Continued war eclipses Soviet invasion memories
KABUL (Pajhwok): Thirty-three years ago this week, 120,000 Soviet troops backed by helicopters, fighters jets, and tanks invaded Afghanistan and installed a puppet Babrak Karmal in place of communist president Hafizullah Amin, sparking an ill-fated conflict that lasted nine years and resulted in the death of one million Afghans.
As well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops and 14,500 Soviet soldiers were killed in the war that ended after the government of Soviet-backed Najibullah fell in April 1992 after Moscow withdrew support following the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Some believe the Cold War had reached a point that forced the Red Army to solidify its southern front against the West by marching into Afghanistan, thanks to the success of the anti-communist rebellion of the Mujahideen.
After the Soviets withdrawal, civil war raged, setting the stage for the Taliban's takeover of the country in 1996.
The war left tens of thousands of Afghans handicapped and forced millions to take refuge in neighbouring Pakistan and Iran.
Tomorrow (Dec 27) is marked the anniversary of the Soviet invasion, but the event’s observance has been lukewarm due to the continued conflict and foreign interferences in Afghanistan.
Some political analysts describe the December 27, 1979 invasion the blackest day in Afghanistan’s history because it gave birth to unending misfortunes for the Afghans.
Afghanistan Regional Studies Centre head Abdul Ghafoor Lewal said the invasion had been noted as a black day in Afghanistan’s history because it laid the foundation of ending miseries.
He said it was the attack by a supper power on a small and weak nation. The invasion pushed the cold war between the US and former Soviet Union to the climax and paved the ground for foreign inferences in Afghanistan from all directions.
Lewal said the arrival of foreign troops in Afghanistan to fight insurgent Taliban had made the Afghans to forget about remembering the Soviet invasion.
Political science teacher at Kabul University, Prof. Shehla Farid, said the Dec 27 invasion was an unforgettable day in Afghanistan.
She said the increasing violent incidents and problems in Afghanistan and lack of interest on the part of government officials had resulted in little condemnation of the Soviet invasion.
She said though Afghan officials gave little importance to the observance of the day, but the day was unforgettable.
Another university teacher, Faizullah Jalal, said Afghan officials had drowned in corruption to the level that they had forgotten the historic day.
He said misfortunes descended on Afghanistan after the communists’ takeover from the government of Mohammad Daud Khan and the Soviet invasion.
He said the government and people should condemn the two days by organising big gatherings and programmes.
The Soviet invasion began on Dec. 25, 1979 and ended when the last units withdrew on Feb. 15, 1989.
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