The initial mission, to guard cities and installations, was expanded to combat the anti-communist Mujahideen forces, primarily using Soviet reservists. In 1967, the PDPA split into two rival factions, the Khalq (Masses) faction headed by Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin and the Parcham (Banner) faction led by Babrak Karmal. Also, while guerrillas were able to fire at aircraft landing at and taking off from airstrips and airbases, anti-missile flares limited their effectiveness. The Marxist PDPA party was credited for significant growth in these years. The invasion, along with other events, such as the revolution in Iran and the U.S. hostage stand-off that accompanied it, the Iran-Iraq war, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the escalating tensions between Pakistan and India, and the rise of Middle East-born terrorism against the West, contributed to making the Middle East an extremely violent and turbulent region during the 1980s. A high proportion of casualties were those who fell ill. With a deteriorating security situation, large numbers of Soviet airborne forces joined stationed ground troops and began to land in Kabul. As a result, 15,000 Soviet people were killed and 37,000 wounded. The uncertain scope of the final objective of Moscow in its sudden southward plunge made the American stake in an independent Pakistan all the more important. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... A Soviet armoured vehicle rolling past a group of civilians during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, December 1979. Arnold wrote this book at the point in time when the war reached the point of stalemate. Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, military action carried out in late December 1979 by Soviet troops. Soviet Army formations, units, and HQ elements lost 13,833, KGB sub units lost 572, MVD formations lost 28 and other ministries and departments lost 20 men. In 1978, the Saur Revolutionin Afghanistan led to the murder of President Mohammed Daoud Khan and the creation of a new pro-Soviet government. In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski recalled proudly: Many Muslims regarded the struggle against the Soviets as a jihad, understood in this context as a defensive war. The Afghan War quickly settled down into a stalemate, with more than 100,000 Soviet troops controlling the cities, larger towns, and major garrisons and the mujahideen moving with relative freedom throughout the countryside. Former Prime Minister Daoud seized power in an almost bloodless military coup on July 17, 1973, through charges of corruption and poor economic conditions. Throughout the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for power and influence in different areas of the world. Soviet paratroopers rolling through Kabul, Afghanistan, in armoured combat vehicles, 1986. Mohammad Zahir Shah succeeded to the throne and reigned from 1933 to 1973. Soviet leaders, based on information from the KGB, felt that Amin destabilized the situation in Afghanistan. Echoes of the Soviet Surge: The West's war in Afghanistan increasingly resembles the Soviet Union's. The Soviet Union began trying to build its influence in Afghanistan to counter the American alliance with Pakistan beginning in 1954. For nearly three years, Najibullah's government successfully defended itself against Mujahedin attacks, factions within the government had also developed connections with its opponents. Among other things, the Geneva accords identified the U.S. and Soviet non-intervention with internal affairs of Pakistan and Afghanistan and a timetable for full Soviet withdrawal. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Soviet-invasion-of-Afghanistan, History Learning Site - Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Wilson Center Digital Archive - Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. Corrections? Thus, Afghan guerrillas were armed, funded, and trained mostly by the U.S. and Pakistan. According to the Soviet Politburo they were complying with the 1978 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighborliness and that Amin was executed by a tribunal for his crimes. In December 1978, Moscow and Kabul signed a bilateral treaty of friendship and cooperation that permitted Soviet deployment in case of an Afghan request. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S. On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of … Hoover Press, 1985. Response, 1978–1980. Soviet-Afghan war was a nine-year war between the Soviet Union and Mujahideen or rebels. However, Zaplatin failed to emphasize this enough. The Soviet withdrawal was completed on February 15, 1989, and Afghanistan returned to nonaligned status. Numerous violations by U.S.-backed Pakistan were reported. The new government, which had little popular support, forged close ties with the Soviet Union, launched ruthless purges of all domestic opposition, and began extensive land and social reforms that were bitterly resented by the devoutly Muslim and largely anti-communist population. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Special Service Group (SSG) were actively involved in the conflict, and in cooperation with the CIA and the United States Army Special Forces supported the armed struggle against the Soviets. Despite having failed to implement a sympathetic regime in Afghanistan, in 1988 the Soviet Union signed an accord with the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and agreed to withdraw its troops. United States President Jimmy Carter had accepted the view that "Soviet aggression" could not be viewed as an isolated event of limited geographical importance but had to be contested as a potential threat to the Persian Gulf region. Insurgencies arose against the government among both tribal and urban groups, and all of theseâknown collectively as the mujahideen (Arabic mujÄhidÅ«n, âthose who engage in jihadâ)âwere Islamic in orientation. In March 1982, a bomb exploded at the Ministry of Education, damaging several buildings. Zahir's cousin, Mohammad Daoud Khan, served as Prime Minister from 1953 to 1963. This nine-year power struggle in a small, landlocked country ultimately led to some of the most profound moments in modern history. Between December 25, 1979, and February 15, 1989, a total of 620,000 soldiers served with the forces in Afghanistan (though there were only 80,000-104,000 force at one time in Afghanistan). The paratroopers were directly subordinated to the senior Soviet military adviser and did not interfere in Afghan politics. Whether bin Laden had direct, personal contact with the CIA has been disputed. Often, they would enlist the services of the local inhabitants and even children. In a difficult and confusing struggle for control in Afghan politics, Hafizullah Amin came to power and ordered the death of his predecessor Taraki. Restoration of gas production has been hampered by internal strife and the disruption of traditional trading relationships following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Sibghatullah Mojaddedi was selected as the head of the Interim Islamic State of Afghanistan, in an attempt to reassert its legitimacy against the Moscow-sponsored Kabul regime. Afghanistan war.21 The Soviets intervened in Afghanistan in December 1979. The latter, however, is still disputed: Amin always and everywhere showed official friendliness to the Soviet Union. They concentrated on knocking out bridges, closing major roads, destroying convoys, disrupting the electric power system and industrial production, and attacking police stations and Soviet military installations and air bases. Updates? Soviet-Afghan military cooperation began on a regular basis in 1956, when both countries signed another agreement. It was weakened by divisions within the PDPA and the Parcham faction, and the regime's efforts to expand its base of support proved futile. " On April 14, the Afghan government requested that the USSR send 15 to 20 helicopters with their crews to Afghanistan, and on June 16, the Soviet government responded and sent a detachment of tanks, BMPs, and crews to guard the government of Afghanistan in Kabul and to secure the Bagram and Shindand airfields. In the second week alone, Soviet aircraft had made a total of 4,000 flights into Kabul.. Years later, when Karmal’s inability to consolidate his government had become obvious, Mikhail Gorbachev, then General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, said: The main reason that there has been no national consolidation so far is that Comrade Karmal is hoping to continue sitting in Kabul with our help.. After Ronald Reagan became the new United States President in 1981, aid for the Mujahideen through Zia's Pakistan significantly increased. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. War in Afghanistan. However, government forces easily suppressed the insurgency and a sizable portion of the insurgents defected and settled in Pakistan, where they had total freedom of action. The war … Many non-aligned countries such as India, Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Finland did not support the illegal resolution put forth by the General Assembly. alternation of Soviet/Afghan control and mujaheddin control characterized the war throughout most of the country's provinces. The Soviet Union began trying to build its influence in Afghanistan to counter the American alliance with Pakistan beginning in 1954. In April, Kabul ultimately fell to the Mujahedin because the factions in the government had finally pulled it apart. They arrived without their combat gear, disguised as technical specialists. 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