By Rodric Braithwaite
The tale of the Soviet profession of Afghanistan is celebrated: the expansionist Communists crushed a terrible nation as a way of attaining a warm-water port at the Persian Gulf. Afghan mujahideen disenchanted their plans, maintaining on with little greater than average battling abilities, till CIA brokers got here to the rescue with American fingers. Humiliated in conflict, the Soviets rapidly retreated. it is a nice tale, writes Rodric Braithwaite. however it by no means occurred. The Russian conscripts suffered badly from mismanagement and strategic blunders, yet they have been by no means defeated at the battlefield, and withdrew in sturdy order. during this awesome, myth-busting account, Braithwaite--the former British ambassador to Moscow--challenges a lot of what we all know concerning the Soviets in Afghanistan. He offers an inside of examine this little-understood episode, utilizing first-hand bills and piercing research to teach the warfare because it was once fought and skilled via the Russians. The invasion, he writes, was once a protective reaction to a chaotic scenario within the Soviets' quick neighbor. They meant to set up a solid, pleasant executive, safe the main cities, and teach the police and army ahead of creating a swift go out. however the challenge escalated, as did casualties. actually, the Soviet management made up our minds to drag out a 12 months sooner than the 1st Stinger missile was once utilized in wrestle. Braithwaite doesn't, after all, paint the career as a Russian triumph. on the contrary, he illustrates the searing impression of the brutal clash on squaddies, their households, and the wider public, as returning veterans--the Afgansty of the title--struggled to regain their footing again domestic. a superb author in addition to a professional, Braithwaite consists of readers via those complicated and momentous occasions, taking pictures these violent and tragic days as nobody has performed ahead of.
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Extra info for Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan, 1979-1989
After a good deal of further fighting elsewhere in Kabul, resistance had ceased by the following morning. Power passed to the PDPA at the cost of forty-three dead among the military and others among the civilian population. One of those wounded was Mohamed Gulabzoi. It was the bloodiest so far of the twentieth-century changes of power in Afghanistan. Though the Soviets have been accused of standing behind the coup, it is not clear how much if anything they knew about it. Despite their worries about Daud’s flirtations with the West, the Soviets’ policy of friendship with the Afghan government currently in power had paid off in the past, and there was no particular reason to assume that it could not be satisfactorily managed in the future.
At the apartment of a bureaucrat I had met, I had danced at a party where a well-known singer called Wajiha had strummed at her guitar in between puffs of her cigarette. ’ 32 But by then paradise was already doomed. Kabul was reduced to ruins by the civil war which broke out after the Russian departure and the old life was swept away by the arrival of the Taliban, which brought the civil war to an end. The palaces and the hotels were destroyed, the museum looted, music, dancing, and women’s education all brought to nothing.
In the summer of 1975 Hekmatyar and other Afghan Muslim leaders, backed by the Pakistani prime minister, Zulfikar Bhutto, launched a series of risings, which were easily suppressed by the government. The leaders were executed, imprisoned, or fled to Pakistan, where they were taken under the wing of the Pakistani Intelligence Service. Many of the survivors – Rabbani, Hekmatyar, Ahmad Shah Masud – had studied together at Kabul University. They later played a major role in the struggle against the Russians.