martes, 5 de agosto de 2014

The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 - 1989

Nearly twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union pulled its last troops out of Afghanistan, ending more than nine years of direct involvement and occupation. The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States. In the brutal nine-year conflict, an estimated one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. Civil war raged after the withdrawal, setting the stage for the Taliban's takeover of the country in 1996. As NATO troops move toward their final withdrawal this year, Afghans worry about what will come next, and Russian involvement in neighboring Ukraine's rebellion has the world's attention, it is worth looking back at the Soviet-Afghan conflict that ended a quarter-century ago

A low-flying Afghan helicopter gunship in snow-capped valley along Salang highway provides cover for a Soviet convoy sending food and fuel to Kabul, Afghanistan, on January 30, 1989. The convoy was attacked by Mujahideen guerrillas with rockets further up the highway, with Afghan government troops returning fire with artillery

Afghans wait outside the Kabul central Pulicharkhi prison on January 14, 1980, days after the Moscow-installed regime of Babrak Karmal took over. Although the regime released 126 prisoners from the notorious jail, around 1,000 residents stormed the compound to set 12 inmates free

Afghan refugees flee fighting, entering Pakistan near Peshawar, in May of 1980

Afghan guerrillas, armed and equipped with motorcycles prepare for action with Soviet and government forces, in the mountainous western region of Afghanistan on January 14, 1980. The guerrillas were able to slip in and out of neighboring Iran, where they re-supplied from Muslims who sympathized with their struggle.

A mujahideen, a captain in the Afghan army before deserting, poses with a group of rebels near Herat, Afghanistan, on February 28, 1980. At the time, it was reported that the Afghan capital of Kabul returned to normal for the first time since bloody anti-Soviet rioting erupted there, killing more than 300 civilians and an unknown number of Soviet and Afghan soldiers.

A troop of Muslim rebels equipped with old-fashioned rifles, east of Kabul, on February 21, 1980. At the time, anti-Communist rebels were attacking traffic at will on the main supply route from Pakistan to Afghanistan's capital.

A Soviet-style military parade, held on the occasion of 5th anniversary of Afghanistan's 1978 Saur Revolution, in the streets of Kabul on April 27, 1983

Afghan guerrillas atop a downed Soviet Mi-8 transport helicopter, near the Salang Highway, a vital supply route north from Kabul to the Soviet border, January 12, 1981

U.S. President Ronald Reagan meets with a group of Afghan freedom fighters to discuss Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan, especially the September 1982 massacre of 105 Afghan villagers in Lowgar Province. (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Aftermath in a village located along the Salang Highway, shelled and destroyed during fights between Mujahideen guerrillas and Afghan soldiers in Salang, Afghanistan.

Muslim anti-aircraft gunners in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia Province on July 20, 1986

A Red Army soldier atop of his armored personal vehicle smiles as Soviet Army troops stop in Kabul prior to their withdrawal from Afghanistan, on May 16, 1988.