Why The Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
There were several reasons for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which were given by both by the communist party to its Soviet citizens, and ones not disclosed to the public. Soviets were told that the invasion was about the liberation of the Afghan communists, and it was imperative to generate more communist states. The Russian government also began to portray the war as a war against Islamic fundamentalism. They had a real fear of having an extremist government directly on the Soviet border.
By creating a stable communist government in Afghanistan, the USSR also hoped to gain access to the Indian Ocean through India. This warm weather port would provide Russia with year-round access to important trade routes with India and the Middle East. It would also increase the USSR's naval presence. Afghanistan is also known to contain many natural resources, such as natural gas, uranium, iron ore, and copper. These resources would have been of great advantage to the Soviets if they were to gain control over Afghanistan.
Moreover, Afghanistan seemed to be the perfect place to demonstrate Soviet military power, since the USSR had not been directly involved in any large scale military action for some time prior to the invasion in Afghanistan. The Soviets had believed that a small scale engagement in Afghanistan could be used to establish a new generation of soldiers and military equipment. After it became obvious that the invasion of Afghanistan would not be so easy, the Soviets still could not withdraw their forces due to the early losses of Soviet soldiers. This would seem like a waste of the already lost lives, as the country’s goals would not be accomplished.
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