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The Russian Invasion of Afghanistan 

The Russian invasion of afghanistan began in 1979 and was the expansion of communism into the Middle East which sparked a nine-year conflict towards the later half of the Cold War. 

The Beginning

Hazifullah Amin
In 1979 Kabal, the capital of Afghanistan, was invaded by Russian paratroopers seeking to spread communism to the middle east.  At this time the people of Afghanistan were in the middle of their own civil war, many had already fled the capital to escape their communist favoring leader. A large majority of these people joined a guerrilla militia called the Mujahideen.  The Mujahideen later declared a Jihad, or a holy war, on Amin and his men, including his new Russian supporters.  These Russians claimed that they were not invading the country but were invited by Hazifullah Amin, but on December 27th, 1979, Amin was shot and killed by the Russians.

The Russian Occupation

After Amin's death, Babrak Kamal ascended to his position as head of the Afghan government.  To remain in power however, Kamal needed to hire over 85,000 Russian soldiers to keep order.  The reason for this is because almost all the able bodied men moved to the side of the Mujahideen.  This militia group were armed with old, unreliable rifles but had a strong knowledge of the surrounding mountains which made them quite troublesome for the Russian soldiers.  The Russians experienced a similar opposition as that Americans had seen in Vietnam.  

Outside Help / International Reaction

United Nations General Assembly
The United Nations had acted in almost the same way they did towards Germany during WWII, lackadaisical. America did nothing to help Russia, but it is common belief that the Mujahideen fighters had access to American surface-to-air missiles and other weapons, even though there were no direct sales from America to the militia fighters.  America did show their discomfort however through diplomatic and economic actions such as the boycotted Olympic Games and creating a ban on the export of grain to Russia.  By 1982, the Mujahideen controlled over %75 of Afghanistan and had a strong grip over the nation. 

Trueman, Chris. "Russian Invasion of Afghanistan." History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sep 2011. <>.