Why did Russia invade Afghanistan
The Soviet-Afghan War was a ten-year conflict which involved Soviet Union forces which supported the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. The Soviets and the PDPA worked together against the Islamist mujahideen resistance. The PDPA government was also supported by India, while the mujahideen resistance found support among a variety of sources, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and many other nations involved in the Cold War.
The first Soviet deployment into Afghanistan began on December 24, 1979. During this time, the Afghan government requested the introduction of Soviet troops in order to provide security and to assist in the fight against the mujahideen rebels. Within a few months, the government had requested the assistance of several Soviet helicopters and tanks, as well as crews to guard the government facilities in Kabul. The Soviets responded to this request by sending an airborne battalion, which was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. Lomakin. In order to keep news of the deployment low, the Colonel and his men arrived without their combat gear and disguised as technicians. They were assigned to be the personal bodyguards for President Taraki.
Over the course of a few months, the Afghan requests increased and they were no longer for individual crews, but for entire regiments and battalions. Despite this support from the Soviet union, many Afghan rebel groups garnered support from the United States. A mere six months after Soviet deployment, US intelligence services began to aid these rebel factions. The struggle continued with limited forces until the mid-1980s, when the Afghan resistance, aided by the United States, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom continued to contribute to Moscow’s high military costs and strained relationships with other countries. The US viewed the entire conflict as being necessary in the Cold War struggle, and President Jimmy Carter authorized the CIA to begin covert ops to get many types of assistance to the Afghan rebels in order to hinder the Soviet forces and their advancement through Afghanistan. This entire operation was dubbed Operation Cyclone.
A very similar movement happened in other Muslim countries, which brought contingents of Afghan Arabs and foreign fighters who wanted to wage jihad against the communists. Perhaps the most notable of these fighters was a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden, whose militant Arab group would eventually form al-Qaeda.
Over the years of the continued guerrilla warfare, leadership changed often and always came with the title of commander. This title was applied to independent Afghani leaders and there were many of them who lead the fighting units of all sizes. Afghan people looked up to these fighters and though military pride had never been something which occurred in Afghanistan, people began looking to the rebels for help against the oppressive communist government being task forced by the Russians.
Eventually, due to the high cost of the Afghani support and increased pressure from the United States and other super powers, the Soviets began to withdraw from the conflict in the summer of ’88. By the spring of ’89, there were no more Soviet forces within Afghanistan.
Today, Afghanistan is a wounded country in every way. However, there are Afghan people who have made it big elsewhere and continue to aid the country. An example is the Bayat Foundation, which was founded by Ehsan Bayat, a successful engineer and businessman who is living in New York, but recently returned to his home country in order to help revitalize it.