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World Reaction to the Soviet/Afghanistan War

U.S. Reaction

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan elicited a strong response from various world players. The United States strongly condemned Soviet actions. President Jimmy Carter called the event "the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War." (Carter) An embargo was placed on certain commodities such as grain and technology to the Soviet Union from the United States. The U.S., along with other nations, actively supported the resistance groups in Afghanistan in the way of military supplies, military training, and food for the mujahideen and the Afghani refugees ("Afghanistan"). 

Boycott of Olympic Games

Other international responses varied. Some nations responded simply with harsh warnings while others went as far as to partake in a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Support of the boycott was fairly divided. Australia and Britain, despite being strong proponents of the boycott, both sent athletes to the games. A total of 65 nations abstained from the games to protest the Soviet invasion. However, this ploy to pressure the Soviets into withdrawing troops from Afghanistan was not very effective. It in fact pushed the Soviets in to leading a communist-bloc boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles.("The Olympic Boycott, 1980").

Other International Response

Many national organizations were in great detest over the Soviet invasion. The Organization of the Islamic Conference demanded a withdrawal of Soviet troops in January of 1980. The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution that would call  for a "total withdrawal of foreign troops" from Afghanistan. However, because this resolution dealt with the internal affairs of Afghanistan, the General Assembly had no way of enforcing it. Only the Afghan government could decide the status of Soviet troops within its own borders. The United Nations Security Council had no way of intervening because the Soviets had the right to veto that decision within the Council. The Non-Aligned Movement was very well divided on this issue in particular. Many countries, such as Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Finland did not support the resolution passed by the General Assembly. Whether Soviet intervention of Afghanistan was legal or an invasion was a greatly divided issue amongst Non-Aligned Movement countries ("Soviet-Afghan War...").  India, a strong ally of the Soviet Union, denied supporting the Soviet policies involving Afghanistan. It, in fact, refused to support the war (UPI). The UN Human Rights Commission also release multiple reports critical of Soviets " gross violations of human rights." (Agrawal)

Various Arab communities were in strong support of mujahideen throughout the invasion. Money and aid was sent consistently from Arab supporters during the war. (Zhang, Shou, and Mike Jacobs)

Pakistan's Involvement

Pakistan began to provide major military support to the Mujahideen after invasion. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia sent a great deal of financial to the Pakistani military, who, in turn, provided military training and funding for the Afghan resistance.  In the 1980s, Pakistan began taking in millions of Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviets ("Soviet-Afghan War..."). Pakistan's involvement in the war played a vital role in the eventual withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.


"Afghanistan." U.S. Department of State. U.S. State Department, 6 Dec. 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <>.

Agrawal, Romit. "Role Of UN In Soviet Invasion Of Afghanistan - Author - Romit Agrawal." Legal Service India - Law, Lawyers and Legal Resources. GNLU. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <>.

Carter, Jimmy. "Jimmy Carter State of the Union Address 1980." Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, 3 Nov. 2006. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <>.

"The Olympic Boycott, 1980." Office of the Historian. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <>.

"Soviet-Afghan War - New World Encyclopedia." Info:Main Page - New World Encyclopedia. New World Encyclopedia, 9 Aug. 2008. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>.

UPI. "India Denies Afghan War Support." The Bulletin [Bend Oregon] 11 Dec. 1980: 18. Print.

Zhang, Shou, and Mike Jacobs. "The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 1979-1989." Needham Public Schools. Aug. 2001. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <>.