The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
The far reaching consequences of the Soviet War in Afghanistan illustrate the underappreciated power that the region holds on the world. Although Afghanistan is a small country in comparison to the United States or the Soviet Union, its location and regional influence, along with its natural resources, have proven it to be equally powerful in its own right. When the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979, much political turmoil for the USSR ensued, both foreign and domestic. The Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan deployed brutal military strategy along with keen political prowess in pursuit of an advantageously located communist regime. After years of fighting, this war spelled disaster for the Soviet Union and all else involved.
To fully understand the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, one must first look at the region’s political landscape at the time. The Soviet Union was engaged in a massive arms race with the United States of America. Known as the Cold War, this global power struggle between two opposing forces caused increased tension and a frantic expansion of diplomatic influence throughout the world. The United States sought to project its influence in the Middle East by forming alliances with affluent countries such as Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. (Institute) As the United States continued to develop relations with Middle Eastern countries, the Soviet Union grew weary of the consequences that American anti-communist ideology could have on their access to Middle Eastern oil. After Pakistan and The United States established military ties in 1954 (Soviet Occupation), Afghanistan reached out to the Soviets for an alliance. Afghanistan’s political structure was ineffective at unifying the elitist monarchy with the traditional tribal society, thus creating an unstable domestic environment. The only structured political party in Afghanistan, The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan,...