Feature History – Soviet-Afghan War

It’s time we stop Stalin and Marx this topic off the list. And if you’re hoping for something else, well Soviet. Oh god what have I done. Hello and welcome to Feature History. Brought to you by the Great Courses Plus, more on that later, and featuring the Soviet-Afghan war. A war where the battles were won and the war was… lost. How does that happen? Well let’s find out. First we must understand what Afghanistan is. It’s a landlocked country that sits in a harsh, almost inhospitable area between the traditional crossroads of great powers. Forces from India, the Far East, the Middle East, and the West have all attempted to pass and fallen before Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. Initially inhabited by many mixed tribal groups, its people survived in the many valleys of the region completely isolated from the outside world. The politics and diplomacy of it, simply irrelevant to them. In the 19th century, the region was of interest to the large Russian and larger British empires who had swooped across Asia, taking as much land as they could. Constantly cautious of one another. Afghanistan’s borders were rather incidentally carved as a buffer between the two empires, leading to many arbitrary mixing and splitting of ethnic groups. The British would take many tours into Afghanistan to seize its pivotal central position on the map. However by 1919, after only managing to slowly chip away at its frontier, Afghanistan would be affirmed as an independent emirate. And slightly later, kingdom. Under their king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, the country was rapidly pushed into modernizing in the 1960’s. The urban folk of the few cities and highways rejoiced the establishment of elections, political rights, and women’s education. At the same time, the Cold War had entered into full swing. Afghanistan once again the interest of two rivaling powers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R, who both sought to gain favor in the country. All [?]would not remain well though is the king’s cousin, Mohammed Daoud Khan, feeling the pleas of the Pashtun people, long ago split by the Pakistani border, had gone ignored far too long, staged a bloodless coup against his cousin. Soon declaring himself both president and prime minister of the new Afghan Republic in 1973. Daoud Khan continued to push for progressive policies. However, other ethnic groups did not appreciate his Pashtun nationalism. His response: crack down and restrict civil liberties. Both the left wing and traditionalist groups despised him. And this would culminate in a revolution in the April of 1978, ousting Daoud Khan for the Communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. That, of course, had full Soviet support. The PDPA’s prime minister, Hafizullah Amin, radically pushed the envelope of progress. More women’s rights, more equality, more socialism. These top-down changes were very invasive on the self-sufficient rural people, who, now being bombarded with tax and land reform and threats to their traditional power structures, were very displeased. Amin, even worse than his predecessor, responded to dissent with imprisonment and execution. Apprarently leading to riots in March of 1979. His president, Nur Muhammad Taraki, was forced to turn to the Soviets for aid in combating both the rioters, and secretly, the radical Amin. When Amin caught wind that Taraki sought to disempower him, he had Taraki killed, and took on the vacant presidency for himself. Further weakening the government stability, and resolve agains the rebels. General secretary of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, decided the U.S.S.R must take control of the situation themselves. Remove the uncontrollable Amin and pacify the anarchy. Brezhnev was anxious that the Iranian revolution that had seen that country turn Islamic could spread to Afghanistan, and further the Muslim areas under Soviet control, meaning utter collapse of rule there. This could not, and would not, happen. Now briefly to interrupt myself, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind, we’ve learned about the Soviet stance on the Middle East, how about the U.S.’s stance? It just so happens the Great Courses Plus has a course on that. The Great Courses Plus is a subscription on-demand video learning service with a huge library of over 7,000 quality lectures about, eh, anything that might catch your fancy. Personally I’ve been watching U.S. & the Middle East, which is a very interesting course taught by Professor Salim Yaqub. You can start a free one month trial and check out that course and many others at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/featurehistory. Or click the link in the description below. Additionally, if you’d like, start a plan with them. Starting is always 14.99 a month. Now on with the show. On Christmas Eve 1979, a combined air and land invasion of Afghanistan commenced. The Red Army quickly seized many urban areas, roads, and communication lines. Amin himself was captured and executed to be replaced by the more moderate Babrak Karmal. Disputes swiftly erupted internationally on whether this was an intervention or an invasion. The West and many Muslim countries decided on the latter. The tribal warlords had been repulsed to the mountains by the invasion. But this would only spell a new stage in their struggle. The foreign atheist/orthodox invader gave credence to this being a Jihad, or Holy War. And the warlords were soon united as the Mujahideen. Committed to combating the Soviets. The U.S. had had their eyes on things for some time, and now saw a lovely opportunity to sow shit in the Soviet’s backyard. They began funneling equipment through Pakistan to the Mujahideen. The U.S. wanted to contain communism, of course. The Mujahideen wanted Afghanistan independent and Islamic, and Pakistan didn’t mind some pan-Islamic cooperation. Really, everybody wins. Oh, except the Soviets, of course. That wasn’t it, though, as the Mujahideen’s call for Jihad had also seen many independent fighters and financiers come from abroad to join. One such notable figure was Osama Bin Laden. You might have heard of him. In the end, despite all the support, the Soviets still held a clear upper hand. Under the guidance of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Mujahideen indulged in guerilla warfare. Initiating a repeated and gruelling effort for the Soviets to drive away the fighters, and then for them to boomerang right back. It seemed as if for every fighter they’d killed, his death aided in the recruitment of five more, eager to become a martyr. The Red Army’s constant successful search & destroy missions were also in vain. As no matter how many battles they won, they continued to lose the war. It wasn’t until 1985, this routine had finally worn on the patience of Soviet politics and people. The illusion of the grand communist power beginning to disintegrate before them. Mikhail Gorbachev took over as general secretary the same year, his unique foreign policy and anti-war sentiment rapidly shifting opinion in the Union. The next year, the war effort was only further degraded as Stinger missiles began to be supplied to the Mujahideen. Accurately downing Soviet helicopters and crippling the army’s ability to scale the high mountains. An exit strategy would be put in place. It switched out Karmal for Mohammad Najibullah, and saw new attempts to transfer the burden of fighting on the Afghan army itself. This would be ramped up further in 1988, when Gorbachev officially signed off on the Geneva Accords, an agreement that would see the U.S.S.R begin withdrawl and no further intervention from any power. This concluded in 1989, when the last of the Red Army left Afghanistan, ending the Soviet-Afghan war. But not *the* war. The Mujahideen continued to resist Najibullah’s government well past withdrawl. For the Soviet Union, it continued to aid that government until in 1991, the Union itself unravelled, with fault to the prior involvement and Gorbachev’s reforms. Najibullah disbanded the government, when in 1992 the warlords of the Mujahideen had finally surrendered the capital, Kabul. At the gates of victory, they sought to reach an agreement of how things would move forward. All agreed at Massoud’s proposal that they rule in an Islamic coalition government. Except for one, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who sought sole rule. And so war continued for several years between Massoud’s alliance and Hekmatyar’s Pakistani-backed army. It seemed that in 1994, Massoud had bested Hekmatyar, until a man by the name of Mohammed Mullah Omar rallied his followers to futher the fight against Massoud. They called themselves the Taliban. Pakistan’s favor transferred to this new group, and in 1996, the Taliban had seized control of much of the country and took Kabul. Brutally executing the former president Najibullah and declaring themselves as an Islamic emirate. Massoud, however, ignored their taunts and was unwavering in his resistance, continuing to fight from the north of the country with what few of his allies remained. It unfortunately ended when in September 9th 2001, Massoud was assasinated by Taliban members who had claimed themselves to be reporters. The alliance without the leadership of their national hero was surely doomed. Though as I’m sure all viewers are swift to notice merely two days later, the terrorist [?]cell Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in New York. Their leader, Osama Bin Laden, was offered shelter in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The attacks provoked U.S. president George W. Bush to declare a war on terror, and demanded the Taliban surrender Bin Laden. They refused. The U.S. had covertly aided the Mujahideen against Soviets, and with the Soviets gone, the Mujahideen had splintered into many spiritual successors, such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The irony of this was not lost on many. That, however, did not change the fact that in 2001, the U.S. declared war on the Taliban. Decades of war, political instability, and virtual anarchy are not going to be ignorable for any country. Millions of Afghans died, and even more millions to live as refugees, an unfortunate burden on the countries that have held them for so long. The routes and motives for many Islamic terrorist groups can be traced back to the Soviet-Afghan war. It was where their leaders met, their men were armed, and their resolve hardened. The fact that most people have forgotten or neglect this war but still live so heavily under its effects, is rather disappointing. That does not stop me from trying, though. Nor you from further delving in on uncovering and surprising yourself at so many hidden motives behind and repercussions from this war. If I had a joke to finish on, that would be great. But instead… (Russian accent) In Soviet Ru– As always, I’d like to thank the patrons. And unlike always, I’d like to thank my sponsor, The Great Courses Plus, for sponsoring the episode. I really do encourage you to go to the description and click the link, for if no other reason than I get pa– sorry, I mean, helps the channel out. Personal mentions to David Kendle, Thrace Vega, Zedphyr, Steve Graham, Grandpa Hexxe, and of course, Anal_Scrubs. And for you, well you get nothing. Your freeloading views are so much filth to me. (spits)

Comments 100

  • Apologies to anyone put off by the sponsor in this video. It was a new thing for me so I was still testing the waters, but I am going to use your criticisms in future if/when another video is sponsored.

  • Should have mentioned how the Taliban were created way back, it's very interesting. It would only have taken a sentence or two.

  • Islam and peace don't mix. You can't have peace when your prophet claims if you die in the name of Allah you'll go to heaven. That kind of gives people a reason to never stop fighting

  • Afghanistan is a sad place. The US tried to win the Hearst and minds of the people by building pipelines so that rural Afghans could have running water in their homes for the first time. However the pipelines were attacked by the Women of the villages because the only time the Women were ever allowed to leave their homes and socialize was when they left to get water each morning.

    Such a sad culture that needs to change if progress and peace will ever come to the Middle East

  • I'll quit Stalin & Marx this comment as done…

  • Soviet union failed
    America failed.

    Nobody will conquer Afghanistan its a defenders paradise.

  • 👀

  • Thus how america created Al qaieda

  • well done! nice and unbiased covering of the events!

  • It's not a graveyard of Empires, stop pretending that the 20th and 21st century is the only history.
    Empires who held Afghanistan with ease
    -Persia (pretty big one here)
    -Alexander (died mysteriously, unrelated to the fact that he took over afganistan)
    -Alexandria Escate (lasted for hundreds of years, even managing to take parts of India)

    A band of ill-equipped commies and an army which can't even fight the way it needs to win the war is not a good measure of strength. You twat.

  • The US has been in Afghanistan longer than it was in Vietnam. I wonder if life has improved for the average person?

  • 9-11 Was an inside job.

  • This is full of lies. 911 was an insid job. Stop lying

  • Inside

  • Russia: *Pulls out of Afghanistan*

  • the moment when you try to invade Afghanistan from any country and it always rolls a 6 in Risk… Never asked yourself why poppies grow there so perfectly? Its because of all the blood been spilled to the ground by centuries, dying in Pain on the field and the plants growing out of it produces opium which is releasing Pain/Narcoticum. That is Karma my friends. Greetings from kosovo

  • That assassination happening two days before 9/11 was kinda a big coincidence

  • It might also be important to mention that the United States has approved sending $425 million to the Taliban for an opium-replacement program early in 2001. It adds the context that up until the attack on the World Trade Center, the US had diplomatic relations with the Taliban.

  • Makes me smile seeing america eating humble pie and sleeping in the beds they make 😂😂😂

  • Watch the movie Charlie Wilson's War.
    Murica gave the Afghans stinger missiles so the Russians couldn't just fly over and destroy them with helicopters.
    The best Tom Hanks movie that nobody saw.
    + Philip Seymour Hoffman
    + Julia Roberts

  • Abrupt ending of video

  • Cant believe idiotism of you guys 911 was americas conspiracy only no afghan or al qaeda was involved

  • We pray for osama every night

  • Il terzo mondo non ha Nazionalita' per la troppa Religiosita'

  • All the USA had to do was not interfere with the Soviet war. Their policy on the middle east during the cold war completely fucked hundreds of millions of lives imagine a minor group of men (and women) having the control of hundreds of millions of human lives. What happened was and still is a fucking shame

  • I know at the time it was the right thing to do. All these years later though it probably would of been better if we let the Soviets wipe the jihadists out. Savages wouldn't of won without the U.S. help.

  • USSR: I am in this war
    U. S. A: I am in this war
    Pakistan: I am in this war.
    India: Wait! What I am doing here🤔

  • On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men armed with boxcutters directed by a man on dialysis in a cave fortress halfway around the world using a satellite phone and a laptop directed the most sophisticated penetration of the most heavily-defended airspace in the world, overpowering the passengers and the military combat-trained pilots on 4 commercial aircraft before flying those planes wildly off course for over an hour without being molested by a single fighter interceptor.

    These 19 hijackers, devout religious fundamentalists who liked to drink alcohol, snort cocaine, and live with pink-haired strippers, managed to knock down 3 buildings with 2 planes in New York, while in Washington a pilot who couldn’t handle a single engine Cessna was able to fly a 757 in an 8,000 foot descending 270 degree corskscrew turn to come exactly level with the ground, hitting the Pentagon in the budget analyst office where DoD staffers were working on the mystery of the 2.3 trillion dollars that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had announced “missing” from the Pentagon’s coffers in a press conference the day before, on September 10, 2001.

    Luckily, the news anchors knew who did it within minutes, the pundits knew within hours, the Administration knew within the day, and the evidence literally fell into the FBI’s lap. But for some reason a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists demanded an investigation into the greatest attack on American soil in history.

    The investigation was delayed, underfunded, set up to fail, a conflict of interest and a cover up from start to finish. It was based on testimony extracted through torture, the records of which were destroyed. It failed to mention the existence of WTC7, Able Danger, Ptech, Sibel Edmonds, OBL and the CIA, and the drills of hijacked aircraft being flown into buildings that were being simulated at the precise same time that those events were actually happening. It was lied to by the Pentagon, the CIA, the Bush Administration and as for Bush and Cheney…well, no one knows what they told it because they testified in secret, off the record, not under oath and behind closed doors. It didn’t bother to look at who funded the attacks because that question is of “little practical significance“. Still, the 9/11 Commission did brilliantly, answering all of the questions the public had (except most of the victims’ family members’ questions) and pinned blame on all the people responsible (although no one so much as lost their job), determining the attacks were “a failure of imagination” because “I don’t think anyone could envision flying airplanes into buildings ” except the Pentagon and FEMA and NORAD and the NRO.

    The DIA destroyed 2.5 TB of data on Able Danger, but that’s OK because it probably wasn’t important.

    The SEC destroyed their records on the investigation into the insider trading before the attacks, but that’s OK because destroying the records of the largest investigation in SEC history is just part of routine record keeping.

    NIST has classified the data that they used for their model of WTC7’s collapse, but that’s OK because knowing how they made their model of that collapse would “jeopardize public safety“.

    The FBI has argued that all material related to their investigation of 9/11 should be kept secret from the public, but that’s OK because the FBI probably has nothing to hide.

    Osama Bin Laden lived in a cave fortress in the hills of Afghanistan, but somehow got away. Then he was hiding out in Tora Bora but somehow got away. Then he lived in Abottabad for years, taunting the most comprehensive intelligence dragnet employing the most sophisticated technology in the history of the world for 10 years, releasing video after video with complete impunity (and getting younger and younger as he did so), before finally being found in a daring SEAL team raid which wasn’t recorded on video, in which he didn’t resist or use his wife as a human shield, and in which these crack special forces operatives panicked and killed this unarmed man, supposedly the best source of intelligence about those dastardly terrorists on the planet. Then they dumped his body in the ocean before telling anyone about it. Then a couple dozen of that team’s members died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

  • You forgot the part where John Rambo rescued his imprisoned friend.

  • "Everybody wins" – lol

  • Mahsoud seemed like areal Afghan patriot. Bloody Paki Taliban.

  • from freeloading viewer. Fuck you! and your ad in middle.

  • Small correction: The Taliban didn’t kill Massoud. Two Tunisian nationals did, likely under orders from Osama or some other international player like Pakistan. The Taliban didn’t have that kind of network.

  • Afghanistan is still facing the consequences

  • Aww… You still believe that Bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan… How quaint!

  • If you're anti communist during the cold war, you received aid from the us, it doesn't matter if you're a terrorist or a dictator

  • No mention made of poppies.

  • I miss u

  • In 1980, General James Pfautz (USAF) told me the the Russians had decided that they had to control Afghanistan or they would dissolve the Soviet Union.

  • Is that Ron Burgundy in the thumbnail?

  • I still think its funny when people exaggerate and say "Osama Bin Laden was a CIA agent". He wasn't CIA and didnt visit Langley.

    He was a local leader they could back and get behind at the time when it came to funding support so Afghanistan could have a chance against the Soviets. At the time we were still all about Domino Effect policy when it came to Communism.

  • All Afgans problems can be traced to their stupid religion.

  • Americans every where arming innocent people to fulfill their vested interest and later subject these people to slavery with a beautiful terminology; terrorism

  • man i hope afghanistan joins soviet so they can crackdown terriost attacks

  • Funny how Massoud is assassinated 2 days before 9/11

  • the right thing is being done. keep them fighting among themselves and killing themselves and reduce their populations as low as possible so we dont have to worry about future threats. a lot could have been avoided if this approach was used when hitler was slowly building power. think of how many peoples live would have been saved if a false flag excuse was used to take out the threat of nazi germany BEFORE it became the threat it was obviously going to become. would you be upset if a false flag operation was used back then which saved 30-40 million lives? in retrospect we can see what could have been avoided…. we have no way of measuring how many lives these containment wars have saved. we have no way of seeing what the alternate future might have been. when the saddam regime fell, records of meetings with north korea to purchase missile were discovered. as we now know…north korea has developed nuclear grade weapons! saddam was trying to establish trade of weapons with them. GOD knows what would have happened if iraq wasn't invaded and the regime wasn't removed. god knows.

  • 8:05 what is France doing here

  • Come back to bite you in the ass now yanks

  • Well done! Fascinating!!

  • Afghanistan: A place where Empires come to learn humility.

  • We Pakistanis gave Afghanis refuge during their own wars and we suffered their terrorism backed by indian spy's and terrorists from 2001-2014,,,,Thanks to Allah Pakistani army have killed almost 99% of those terrorists and most of the attacks in Pakistan during those 14 years were operated from india,,,,we Pakistanis fought with almost every super power and we are undefeated, and now nobody gives a fuck about US or Afghanistan,,,

  • Soviet's version of vietnam

  • 4:47 to be replaced by the more moderate slight chewbacca noises

  • So the Islamic terrorism started because of US?

  • Seriously no mere mention, US supported Mujaheeden.

    Also Taliban trained by US, they took over a coutry and entire country turn worse.

  • Afghan has a culture that supports socialism …. but america wanted extreemism in the region

  • The Afghanistan war was Russia's answer to the Vietnam war.

  • We often like to think of these people as the spawn of satan or some BS like that. But this is what war does to you. Al Qaida is a generation of boys ruined by a brutal war.
    There is no such thing as evil, only fear. Fear brings out the worst out of us.

  • USA doesn't care about world peace as long as its geopolitical aspirations are met

  • Everything was good until you mentioned the false 9/11-given story.

  • Ahmad shah Masud was not killed by taliban do some research mate.

  • so this is like Simple History, but without the shitty graphics haha

  • Do the Rhodesian Bush War!

  • I thought that was a light-skinned Neil DeGrasse Tyson in the thumbnail

  • You can infiltrate in Afghanistan with your own willing but you'll then evacuate with the willing of ISI….😎
    The no.1 intelligence agency ISI…


  • Please tell me the piano outro music

  • Go to hell you bush.

  • You drew Bush to look like a chimp, an awful depiction if your goal was realism. Would you do that with Obama I wonder?

  • Russia fucked up Afghanistan in the 80s during their illegal and brutal occupation of the country. Russia murdered 2 million Afghans.

  • The biggest sin of afghanistan is that it is located on the wrong geographical location in the wrong age..

    I Love you my afghanistan..but i could not do anything for you… 😢

  • Wow…you are funny…

  • When you're an Afghan farmer and the sky starts playing the Internationale

  • Totally Fake

  • This documentary is based on totally fake information.

  • Communists killed daud khan because of his anti communist ideas not because some random ethnic groups were not pleased with his policies.
    We had great economy during his rule.

  • So title could be: this is what happens if you supply bunch of dessert tribes with weapons…

  • and after 18 years of fighting the Taliban surrendered and now refuse to allow al quada or any other terrorist groups into their land

  • funny how it would have been good for Vietnam if Russians wouldn't have intervened and Afghanistan would have been good if the US wouldn't have intervened. Vietnam eventually came to the US Side and Afghanistan bit the US in the ass

  • Why don’t you say what the fight is really about!! Heroin!

  • All american wars are about oil,drugs and petrodollars

  • The USA always supports terror groups around the world! so USA are the terrorists!

  • So in a nutshell: the middle-east was about kind of peaceful, had achieved some form of equality and what we call here in the west as "civilization". But then the US decided that the middle-east should be more anti-soviet just in case, and promoted radical Islamic groups, told them to jihad anything non-Islamic, and gave them a f*ck ton of weapons.
    Basically destabilizing the whole middle-east in the process because falling in anarchy or under a totalitarian religious rule is still a better alternative to socialism.

  • You narrate so fast like a machine please narrate it with diction and make it interesting

  • USA enters
    Creates problems
    Encourages extremists
    Declares war
    Claims victory
    Changes history
    Then, declares war against the encouraged extremists

  • the war is stillgoing

  • and then the usa experienced the same lol

  • You reap what you sow

  • 911 inside job… enough with the lies

  • Pan-Islamism is not interest of anybody. Those who are supporting it are doomed.

  • You mean to tell me the U.S funded Al Quada for the Sept 11 attacks?

  • Iam from Afghanistan everything you said is true

  • If Dr Najib is also alive then simply say that All dead are alive. Its further bad news for Lt Gen hamid gul.

  • This war has created the most dangerous group in the world. If you know what i mean

  • Well the USA “liberated” Afghanistan

  • Remember the time Rambo was fighting with the mujahideen?

  • everyone is talking that usa wins the war from russia bro usa get mujahhifin and taliban guns but we afghans were i. war if i gave u a gun can u go for war no we beat the Russia

  • and the world terrorist r america they know that 9/11 was planned by white house and they made taliban and mojahhidin themselves then what r u doing in 19 years i. Afghanistan so usa is the biggest terrorist of the world fuck usa


  • When Monarchies rules better than the revolutionaries

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