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The Soviet-Afghan War spanned nine years from late 1979 to early 1989 encompassing the terms of two Soviet premiers and two United States presidents. Known also as the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam War” it too was a war of technology and power against a hardened and adaptive guerilla militia know as the Mujahedeen (people doing jihad) that lead to an undetermined victor and a withdrawal of Soviet forces.

In 1978 the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a poor, agrarian and socialist government. With close ties to the Soviet Union the Afghan government became a concern to the United States by summer 1979 due to issues of instability and the loss of key U.S. allies in the region. Under President Jimmy Carter the United States began to devise a plan (Operation Cyclone) to covertly back anti-government forces in Afghanistan with the goal of pulling the Soviets into a war.

With the covert U.S. backing an Afghanistan civil war ensued and the Russians began to feel as if they were starting to loss control of the Afghan regime. The Red Army invaded in December of 1979 and subsequently killed the Afghan president then emplaced a pro-Soviet government which had requested their military assistance .

The Soviet-Afghan War had begun. For the next decade U.S. backed Mujahedeen would confront the Red Army using tactics, mobility and war fighting skills only those indigenous to Afghanistan could use to such effect as to cause a complete Soviet withdraw by 1989.


Dating back to the 19th century Russia had interests in Afghanistan. This was initially due to the expansion of the empire during the Tsarist time period and continued through the Soviets and the spread of socialism. With billions given in both militar...

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...ot in close combat and provide battlefield spacing to return the fighting back to the Mujahedeen’s terms. Having support of the majority of the local population led to the success of the Mujahedeen. This allowed them to have sanctuary in nearly all areas of operation. The Russian army had desertions in the Afghan army ranks and without support or loyalties of local populations were consistently playing into the hand of the Mujahedeen. Although having many victories the Russians found that without constant occupation the area would fall immediately back under Mujahedeen control. This was the stalemate that drew the Soviet Union into a prolonged insurgency and subsequently caused the Soviet withdraw and a no-victor “Vietnam” situation that ultimately ending costing the lives of 25,000 Russians, up to 1,000,000 Mujahedeen and possibly 2,000,000 Afghan civilians.
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