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The U.S Invasion of Afghanistan was very similar to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in many ways. They were both supported in the beginning by the citizens of their respective countries. They were both expected to last only a couple of months to a year. They both met extreme opposition from the CIA-trained terrorists.
The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan lasted for over nine years. It started in December of 1979 and lasted until February of 1989. Mujahideen, which were insurgent groups trained by the U.S, as well as smaller rural groups, fought a guerrilla style war against the Soviet Union’s Army and Afghanistan’s communist puppet government. The mujahideen groups were backed by the United States and Pakistan, making it another proxy war of the Cold War. Almost 2,000,000 civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran (“Russia and Afghanistan”). Before the arrival of the Soviet troops, Afghanistan’s communist party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, took power during a 1978 coup, called the Saur revolution, replacing President Mohammed Daoud Khan with communist leader Nur Mohammad Taraki. This new communist party initiated a lot of reforms throughout the whole country that were extremely unpopular. These reforms were especially unpopular among the traditional rural population and the already wealthy landowners.
The government’s harsh nature and brutality, was seen when they repeatedly suppressed opposition, executed thousands of political prisoners and ordered massacres against those opposed to the government. This led to the rise of anti-government armed groups, like the mujahideen, and by April of 1979 major parts of the country rebelled against the government. The government itself was split into two factions and in September of 1979 President Taraki was executed under the orders of his rival in his own party, Hafizullah Amin. This weakened relation with the Soviet Union, since Taraki had close ties to the Soviet Union. Eventually the Soviet government, under the order of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Leonid Brezhnev, decided to send the army on December 24, 1979. After arriving in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, they staged a military coup. This coup resulted in the death of president Amin. The army then put into power Babrak Karmal who was a Soviet loyalist from a rival faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. This deployment has been called an “invasion” by the western media and a “legitimate supporting intervention” (Trueman) by the Soviet Union and the new Afghan puppet government. In January 1980, foreign leaders from the countries in the Islamic Conference created a resolution demanding “the immediate, urgent and unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops” from Afghanistan. (Morini)
After this the UN General Assembly also passed a resolution protesting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Since the Soviet Union did not heed their warnings, Afghan insurgents began to receive large amounts of aid and military training in neighboring countries like Pakistan and China, which was paid for by the United States and Arab nations from the Persian Gulf. According to the National Security Archive, “the Central Intelligence Agency played a significant role in asserting U.S. influence in Afghanistan by funding military operations designed to frustrate the Soviet invasion of that country. CIA covert action worked through Pakistani intelligence services to reach Afghan rebel groups.” Soviet troops occupied the major cities and controlled the main arteries of communication. Meanwhile the mujahideen waged guerrilla warfare in small groups operating in the almost 80 percent of the country that was outside Afghani government and Soviet control. (Taylor) The Soviets used their air power to deal with both rebels and civilians, levelling villages to deny safe haven to the mujahideen and laying millions of land mines. The Soviet Union initially planned to secure towns and roads, stabilize the government under Afghanistan’s puppet leader Babrak Karmal, and withdraw within six months or a year.(Taylor)
This plan was scrapped when the Soviet Union soldiers were met with extreme resistance from the mujahideen and were stuck in a war that lasted nine years. By the mid-1980s, the number of Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan was increased to 108,800 which caused fighting to occur more often. Because of this, the military and diplomatic cost of the war to the Soviet Union was extremely high.(Morini) By 1987 the Soviet Union, which was now under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, announced that the they would start leaving Afghanistan. The Soviet Union started withdrawing its troops starting in May of 1988, and every soldier was gone by February 15, 1989. This left the Afghan government alone in their war against the mujahideen.
This war continued until 1992 when the former Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan collapsed. This invasion has sometimes been referred to as the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam War”. The Soviets’ failure at the war is thought to be a contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union.(Trueman)The U.S Invasion of Afghanistan started on October 7, 2001 shortly after the terrorist attack on the twin towers on September 9, 2001. This was a joint invasion by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The U.S was originally only supported by the United Kingdom and Canada, but later by a coalition of over 40 countries. This “invasion” was code named Operation Enduring Freedom and its goal was to dismantle Al-Qaeda and to deny it a safe haven in Afghanistan. In order to do this the United States also saw it necessary to remove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush immediately blamed this attack on Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. He also demanded that the Taliban in Afghanistan hand over the terrorist leader. They also requested that the Taliban expel Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. When the Taliban declined to hand over Osama bin Laden until the U.S had hard evidence showing his and Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attack. This caused the U.S. to pass and enforce Authorization for Use of Military Force(AUMF) which authorized the use of U.S armed forces against “those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any associated forces”. This granted President Bush the authority to use necessary force against terrorists and those harboring terrorists.
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