The Soviet Afghan War


A communist-led Government took power over Afghanistan. Afghans rejected it and those who did were imprisoned, tortured and murdered.

Why did the USSR invade?

  • After a Communist-led government seized control in Afghanistan, they were rejected by Afghans and were overthrown. The new leader, although distrusted by Americans, entered discussions with the USA.

  • The Mujahideen- an anti-communist resistance group made of Afghan tribes was formed.

  • The USSR was worried that other Muslim countries would start revolutions.

When did the USSR invade?

Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979.

Who were the Mujahideen supported by?

The US was sending equipment through Pakistan to the Mujahideen.

What tactics were used by the USSR?

  • Air and land invasion

  • Search and destroy missions

What tactics were used by the Mujahideen?

  • The Mujahideen used Guerilla Warfare. The Afghans were willing to die as Martyrs.

  • They used stinger missiles to down soviet helicopters so the Red Army couldn’t scale high mountains easily.

Why did the USSR eventually withdraw?

The USSR signed the Geneva accords in 1988 and in 1989, the Red Army withdrew. This is because...

  • The Mujahideen continued to increase in size.

  • The New General Secretary of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev had an Anti-War Sentiment which changed opinion in the USSR.

  • Gorbachev signed the Geneva accords

What were the consequences for the USSR?

The Soviet Union continued to aid the country against the Mujahideen, but the Union collapsed in 1991 due to the involvement in the War and Gorbachev’s reforms.

How did the war impact the United States?

Al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in New York on September 11th 2001.

What were the consequences for Afghanistan?

Extremist groups; The Taliban and Al-Qaeda took control of Afghanistan in 1996.

Massoud was assassinated in September 9th 2001.

By 1982, 4.3 Million Afghans had fled the country.