Russians in Afghanistan

Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

In 1978, Afganistan was in a civil war. Afganistan’s prime minister, Hazifullah Amin, wanted to rid the country of its Muslim tradition and replace it with a more western-world communist rule. The majority of the Afganistan people rebelled. Many were arrested while others fled to the mountains and joined a “holy” guerrilla force, Mujahdeen.

The Russians moved in to “help” the Afghanistan government with its communist rule under Amin. At the end of December, 1979, Amin was shot by the Russian army and replaced by Babrak Kamal. Kamal needed the support of 85,000 Russian soldiers to keep his seat as ruler of Afganistan and oppose the growing Mujahdeen.

By 1982, 75% of the Aghanistans were members of the Mujahdeen. Some sources state the rebels were supported by the United States through arms and missles. The Mujahdeen were knowledgable and equipped for the harsh weather and mountains.

The Russian troops were not prepared for the type of fighting needed to overtake the Mujahdeen and to keep Kamal in the government seat.

Eventually, Mikhal Gorbechev pulled the Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. He realized that the Russian troops could not win the war and the continued effort was crippling Russia’s economy.

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