The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

A look at the historical relationship between the Soviet Union and Afhganistan and how this changed during the Cold War period.

This paper attempts to analyze the events surrounding the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It provides an overview of the years leading up to the invasion, looking at the relationship between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union and how political relations between the two countries changed to such an extent that a military intervention was considered necessary. It outlines the main arguments presented by historians for the invasion along with the author’s opinion on the matter. It also examines some of the long term historical relationship between the countries in order to show that it was the perceived primitive state of Afghan politics that has made it a target for invaders in the past.

Afghanistan in Historical Context
Afghanistan Turns to the East
The ?Saur? Revolution
Examining the Historical Debate
The first major event to affect the time leading up to the civil war in Afghanistan was the return from a decade of political exile of Mohammed Daoud Khan, in 1973. Daoud had been prime minister of Afghanistan until 1963, when his insistence on focusing on the question of reclaiming Afghan territories from Pakistan, rather than modernizing Afghanistan as the King (Daoud’s cousin) Nadir Khan wished, had led to his forced resignation . Daoud’s return was in trouble really from before he actually returned to Afghanistan. Whilst he had been away, a rather haphazard constitutional monarchy had been established. Unfortunately (for Daoud at least) during this time many different political groups had emerged and grown stronger over the years . When Daoud returned he sought to re-establish an old style government, like the one he had left. While he was out of politics, Daoud saw both the issue of the areas of Pakistan which Afghanistan claimed, and the links he had made with the Soviets given less and less importance. The final straw was a particularly dry summer in Afghanistan, which led to a widespread famine during 1971.