Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 28th, 2020

Why Afghanistan Was Left Alone When the Soviet Union Left the Country

In December 1979, in the midst of the Cold War, the Soviet 40th Army invaded Afghanistan in order to prop up the communist government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) against a growing insurgency.  At the time, the United States had been making headway in the Middle East at Moscow’s expense, successfully courting Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. The Soviet Union feared the loss of its communist proxy in Afghanistan.
There are evidence showing that Hafizullah Amin wanted an improvement in U.S-Afghan relations. In fact, he wanted a long range hedge against over dependence pn the Soviet Union. This approcah of Amin, was the main factor that pushed the Soviet Union to rush in invading Afghanistan; because this meant losing Afghanistan to the West. In this case, they could lose more than a strategically placed country on their order. In addition to this, many political analysts believe that invasion of Afghanistan stemmed from the age-long dream of Moscow to have direct access to the Indian Ocean.
The United States was very cautious about Amin’s reorientation.  However, Moscow noticed it with alarm; they considered it as strategic reorientation to the West. Amisn’s keeping contacts with the American chargé d’affaires from Moscow and it cost his life.
Why Afghans Starred Fighting Against the Soviet Union Invasion
Afghans considered the Moscow backed government as a “godless, communist-dominated regime” in Kabul. As the experience of the central Asian countries showed, when the Soviet Union invaded them, dissident Islamist and anti-Soviet Central Asians fled to Afghanistan, British India, and to the Hijaz in Saudi Arabia.  When the Soviet Invaded the Central Asian countries they remained there and started banning Islamic activities to replace it with Communism ideology. This caused painc in Afghanistan. In Addition to this, religious scholars encouraged, both sunni and shia scholars, encouraged people to uprise againsy the Afghan communist regime and its Soviet Union backers. As a result armed resistance groups were formed in the country supported by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Western Countries. Although, the invasion was intended to be a quick operation, but lasted several years as resistance to the Soviets was fierce and unrelenting.
Afghans think that the West just looked for its own interests. Once the Red Army left Afghanistan, they had broken down the Soviet Union and it posed no more threats against the West. In fact, some U.S. officials felt Washington’s geostrategic aims had been achieved. As a result, they left Afghans alone with a shattered country that had changed to the weapons catchy of the Soviet Union. Although they knew that an overall civil war will start in Afghanistan, they just turned their back to Afghans. However, it was a big mistake, because five years later came the first attack on the World Trade Center.  After the West Afghanistan alone, the country changed to the safe haven of the terrorist groups.
Invasion of Afghanistan cost the Soviet Union dearly. The power of the Kremlin declined, its economy collapsed and finally the USSR collapsed. As a result, the cold war era ended and the U.S became the only World Super power.
The introduction of large quantities of weapons and funds by the West and the weapons left from the USSR exacerbated simmering historical ethno-linguistic, sectarian, and regional divisions in Afghanistan and encouraged alternative social and political structures and processes of local governance in the periphery.
The big lesson of the USSR withdrawal from Afghanistan for the West is that if  the West abandon Afghanistan, once they are in it and engaged, there is a very real possibility that they will pay a higher price in the end as they paid before. The last but not the least, such withdrawal, may serve the Afghans as the USSR withdrawal that Afghanistan is suffering from it after about 3 decades.