Soviet-Afgan War Conflict Analysis Focus Thesis

Length: 18 pages Sources: 5 Subject: American History Type: Thesis Paper: #10933340 Related Topics: Root Cause Analysis, Soviet Union, Democratic Party, Al Qaeda
Excerpt from Thesis :

(Harvey, 2003) the suspicion of the United States of the "Soviet Expansionist tendencies" had increased by the 1970s and Harvey states as well that "The pervasive mentality of Washington officials during these years was dominated by the communist domino theory which led many Washington politicians to believe that the Soviet Union sought to take over the entire world." (2003) the United States had always received a safeguard provided by the shah for their Middle East interest of oil and it was this that resulted in the United States perceiving the Soviet-Afghanistan relations as a "considerable threat...before 1979." (Harvey, 2003)

Harvey reports that while Department of State records from the early 1970s report that the United States was indifferent to the relationship that was developing between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan that the truth is that "...Recently declassified Intelligence reports also reveal that the "official history record is false."

[26] Contrary to the "official record"- - that the United States involvement in the Afghan civil war began following, and as a response to, the Soviet Union's invasion of the country- in truth, United States involvement in the Afghanistan Civil War began a full six months before the Soviet Union ever invaded Afghanistan." (Harvey, 2003)

Harvey additionally reports that Brezinski interviewing with a French reporter in 1988 "...confirmed this "little known fact" of history, admitting that the CIA had begun providing covert aid to Afghan resistance fighters fully six months before the Soviet invasion. Even more revealing and shocking is Brezinski's admission, later on in the interview, that the U.S. intention in providing this aid was to "draw the Russians into the Afghan trap." (Harvey, 2003) When, in this same interview, the reporter, shocked at having discovered that the United States intentionally provoked the Soviet Union to enter into the war, asked Brezinski whether he harbored any regrets for doing this, Brezinski's reply was: "Regret what? The secret operation was an excellent idea... The day the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the U.S.S.R. its Vietnam War." (Harvey, 2003)

Harvey writes of Afghanistan that it " a sense, became the United States' pawn. The country became the means by which we could demoralize, and attempt to destabilize, our long-standing Cold War opponent- - with little to no cost to us. Indeed, official documents from the Soviet reveal that the Soviets' entrance into the war was based, in a large part, on the grounds that secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan was undermining the recent gains they had made in the country." (Harvey, 2003) the United States reportedly provided covert aid to the resistance fighters or the mujahideen "fighters for the faith" in Afghanistan. This is stated by Harvey to have seemed "the, to United States officials in the year 1979, an extremely strategic move. The United States could get other people- what's more, complete strangers in a distant country- to fight their war for them; it would require no commitment of ground troops of our own and would thereby ensure no American casualties. or, at least this was the assumption the CIA, Brezinski, and other high-profile Washington officials were operating under in the year 1979." (Harvey, 2003)

Harvey writes that no one considered the possibility of "repercussions that the training and equipping of zealous Afghan Islamists and their Muslim counterparts could have later on. An interview with a former CIA agent attests to the fact that during this time U.S. officials, resolute on their one-track agenda of combating the communists, failed to take into account the sort of consequences which arming Islam extremists could engender. In describing the CIA-Islamist partnership the agent said: "we took the means to wage war, put them in the hands of people who could do so, for purposes for which we agreed." (Harvey, 2003) in 1979, Soviet troops entered Afghanistan by the "tens of thousands" and it is reported that " the Soviet soldiers joined forces with the PDPA and its followers in an attempt to stabilize Afghanistan's government and suppress revolts orchestrated by Afghanistan's mujahideen, officials in Washington realized that economic aid alone to the mujahideen was not enough." (Harvey, 2003) it is reported that a record states that is found in the Digital National Security Archive that "...literally days after the Soviet invasion, Carter was on the phone with Zia [the king of Pakistan] offering him hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and military aid in exchange for cooperation in helping the rebels. Zia- who had his own agenda in Afghanistan-...


This would enable the United States government to "plausibly deny" their involvement in the war if the need ever arose. Pakistan's tribal Northwest Frontier was to provide sanctuary for refugees and become the base where fighters were to be raised, trained, and sent into battle. The ISI-in accordance with the CIA- was to become responsible for the selection, and distribution of weapons to mercenary armies. This army, according to the account given by Cooley, was to be drawn not only from the Afghanistan and Pakistan countries but from across the world; anyone who wanted to fight in this "holy war" of Islam was to be invited to do so." (2003)

The operation was described by Cooley as follows: "Virtually all would be Muslim. They would fervently believe that God had commanded them to fight his enemies, the Godless Communists and foreign Russian invaders. Their earthly rewards would be glory and generous pay. For those who died as martyrs, reward would be in heaven." (Harvey, 2003) it is reported that the United States had provided the rebels with the amount of approximately $700 million in military assistance by 1987 and the ultimate amount of $3 billion was appropriated by Congress to covert aid to the mujahideen." (Harvey, 2003)

The Soviet Troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan in 1988 and the Geneva Accords were signed shortly thereafter. At this point Afghanistan was completely in ruins and the United States interest in Afghanistan "...its mission complete- lost interest in Afghanistan, in the years when its interest was most needed. According to Ahmed Rashid, an expert on Afghanistan, and the author of Taliban, U.S. economic and military assistance to Afghanistan decreased dramatically after 1989, and no provisions were made for rebuilding the nation, demobilizing fighters or organizing relief aid." (Harvey, 2003)

The problem at this time was that it was perceived by many Afghans that the United States having withdrawn from Afghanistan "...constituted a major betrayal, while Washington's refusal to harness international pressure to help broker a settlement between the warlords was considered a double betrayal." (Harvey, 2003) Reportedly, the United State's absence in Afghanistan resulted in "...leaving a major power vacuum, creating a situation which lent itself to more chaos, destruction, and in-fighting amongst Afghanistan's many warlords, who, all out to consolidate their own individual power, proved unable to unite." (Harvey, 2003)

In 1994 the Taliban emerged in Afghanistan and came together in the country of Pakistan " a militia of Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist students..." who had in the beginning "...appealed to many Afghans with their promise of peaceful rule and their avowal to end the corruption, feuding, and bedlam which defined the country. but, as they rose in popularity, so to, the Terrorism Project reports, did their extremism. Armed and "inflamed by religious zeal," the Taliban intensified in violence and in their intolerance for anything other than their Islam extremist policy. The training grounds that the CIA built, maintained and operated during the Afghanistan Civil War soon became camps and refuges for militant terrorists, among whom was Osama Bin Laden." (Harvey, 2003) the United States ignored the reports of oppression of the Taliban including "...the sequestration, and virtual enslavement of, the women of Afghanistan, the beatings for violations in dress code or prescribed beard length, the stoning to death of those accused of adultery, the burial alive for sodomy, etc..." (Harvey, 2003) because the United States believed the Taliban would support or Unocal project- and oil interests in- the region." (Harvey, 2003)


The work of Bernard Wood (2003) entitled: "Development Dimensions of Conflict Prevention and Peace-Building" states that the "scale and devastation of violent intrastate and regional…

Sources Used in Documents:

Isby, David C. (1999) War in a Distant Country. New York: Arms and Armour Press, 1989. Rashid, Ahmed (2000) Taliban. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Terrorism Project. (2001) "Lessons from History: U.S. Policy Towards Afghanistan, 1978-2001." 5 October 2001. Online available at; <>.

United States Department of State (1976) Annual Policy Assessment, March 9, 1976.

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