Soviet-Afghan War

  • PDPA Coup

    Coup engineered by the PDPA put in place an Daoud shot at presidential palace. Afghan government, now being officially communist, put in place modernization reforms which angered the Muslim traditionals. Disunification within PDPA, Barbrak Karmal sent as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
  • PDPA Internal turmoil

    September 1979 President Taraki is murdered by Prime Minister Amin, who begs the Soviets to enter the country and put a stop to resistance against the PDPA. The Soviets do not trust Amin, who they think is an American spy as he was educated in America.
  • Soviet Invasion

    The USSR lands advisers and paratroopers in Kabul and engineers a coup to prop up a communist government headed by Barbrak Karmal, leader of the Parcham faction of the PDPA after they realize Hazikullah Amin was too radical a communist to survive in a politically traditional country. Soviet Fortieth Army spearheads invasion right after the coup.
  • International criticism

    UN General Assembly, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Council of Islamic Nations all make formal statements to condemn the Soviet invasion. The UN Security Council, however, cannot take any military action like it did for Korea where the USSR was not present as the USSR yields veto power in the UNSC. President Carter of the USA halts all grain shipments to the USSR.A
  • Kabul uprisings

    By now the Soviets had established their positions and were preparing their forces for offensives against the guerilla movements which intensified after Soviet occupation. Demonstrations against the occupation and the Karmal Government led to three days of rioting, during which Afghan Army units mutinied when ordered to fire on civilians. Soviet armour and helicopter gunships forced to move in and kill hundreds.
  • Kandahar-Ghazni Offensive

    By now the Soviets had conducted a long string of offensives, destroying all the villages between Kandahar and Ghazni, major cities in south Afghanistan. Soviet commanders preferred to employ artillery, tanks where possible, and air strikes, rather than Afghan or Soviet infantry.
  • Soviet troop increase

    March 1981 15 months into the invasion, Soviets decide to increase occupation force from 75000 to 120000. Problems are faced by as the southern military districts can only provide conscripts with a theoretical 3-month callup period, after which they have to recede into reserve divisions. Ethnic Russian soldiers are also needed as the Muslim divisions are not trusted by military High Command due to religious sentiments.
  • Panjshir VII Offensive

    After a long period of offensives which never really showed any real advances, centering around the cities of Kandahar, Herat and Ghazni, Soviets launch the largest offensive in the war in the Panjshir valley, a mujaheddin stronghold. Soviet positions, after a swift advance, couldn't be held as continuous mujahidin harassment caused the 108th motor rifle regiment to be decimated. Soviets evacuated the valley in September, only for other unsuccessful offensives to be repeated.
  • Gorbachev takes power

    Mikhail Gorbachev takes over as General Secretary of the Politburo and starts a drive for new Afghan policy after Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko all fail to bring any decisive military/political change in strategy. Later evidence shows that the mujahidin, at this point, was close to being destroyed, both logistically and numerically.
  • (Throughout 1985) US Stinger missile entry

    Mujahideen come together in Pakistan to form alliance against Soviet forces. Half of Afghan population now estimated to be displaced by war, with many fleeing to neighbouring Iran or Pakistan. US starts to supply mujahidin with hi-tech Stinger missiles to shoot down Soviet attack choppers.
  • Ahmadzai replaces Karmal

    Najibullah Ahmadzai, former head of secret police, replaces Barbrak Karmal while Gorbachev puts in place a gradual withdrawal strategy and orders military not to undertake anymore major offensives to limit the damage as the Politburo decides that there is no viable way to win the Afghan war.
  • Start of Soviet withdrawal

    First Soviet troops start to withdraw from Afghanistan as the Geneva accords between the USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the USSR are signed to end the war within a year.
  • Completion of withdrawal

    Last Soviet troops withdrawn from Afghanistan, ending the Soviet-Afghan war but not in any way resolving internal Afghan conflict. Afghanistan goes on to see decades of civil war, in which the Najibullah government is toppled in 1992, the Taliban takes power in 1996, and the NATO invasion after the 9/11 attacks. Afghanistan became known as the "graveyard of empires" after British and Soviet failures to occupy it.