In April 1978, the communist power in Afghanistan, supported by the Soviet Union, managed to take control of the country and form a communist government. The country’s name was changed to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. People of Afghanistan disliked the new government because the communist government had forced many laws that did not go over well with the majority of people who were Muslims. Therefore, a group of rebels revolted against the government. The group was called the Mujahideen, which is an Arabic word that means the fighters. This started the conflict that resulted in the Soviet Afghanistan War, which lasted for over 10 years.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country, which means that its borders are surrounded by land and no one can get in or out by sea. Afghanistan is in a harsh area in South-Central Asia. It is surrounded by countries with great powers like the Soviet Union, Iran, Pakistan, and China. Forces from all sides have tried to pass through Afghanistan and all of them failed because of the inhospitable nature of the country, which made it earn its reputation as the graveyard of empires.
The Afghani people are mixed tribes who live in the valleys that lie between the mountains. The nature of the area has contributed to isolating the entire country and its people from the outside world.
The Soviet Afghanistan War begins
In September 1979, a communist Afghani leader named Hafizullah Amin successfully achieved his goal when he killed the President of Afghanistan. As a result, Amin took over the government and became the new president of Afghanistan.
The Soviet Union became worried about the situation and alliance of Afghanistan when they noticed that Amin was starting to show an interest in cooperating with the United States. In December 1979, only three months after he had killed the former president of Afghanistan, Amin was killed by the Soviets when they invaded Afghanistan. To ensure absolute loyalty from Afghanistan, the Soviet Union assigned the Afghani president, Babrak Karmal.
The Soviet Afghanistan War goes on for a decade
For the next 10 years, the war continued between the Soviet Army and the Mujahideen. The Soviet forces tried and failed to defeat the Afghani Mujahideen, who had the stronger will as they were defending their land and religious beliefs, against the communists’ attempts to occupy their country and suppress them. The Mujahideen also had the upper hand in battle because they knew their ways in and out of the caves and mountains that formed most of the landscape of the battlefield, while the Soviet forces did not only get lost, but also were not equipped properly to fight in this environment.
The Afghanistan War became a heavy load and an embarrassment for the Soviet Union as they continued to fail in it. The UN condemned the Soviet Union for this war. The United States no longer took part in the SALT treaty negotiations and did not participate in the Olympic Games that were held in Moscow in 1980, as an objection to the Soviet Afghanistan War.
The end of the Soviet Afghanistan War
The war continued throughout the 1980’s, which was the period that witnessed the downfall of the Soviet Union. When Gorbachev became the president of the Soviet Union, he tried to make multiple changes to save the communist country. However, all his attempts seemed to make things worse. The results of his attempt to win the war in Afghanistan were not any different. Gorbachev’s plan to win the war was to send more troops to Afghanistan. He soon learned how much of a mistake this was as his troops continued to be defeated by the Mujahideen. Increasing the troops in this war also hurt the Soviet economy, which forced Gorbachev to agree to a peace treaty to end the Soviet Afghanistan War in 1989.
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