The beginning of the Soviet Russian occupation of Afghanistan took place when Russian paratroopers were deployed in the capital of Afghanistan. The date was December 27, 1979 and the beginning of a very long and costly occupation, that would be described in the future as the Russian Vietnam. There were a few specific events which occurred over the few years previous to the Soviet invasion that are directly related to it. These events were the Afghani government’s coup roulette.
There were two coups which occurred before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and one that directly coincided with the invasion. The first occurred in 1973, the second in 1978, and the third occurred in 1979. While researching these coups I discovered a few discrepancies between the sources I was using. One of the discrepancies occurred between a Russian source, which was published on May 24, 1978 and the Wikipedia source I used. In the 1978 coup, the current leader, Mohammad Daud, was ousted by Nur Muhammad Taraki, a military leader. The differences in the reports on the events which ended up with Daud being killed are the discrepancies I found between the Russian source and Wikipedia source. The Russian source claimed that Daud was killed in a firefight between him and Taraki’s troops because he “[…] refused to surrender to the troops…”(Current Digest). The other source claims that Daud and most of his family were executed by Taraki over the days that followed the coup. I find it very interesting that the Russian source seems to twist the story a little bit in order to make it sound a little less brutal, and make it look like Daud’s death could have been avoided.
Another interesting Russian source I found discussed the accusations of U.S. news sources about the possibility of their being Soviet troops in Afghanistan on and was published on December 23, 1979. As you may have noticed, this is just four days before Russian troops invaded Afghanistan, and overthrew and killed the Afghani president. These articles make me wonder how much of the news that was published about the events that were taking place in Afghanistan at the time were actually truthful accounts.
“Russian Invasion of Afghanistan.” Russian Invasion of Afghanistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/russia_invasion_afghanistan.htm>.