How did President Carter respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?


Cold War

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pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, President Jimmy Carter had three main reactions.  Carter did not like the idea of the Soviets invading Afghanistan and so he set out to try to show his disapproval.

One thing that Carter did was to impose economic sanctions on the Soviets.  Most notably, he stopped selling them grain that they needed because they did not produce enough of their own.  Second, and perhaps most controversially, Carter ordered a US boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games.  These games were held in Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union.  Carter did not want to have the US participate in them and, thereby, seem to approve of what the Soviets had done in Afghanistan.  Many of the United States’ allies also boycotted the games.

Most importantly, Carter started the process of arming Afghan opposition to the Soviets.  These Afghans came to be known as the mujahidin.  They were seen as freedom fighters by many in the West and the US continued to arm them through the Reagan years. 

gsenviro's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

President Carter took the following steps to counter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan:

  • Supplies of weapons and training to rebels
  • Trade Embargo on USSR
  • Withdrawal from Moscow Olympics (several other countries also followed suit)
  • Economic sanctions   

The US took strong objection to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and did everything it could to make this invasion as painful and as short as possible. Along with other countries, the US itself provided weapons and training to the insurgents. It is estimated that over 3 billion dollars were spent on supplies to the insurgents. These provisions from the US and other countries (China, Pakistan, Turkey, etc.) made the war expensive for the USSR.

President Carter also recalled US ambassadors to the USSR. He also requested the senate postpone discussions on the SALT-II program, a nuclear weapon reduction program between the US and the USSR.

One unfortunate and long-term effect of US intervention was the emergence of the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. 

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