Soviet Afghan War

Soviet Afghan War
•April 1978 Afghanistan’s communist People’s
Democratic Party seizes power in a coup and the
country is renamed Democratic Republic of
Afghanistan (DRA)
•March 1979 the USSR begins massive military aid to
the DRA; U.S. scales down its presence after the
murder of its kidnapped ambassador
•September 1979 Hafizullah Amin emerges as DRA
leader after killing his opposition including the current
Afghan President at the time
•Requests for large numbers of Soviet forces to combat
a growing insurgency (freedom fighters later) continue
under Amin’s administration
Assassination: Spetsnaz Style
• Amin had been accused of being a secret nationalist and also
he began to defy Soviet orders (even rumors he was talking
with the CIA)
• This did not sit well with Moscow
• Amin was losing his grip on the country (very brutal regime
with a lot of enemies) and jeopardizing the communist
investment in Afghanistan
• December 1979 Soviet troops invade Afghanistan and the
Spetsnaz forces kill Amin and tens of thousands of Russian
troops are deployed by air and ground and install Babrak
Kamal as their new Soviet backed leader
• 1980 Resistance to Soviet occupation intensifies with
mujahedeen (freedom fighters)
• The Soviets commit more than 80,000 personnel to occupy
U.S. Intervention
• 1980 The U.S. leads a boycott of the Moscow Olympics
• 1982 UN calls for Soviet withdraw
• 1985 More than 5 million Afghans are now estimated to be displaced by the war,
with many fleeing to neighboring Iran or Pakistan
• New Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says he wants to end the war in Afghanistan
so he sends in more troops for a quick victory (this leads to the bloodiest year of
the war)
• 1986 The U.S. begins supplying Mujahedeen with Stinger missiles, enabling them to
shoot down Soviet helicopter gunships
• These are the reasons why the Afghans were able to beat the mighty Soviets
• 1988 the DRA, USSR, US, and Pakistan sign peace accords and the Soviets begin
pulling out troops
• 1989 the USSR announces the departure of the last Soviet troops. More than one
million Afghans and 13 thousand Soviet troops have been killed. Civil War
continues as the mujahedeen push to overthrow the new Soviet puppet leader
Najibullah, who is eventually toppled in 1992