Nov 17 2014
Christmas Day, 1979. As per the request of the acting government (the prior Afghan president had been assassinated at this point and replaced by a Soviet-friendly one named Babrak Karmal), the Soviet Army crosses the border into Afghanistan (Source Essay: “The Invasion of Afghanistan” by James von Geldern).
In a speech to the Russian people via radio, Karmal tells the people about the invasion, saying that the prior president, Hafizullah Amin, was a proprietor of mass murder and torture, and that he was an American CIA agent, and therefore was executed. He then says that the Soviet Union will always try to uphold the ideals of democracy and independence, and will free Amin’s political prisoners, abolish all of his oppressive and inhumane laws, respect Islam and the practices of its followers, and among other things, assistance provided to the Afghan schools (“SPEECH BY BABRUK KARMAL”).
What I find most interesting is the imperialistic attitude that the Russians had even into the late 20th century. Great Britain had acquired colonies like India and Australia hundreds of years prior, and by the time the 1970’s came, they had moved on from that imperialistic attitude. I noticed that Karmal used promises that made it sound like they had invaded for holistic and humanitarian reasons, which would serve only to justify the invasion to the public, much like the United States did when we went into Iraq (come for the weapons of mass destruction, stay for the people). I also find it interesting that Karmal would even go as far to say that Amin was an American CIA agent, which was likely just a bit of propaganda he threw out to justify the invasion to the people of Russia and to further deepen people’s distaste of Americans, since this speech came at an ever critical time in the Cold War, with tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union coming to boil.
“SPEECH BY BABRAK KARMAL.” The Current Digest of the Russian Press, No. 52, Vol.31, January 23, 1980, page(s): 4-5. Minneapolis, USA. http://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/13629303