Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Consequences of Soviet Intervention in Modern Afghanistan


Consequences of Soviet Intervention  in Modern Afghanistan

The Soviet intervention that took place in December 1979 had posed not only a serious threat to India’s security but to the entire South Asian region. As the intervention was done by the Soviet Union – a cold war ally of the United States of America, the latter took the event seriously and went with the single-minded purpose to teach the former the lesson of its life.  In the US war against the Soviets, Pakistan became the most important ally and this Jihad was waged with Pakistan’s border regions with Afghanistan acting as a launching pad for Afghan and other militants from the Muslim world. The weapons for Afghan Mujahideens were passed on through Pakistan. It also enabled Pakistan to receive substantive military aid as well as quiet acceptance of its indulgence in nuclear technology extended by China. Be it the critical issue of Pakistan’s tribal areas acting as safe haven for Taliban-led insurgents in Afghanistan or the worrying affair of the growth of extremism and its terrorist consequences in Pakistan the root – cause lies in the globally – sponsored Afghan Jihad of 1980s. If that concluding event of the cold War had not occurred, the conflict in South Asia might still be confined to traditional forms of armed versus the armed and not transformed into violence by the armed against the unarmed. The South Asia, which had experienced very low levels of organised terrorism until the early 1980s, has undergone a dramatic transformation to become the scene of the bloodiest terrorist violence in the world.
Formation of terrorist groups
Building a strategic relation with Pakistan has been a persisting feature of US policy in South Asia and the new development in Afghanistan had precipitated its urgency. In the context of policy requirements Pakistan was used by the US as a conduit of arms supplies to the Afghan Mujahideens who were fighting against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan from their bases in Pakistan. These arms came mainly from America but also from China, European countries and the Muslim world. Besides supplying arms to the Mujahideen, Pakistan also provided them with training. Without all this assistance, the US objective of bleeding the Soviets while in Afghanistan could not have been achieved. When in February 1989 the Soviet takeover in Afghanistan ended, the supply of US arms and assistance to Afghan Mujahideen also halted simultaneously. The Government of Pakistan very tactfully turned the face of Afghan rebels and others towards Kashmir. The pace of terrorist activities increased suddenly in Jammu and Kashmir and along the line of control. Further the disintegration of Soviet Union marked the end of cold war between the two superpowers and made the US least interested not only in Afghan affairs but to the whole of South Asia strategically.
Events of 11 September 2001
In the whole history of terrorism, the event of 11 September 2001 was of immense significance as it had changed the entire Western approach towards terrorism. It was for the first time that terrorism attacked the mightiest of the powers. In the attack even more important was the fact that it challenged the prevailing hegemonic power structure of the world and a powerful statement that the dominance of the US in this power structure was not acceptable; that it could be challenged through the use of force and violence. Obviously in post – 9/11 period Osama bin Laden, the mastermind and main culprit of the event became target of the US, and the latter had declared him to catch dead or alive. In retaliation, the US launched a war against global terrorism and as the attack on US installations came from within Asia, the suspected regions were bound to be hot seat of war against terror. In this war, Pakistan once again received top priority in US calculations and with the moral support of many countries US war against global terrorism began in October 2001. The United States of America, in particular, was determined to eliminate Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as was done in Afghanistan and the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the terrorists are suspected to have taken refuge. And about a decade later on 1 May 2011 Osama bin Laden, the most wanted face of terrorism, was killed by the US forces in a operation at Abbottabad in Pakistan.
Developments during Barack Obama
Earlier in January 2009 when Barack Obama became the President of United States, started a correction exercise on both Afghanistan and Pakistan so as to remove the distortions of the past and help bring back the focus on the needs of the future. The new President was confident that the attacks in New York on 9/11 were planned from these areas and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted. He announced to pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban’s momentum and increase Afghanistan’s capacity. Perhaps, in line, the US killed Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda chief, and sent additional troops to Afghanistan. The new US policy has put Pakistan in an uneasy position as its heart has never been with the US declared war on terror. First for the reason that it deems its interests correspond to re-installing the Taliban in power in Afghanistan. Secondly, its foreign policy is driven very largely by terror tactics and therefore, Pakistan cannot at the same time be in the advance – line of any fight against terrorism.  Currently in post – bin Laden phase while the US is interested to deal militarily with Sirajuddin Haqqani group of Taliban, an ethnic Pashtun and former Mujahideen leader, Pakistan is resisting the pressure to act through mediation. While America is focused on destroying the extremists, Pakistan, ostensibly a partner in the war on terror, is more concerned with preventing a pro-India government taking over in Afghanistan. The US is apprehensive of the powerful Haqqani Network, close to the ISI and operating both in Pakistan and Afghanistan and recently it had carried out the suicide attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. The new US policy is designed to break the backbone of Taliban Al-Qaeda surge in Afghanistan with a view to establish stability and peace not only there but in the whole world.

Dr. Rajkumar Singh is Professor and Head of P.G.Department of Political Science, BNMU, West Campus, P.G. Centre, Saharsa-852201. Bihar, India. Email- rajkumarsinghpg@yahoo.com

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