Реферат: The Consequences of the Soviet-Afghan War

Essay: The Consequences of theSoviet-Afghan War.

“What did the Afghan war give us? Thousands of motherswho lost their sons, thousands of cripples, and thousands of torn-up lives”(qtd. in Tamarov 156).  These are thewords of a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war. The Soviet war was against aninternal Afghan problem – the Mujahideen, an Islamic Fundamentalist group thatwas trying to overtake the ruling Afghan government. Even after nine years ofintense fighting, the war left nothing but thousands of lost innocent lives,and an undefeated Mujahideen.  The SovietUnion established diplomatic relations with the ruling Afghan government in theearly 1920’s, and sustained that relationship until the government crumbled.  They provided both military and economic aid(Lester, par 23).

The Soviet Union had its own reasons for helping Afghanistan. Theirintention was to make Afghanistan the first Muslim state to become part of theSoviet Union.  By doing so, they wouldshow the world the power of the Soviet Empire, because no non-Muslim empire hadever included a Muslim state.  But theycouldn’t succeed; on the contrary they created haters of non-Muslim statescalled the Taliban, who teamed up with the Saudi terrorist Bin Laden.  This team has destroyed many innocent lives.

            In 1979, more than 50,000 soldiersfrom fifteen Republics of the Soviet Union entered Afghan territory.  More than 20,000 of those soldiers diedduring the nine-year-long war (Lester, par 37). The Soviet Union, and especiallythe news media, blamed this failure entirely on its youthful soldiers.

Military service was mandatory. The boys, who averaged 18 or 19 years of age, had no choice but to servefor 2 to 3 years. Recruits for Afghanistan would receive 8-10 weeks of trainingbefore being sent to their units. This training, of course, didn’t cover allthe necessary preparation.  They receivedsome basic information on how to operate weapons, but no information on how tofight effectively in the war situation they would face in Afghanistan.

Did the Soviet government think about the ruined lives of the Afghanveterans?  No.  Instead it blamed them for the failure ofpolicies that were not their fault.

            Coming back to normallife was very difficult for the Afghan veterans. After they came home theystarted organizing the sort of communities they’d become accustomed to duringtheir long stay in Afghanistan.  This wastheir way of isolating themselves from ordinary people.  In these communities they tried to do almosteverything they used to do in Afghanistan. Here they could do drugs, and talk about the war. But the governmentshut down the communities because of the illegal use of drugs. (Galeotti 41).

            Oneof the veterans said, “We never came home. Our minds were always at war.” (qtd.in Galeotti 45).  But the soldiers didcome home, and all soldiers came back differently. Some of them were oncrutches, some had no hands or legs, some had prematurely gray hair, and manyof them returned in zinc coffins. Many soldiers, who were injured during the war,were never able to find a job, because of their physical condition. Thus theyhad to rely entirely on relatives for the rest of their lives. These peoplehated the government for not assisting them financially, because when theyneeded help, the same government that had sent them to war turned away fromthem. Sick of their lives, and sick of being an extra burden to theirrelatives, many invalid veterans committed suicide.

While many veterans were physically injured, otherssuffered from complicated psychological disorders such as flashbacks, emotionalnumbness, withdrawal, jumpy hyper-alertness or over-compensatory extroversion.(Cordovez 247). One Afghan veteran recalled that when their leading vehiclebroke down, and the driver got out, a boy about ten years old ran out ofnowhere and stabbed him in the back. He added that they turned the boy into asieve (Galeotti 69).  Soviet troopskilled a number of children in Afghan villages. A commander who ordered one massacre said, “When they grow up, they willtake up arms against us.” (qtd. in Shansab171).

So how can a person who brutally killed a ten-year-old boy lead anormal life after coming back home? Killing children, knowing that anytime abullet can hit you, knowing that no place is safe, can drive any sane personinsane. What could this have done to an 18-year-old boy, who was drafted intowar right after graduating from high school, who had never seen any hardship inlife?

In normal society the killing of another person is punished,sometimes by the death penalty. But during the Afghan war, Soviet soldiersreceived the power of life and death over others. The tendency of treatingpeople however they wished became common among Soviet soldiers. This triggeredthe official imprisonment of 2,540 Soviet soldiers by the Soviet government,for atrocities against Afghan civilians. (Galeotti 81).

This created another problem when they returned home.They were unable to overcome the feeling that they had the authority to treatpeople however they wished. Some veterans, unable to square the demands of warwith the demands of conscience, were locked behind the bars of mentalhospitals. Other became compulsively violent. By the end of 1989, more than3,000 veterans were in prison for criminal offenses. Of the 3,000 prisoners,more than half were convicted of murder or rape. (Galeotti 52).

Another consequence of the Afghan war was drug addiction and excessconsumption of alcohol. Because combat in any area wasn’t safe, the soldiershad to be always on high alert. In order to relax, many relied on drugs.  Afghanistan was the major supplier of poppyto the world during those times. Drugs became part of the Soviet soldier'slives. Many felt that drugs were essential for survival. Drugs helped a soldierto carry 90 pounds of ammunition up and down the mountains. It helped them toovercome the depression resulting from their friend’s deaths, and to overcometheir own fear of death. Drugs and alcohol became the usual procedure ofself-medication, because other options were unavailable. One veteran said“There wasn’t a single person among us who didn’t do drugs in Afghanistan. Youneeded relaxation, or you went out of your mind.” (Galeotti 51). This created ageneration of drug addicts and alcoholics. According to the Soviet Departmentof Health Services, a 20.4% increase was registered from 1979 to 1985, comparedto 1950-1978. (Galeotti 53).

Today we have witnessed the gravest consequence of the Soviet-Afghanwar. It created the monster the world called the Taliban. This harshfundamental ruling body came to power in the vacuum that came about after theSoviets pulled out and returned home. The Afghan government was weak and lackednational power. It soon collapsed giving rise to the Taliban, who turnedAfghanistan into world's terrorist center.

Even today, the Afghans and Soviets still suffer the results of thewar.  Clearly there were no winners.  Perhaps today that has changed,because the Afghan people, the Soviets, and the US this time are all on thesame side.  Perhaps this time all will be winners, and only Bin Laden andthe Taliban will be the losers.

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