Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989)

By: Tiana Travis

PBS NEWSHOUR: The Soviet Occupation in Afghanistan

Article Overview:

This article discusses the foundations and ideals of the Soviet Union after World War II in invading Afghanistan in 1979 in order to gain interactions through controlled territories and establish themselves as a global power. Due internal revolts and divisions in Afghanistan between the elite and central government with local leaders, the Soviets imposed military, social and economic reforms that attempted to end uprisings through arrests,tortures, and executions. Around a million Afghans died during the time, with more than 8,000 people executed after being put on trial. The Soviets want to spread their Marxist theology and search for an ally, led to their relations with Afghanistan.  Afghanistan's previous look for aid from the Soviets, later became a threat to the majority of the population. About 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed, and about 35,000 were wounded. The anti-government forces had support from many countries, mainly that of the United States and Pakistan.

The Main Opponents:

The main opponents included the majority of the local Afghan population against Soviet Union armies.

Who Else Is Involved:

The United States played a great role in this conflict because initially they allied with Pakistan, leading the Soviet Union to initiate relations with Afghanistan to counter this alliance. Second, in the midst of the Soviet-Afghan war, the U.S. donated anti-aircraft missiles to the radical Afghan groups fighting the Soviet forces.

How Is The War Being Conducted:

The war is fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupiers launching military machines and aerial threats.

Causes of the War:

Soviets wanted to be an esteemed power as well as wanted to gain interactions and relations in a highly active trading country like Afghanistan. Similarly, Soviets wanted to gain political leadership and spread its Marxist ideology.

Attempts To Solve the Problem Non-Violently:

From my research, I did not see any attempt to solve this problem non-violently. The U.S. did make an effort to stop the overall war and end the occupying of the Soviets in Afghanistan, but the entire effort was militarized. Both super powers used their weaponry and military to overpower one another.

Is This Conflict a Just War?

1. Just Cause

The purpose for this war is not for protection or self defense nor is it for humanitarian intervention. This purpose of this conflict is due to the Soviets greedy need to gain more imperial power and take over a nation implementing their own political ideals for their benefit.

2. Legitimate Authority

Most of the Afghanistan population called to rebel and fight against the intervention of the Soviets after they saw that their implementations were not beneficial to the advancement of their country. But the Pro- Soviet Afghan government , who held legitimate authority, did not accept it.

3. Right Intention

This war did not rank as a just cause, plus its intentions were for political and global power expansion.

4. Last Resort

No negotiations or economic consulting was pursued making this not a last resort.

5. Probability

There may have been a fair degree of success just because the Soviets were a lot more powerful than Afghanistan but due to U.S. intervention and military supplies it most likely would have not been successful.

6. Comparative Justice

This war does not really serve justice, the militant weaponry and mass attacks, executions, etc. go against this principle.

7. Noncombatant Immunity

No, all of the Afghanistan population is at risk, over a million of the general population was murdered or executed.

8. Proportionality

The use of inconsequential weaponry and aerial strikes did not outweigh the casualties and destruction of Afghanistan after the Soviets fled.


Works Cited:

"The Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.                 

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