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Soviet-Afghan war timeline

This article might be useful for anyone who just starts his journey of the Soviet-Afghan history. We will briefly go over most important turning point in the Soviet-Afghan war timeline.


The Saur Revolution of 1978

The Saur Revolution was a leftist military coup that took place in Afghanistan on April 27, 1978. It marked the beginning of the Afghan War, which lasted from 1978 to 1992.

The coup was led by a group of leftist Afghan military officers, who overthrew the government of President Mohammed Daoud Khan. The coup was named after the month "Saur" in the Afghan calendar, which corresponds to April.



The Saur Revolution aimed to establish a socialist government in Afghanistan and bring about social and economic reforms. However, the new government faced strong opposition from conservative and religious groups, as well as from neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and the United States.

Later on, the Soviet Union, which had close ties with the new Afghan government, intervened in the conflict by sending troops to support the socialist government. This led to the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted from 1979 to 1989.

The Saur Revolution and its aftermath had a significant impact on Afghanistan's political and social landscape. The country experienced decades of instability, conflict, and foreign intervention, which continue to affect the country to this day.


The Soviet-Afghan relations in 1979

In 1979, the Soviet Union had close relations with Afghanistan, which was then led by a socialist government that had come to power in a coup the previous year. The two countries had signed a Friendship Treaty in 1978, which provided for economic and military cooperation between them.

The Soviet Union provided significant economic and military aid to Afghanistan, including the construction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and factories. The Soviet Union also trained Afghan military personnel and provided weapons and ammunition to the Afghan government.



However, the relationship between the two countries was strained by opposition to the Afghan government from conservative and religious groups within Afghanistan and from neighboring countries such as Pakistan. The Afghan government faced growing opposition from rebel groups, known as the Mujahideen, who were supported by Pakistan and the United States.


The full scale Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

In December 1979, the Soviet Union launched a military invasion of Afghanistan. The invasion followed a period of political instability in Afghanistan, which had been under the rule of a socialist government since a coup in 1978. The Soviet Union had been providing economic and military aid to the Afghan government and had signed a Friendship Treaty with Afghanistan in 1978.

The Soviet invasion was aimed at propping up the Afghan government and suppressing the growing rebellion of Islamic militants, known as the Mujahideen, who were fighting to overthrow the government. The Soviet Union believed that the Mujahideen were being supported by the United States, Pakistan, and other Western countries.



Soviet troops quickly took control of the major cities and towns, but faced fierce resistance from the Mujahideen in the countryside. The conflict quickly escalated into a full-scale war that lasted for almost a decade, with the Mujahideen receiving support from the United States, Pakistan, and other countries.

The Soviet Union's military intervention in Afghanistan was widely condemned by the international community, including the United States and its allies. The United States responded by providing military aid to the Mujahideen, which helped to prolong the war and increase the Soviet Union's military and economic losses.


Sanctions for the Soviet Union

Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, several countries imposed economic sanctions on the Soviet Union. The United States, in particular, implemented a series of economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Soviet Union in response to its intervention.

In 1980, the United States led a boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Many Western countries also implemented trade restrictions and reduced economic ties with the Soviet Union.



In addition to the international sanctions, the Soviet Union faced significant economic and military costs as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan. The war drained Soviet resources and weakened the Soviet economy, contributing to the country's eventual collapse in 1991.

It is worth noting that while the international community did condemn the Soviet Union for its intervention in Afghanistan, there was no formal United Nations Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the Soviet Union, as the Soviet Union had veto power in the Security Council. However, the United Nations General Assembly did pass a resolution condemning the Soviet intervention and calling for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.


Operation "Cyclone"

Operation Cyclone was a covert operation carried out by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the Cold War. The operation aimed to support Afghan rebels, known as the Mujahideen, who were fighting against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan.

The operation was launched in 1979, following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. The United States, along with other Western countries, opposed the Soviet intervention and saw an opportunity to weaken Soviet influence in the region by supporting the Mujahideen.



Under Operation Cyclone, the CIA provided financial, military, and logistical support to the Mujahideen, including weapons, ammunition, and training. The operation was carried out in secret, with the aid being funneled through intermediaries and third-party countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The United States provided significant financial assistance to the Mujahideen, with estimates ranging from $3 to $20 billion over the course of the conflict. The aid helped to sustain the Mujahideen's fight against the Soviet-backed government and contributed to the eventual withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989.


Geneva accords

The Geneva Accords of 1988 were a set of agreements reached between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the mediation of the United Nations, to end the Soviet-Afghan War. The Accords were signed on April 14, 1988, in Geneva, Switzerland, after several rounds of negotiations.

The Accords called for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan within nine months and for an end to external interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs. The agreement also called for the establishment of a transitional government in Afghanistan to prepare the country for democratic elections.

The transitional government was to be composed of representatives from various Afghan factions, including the Soviet-backed government and the Mujahideen rebels. The government was to be headed by a council consisting of a president, two vice-presidents, and a prime minister.



The Accords also called for the repatriation of Afghan refugees who had fled to Pakistan during the conflict. The repatriation was to be carried out under the supervision of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Geneva Accords were seen as a significant milestone in the Soviet-Afghan War, as they provided a framework for ending the conflict and establishing a new government in Afghanistan. However, the implementation of the Accords faced several challenges, including continued fighting between the Soviet-backed government and the Mujahideen, and disagreements among the various Afghan factions over the composition of the transitional government.

Despite these challenges, the Soviet Union began withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in May 1988, and the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan in February 1989. The conflict, however, continued between the Afghan factions, and the country remained in a state of political instability and violence for several years.

Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan

The process of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan began in May 1988, following the signing of the Geneva Accords. The Accords called for the complete withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan within nine months, and the Soviet Union began implementing the withdrawal in a phased manner.

The withdrawal was carried out in several stages, with the first phase involving the withdrawal of a significant number of troops from major cities and military bases in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union also began dismantling some of its military infrastructure and handing over control to the Afghan government.



The second phase involved the withdrawal of troops from more remote regions of Afghanistan, including the countryside and mountainous regions where the Mujahideen rebels had been operating. This phase of the withdrawal was more challenging, as the Soviet troops faced increased resistance from the Mujahideen and had to navigate difficult terrain.

The withdrawal was completed in February 1989, with the last Soviet troops leaving Afghanistan. The withdrawal was a significant moment in the Soviet-Afghan War, marking the end of direct Soviet military involvement in the conflict.

However, the withdrawal did not bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, as the various Afghan factions continued to fight for control of the country. The Soviet-backed government remained in power for several years, but it faced continued resistance from the Mujahideen rebels, who eventually overthrew the government in 1992.

The process of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan was a complex and challenging undertaking, and it involved significant logistical and military planning. The withdrawal marked a significant moment in the history of the Soviet Union and had long-lasting consequences for Afghanistan and the wider region.

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