Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1979

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Superpower rivalry

  • Afghanistan became a focus for superpower rivalry: close to Persian Gulf oil & Indian Ocean ports, boarded Iran & Pakistan. Shared a border with the Muslims in Soviet Union. To Moscow, a friendly Afghanistan was vital.
  • The communist coup in Afghanistan took place in April, 1978
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  • Islamic leaders in Afghanistan were against the new communist coup because they were trying to change the law of God & ruin islamic traditions - Communists were trying to make everuone equal but God had decided who is rich & who is poor.
  • Islamics protested against communist changes by burning down schools & universities. It was a holy war against ungodly communists.
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American concern

  • Americans were concerned about Russian interference in Afghanistan incase USSR moved South & cease Persian Gulf.
  • Islamics recieved US covert weapons for the first time in July 1979
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Afghanistan Prime Minister

  • Politician Hafizzulah Amin was hated in Afghanistan because his policies were too harsh & didn't take Afghan traditions into account
  • Afghan Prime Minister Mohammed Taraki intended to deal with the problem of Amin by flying to Moscow to get advice from Brezhnev. They decided to slow reforms & end the terror.
  • But when Taraki returned to Kabul, Amin had him ceased & executed.
  • Russians invaded Afghanistan on 25th December, 1979 to get rid of Amin.
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American response

  • American responded to this action by putting restraints on USSR - Carter's public announcement - if USSR invaded Iran or Pakistan through Afghanistan he would consider it a threat to USA's security.
  • Grain deliveries to USSR were blocked, a boycot of olympic games in Moscow lauched & US military spending increased.
  • US national security officer flew to Afghanistan to rally resistance, without revealing USA's intervention - provided weapons to "God's Army".
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