Soviet Invasion Of Afghanistan
Why Did The Soviet Union Invade Afghanistan In 1979? YourFirstName YourLastName University title Why Did the Soviet Union Invade Afghanistan in 1979? The Afghanistan cold war leading up to a decade invasion of the country by the Soviet Union is a quite a debatable event. This paper will seek to provide answers to many unanswered question such as the rationale used in recommending the Soviet Union’s military involvement in Afghanistan’s internal political wrangles, the presumed benefits as a result of this invasion, as well as the fact that other alternatives than military action were not given enough consideration.
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Afghanistan as more peaceful under its leadership style of a King as the head of state supported by the Prime Minister, but things started going sour during the reign of King Mohammed Zahir Shah and his cousin Prime Minister Mohammad Daoud Khan (Daryl, 2010). There was a misunderstanding between those directly in power and those indirectly in power. The political party in power at that time which was based on Marxism ideologies, People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s (PDPA), was faced with internal bickering among its leaders.
This eventually lead to a division in the party into two rivaling factions, with one faction calling itself Khalq under the eadership of Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin while the second faction was lead by Babrak Karmal and Najibulallan and reterred to itselt as Flag which in Islamic is Parcham. The actions of the Soviet Union were thought, by the initiators, to be supported by the people, especially the supporters of People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s.
However, it turned out the opposite was true, in that the people were not happy as evidenced throughout the various demonstrations that were held in the country, especially in Kabul, the capital. The demonstrations continued for quite ome time until the authorities, President Dauod’s government, felt threatened and started employing unorthodox means to do away with the demonstrations. Repressions were imposed on the supporters of People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s with some of its key member s such as Mir Khyber being killed.
This infuriated the demonstrators and gave them reason to push on with their demands thorough street demonstrations rebuking the Dauod’s regime. This further gave a more threatened government room to expunge its long arm of the law towards the culprits by arresting them. The people’s power had its way in mid 1978 when President Dauod, together with his family members, was overthrown and executed. This event gave an opportunity to the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s Masses faction lead by Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin to ascend to power as President and Deputy President of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
The period when these events took place is referred to as the Saur Revolution. The internal conflicts inside the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan’s intensified between the two splitter faction. One was now in power, the other faction found it difficult to remain relevant as the script was repeated, as was in Dauods’s case, here the members of the opposition were forced into exile and some were executed. The new government was supported by the Soviet Union as evidenced in the new reforms introduced which were a replica of the soviet style.
Some of the changes introduced were marriage laws and reforms in the land sector, which sparked further controversy given the country was traditionaly Islamic and that a majority of the wealthy class was opposed to the land reforms. This was the genesis of the operation Taraki Out “TO. ” The rebellion was uncontrollable and grew more powerful, hence, instability in government began to arise. In the end, as result of this, followed the demise of President Taraki following a shootout between the government forces and the Rebels in the palace, the president’s official residence.
The deputy president took over power thereafter and was also faced with the same challenges (Daryl, 2010). Before turning to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, many questions are lingering than answers. What was the rationale used in recommending the Soviet Union’s military involvement in Afghanistan’s internal political wrangles? What were the presumed benefits as a result of this invasion? Could there have been another alternative other than military that was probably ignored?
If yes, then what was the alternative? What were the reasons for not perusing the alternative? Who were the chief architects of the military option? Who authorized the military invasion? And most importantly, why did the union invade Afghanistan? To begin with, Just as a tradition in any superpower, it is mostly likely that the Soviet Union sent its troops into Afghanistan without having exhausted all the other avenues at their disposal.
One remains to wonder why did the USSR decide with such speed and in a very short time period, to enter with full orce by dispatching its top notch security men and women, including the Guards Airborne Division and the 40th Army into a country facing internal political challenges. Was this a punishment to Amin’s government, a communist in the making? Yes, this could be a reaction to Amin’s interaction with the United States (Galeotti, 2012). The Red Army was all over the place. In one day, as approximated, about fifty thousand Soviet soldiers had taken cover on Afghanistan’s soil.
This was an intervention meant to quell the growing hostility between the government and the pposition and the basis for this was a mere treaty signed allowing the Union to offers military support. Again, the question here is, was the military support sought, and if yes over what? Was this a genuine intervention or was the decision to deploy troops made out of fear for the unknown? It is hard to believe that this was a mere intervention to assist the Afghan regime due to the instance of trying to kill President Amin by poisoning him.
It is said the USSR had good relations with Afghanistan as was evident during the forty year reign of King Zahir Shah from 1933 to 1973, four decades uninterrupted. The invader to be is believed to have provided military assistance including training of the Afghan soldiers and issuance of loans, so the fact that the Soviet Union felt invested in the nation is clear. A strong possibility is that the USSR could have felt uneasy with the country shifting allegiance to America, and thus saw a threat to her interests in Afghanistan. After killing Amin it was Karmal Babrak who was installed.
This is reason enough to cement the school of thought that the USSR had other hidden agendas in their deployment of the army, outside of suppressing resistance to the government in power. Another reason to believe the existence of a hidden mission in the invasion is that, as traditionally practiced, the commander of the USSR, Brezhnev was conspicuously missing in action as he was thought to be ailing. Those who acted, especially the Troika comprised of Yuri Vladimirovich as the leader of KGB, Fyodorovich Ustinov who was the then Defense Minister, and Andrei Gromkyo who was in charge of the foreign affairs docket, were against the move.
Though the trio is believed to have requested the army intervention, leaked government information absolve them of any blame as it is claimed they opposed it. One Andropov is quated to have Sayed, “Comrades, I have considered all these issues in depth and arrived at the conclusion that we must consider very very seriously the question of whose cause we will be supporting if we deploy forces into Afghanistan……. Therefore I believe that we can suppress a revolution in Afghanistan only with the aid of our bayonet, and that is for us entirely inadmissible.
We cannot take such a risk. ” (Sullivan, 2011). Firstly, one major reason for USSR invasion was the U. S military presence in the Persian Gulf. Although it was as a result of U. S’s diplomats being taken hostage, thus forcing for rescue mission, he impression was made to the Kremlin administration that Washington was positioning itself to take over Afghanistan, hence need to for a quick capture of the country by the Soviet Union arose (Sullivan, 2011).
Secondly, the cause for invasion was the vague interpretation of the Iranian political happenings, or revolution, where its leader had been overthrown and subsequently replaced by Ayatollah Khomeini, who was a radical Muslim, a faction the Kremlin government feared to its last tooth. This meant a quick action to avert the religious conflict spreading into Afghanistan, “their” territory. Thirdly, the Kremlin invaded Kabul due to the belief in the pro socialism Brezhnev doctrines which stated that socialism, once on the verge to take root anywhere, could not fail.
Thus Afghanistan was no different. There was need to protect socialism from failing in a friendly nation. This explains the geopolitical angle of the move. Fourthly, there is the treaty of cooperation and good neighborliness between the USSR and Afghanistan, which allowed the Soviet Union to enter the country at a time of war. The invasion resulted in deaths of persons, including the countrys leaders, citizens, and soldiers in huge number. The invasion also resulted in creating more instability, and a decade long war.
By USSR invading Kabul, it meant capture of another territory of great importance. A country where socialism would take place and the capture of the water catchment area of Persian Gulf which had been a target of USSR for a long time (Amstatz, 2012). As a result of the invasion the Politburo’s importance was revealed, in regard to decision making and an individual accountability. Different player have come out to claim they were the one’s behind the military invasion, given the head commander at that time was ill.
The war caused loss of property and other valuable belongings, for instance, the palace was destroyed and converted into the headquarters of 40th army. This meant a new region had to spend a lot of money in building the president’s residence (Daryl, 2010). The Soviet-Afghan war lead to the rise of the world’s largest group of refugees as scores of people were displaced with other moving into neighboring countries like Pakistan and Iran. Another impact was employment opportunity for Soviet citizens, as they were taken into Afghanistan to teach in the new universities and polytechnics hat were built.
The construction industry was also boosted. Finally the war had impact on the USSR’s military budget. This is because a lot of money was used during the entire period in buying more arsenals as the Soviet Union was alone fighting a combination of US and China supported rebels. There were challenges encountered throughout the ten year period. They included harsh rebellion from the local rebels, the MuhiJiran, who were backed by the US and China. They killed large numbers of Soviet soldiers. Also, the Soviet Army had a hard time penetrating into Afghanistan and selling the policies.
Communist ideas did not always sit well with Muslims, whom did not want certain traditions changed. There was also the problem of route location for Soviet forces. The displaced persons found it troublesome moving from one place to the next during that difficult period (Galeotti, 2012). The exact reasons for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan are not clear but several important facts clearly played a role in the decision making that took place. Afghanistan had a long lasting relationship with the USSR and the Soviet Union most likely felt like they were protecting an investment.
The regime change that was occurring within the nation may not have been the most popular with the populace but it was a communist party taking the reigns, thus according to the Brezhnev Doctrine could not be allowed to fail. The invasion was also made easier by the existence of a cooperation treaty between the two nations which allowed the Soviet Union to move its troops into the region if Afghanistan required assistance in a war. With major fghting breaking out in regions across the country, this could be easily used by the USSR as an excuse to move into the area and assert the type of regime they approved of.