The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan and its Aftermath (1988–1990)

  • Alan James
Part of the Studies in International Security book series (SIS)


In the 1980s the Soviet Union found herself embarrassingly bogged down in Afghanistan. That state had never been part of the Soviet bloc, but not unnaturally the Soviets took a close interest in the affairs of this strategically interesting neighbour. At the end of the 1970s her left-wing regime seemed to be in need of propping up, and the Soviet response was to intervene in strength. About 100,000 Soviet troops went down the international high street and into Afghanistan; a new and compliant president was installed (his predecessor being executed); and Soviet advisers assumed operational control in nearly all governmental ministries. It proved an exceedingly ill-judged venture. The Afghanistan Army more or less disintegrated. The Soviet troops were harried at many points by the Mujahidin — the numerous, but far from united, guerrilla opponents of the Soviet presence and the puppet regime. And at the UN the Soviet Union went down to resounding annual defeats as the General Assembly called, in effect, for a Soviet withdrawal (see Map 39).


Security Council Soviet Bloc Governmental Ministry Soviet Troop Close Interest 
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Further Reading

  1. Selig S. Harrison, Paths to Peace in Afghanistan (New York: International Peace Academy, 1989).Google Scholar
  2. Rosanne Klass, ‘Afghanistan: the Accords’, Foreign Affairs, 66 (5) (Summer 1988).Google Scholar
  3. D. S. Leslie and R. G. Elms, ‘United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan: Lessons From a Peacekeeping Experience’, Canadian Defence, 19 (1) (Summer 1989).Google Scholar
  4. P. J. McHale, ‘UNGOMAP — A New Venture for Peace’, An Cosantoir, 48 (10) (October 1988).Google Scholar
  5. Amin Saikal, ‘Afghanistan: the end-game’, The World Today, 45 (3) (March 1989).Google Scholar
  6. Amin Saikal and William Maley (eds), The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Institute for Strategic Studies 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan James
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KeeleUK

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