#1 Soviet-Afghan War Series: What is it? Where did it all begin?

When I go to bed now, I do not feel scared. I know I will not be bombed, and that I will not be shot in the head. I know I will not be hit or be kidnapped, and I know for sure that I will wake up the next morning, eat breakfast, go to school, and come back to sleep again.

However, 3,995 km northwest from where I am at this very moment, people do not know all the things I do. Actually, I’m not even sure if they ever did. That country is…

Afghanistan.

It was the spotlight of 2021, so famous on social media, news channels and also so famous as the place where women were raped for no reason, where sounds of gunshots have become as common as our phone notifications, and where death is no surprise.

But, no. I am not here today to talk about how terribly the Taliban terrorist group is treating the citizens after invading and taking over Afghanistan. I am not here to mention how they promote Islam in ways it shouldn’t and how they are becoming a threat to each one of us.

Today I want to go back 42 years in the past because I believe that is where the truth resides. 

The year 1979, was one of the peak years of the Cold War. Now for those wondering what the Cold War is, let me give you a little history lesson. 

Right after the Second World War, the Soviets and the Americans who were allies turned against each other. Their differences were unavoidable, and their similarities were a threat to each other. 

Here is how: 

The Soviet Union was an empire, including the many republics of eastern Europe, such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and more. It was ruled by a communist government, which is a classless type of government where all property was essentially public property. 

On the other hand, the Americans were… well as they are today, living under a democratic government and valuing liberty over all other things.  

During World War 2, the Americans and the Soviet Union were great allies, as they shared military and money to fight against the Nazis. However, after the war ended, the question of who was the more powerful superpower arose…

The Soviets believed that the more communist governments around the world, the more influence they would have, and hence make them the more powerful nation. . So with good reason, the Americans knew that the spread of communism would be their downfall.  

Thus, comes the name: the “Cold War”; a name given for the conflict between the US and USSR who never raised direct fire against each other, but instead supported different sides in wars around the world to promote their type of government, or in many cases stop the spread of their opposition’s type of government.

In Vietnam when there was war between the communist group and the democratic government, the two superpowers jumped to the scene to protect the party aligned with their beliefs. The Soviets aided the communist groups with military and money, while the US supported the democrats. The same happened in Korea, leaving the country split to this day. But be it Vietnam or Korea, despite experiencing war, they are… ‘fine’ today. They have a government, do not rely on the drug trade and are not in constant war. 

However, for Afghanistan, ever since the Soviets entered on 24th December 1979, things haven’t changed yet. 

Long story short, what really happened in Afghanistan 42 years ago is that communism entered the country. But as the communists believe in a classless society, and since Muslims believe otherwise, the high population of Islamic fundamentalists became greatly antagonistic towards the communists and war broke out, one which continues till today.  

But how does this relate to the Soviets or Americans? How did communism randomly enter a country of traditional, sincere Islamic fundamentalists? And most importantly why are women, men, and children still dying today? If you need your answers, look forward to my next publication in this series.

Works Cited

history.com editors. “Cold War.” HISTORY, 22 Aug. 2018, www.history.com/topics/cold-war.

“The Afghan-Soviet War (1979-1989) | FULL DOCUMENTARY.” Www.youtube.com, youtu.be/Ge6ricoCrmA. Accessed 28 Feb. 2022.

“The Cold War – YouTube.” Www.youtube.com, youtu.be/dsDrYh2Af5Y.

Written By: Padma

#1 Soviet-Afghan War Series: What is it? Where did it all begin?

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