THE SOVIET MILITARY INVASION AND INVOLVEMENT IN AFGHANISTAN, 1979-1988

ABSTRACT

This article examines the causes behind the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 and the continued involvement of the USSR until the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1988. The conflict is often seen in global terms, as part of the latter stages of the Cold War and the Soviet Union’s desire to maintain international prestige and strength (Barfield 2010, Yapp 1982). This argument, in focusing on the global nature of world politics in this period, subsequently negates the local agents which contributed to the onset of the conflict. However, it is also argued that the Soviet involvement was due to the instability of the Kabul led regime and vested interest of the USSR in Afghanistan, thus highlighting more regional concerns for Moscow (Arnold 1993, Malik 2010). Although academics such as Galeotti (2001) have attempted to balance these views, suggesting that Cold War tensions were played out through regional instability, a deeper analysis of the factors that led to the Afghanistan War, 1979-1988, are required through the assessment of various primary and secondary documents to reach any further conclusions. This article is an attempt to add to the academic debate surrounding the topic.
Keywords – Afghanistan, Soviet Union, Cold War, Kabul, Moscow, Middle East.

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