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Soviet Afghan War Essay

1129 words - 5 pages

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on December 1979, the goal was to help Afghan communist forces set up a communist government. The Soviet Union felt Afghanistan had key resources and a foothold in the Middle East to spread communist ideas. The result would be a war that the Soviet Union wishes it never got involved in and likened to their “Vietnam War”, meaning winning a number of battles but not the war like what happened to the U.S. in Vietnam. The background of the war, outcome of the war, and impact on the United States are key to understanding the Soviet-Afghan War.
The war began on December 27, 1979 when Soviet paratroopers invaded Kabul, Afghanistan. The Soviet troops made assaults on key positions like military and communication centers. The main objective was to kill Hafizullah Amin, who was the leader of Afghanistan after ordering the assassination of Nur Muhammad Taraki, who was the leader of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. The Soviets succeeded in killing Amin after assaulting his presidential palace and set up a “puppet government”. The “puppet government” would be led by Banner party leader Babrak Karmal. Karmal had no significant power in Afghanistan, only the Soviet army to keep him in power and control Afghanistan. Within weeks after the invasion, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan would be ousted from the region and replaced by Soviet forces. Soviet forces would next encounter an enemy that hid in the mountains and fought with guerilla tactics. This Muslim rebellion group would be known as the Mujahideen.
The Mujahideen opposed the Soviets and Karmal government because both supported a communist government which rejected religion and wanted to modernize the government away from Muslim tradition that involved government and religion together. The Mujahideen would launch a jihad on Soviet and Karmal forces to regain Afghanistan and go back Muslim tradition. The Mujahideen would prove to be too powerful of a foe for the Afghan army to control so the Soviets took charge. More than 100,000 Soviet troops would control major cities and towns, making the Mujahideen move to the Afghanistan mountains and countryside. Most of the battles would occur in the mountains with the Soviet army with helicopter support trying to lure the Mujahideen out of the mountains. The mountains and countryside would provide the Mujahideen with the ultimate hiding spots and able to use guerilla tactics. The Soviets would bomb civilian locations near the mountains and countryside to cutoff support to the Mujahedeen but this failed with civilians fleeing from Afghanistan to nearby countries like Pakistan and Iran. The Soviet army was no match for the climate in Afghanistan and the religious determination of the Mujahideen. The Mujahideen was able to gain the upperhand when shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles were supplied to them by United States through Pakistan and other equipment by Muslim supporting groups. The...

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