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Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 1979-1989 By Karen Ni and Kavita Shah D Block
General Overview• Began in 1979 when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan• Afghans carried out guerrilla warfare that ultimately drives Soviets out• Ended in stalemate- Soviets forced to withdraw• Ceasefire: 1988,• Soviet withdrawal: 1989
Long Term Causes• Soviets trying to spread Communism to neighboring countries • Wanted to create friendly eastern states. • Would open up trade with Asian nations• Marxist government in Afghanistan is being opposed by majority of Afghans.
Short Term Causes• 1978- Marxist government placed in Afghanistan by the PDPA (Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan) • Actions were unpopular with the conservative Afghans • Saw the Marxist ideals as a threat to the Afghan religion and customs• Soviets wanted to maintain the Communist government – invaded in 1979 to intervene
Soviet Perceptions• Soviet people were told that the war was meant to free the Communists living in Afghanistan• Communism entails atheism. • believed that the Afghans (mostly Muslims) need to be liberated from their ignorance
Soviet Motivations• Successful invasion of Afghanistan would allow puppet state set up through control of Kabul.• Geographic benefits: 1. Access of Indian ocean through India. 2. Trade with India and its large population 3. Natural resources: iron Soviet soldiers in Kabul ore, natural gas, uranium, copper
Afghan Motivations/Perceptions• Majority were Muslims- conflicting with the atheist teachings of Communism• Saw the Soviets invasion as a threat to their culture and religion- engage in “jihad” or “holy war”.
Events• Taraki Regime in place in Afghanistan o Terror used to reduce threat from opponents• Leaders launch a jihad against communism o Afghanistan delving into civil war and USSR starts to worry Brezhnev Doctrine: Right of the Soviet Union to militarily get involved to prevent the overthrow of a neighboring communist government• Soviets quickly seize Kabul as well as other major Afghan cities and highways o Mujaheedeen forces use guerilla warfare to oppose Soviet influence.
Events• President Jimmy Carter believes that the Soviets action was a "blatant violation of accepted international rules of behavior"• Limited his sales with the USSR and restricted fishing privileges in the U.S. waters. o Following Carter, Reagan despised the Soviets even more, referring to them as the "evil empire."
Events• With these oppositions, the USSR was struggling to survive in the war o Mujaheedeen got foreign assistance from the US• 1983- US, UK, Saudi Arabia, PRC become supporters for Afghanistan.• Weapons supplied through Pakistan.• 1985- closed in on Kabul (gov ruled by Moscow)• 1986- US and UK supplied antiaircraft missles and ground to ground rockets that allowed Mujahideen to shoot down Soviet aircrafts.• 1989- Soviet government withdrew troops
Events• In 1988, the Soviet Union, now with the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to withdraw the Soviet troops within a 10 month period.1989- Soviet governmentwithdrew troops from Soviet tanks withdraw from AfghanistanAfghanistan- mujahideentake over Kabul.
Mujahideen• Afghan resistance fighters against Soviet forces and the Soviet controlled Kabul government • made up of seven Sunni political Mujaheedeen soldiers factions and eight Shiite organizations in Afghanistan.
Mujahideen (Cont.)• Originally divided by regional, sectarian, political and tribal ties. • Not very united at the beginning of Soviet’s invasion • Organized in local tribal militias. • No central structure.• March 1980- formed Islamic Alliance for the Liberation of Afghanistan for international recognition and support.
Foreign Aid• other participants included volunteers from neighboring middle east and north african countries.• Initially trained/funded by Pakistan’s Inter-service intelligence (ISI) • Later supported by US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Iran, PRC (china), and Sunni nations.• 1983- US, UK, Saudi Arabia, PRC become supporters for Afghanistan. Weapons supplied through Pakistan.• 1986- US and UK supplied antiaircraft missiles and ground to ground rockets that allowed Mujahideen to shoot down Soviet aircrafts.
Short Term Effects (Afghans)• 1 million Afghans died. • 5 million Afghans (refugees) fled to neighboring countries (mainly Pakistan)• Afghanistan destabilized
Short Term Effects (Soviet)• 14,000 Soviet soldiers killed. • Soviets lost 1000 pieces of equipment and 450 aircrafts• Soviet Casualties= 50,000 Soviet tanks withdrawing from Afghanistan after suffering heavy losses
Long Term Effects• Costed Soviet Union billions of dollars of debt which severely weakened the Soviet Union.• Contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union• Afghanistan is brought to a state of civil unrest (even today)• Soviets authorities became questioned by its War in Afghanistan 2001 people which weakened their empire.
Explain why Afghanistan’s Marxistgovernment (took power in 1978) wasunpopular with many Muslims.•• The Marxist government was unpopular with the Muslims primarily because of the conflicting beliefs of the two groups of people. First of all, Marxist teachings entail an atheistic point of view on religion. The Muslims living in Afghanistan were extremely conservative and religious, thus opposed Marxist teachings. Secondly, when the socialist government was set up in Afghanistan in 1978, social reforms were issued that directed conflicted with Muslim culture. For example, women, who in Islamic teachings are inferior to men, were given equal rights as men. Dress and the education system were also "westernized" causing upset in the conservative Muslims.
Explain how the USSR became involved in a war in — Afghanistan (1979-1988)?Before the USSR had become involved in the war inAfghanistan, a commitment to the Brezhnev Doctrine wasestablished. This doctrine stated that the Soviet Unionwould get involved if a friendly communist government wasbeing overthrown and try to prevent any consequences.So, as Afghanistan delved into civil war in 1979, the USSRwas obliged help and pursued towards a militaryintervention. This assistance consisted of not only 4,500combat advisers released by Leonid Brezhnev but alsoSoviet aircrafts that were ready to conduct bombing raids.This doctrine was the point of instigation that led the USSRto becoming involved.
What were the obstacles that made the warunwinnable for the Soviets?The Soviets faced several obstacles making their chances at winning the war not possible. The first obstacle occurred at the end of January of 1980 as the Soviet units began to seize Afghan cities and major highways. After securing these locations, the Mujahedeen began to resort to guerilla warfare. The Mujahedeen were essentially the Afghan rebel groups who fought against Soviet influence. As the war continued, confrontations with guerilla warfare cause the confidence of the Soviets to decrease while the confidence of the Afghans increased. To make matters worse, the US began providing foreign assistance to the mujaheeden with the providing of transport vehicles, weaponry such as missile launchers and food. With all this assistance, the usage of chemical weapons or more troops for the Soviets would not help at all. Eventually in the April of 1988, the Soviet troops had withdrawn.
How did the war end? What was the effect ofthe war on Afghanistan? On the SovietUnion? • • The war ended in 1989 through a stalemate with both sides suffering heavy losses. The Soviets withdrew in 1989. • The war caused the death of 1 million Afghans, and fleeing of 5 million Afghans to neighboring countries. Afghanistan, as a result of the war, entered a state of civil instability, which still continues into present day. • The war caused 50,000 Soviet casualties and loss of 1000 pieces of equipment and 450 aircrafts. As a result of the war, Soviets were in billions of dollars of debt, which severely weakened the USSR. Their losses also caused the people to question the Soviet’s authority. It is arguably the factor that caused the downfall of the Soviet Union.
BibliographyDehart, Bruce J. “Soviet-Afghanistan War.” The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts. Gale Virtual Reference Library, 2010. Web. 5 Apr. 2012.Leitich, Keith A. “Mujahideen, Soviet-Afghanistan War.” The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts. 2010. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Apr. 2012.Pierpaoli, Paul G. “Cold War (Consequences).” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2012.“The Soviet-Afghan War: Key Question.” World History: The Modern Era. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2012.Taylor, Maxine. “The Soviet-Afghan War: a Lasting Legacy: an Overview.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 4 Apr. 2012.“Why the Soviets Invaded Afghanistan.” Mount Holyoke College. Mount Holyoke College, 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2012.
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