Foreigners asked to learn from Soviet fate
Anguished memories of the nine-year Soviet war (1979 to 1989), forcing millions of Afghans to flee their country and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, were still fresh in their minds, they said.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal, some Afghans complained foreign forces in their country behaved like the Russian invaders. But all foreigners should draw a lesson from the fate of the Soviet Union, they warned.
As a result of popular resistance, the Soviet troops -- led by General Boris Gromov -- were forced into pulling out of the country on February 15, 1989. Gromov was the last Soviet general officer to leave Afghanistan.
Haji Nader Shah, a dweller of Chaharasiab district, recalled the invasion and the suffering it caused. But the former superpower eventually bowed to the strong will of the Afghans and walked out of their country.
The Russian soldiers’ barbarity is unforgettable, according to Shah, who attributed the Soviet defeat to strong national unity. There was no justification for the occupation of Afghanistan at the hands of a former ally, he believed.
Maryam, whose spouse was killed by the Russians, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they would never be able in her lifetime to forget the tragedy. A mother of six children, the 60-year-old also assailed the conduct of NATO-led forces in the country.
The Soviet withdrawal had brought pride to all Afghans, who believed the world would not repeat those mistakes after the US invasion of Afghanistan, she added. Unfortunately, NATO troops also started behaving like Russians, she lamented.
“The foreigners must learn from Russia’s fate,” Maryam stressed. Hundreds of families had lost many near and dear ones in the past decade and hence bitter traumas haunting their minds.
An elder from the Mianagi village of Salang district recalled the Soviets had brought hundreds of tanks to Jabalus Saraj and Salang the day they were leaving. Haji Mohammad Yasin accused the Russians of committing unwarranted bloodshed in the area.
Haji Yasin said the raid preceding the Soviet withdrawal left 30 people dead, mostly children and women. “There was mourning and fear across Salang. The martyrs and injured stayed buried under rubble for days.”
A private university teacher in Kabul, Ahmadzai Haideri, said: “In fact, Americans and Russians have the same goals. The only difference is that the Soviets attacked Afghanistan directly, but the Americans are working behind the scenes to achieve their objectives here.”
But another Kabul resident, Mahreen, saw the NATO military presence as useful. She gave the US and the global fraternity full marks for their effective role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction over the past 13 years. She also praised the ISAF for strengthening Afghan security forces.
The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan was completed on February 15, 1989 in compliance with the terms of the Geneva Accords. Gen. Gromov was the last to walk back into Soviet territory.
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