in a war they gained nothing but disastrous consequences.

To any American historian it is clear to see that Afghanistan was Russia’s Vietnam. At first they believed the war would be over almost instantaneous yet it lasted for a decade and allowed for soviet citizens to begin to question the status quo of the Soviet government. Than the economic burden placed on the economically weak Soviet Union proved to be its undoing. Two years after the end of the Afghanistan war the entire Soviet Union collapsed.

Sources:

“Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1499983/Soviet-invasion-of-Afghanistan

“Soviet-Afghan War 1979-1989” CNN video, 43:23. Posted by CNN. March 29, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Ji5EsJxbU

Gress, Michael. The Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost. Kansas: University Press of Kansas , 2002.

Image:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/10/29/arts/Fyodor2650.jpg

 

 19 Responses to “The Soviet Vietnam: Afghanistan”

  1. A. Nelson says:

    What sources did you use for this post? The image is striking.

  2. wilkins says:

    Very interesting post, was great to learn how Afghanistan had been involved in previous colonisation attempts. I do remember reading sometime in a history journal that there may have been defensive motives behind the invasion, since the USSR also wanted a buffer zone around this region of its border, Iran at a similar time was undergoing revolution and there may have been fear this could also happen in Afghanistan.

  3. jrc554 says:

    This is one of the topics I find most interesting in Soviet history since it was one of the first instances that truly showed the struggle the SU was having domestically and abroad. Also, this was the first time since WWII that actual Soviet troops invaded another nation. The SU usually used proxies to do their military bidding. You may be aware of this, but if I recall correctly, the US did not directly supply the Afghans. They secretly purchased all of the captured Soviet weapons that the Israeli’s had acquired over time. They then funneled these weapons into Egypt and Pakistan, who in turn, delivered them to the Al Qaeda.

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  17. agario pvp says:

    tant denial that they would invade Afghanistan for any reason.

    Afghanistan- too many people Afghanistan is nothing more than a country in the Middle East filled with mountains and sand. However, what most people don’t know is Afghanistan has an infamous reputation in terms of an empire graveyard. Afghanistan has shown throughout history to be almost impossible to capture however on December 25, 1979 the Soviet Union planned to change this.

    However once in Afghanistan, Russian troops and leaders ran into an excess of unforeseen challenges that weakened the Soviets ability to conduct attacks on the militia. There is a reason Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires. The Afghani terrain is perilous with large impassible mountains, sudden cold temperatures, and extreme heat, to wide open fields surrounded by mountains the terrain the Soviet troops ran into was counter intuitive to waging modern warfare. Yet the biggest issue the Soviet troops came across was a group of freedom fighters known as the Mujahidin commonly known today as Al Qaeda.

    At first the Soviet Union was able to handle the Mujahidin however after the CIA stepped into to back and train these freedom fighters the Soviet Union we unable to get any push against their enemies. Soon the Mujahidin, armed with American weapons such as the FIM-92 Stinger missile, were able to resist and fight against the Soviet troops; fighting them into a stalemate. This stalemate lasted almost a decade in which the USSR lost thirteen thousand troops and millions upon millions of rubles in a war they gained nothing but disastrous consequences.

    To any American historian it is clear to see that Afghanistan was Russia’s Vietnam. At first they believed the war would be over almost instantaneous yet it lasted for a deca

  18. agario pvp says:

    wilkins says:
    December 5, 2013 at 2:33 am
    Very interesting post, was great to learn how Afghanistan had been involved in previous colonisation attempts. I do remember reading sometime in a history journal that there may have been defensive motives behind the invasion, since the USSR also wanted a buffer zone around this region of its border, Iran at a similar time was undergoing revolution and there may have been fear this could also happen in Afghanistan.

    Reply
    jrc554 says:
    December 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm
    This is one of the topics I find most interesting in Soviet history since it was one of the first instances that truly showed the struggle the SU was having domestically and abroad. Also, this was the first time since WWII that actual Soviet troops invaded another nation. The SU usually used proxies to do their military bidding. You may be aware of this, but if I recall correctly, the

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