Soviets Invade Afghanistan


After the Soviet-supported Communist ruler of Afghanistan was assassinated, the Soviets invaded to support his successor from a growing revolt. They expected to stay in the country for six months and ended up staying for seven years and failed to secure the country.

The ruling Communist government in Afghanistan was extremely unpopular. It tried to impose radical reforms on a deeply conservative country. It also ruthlessly suppressed opposition executing thousands of opponents. Its leader President Nur Mohammad Tarki has assassinated under orders from his second in command Hafizullah Amin. The Soviets decided to intervene invoking the Brezhnev doctrine that stated that they would not allow a communist country to become noncommunist. When Soviet troops arrived in Kabul on December 27, 1979, they killed President Amin and installed their own puppet Barak Karmel. A guerillas war soon broke out with Islamic Mujahideen fighter attacking the Soviets and gaining control of much of the rural parts of the country.

Western nations decried the invasion and the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The United States and other Western nations began providing support to the Mujahideen fighters. As a result, despite having over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan the Soviets could not gain the upper hand in their fight. The Soviets lost 14,453 in Afghanistan with a further 53,753 wounded. After Gorbachev came to power the Soviets began to withdraw.