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Afghan Invasion by Russia Sparked Rise of Islamic Extremism: Soviet General
Arab News ^
| Februari 14 2004
| Henry Meyer/AFP
Posted on 02/14/2004 7:42:18 AM PST by knighthawk
MOSCOW, 14 February 2004 Fifteen years ago, the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan, ending a disastrous 10-year invasion that claimed the lives of at least 15,000 soldiers and fuelled the rise of radical Islamic extremists such as Osama Bin Ladens Al-Qaeda.
The Afghan invasion still provokes heated debate in Russia, now bogged down in a bleeding guerrilla conflict in its mainly Muslim republic of Chechnya that has raged for much of the past decade, killing 10,000 Russians according to the official toll.
The general who led the withdrawal of Soviet troops, Boris Gromov, in an interview with the Russian army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda published yesterday slammed the Afghan war for breeding violent Islamic radicalism. The invasion was a big mistake that opened the hornets nest that is terrorism, not only in Afghanistan but in the region as a whole, said Gromov, who was the last Soviet soldier to leave Afghanistan on Feb. 15, 1989.
Gromov was the last commander of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, which Moscow invaded with a night-time raid by elite forces on the presidential palace in Kabul on Dec. 25, 1979, to back up the Marxist regime that had taken power in the country the year before.
The Soviet Army withdrew in a humiliating defeat in 1989, driven back by the Mujahideen whom the United States armed and financed. The war attracted volunteers from throughout the Muslim world, including the young Osama Bin Laden, making them proficient in guerrilla warfare.
But Soviet intelligence hawks such as Vadim Kirpichenko, a former deputy head of the KGB foreign intelligence arm, insists that the United States was to blame for todays radicals.
The US miscalculated in a major way. They set up a network of armed mujahideen in Pakistan who fought against the Soviet army, he said according to excerpts of his book cited yesterday in Krasnaya Zvezda.
Washington armed them and sent them to fight against the infidel. The Americans opened the path for terrorists, who in the name of Islam spread fear and horror in many countries today.
Gromov still remembers the nightmare of soldiers bodybags. The most frightening thing every day were the losses. In Afghanistan I always anxiously looked at the telephone, thinking now there will be a call about some more losses. That was the worst thing, he said.
Krasnaya Zvezda devoted virtually its entire issue yesterday to the 15th anniversary of the Soviet pullout, which will be commemorated on Sunday by an Afghan veterans parade through central Moscow.
They will lay wreaths at the memorial to the unknown soldier at the Kremlin walls before a reception hosted by President Vladimir Putin. Similar ceremonies are expected to take place across the country.
Yet a decade and a half later, Russian leaders who sent troops into Chechnya have learned nothing, say military who served in Afghanistan.
The two wars are similar in that we are fighting partisans of the same type, said Gen. Ruslan Aushev, an Afghan veteran and decorated Hero of the Soviet Union.
Thats why from a military and a moral point of view the Afghan and Chechen wars are identical, he said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily published yesterday.
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghan; afghanistan; borisgromov; chechnya; invasion; islamicextremism; russia; southasia; sovietgeneral; sovietunion
To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; keri; ...
posted on 02/14/2004 7:42:56 AM PST
(Live today, there is no time to lose, because when tomorrow comes it's all just yesterday's blues)
The invasion was a big mistake that opened the hornets nest that is terrorism, not only in Afghanistan but in the region as a whole,
Now he tells us! Thanks for the timely advice there, Boris.
posted on 02/14/2004 7:45:25 AM PST
(Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
Well, the big difference is that the US has nothing to gain from a permanent presence in Afghanistan, but the Soviet Union did, because the country is next door to them and the next obvious target for expanding their empire. Indeed, the "Great Game" between England and Russia in the nineteenth century was all about controlling Afghanistan and thus controlling India.
Yes, it's regretable that we armed and trained Muslim fanatics to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, but they made it necessary for us to do so. Now the Soviet Union is no more, and if Russia permits, we will work with them as allies against the Islamists. So, lets stop crying over spilt milk and work together to our mutual advantage.
posted on 02/14/2004 8:06:08 AM PST
Additionally, isn't it reasonable to expect that radical Islamists like OBL would have found weapons and training eventually anyway. I believe we accelerated that process, certainly. But OBL's hatred for the west made weapons acquisition an inevitability.
posted on 02/14/2004 8:28:34 AM PST
(WMD's in Iraq -- The absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.)
Probably so. From an excellent article I read many years ago by Claire Sterling, who was a big fan of Massood, it was evident that the two wild cards in the Afghan war were Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The CIA probably would have backed Massood, but the Pakistani security agencies insisted that we back Hekmatyar, a huge troublemaker. The Pakistanis in turn were heavily influenced by the Saudis, who were pouring in money to support the radicalization of Pakistan and the region.
The worst threat at the time, however, was the Soviet Union, with its long history of expansionism and its 20,000 nuclear warheads. We had little choice but to work with what we had.
posted on 02/14/2004 8:48:40 AM PST
Official Documents leading to Russian involvement in Afghanistan
The Soviet Union and Afghanistan, 1978-1989: Documents from the Russian and East German Archives
On December 12, the Politburo met and formally ratified the proposal to intervene. Gromyko chaired the meeting, after having co-signed the proposal together with Ustinov and Andropov. Konstantin Chernenko wrote out, by hand, a short protocol accepting the proposalentitled Concerning the
Situation in Aand had all Politburo members present sign their names diagonally across the text. Kosygin, who almost certainly would have opposed an intervention, was not present. Kirilenko signed after some hesitation. Brezhnev, who entered the room after the brief discussion was
finished, added his name, in quivering handwriting, at the bottom of the page.10
Two days later, the General Staff operative team, headed by Marshal Akhromeyev, was in place in Termez, Uzbekistan (USSR), near the Afghan border. A group from the operational team arrived at Bagram airforce base outside Kabul on December 18.
The main operation started at 3 pm sharp on Christmas Day: airborne troops from the 103rd and 105th air divisions landed in Kabul and in Shindand in western Afghanistan, and units from the 5th and 108th
motorized rifle divisions crossed the border at Kushka and at Termez. Just before nightfall on December 27, Soviet paratroopers, assisted by two KGB special units, attacked Amins residence at Duraleman Palace, and, after overcoming stiff resistance from the Palace Guards, summarily executed the president and several of his closest aides. It waswe were told in Lysebu by the men who devised ita well-organized and successful operation, in which all the strategic objectives were reached on time.
New Evidence on the Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan
posted on 02/14/2004 8:52:33 AM PST
(A Concerned Citizen)
>>The worst threat at the time, however, was the Soviet Union, with its long history of expansionism and its 20,000 nuclear warheads. We had little choice but to work with what we had.
The younger generation of Socialist Democrats in this country has no concept of that whatsoever.
posted on 02/14/2004 10:29:15 AM PST
(This space intentionally blank)
One for the "Bombs Rule out Talks of Peace -- Chernomyrdin" file.
posted on 02/14/2004 10:24:40 PM PST
Well, the big difference is that the US has nothing to gain from a permanent presence in Afghanistan, but the Soviet Union did, because the country is next door to them and the next obvious target for expanding their empire. ==
That is true. No one is to blame for Afgan war except of Leonid Brezhnev and his Politbereau.
Yes, it's regretable that we armed and trained Muslim fanatics to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, but they made it necessary for us to do so. ===
They didn't drive Soviet Union out of Afganistan. Remember Soviet army losses about 15000 vs Afgan losses about 1.5 mlns. If that war continued then Afganistan would be eventually depopulated.
Gorbachev was who withrew army. At SAME time he withdrew army from many places in Europe too.
WHo drove Soviet Army out of Germany or Poland? No one except Gorby.
He did right thing so. But it was him not afgan partisans.
AFgan war was stupid war which he inherited from previous leadership. He ended it.
posted on 02/16/2004 12:29:55 PM PST
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