Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, resulting in more than a decade of internal guerrilla resistance, international negative public opinion, an estimated loss of thirteen thousand Russian lives, and an estimated cost of twelve billion dollars by the end of 1983.
Summary of Event
Afghanistan, an underdeveloped, impoverished, and tribal-oriented country with a history of political instability and factional infighting, would not seem to present an inviting invasion prospect for a superpower such as the Soviet Union in the 1970’s. Yet, the Soviet government, and its czarist Russian predecessors, had developed an interest in Afghanistan for doctrinaire and global political reasons harking back to the “Great Game” of diplomacy and intrigue between colonial Russia and Great Britain, in which Afghanistan served as a buffer state separating the expansionist pretensions of the Russian empire in Central Asia from the British empire’s interests in India and South Asia. With the cessation of British interests in the area and changes in Russia after the revolution of 1917, Afghanistan pursued its own path to nationhood under Islam and a native monarchy, subject to a number of changes in rulership and frequent recourse to economic aid from foreign countries, most notably Germany before World War II and the United States and the Soviet Union in the postwar era.
A significant change in political...
(The entire section is 1489 words.)
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Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to support the communist government the Soviet Union had helped develop and install.
Summary of Event
On December 24, 1979, four motorized tank and rifle divisions, made up mostly of Uzbek, Tajik, and Turkmen soldiers, rolled down the Salang Highway into Kabul, Afghanistan. On December 27, Hafizullah Amin’s three-month-old government was overthrown. Amin was executed, and Babrak Karmal was installed as president. Within a week, Soviet military strength in Afghanistan reached 100,000 soldiers, nearly balancing the 150,000 in the mujahideen (freedom fighters) opposition.
Analysts have given a number of reasons for the invasion. One expansionist view regards the invasion as a step in the further implementation of a Russian policy espoused originally by Peter the Great and later adopted by the Soviets as well. This view allows that the annexation of Afghanistan follows the earlier takeover of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The motivation for the move is given as access to the warm water ports of the Indian Ocean. Another reason states that the reform-minded Marxist government of Afghanistan needed Moscow’s assistance. Moscow could not turn a deaf ear to the needs of a newly formed Marxist state. A third and compelling reason relates the invasion to the rise of Ruhollah Khomeini’s fundamentalist rule in Iran. Khomeini’s expressed...
(The entire section is 2261 words.)