The Afghans-Turmoil back home

December 8, 2013

Soviet-invasion-of-AfghanistanDuring the Vietnam war it was the Russians laughing at us as they supplied the Viet-Cong and the North with weapons and supplies. But now it is the 1980s and it is the US’s turn to pull the rug out from under the Russians all along while we laugh at how stupid the Russian were.

During the 80s the Russians saw that the current rise of American power in Afghanistan as a way to block them and further build a “wall” of division between the world and Russia.

“The Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press: “The transformation of Afghanistan, which, as is well known, no one threatens, into an American military base, and the utilization of its natural resources to satisfy the military requirements of the Americans can only intensify the fears of the peoples of the Near Eastern countries that American policy in this area does not have a defensive, but an offensive character and serves the purpose of preparing for war.”

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had been a major power broker and influential mentor in Afghan politics, ranging from civil-military infrastructure to Afghan society. In the 1980s, many Afghans were Russian language proficient. Since 1947, Afghanistan had been under the influence of the Russian government and received large amounts of aid, economic assistance, military equipment training and military hardware from the Soviet Union.

So when the US began moving into Afghanistan through the use of economic and military aid, Russia saw that one of its remaining allies in the Middle East was being pulled away they acted

With that in mind as background Russia began planning how to prevent American intrusion into Afghanistan.

When the communist government in Afghanistan was threatened by rebels, the Soviets saw this as the door to enter into Afghanistan militarily and re-take control of their ally. The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted nine years from December 1979 to February 1989.

The war was a bloodbath, a conventional force was fighting a guerrilla rebel army fighting out of the mountains striking terror through improvised explosives, killing during the dark leaving bodies for the soldiers to wake up to,  this was an enemy that the soviets believed they could handle and overestimated the power of the people when the Soviets invaded.

The rebel group was called the Afghan Mujahideen, and they were aided by most every Islamic state and country that had a problem with the USSR. This was one massive proxy war fought by the Afghans through the Great powers of the world.

By this very fact the Soviets were already going to lose, the question was how long would the Russian people support this action…

By the end of the war casualties numbered:”The Soviet Union, ending a long silence about the exact number of its casualties in the war in Afghanistan, said today that 13,310 soldiers had been killed, 35,478 wounded and 311 are missing.”

This was the first war heavily televised and publicly shown to the people of Russia, and what they saw disturbed them.  In an era of open press debate, the Afghan War was one of the first targets of journalists. Superb reporting from the front brought the horrors of the campaign to Soviet readers, and TV soon presented them with unforgettable images. The largest contributes to this uproar were the returning soldiers, many of them missing limbs, and then the families. Just like the Vietnam vets they shunned and were part of an outcast group. It would not be for a couple years later that they were given their just apologies and care.valt20

The Afghani war was a back breaker for the Soviet government, from then on the people lost trust in their government and the satellite states viewed the Soviets as weak.  Another interesting aftermath factor is the rise of Islamic militancy. Foreign fighters who came to fight Soviet troops perceived their eventual withdrawal as their victory. The war created a class of hard-line Islamic fighters, such as bin Laden, ready to fight for what they perceived as the interests of Islam around the world. Osama Bin Laden, for example, was asserting the credit for “the dissolution of the Soviet Union … goes to God and the mujahedin in Afghanistan … the US had no mentionable role…”

SOURCES

-http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=article&ArticleID=1985turshatov1&SubjectID=1985afghans&Year=1985

-Current Digest of the Russian Press, The (formerly The Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press),  No. 27,  Vol.3, August  18, 1951, page(s): 23-24  http://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/13829248

-http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1985afghans&Year=1985&navi=byYear

-Afghanistan: 25 Years Later, Soviet Invasion Remembered As Cold War’s Last Gasp                                                                               http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1056559.html

4 Comments

  • carlin says:

    This post was extremely detailed and you could tell you had an interest in your topic. I did not know much about the Soviets and Afghanistan and thought your post did a great job discussing the conflict. Good job!

  • mwill17 says:

    This was a really good post an really shows just how devastating this war was for the USSR. I also liked how you finished with how this event effected Islam militarily and how they saw the victory as their own.

  • A. Nelson says:

    Good analysis in this post! Can you reformat the citation from the current digest so we can find it easily? Also, can you clarify the source of the “newspaper” quotes in the text?

  • carastombock says:

    This is a great post! It’s always interesting to see the parallels between Vietnam and the Afghan War. Our conventional fighting forces had no idea what environment they were stepping into… Very cool topic and it leads well into what would take place in the near future.

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