(Original post by lettucesoap)
so in April 1978 there is the Kabul Revolution
, a dramatic overthrow of the Afghan royal family which was replaced by a socialist/communist government, led by Mohammed Teraki
. However, Teraki's government isn't stable, so a civil war breaks out between the Mujahideen
(Islamic rebels who want power, led by Amin
) vs. Karmal
, a popular Afghan communist.
USSR was very concerned about this power struggle, for if the Mujahideen won, then Afghanistan would become an Islamic state and influence nearby Soviet Republics do the same (domino effect). The thing is, Islamic states aren't Communist
, and therefore Islamic states have no reasons/desires to make alliances
with the Soviet Union...but the Soviet Union needs Afghanistan's oil & loyalty, as it is wedged right inbetween the 'two camps
' or 'spheres of influences
So they invaded Afghanistan on Christmas day 1979 to give Karmal support to form a new Government.
USA, on the other hand, was also deeply concerned about the power struggle in Afghanistan, but they could not fight directly because they're busy in Vietnam. More importantly, the USA are absolutely appalled
at what the USSR is doing. So, President Carter takes the following steps:
1) The Carter Doctrine
was commissioned in 1979, where the USA...
- formed an alliance with China and Israel
- they supplied weapons
to the Mujahideen (so now the Mujahideen has this incredible supply of hi-tech weapons, giving them an extreme advantage in winning) ~ VERY IMPORTANT, I'll explain why in a minute
- the ended all diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union ~ THIS MARKED THE END OF DETENTE
the 1980 Moscow Olympics & persuaded other countries to do so to protest against the Soviet interferance
3) Carter withdrew his support for SALT 2
- a doctrine in the making which was meant to reduce nuclear weapons
The 10 year war that followed the Soviet invasion was a humiliating disaster for both Afghanistan & USSR...
1) around 1.5 million people died, including 15,000 Red Army
2) it crippled the Soviet economy, it cost the USSR $7.8 billion a year.
3) the arming of Islamic fundamentalists by the US left a legacy of terrorism (Al-Qaeda was born in 88-89, towards the end of the war) which blights the world to this day
4) humiliating withdrawal of USSR
5) it marked a new low in Superpower tensions