How Afghanistan defeated the Soviet Union

Published on September 18, 2021 by

The Soviet deployment in Afghanistan triggered a 10-year conflict that changed the world. This film unveils the full story of this war, which marked the beginning of the fall of the USSR.

In April 1978, Afghanistan’s President Mohammed Daoud Khan was overthrown and murdered in a coup d’état led by communist rebels. But not everyone in the conservative country welcomed the communist reforms, and a number of insurgencies arose against the new government. In an attempt to prop up the regime, Leonid Brezhnev sent Soviet troops to Kabul. It was supposed to be a short deployment. But the conflict with the anti-communist Muslim guerrillas, the mujahideen, intensified, and the Red Army ended up remaining in Afghanistan for almost ten years.

This was a time when America had an interest in weakening the Soviet Union’s economy and military. After Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1981, the United States increased its military aid to the mujahideen, using Pakistan and its intelligence service as a go-between. Thus, Soviet troops were not only fighting the mujahideen. Afghanistan became a proxy battleground for the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was disintegrating. Their army had taken heavy causalities in Afghanistan, and the Soviet population were openly rejecting the war. Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew from the war, but the tide could no longer be turned. A few months after the withdrawal of the last Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Two and a half years later, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

Through exclusive archive material, this documentary unveils the full story of the war that spelt the beginning of the end for the USSR.

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