The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979 marked the start of a decade-long conflict that would shape the direction of the world. In this hard-hitting documentary, we explore why this war brought about the downfall of one of the mightiest empires in history, the Soviet Union.
In April 1978, President Mohammed Daoud Khan was overthrown and assassinated during a coup d’état led by communist rebels. This new government was met with great resistance from many within Afghanistan, leading to an increase in insurgencies against them. To strengthen their rule, Leonid Brezhnev – former General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union – sent Soviet troops to Kabul in an attempt to establish control over the situation. Though not intended for a permanent deployment, their stay ended up being much longer than originally anticipated due to clashes with anti-communist mujahideen guerrillas.
As Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, America sought to weaken the Soviet Union’s military and economy by providing military aid to mujahideen through Pakistan’s intelligence service. This marked a turning point in which Afghanistan was used as proxy battleground for Cold War tensions between Russia and America.
By 1988, it had become apparent that these tensions were taking their toll on both powers; and particularly on Russia who had lost thousands of soldiers and faced public disapproval from civilians regarding their involvement in the conflict. As such, Mikhail Gorbachev made plans to withdraw from Afghanistan — just months later, they followed through on his orders — but it was too late; only a few months after they left, The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 signaling an end to an era spanning more than 70 years; two and a half years later, The Soviet Union ceased to exist altogether.
This documentary is essential viewing for anyone wanting to understand how one war sparked off events that would forever change world history. It reveals how two superpowers clashed against each other in a global game of chess — played out on Afghan soil — leading ultimately to one side’s defeat as well as laying bare some hard truths about America’s foreign policy at that time which still linger today. So don’t miss your chance: watch this documentary now and get ready for one helluva history lesson!