Afghanistan War

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Afghanistan War

Afghanistan War, 1978–92, conflict between anti-Communist Muslim Afghan guerrillas (mujahidin) and Afghan government and Soviet forces. The conflict had its origins in the 1978 coup that overthrew Afghan president Sardar Muhammad Daud Khan, who had come to power by ousting the king in 1973. The president was assassinated and a pro-Soviet Communist government under Noor Mohammed Taraki was established. In 1979 another coup, which brought Hafizullah Amin to power, provoked an invasion (Dec., 1979) by Soviet forces and the installation of Babrak Karmal as president.

The Soviet invasion, which sparked Afghan resistance, intially involved an estimated 30,000 troops, a force that ultimately grew to 100,000. The mujahidin were supported by aid from the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia, channeled through Pakistan, and from Iran. Although the USSR had superior weapons and complete air control, the rebels successfully eluded them. The conflict largely settled into a stalemate, with Soviet and government forces controlling the urban areas, and the Afghan guerrillas operating fairly freely in mountainous rural regions. As the war progressed, the rebels improved their organization and tactics and began using imported and captured weapons, including U.S. antiaircraft missiles, to neutralize the technological advantages of the USSR.

In 1986, Karmal resigned and Mohammad Najibullah became head of a collective leadership. In Feb., 1988, President Mikhail Gorbachev announced the withdrawal of USSR troops, which was completed one year later. Soviet citizens had become increasingly discontented with the war, which dragged on without success but with continuing casualties. In the spring of 1992, Najibullah's government collapsed and, after 14 years of rule by the People's Democratic party, Kabul fell to a coalition of mujahidin under the military leadership of Ahmed Shah Massoud.

The war left Afghanistan with severe political, economic, and ecological problems. More than 1 million Afghans died in the war and 5 million became refugees in neighboring countries. In addition, 15,000 Soviet soldiers were killed and 37,000 wounded. Economic production was drastically curtailed, and much of the land laid waste. At the end of the war more than 5 million mines saturated approximately 2% of the country, where they will pose a threat to human and animal life well into the 21st cent. The disparate guerrilla forces that had triumphed proved unable to unite, and Afghanistan became divided into spheres of control. These political divisions set the stage for the rise of the Taliban later in the decade.

See Afghanistan.

See E. Girardet, Afghanistan (1986); A. H. Cordesman and A. R. Wagner, Lessons of Modern War, Vol. III (1989); A. Saikal and W. Maley, ed., The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan (1989); A. Hyman, Afghanistan under Soviet Domination, 1964–1991 (3d ed. 1992).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Afghanistan War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.