April 20, 2014

Why did the soviet union invade Afghanistan?

Question by cupcake: Why did the soviet union invade Afghanistan in 1979?
please tell me in simple terms. i’m not great at understanding social studies terms. and i really want to understand what the main reason is why the soviet union invaded. thank you.

Quick answer:

Answer by Kovid G
They wanted more land

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Comments

  1. USSR had gained considerable influence, including military bases, in Afghanistan under a 30 year economic agreement signed in 1975.
    In 1978, the Soviets backed a coup that installed Taraki as president. However, his (Soviet controlled) program of modernisation and 're-education' was unpopular with the majority of the population.This grew into a rebellion, 22 of Afghanistan's 28 provinces being taken over by the rebels.
    In September 1979, Taraki was overthrown and killed by Hafizullah Amin, who did not have Soviet approval for the takeover.Worried that the rebellion, headed by Muslim extremist Mujahadeen, would remove Amin by force and oust the Soviets from the country,the USSR decided to invade in December 1979.

  2. The Soviet Union did not "want more land" as some would mislead you into believing with their inaccurate version of history. The Soviet Union knew that once Hafizullah Amin took power in Afghanistan, there could very well be a civil war, and they preferred to have the winner of that war more in keeping with their world view than that of a Western imperialist power.

    This region has always been a volatile area, but Afghanistan and Russia did have good relations for decades prior to 1979. Many in Afghanistan's government who were against Hafizullah Amin had requested Soviet military help to stop Amin from becoming a dictator. The invasion you speak of has many similarities to the American invasion of Vietnam in 1965 – only the U.S. never calls it an invasion. For a good account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan, see:

  3. pschroeter says:

    The Soviet Union had a long history of being involved trying to influence the politics of countries on their borders. They always wanted a friendly generous buffer zone between them and countries in the West. They have a long history of dealing with invaders, such has the Nazis and Napoleon. There was also Cold War thinking that the Soviets had a bigger plan to eventually try and reach the Indian Ocean through Pakistan.

    Politics in Afghanistan became unstable in the 70s and the Soviets saw their chance to install a pro-Soviet government in Kabul. In Afghanistan controlling the cities has never necessarily meant controlling the countryside, and a fundamentalist Islamic rebellion broke out that threatened the Kabul government. This is when the Soviets decided to invade. 10 years later they had enough and left.

    BTW: The Islamic forces that came from around the world to help their Islamic brothers fight the infidels in Afghanistan, also included Osama bin Ladin. The organization he created to fight the Russians later became Al Queda, and this is also why he sought refuge there.

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