Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan

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Ben Fielder
18 November 2010
Soviet Intervention on Afghanistan
When someone intervenes in your life, it’s usually to project their beliefs onto you and force you to stop a destructive behavior. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union intervened in Afghanistan, not to stop a destructive behavior, but to project their own wants and needs (for the oil and other resources) onto Afghan culture. Forcing them to submit to foreign rule, the people of Afghanistan fought back to protect their land, as a result creating a war that lasted for ten years. This conflict came to be known as the Soviet-Afghan War. Ultimately, the Soviet Union lost the war and retreated from Afghanistan. However, the effects of this war are still being felt today, as demonstrated in their foreign policies and political interactions with outside countries. Prior to the war, the Soviet Union was in control of the Afghan government. It was when Afghanistan made themselves a constitutional monarchy in 1953 (Origins of Soviet-Afghan War 1). It also began from a coup d’état by Afghan communists called the “Saur Revolution in 1978 (Afghanistan War 1). This created tensions between the Soviet Union’s puppet government and Afghan people, because they resented being ruled by a foreign power. Additionally the Soviet Union took advantage of the Afghan people by taking control of the oil fields, allowing the people to only keep a small percentage of the profits. The Soviet Union, to defend their interests continued to become more intimately involved in Afghanistan’s affairs throughout the 1950s and the 1960s pumping billions of dollars into country, to try and establish friendly relations. “Between 1956 to 1978, the Soviet Union gave $2.51 billion in aid to Afghanistan (Encyclopedia of Russian History 13).” The Soviet Union however, had a bigger picture for the future of Afghanistan. They wanted to take over the country, and did so by gaining power from within. The Soviet Union wanted to gain power in the Southeast Asia. Afghanistan gave them a foot hold, and would set as a positive example for the rest of the world. The Soviet Union’s presence within Afghanistan was cultivated first by two Soviet leaders; the first was Nur Muhammed Taraki and later Hafizulla Amin (Encyclopedia of Russian History 13). Nur Muhammaed Tariki was killed after being caught in the crossfire of a shoot out at his palace, inserting Amin a Soviet sympathizer into power. However, Amin had a hidden agenda, and after gaining power, began working for his own interests rather than the Soviet Unions. The Soviet Union became afraid Amin would destabilize Afghanistan, and they would access to Afghan oil fields. To prevent this loss the Soviet Union ( the home-country) decided to invade Afghanistan on December 27, 1979. Initiating the first phase of the Soviet-Afghan War. This phase utilized three motor rifle divisions, one separate rifle regiment, an airborne division, the 56th Air Assault Brigade, and a separate airborne regiment. The Soviets also used helicopters as their primary source of attack (Soviet-Afghan War 1). Troops quickly entered Afghanistan, gaining control of major urban centers and military bases, but they did not do as much damage as they wanted to. They instead started an even bigger revolution in the country to stand up and fight against the Soviets (Soviet War 1). However, politically they accomplished their goal assassinating Amin the first night of the invasion.(Soviet Invasion 1). However, the Soviet takeover accomplished about as much as the American forces did during the Vietnam War. Meaning they won conventional battles but still end up losing the countryside (Soviet-Afghan War 1). Thousands of Afghanistan Muslims joined the Mujahedeen, the Arabic word for “warriors of god” or “holy warriors”. The Mujahedeen members organized in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Members of the Mujahedeen were mostly from tribes or villages who had lost...
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