The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted nine years from December 1979 to February 1989. Part of the Cold War, it was fought between Soviet-led Afghan forces against multi-national insurgent groups called the Mujahideen. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
The insurgents received military training in neighboring Pakistan and China, as well as billions of dollars from the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. The decade-long war resulted in millions of Afghans fleeing their country, mostly to Pakistan and Iran. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians were killed in addition to the participants in the war. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
The initial Soviet deployment of the 40th Army in Afghanistan began on December 24, 1979, under Soviet leaderLeonid Brezhnev. The final troop withdrawal started on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989, under the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
Due to the interminable nature of the war, the conflict in Afghanistan has sometimes been referred to as the "Soviet Union's Vietnam War" or the "Bear Trap".
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was formed after the Saur Revolution on April 27, 1978. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
The government was one with a pro-poor, pro-farmer and socialistic agenda. It had close relations with the Soviet Union. On December 5, 1978, a friendship treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. On July 3, 1979, United States President Jimmy Carter signed the first directive for covert financial aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
Russian military involvement in Afghanistan has a long history, going back to Tsarist expansions in the so-called "Great Game" between Russia and Britain. This began in the 19th century with such events as the Panjdeh Incident, a military skirmish that occurred in 1885 when Russian forces seized Afghan territory south of the Oxus Riveraround an oasis at Panjdeh. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
This interest in the region continued on through the Soviet era, with billions in economic and military aid sent to Afghanistan between 1955 and 1978.
In February 1979, the Islamic Revolution ousted the American-backed Shah from Afghanistan's neighbor Iran. Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
TheUnited States Ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, was kidnapped by Setami Milli militants and was later killed during an assault carried out by the Afghan police, assisted by Soviet advisers. The death of the U.S. Ambassador led to a major degradation in Afghanistan–United States relations. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
The United States then deployed twenty ships to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea including two aircraft carriers, and there was a constant stream of threats of warfare between the US and Iran.
March 1979 marked the signing of the U.S.-backed peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
The Soviet leadership saw the agreement as a major advantage for the United States. One Soviet newspaper stated that Egypt and Israel were now "gendarmes of the Pentagon". The Soviets viewed the treaty not only as a peace agreement between their erstwhile allies in Egypt and the U.S.-supported Israelis but also as a military pact. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
In addition, the U.S. sold more than 5,000 missiles to Saudi Arabia and also supplied the Royalist rebels in the North Yemen Civil Waragainst the Nasserist government. Also, the Soviet Union's previously strong relations with Iraq had recently soured. In June 1978, Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
Iraq began entering into friendlier relations with the Western world and buying French andItalian-made weapons, though the vast majority still came from the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact allies, and China.
King Mohammed Zahir Shah ascended to the throne and reigned from 1933 to 1973. Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
Zahir's cousin, Mohammad Daoud Khan, served as Prime Minister from 1954 to 1963. The Marxist PDPA's strength grew considerably in these years. In 1967, the PDPA split into two rival factions, the Khalq (Masses) faction headed by Nur Muhammad Taraki andHafizullah Amin and the Parcham (Flag) faction led by Babrak Karmal. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
Former Prime Minister Daoud seized power in a military coup on July 17, 1973, after allegations of corruption and poor economic conditions against the King's government. Daoud put an end to the monarchy and his time in power was widely popular amongst the general populace, but unpopular amongst PDPA supporters. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
Intense opposition from factions of the PDPA was sparked by the repression imposed on them by Daoud's regime and the death of a leading PDPA member, Mir Akbar Khyber. The mysterious circumstances of Khyber's death sparked massive anti-Daoud demonstrations in Kabul, which resulted in the arrest of several prominent PDPA leaders. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
On April 27, 1978, the Afghan Army, which had been sympathetic to the PDPA cause, overthrew and executed Daoud along with members of his family. Nur Muhammad Taraki, Secretary General of the PDPA, became President of the Revolutionary Council and Prime Minister of the newly established Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
After the revolution, Taraki assumed the Presidency, Prime Ministership and General Secretary of the PDPA. The government was divided along factional lines, with President Taraki and Deputy Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin of the Khalq faction against Parcham leaders such as Babrak Karmal and Mohammad Najibullah. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
Within the PDPA, conflicts resulted in exiles, purges and executions of Parcham members.During its first 18 months of rule, the PDPA applied a Soviet-style program of modernizing reforms, many of which were viewed by conservatives as opposing Islam.[ Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
Decrees setting forth changes in marriage customs and land reform were not received well by a population deeply immersed in tradition and Islam, particularly by the powerful land owners who were harmed economically by the abolition of usury (though usury is prohibited in Islam) and the cancellation of farmers' debts. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
By mid-1978, a rebellion started with rebels attacking the local military garrison in the Nuristan region of eastern Afghanistan and soon civil war spread throughout the country. In September 1979, Deputy Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin seized power after a palace shootout that resulted in the death of President Taraki. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
Over two months of instability overwhelmed Amin's regime as he moved against his opponents in the PDPA and the growing rebellion.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had been a major power broker and influential mentor in Afghan politics, ranging from civil-military infrastructure to Afghan society. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
In the 1980s, many Afghans were Russian language proficient.Since 1947, Afghanistan had been under the influence of the Russian government and received large amounts of aid, economic assistance, military equipment training and military hardware from the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
The economic assistance and aid had been provided to Afghanistan as early as 1919, shortly after the Russian Revolution and when the regime was facing the Russian Civil War. Provisions were given in the form of small arms, ammunition, a few aircraft, and (according to debated Soviet sources) a million gold rubles to support the resistance during the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
In 1942, the USSR again moved to strengthen theAfghan Armed Forces, by providing small arms and aircraft, and establishing training centers in Tashkent (Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic). Soviet-Afghan military cooperation began on a regular basis in 1956, and further agreements were made in the 1970s, which saw the USSR send advisers and specialists. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
The Soviet Union built an extensive amount of infrastructure, notably giving assistance building the Kabul University, Polytechnical institutes, hospitals, civilian infrastructure, power plants, and local schools. During the 1980s, Soviets established the universities in Blakhe,Herate, Takhar, Nangarhar and Fariyab provinces. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
The Russian faculty soon joined the universities, teaching Afghan students in proficient Russian languages.
In 1978, President Daud Khan began to take initiatives for building the massive military after witnessing India's nuclear test, Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
Smiling Buddha, to counter Pakistan's armed forces and Iranian military influence in Afghanistan's politics. A final pre-war treaty, signed in December 1978, allowed the PDPA to call upon the Soviet Union for military support.
In 2009, the BBC republished a Soviet booklet on Afghanistan first published in 1987, giving vital tips to Internationalist soldiers and officers. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
Following the Herat uprising, President Taraki contacted Alexei Kosygin, chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, and asked for "practical and technical assistance with men and armament". Kosygin was unfavorable to the proposal on the basis of the negative political repercussions such an action would have for his country, Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
and he rejected all further attempts by Taraki to solicit Soviet military aid in Afghanistan. Following Kosygin's rejection Taraki requested aid from Leonid Brezhnev, the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Soviet head of state, Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
who warned Taraki that full Soviet intervention "would only play into the hands of our enemies – both yours and ours". Brezhnev also advised Taraki to ease up on the drastic social reforms and to seek broader support for his regime.
In 1979, Taraki attended a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana, Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
Cuba. On his way back, he stopped in Moscow on March 20 and met with Brezhnev, foreign minister Andrei Gromyko and other Soviet officials. It was rumoured that Karmal was present at the meeting in an attempt to reconcile Taraki's Khalq faction and the Parcham against Amin and his followers. Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
At the meeting, Taraki was successful in negotiating some Soviet support, including the redeployment of two Soviet armed divisions at the Soviet-Afghan border, the sending of 500 military and civilian advisers and specialists and the immediate delivery of Soviet armed equipment sold at 25 percent below the original price; Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
however, the Soviets were not pleased about the developments in Afghanistan and Brezhnev impressed upon Taraki the need for party unity. Despite reaching this agreement with Taraki, the Soviets continued to be reluctant to intervene further in Afghanistan and repeatedly refused Soviet military intervention within Afghan borders during Taraki's rule as well as later during Amin's short rule. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
Afghanistan cemented regional problems with Pakistan, after Daoud pressed his hard-line Pashtunistan policies to Pakistan. Pakistan retaliated, and Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto authorized a covert operation under M.I.'s Major-General Naseerullah Babar. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
In 1974, Bhutto authorized another secret operation in Kabul where the ISI and the AIextradited Burhanuddin Rabbani and Gulbadin Hekmatyar to Peshawar, amid fear that Rabbani and Hekmatyar might be assassinated by Daoud. According to Baber, Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
Bhutto's operation was an excellent idea and it had hard-hitting impact on Daoud and his government which forced Daoud to increase his desire to make peace with Bhutto. Another part of this operation was to train hard-line Jamiat-e Islami militants against the Daoud's secular government.[ Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
However, this operation went into cold-storage after Bhutto was removed from power.
In June 1975, militants from the Jamiat Islami party attempted to overthrow the government. They started their rebellion in the Panjshir valley (a part of the greater Parwan province), Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
in the present day Panjshir province, some 100 kilometers north of Kabul, and in a number of other provinces of the country. However, government forces easily defeated the insurgency and a sizable portion of the insurgents sought refuge in Pakistan where they enjoyed the support of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government, which had been alarmed by Daoud's revival of the Pashtunistan issue. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
In 1978, the Taraki government initiated a series of reforms, including a radical modernization of the traditional Islamic civil and especially marriage law, aimed at "uprooting feudalism" in Afghan society. The government brooked no opposition to the reforms and responded with violence to unrest. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
Between April 1978 and the Soviet Intervention of December 1979, thousands of prisoners, perhaps as many as 27,000, were executed at the notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison, including many village mullahs and headmen. Other members of the traditional elite, the religious establishment andintelligentsia fled the country. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Large parts of the country went into open rebellion. The Parcham Government claimed that 11,000 were executed during the Amin/Taraki period in response to the revolts. The revolt began in October among the Nuristani tribes of the Kunar Valley in the northeastern part of the country near the border with Pakistan, Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
and rapidly spread among the other ethnic groups. By the spring of 1979, 24 of the 28 provinces had suffered outbreaks of violence. The rebellion began to take hold in the cities: in March 1979 in Herat, rebels led by Ismail Khan revolted. Between 3000 and 5000 people were killed and wounded during the Herat revolt. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
Some 100 Soviet citizens and their families were killed. In 1979, the contentious law and order situation led to a serious diplomatic incident involving United States, Soviet Union and Afghanistan when U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Adolph "Spike" Dubs was kidnapped by four militants belonging to radical communist faction, Settam-e-Melli (lit. National Oppression). Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
The National Operation demanded the release of their communist leader Badruddin Bahes, which the Afghan government denied holding and refused categorically to negotiate with the militants, in spite of the U.S. embassy's demands. The U.S. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
increased pressure on the Afghan government and the Soviet Union forcefully demanding for peaceful negotiations for the release of their ambassador.
Dubs was held in Room 117 of the Kabul Hotel (now called Kabul Serena Hotel), Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
the United States sent its embassy and diplomatic staff at the Kabul Serena Hotel where the negotiation with the communist faction and the U.S. was started. During this time, the Afghan security forces, accompanied by the Russian advisers swarmed the hallway and surrounding rooftops, Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
but negotiations stalled, leading to an intense exchange of cross fire, after Russian advisers ordered an assault. Documents released from the Soviet KGB bureau archives by Vasily Mitrokhin in the early 1990s clearly showed that the Afghan government clearly authorized the assault and that the KGB adviser on scene, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
Sergei Batrukihn, may have recommended the assault, as well as the execution of a kidnapper before U.S. experts could interrogate him. All attempts were failed, and U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs was caught between the cross fire leading to his death. Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
Afterwards the United States formally expressed to Soviet Union its disapproval of the assault by the security forces, putting more stress onU.S.-Soviet relations.
Despite these drastic measures, by the end of 1980, out of the 80,000 soldiers strong Afghan Army, more than half had either deserted or joined the rebels. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
The Afghan government, having secured a treaty in December 1978 that allowed them to call on Soviet forces, repeatedly requested the introduction of troops in Afghanistan in the spring and summer of 1979. They requested Soviet troops to provide security and to assist in the fight against the mujahideen rebels. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
On April 14, 1979, 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 in Kabul and to secure the Bagram and Shindand airfields. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
In response to this request, an airborne battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. Lomakin, arrived at the Bagram Air Baseon July 7. They arrived without their combat gear, disguised as technical specialists. They were the personal bodyguards for President Taraki. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
The paratroopers were directly subordinate to the senior Soviet military advisor and did not interfere in Afghan politics. Several leading politicians at the time such as Alexei Kosygin and Andrei Gromyko were against intervention.
After a month, the Afghan requests were no longer for individual crews and subunits, Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
but for regiments and larger units. In July, the Afghan government requested that two motorized rifle divisions be sent to Afghanistan. The following day, they requested an airborne division in addition to the earlier requests. They repeated these requests and variants to these requests over the following months right up to December 1979. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
However, the Soviet government was in no hurry to grant them.
Based on information from the KGB, Soviet leaders felt that Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin's actions had destabilized the situation in Afghanistan. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
Following his initial coup against and killing of President Taraki, the KGB station in Kabul warned Moscow that Amin's leadership would lead to "harsh repressions, and as a result, the activation and consolidation of the opposition."
The Soviets established a special commission on Afghanistan, Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
comprising KGB chairman Yuri Andropov,Boris Ponomarev from the Central Committee and Dmitriy Ustinov, the Minister of Defence. In late April 1978, the committee reported that Amin was purging his opponents, including Soviet loyalists, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery
that his loyalty to Moscow was in question and that he was seeking diplomatic links with Pakistan and possibly the People's Republic of China (which at the time had poor relations with the Soviet Union). Of specific concern were Amin's secret meetings with the U.S. chargé d'affaires, J. Bruce Amstutz, which, while never amounting to any agreement between Amin and the United States, sowed suspicion in the Kremlin. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery
Information obtained by the KGB from its agents in Kabul provided the last arguments to eliminate Amin. Supposedly, two of Amin's guards killed the former president Nur Muhammad Taraki with a pillow, and Amin was suspected to be a CIA agent. The latter, however, is still disputed: Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery
Amin repeatedly demonstrated official friendliness to the Soviet Union. Soviet General Vasily Zaplatin, a political advisor at that time, claimed that four of President Taraki's ministers were responsible for the destabilization. However, Zaplatin failed to emphasize this enough. Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery
Also during the 1970s, the Soviet Union reached the peak of its political influence in comparison to the U.S. as the SALT I treaty was created to cooperate in matters of nuclear weapons and technology between the two nations. A second round of talks between Soviet premier Brezhnev and President Carter yielded the SALT II treaty in June 1979. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery
(The United States Senatefailed to ratify the treaty). This process would eventually culminate and lead up to the buildup and intervention in Afghanistan in December 1979 to preserve, stabilize and militarily intervene on behalf of the communist regime there. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery
On October 31, 1979 Soviet informants to the Afghan Armed Forces who were under orders from the inner circle of advisors under Soviet premier Brezhnev, relayed information for them to undergo maintenance cycles for their tanks and other crucial equipment. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery
Meanwhile, telecommunications links to areas outside of Kabul were severed, isolating the capital. With a deteriorating security situation, large numbers of Soviet Airborne Forces joined stationed ground troops and began to land in Kabul on December 25. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery
Simultaneously, Amin moved the offices of the president to the Tajbeg Palace, believing this location to be more secure from possible threats. According to Colonel General Tukharinov and Merimsky, Amin was fully informed of the military movements, Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery
having requested Soviet military assistance to northern Afghanistan on December 17. His brother and General Dmitry Chiangov met with the commander of the 40th Army before Soviet troops entered the country, to work out initial routes and locations for Soviet troops. Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery
On December 27, 1979, 700 Soviet troops dressed in Afghan uniforms, including KGB and GRU special forces officers from the Alpha Group and Zenith Group, occupied major governmental, military and media buildings in Kabul, including their primary target – the Tajbeg Presidential Palace. Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery
That operation began at 19:00 hr., when the KGB-led Soviet Zenith Group destroyed Kabul's communications hub, paralyzing Afghan military command. At 19:15, the assault on Tajbeg Palace began; as planned, president Hafizullah Amin was killed. Simultaneously, other objectives were occupied (e.g. the Ministry of Interior at 19:15). Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery
The operation was fully complete by the morning of December 28, 1979.
The Soviet military command at Termez, Uzbek SSR, announced on Radio Kabul that Afghanistan had been liberated from Amin's rule. According to the Soviet Politburo they were complying with the 1978 Treaty of Friendship, Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery
Cooperation and Good Neighborliness and Amin had been "executed by a tribunal for his crimes" by the Afghan Revolutionary Central Committee. That committee then elected as head of government former Deputy Prime Minister Babrak Karmal, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery
who had been demoted to the relatively insignificant post of ambassador to Czechoslovakia following the Khalq takeover, and that it had requested Soviet military assistance.
Soviet ground forces, under the command of Marshal Sergei Sokolov, entered Afghanistan from the north on December 27. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery
In the morning, the 103rd Guards 'Vitebsk' Airborne Division landed at the airport at Bagram and the deployment of Soviet troops in Afghanistan was underway. The force that entered Afghanistan, in addition to the 103rd Guards Airborne Division, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery
was under command of the 40th Army and consisted of the 108th and 5th Guards Motor Rifle Divisions, the 860th Separate Motor Rifle Regiment, the 56th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade, the 36th Mixed Air Corps. Later on the 201st and 58th Motor Rifle Divisions also entered the country, along with other smaller units. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery
In all, the initial Soviet force was around 1,800 tanks, 80,000 soldiers and 2,000 AFVs. In the second week alone, Soviet aircraft had made a total of 4,000 flights into Kabul. With the arrival of the two later divisions, the total Soviet force rose to over 100,000 personnel. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery
Foreign ministers from 34 Islamic nations adopted a resolution which condemned the Soviet intervention and demanded "the immediate, urgent and unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops" from the Muslim nation of Afghanistan. The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution protesting the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan by a vote of 104–18. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery