Learning from the Russian Experience

By | June 21, 2014

When Americans watched in horror as the planes crashed on the towers of the World Trade Center, they knew their country was going to war. They didn’t know who was responsible for the attack, but they want blood and they would go after the perpetrators. There was no way for them to know that more ten years after the attacks that they would still be fighting the war that it ignited. They also didn’t know that the war would still be raging in Afghanistan.

The Russians in Afghanistan

For most Americans right after the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan was a country that they only know in the news. The country was covered heavily because of the occupation of Soviet forces back in 1979. War then raged on in the country for almost ten years. The conflict was between the Afghan forces that was backed by Soviet Union and eventually by Soviet forces themselves against a hodgepodge group of fighters called the mujahedin.

A Complicated War

But the war that raged in Afghanistan was more complicated than what it seems. On their own the mujahedin would have been unable to fight the Soviet forces. But they were not alone in that conflict. The Muslim fighters received help from the United States primarily through the CIA. The help was not delivered directly and the American agency took pains so that it could not be traced to them directly. The arms went through several parties before it actually reached the fighters on the field.

With American gold and mujahedin blood, the war intensified. The Soviets were forced to resort to more brutal tactics. The Muslim fighters were more than ready to lay down their lives for their country. The war became so protracted that it was generally considered to be the U.S.S.R.’s own Vietnam, a conflict that they could never win no matter what they do.

In 1979 the Russians decided that enough was enough and they started pulling out their troops. They left behind a government which surprisingly lasted a few years more after they left. The war is generally seen as setback in Russian arms. To this day there are still arguments as to what their actual objectives for going in there. For the most part, historians agree that on the whole, Russia’s Afghan adventure was a failure.

The American Experience

Fast forward to the present and now the United States has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for more than a decade now. In cruel twist of fate they are fighting basically the same guys that they supported against the Soviet Union. Obama is planning on taking out the troops there by next year. They say that Americans re longer needed there because the war is finished and the Afghan government can handle things on its own already.

That’s basically the same thing that Soviet Union did in 1989. If American leaders only studied recent history, especially of Russia then they could have saved the trouble and not have gone into Afghanistan at all.