Afghanistan (Soviet afghan war)1979-88 By: Anmol Gupta & Bavika Atputhajeyam
General Overview • Duration 10 years • Started on Dec. 27th, 1979 • Afghans (Mujahideens) used guerilla warfare to drive the Soviets out • Result: stalemate => Soviets forced to withdraw • 1988 – Ceasefire • 1989 – Soviets withdrew • Ended on Feb. 15th, 1989
Causes • Soviets – expand communism to neighbouring countries • Afghanistan – Marxist government was opposed by many Afghans • 1978 - Overthrow of Afghan central gov’t and a Marxist gov’t was placed. • Rebellion of Mujahideens => Soviets intervention in 1979
Key players • Communists: USSR & Afghan Government • Anti-Communists: Mujahideens, US, UK, Pakistan • Leaders: US =>President Jimmy Carter (1979-81), President Ronald Reagan (1982 – 88) • USSR =>Leonoid Brezhnev (USSR) (1979-82), Yuri Andropov (1982-84), Konstantin Chernenko (1984-85), Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-88)
Motivations/goals Soviets Afghans • Geographic benefits: Access of Indian Ocean through India • Trade with India • Natural resources: iron, natural gas, uranium, copper • Goal: Make Afghanistan communist and get rid of the mujahideens • Saw Soviets invasion as a threat to their culture and religion – engage in “jihad” (holy war)
Events • Taraki Regime in Afghanistan • A jihad against communism launches • Brezhnev Doctrine: Right of S.U. to militarily get involved to prevent the overthrow of a neighbouring communist government. • 1979 – Soviet control over cities • 1980-81 - Mujahideen took control of countryside • 1982 – war was at a stalemate • 1982-83 - Soviets tried to eliminate the opposition by bombing areas
Events Cont • 1983 – US, UK, Saudi Arabia became supporters of Mujahideens • Foreign aid was received from US • 1984-88 – Mujahideens gained the upperhand through shipments of weapons such as shoulder fired anti aircraft missiles from US and UK through Pakistan • 1985 – Soviets close in on Kabul
Events Cont • Early 1989 – US, Pakistan, Afghanistan and S.U. signed an agreement to withdraw Soviet troops and return Afghanistan to peace • Soviets, with the leadership of Michael Gorbachev, agreed to withdraw troops within a 10 month period • Mujahideen take over Kabul
US’s view on the war • President Jimmy Carter believed that Soviet’s action was a “blatant violation of accepted international rules of behaviour” • Limited his sales with the USSR • Following Carter, President Ronald Reagen despised the Soviets even more and referred to them as the “evil empire”
Soviet’s View on the War • Told that the war was meant to free the Communists living in Afghanistan • Communism entails atheism • Believed that the Afghans needed to be liberated from their ignorance
UN Involvement • Early in 1980, the Security Council met to consider a response to the Soviet intervention, but a draft resolution condemning it was not passed, due to the negative vote of the USSR. • Matter taken up in General Assembly, which held an Emergency Special Session on Afghanistan over five days, from 10 to 14 January 1980 • Assembly adopted the first of a series of 'Situation in Afghanistan' resolutions (resolution ES-6/2), in which it deplored the armed intervention in Afghanistan, called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces, asked States to contribute humanitarian assistance, and asked the Secretary-General to keep it informed of developments. • Various approaches to the parties were made with a view to finding a means to end the conflict, but war continued
UN Involvement (cont’d) • The Assembly maintained its focus on Afghanistan throughout the 1980s, adopting a series of resolutions which called for an end to the conflict, withdrawal of foreign troops, UN assistance to find a political settlement and international help for refugees and others affected by the conflict. • In 1985, the General Assembly also began a separate consideration of the human rights situation in Afghanistan. This followed receipt of the first report from a newly appointed Special Rapporteur on human rights in that country. The first in what was to become an annual resolution on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghanistan was adopted on 13 December (resolution 40/137). • In it, the Assembly expressed its profound concern about widespread disregard for human rights and large-scale violations. It also expressed concern at the severe consequences for the civilian population of indiscriminate bombardments and military operations aimed primarily at villages and the agricultural structure. • In May 1986, Karmal was replaced as PDPA leader by Mohammad Najibullah, who subsequently became President in November 1987.
UN Involvement (cont’d) • Following the exercise of the UN Secretary-General's good offices, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the USSR and the United States signed Agreements on the Settlement of the Situation Relating to Afghanistan under United Nations auspices on 14 April 1988. • These provided for an end to foreign intervention in Afghanistan, and the USSR began withdrawing its forces. • Security Council's agreement on 25 April 1988, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar set up a mission to monitor the withdrawal of foreign forces - the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan (UNGOMAP) - and made plans to support the anticipated repatriation of refugees.
UN Involvement (cont’d) • The Soviet withdrawal was completed in February 1989; they had not signed the agreements, and they maintained their fight against Najibullah's government and the civil war continued. • After May 1987 agreement, the UN had begun strenuous efforts to coordinate humanitarian assistance. Afghanistan had long been designated by the UN as one of the world's least developed countries and war only made it more difficult to respond to the challenge of reconstruction and development.
What were the obstacles that made the war unwinnable for the Soviets? • Soviets faced several obstacles • One obstacle occurred at end of Jan 1980 as the Soviet units began to seize Afghan cities and major highways • After securing these locations, the Mujahedeen began to resort to guerilla warfare • Mujahedeen were essentially the Afghan rebel groups who fought against Soviet influence • As war continued, confrontations with guerilla warfare cause the confidence of the Soviets to decrease while the confidence of the Afghans increased • Worsened when US began providing foreign assistance to the Mujaheeden with the providing of transport vehicles, weaponry such as missile launchers and food • With all the aid, the usage of chemical weapons or more troops for the Soviets would not help at all • April of 1988: Soviet troops had withdrawn.
How did the war end? What were the effects on Afghanistan and on the Soviet Union? • War ended = 1989 through a stalemate with both sides suffering heavy losses • Soviets withdrew = 1989 • Caused the death of 1 million Afghans, and fleeing of 5 million Afghans to neighboring countries • Afghanistan had to enter a state of civil instability, which still continues into present day • War caused 50,000 Soviet casualties and loss of 1000 pieces of equipment and 450 aircrafts • Soviets were in billions of dollars of debt, which severely weakened the USSR • Losses also caused the people to question the Soviet’s authority; arguably a factor that caused the downfall of the Soviet Union