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In the summer of 1973, Mohammed Daoud, the former Afghan Prime Minister, launched a successful coup against King Zahir. Although Daoud himself was more nationalist than socialist, his coup was dependent on pro-Soviet military and political factions. Since 1955 Moscow had provided military training and materiel to Afghanistan; by 1973, a third of active troops had trained on Soviet soil. Additionally, Daoud enjoyed the support of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), founded in 1965 upon Marxist ideology and allegiance to Moscow. In 1967 the PDPA split into two factions: the Parchamists, led by Babrak Karmal (who supported Daoud), and the “Khalqis” led by Noor Taraki. For the next five years, Daoud attempted the impossible task of governing Afganistan’s Islamic tribal regions, while also struggling to reconcile the PDPA split. But the more radical Khalq faction never fully recognized Daoud’s leadership, while Karmal viewed the coup largely as a means to consolidate his own power. In response, Daoud hoped to mitigate both of these threats by steering Afghanistan away from Soviet influence and improving U.S. relations, while decreasing the influence of radical elements in the government and military.

At the end of December 1979, the Soviet Union sent thousands of troops into Afghanistan and immediately assumed complete military and political control of Kabul and large portions of the country. This event began a brutal, decade-long attempt by Moscow to subdue the Afghan civil war and maintain a friendly and socialist government on its border. It was a watershed event of the Cold War, marking the only time the Soviet Union invaded a country outside the Eastern Bloc—a strategic decision met by nearly worldwide condemnation. While the massive, lightning-fast military maneuvers and brazenness of Soviet political objectives constituted an “invasion” of Afghanistan, the word “intervention” more accurately describes these events as the culmination of growing Soviet domination going back to 1973. Undoubtedly, leaders in the Kremlin had hoped that a rapid and complete military takeover would secure Afghanistan’s place as an exemplar of the Brezhnev Doctrine, which held that once a country became socialist Moscow would never permit it to return to the capitalist camp. The United States and its European allies, guided by their own doctrine of containment, sharply criticized the Soviet move into Afghanistan and devised numerous measures to

Daoud’s middle course ended in disaster. On April 28, 1978, soldiers aligned with Taraki’s “Khalq” faction assaulted the presidential palace, where troops executed Daoud and his family. In the following days Taraki became the Prime Minister, and, in an attempt to end the PDPA’s divisions, Karmal became Deputy Prime Minister. In Washington, this Communist revolution was met with alarm. The Carter administration recognized that Taraki would undo Daoud’s attempt to steer Afghanistan away from Moscow, and it debated whether to cut ties with Afghanistan or recognize Taraki in the hopes that Soviet influence could be contained. Although the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski advocated the former course, Carter supported the Department of State’s advocacy of recognition. Shortly after the revolution, Washington recognized the new government and soon named Adolph Dubs its Ambassador to Afghanistan. Until his kidnapping and death at the hands of Afghan Shia dissidents in February 1979, Dubs strongly pursued good relations with the Taraki regime in the hopes that U.S. support would keep Soviet influence at bay.

Soviet Invasion

Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1499983/Soviet-invasion-of-Afghanistan


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