Fall of The USSR: The Soviet-Afghan War

The soviets deployment in Afghanistan which occurred in 1979 managed to trigger a 10-year long conflict that would ultimately change the world. In this documentary, we learn why this war marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.

In April 1978, Afghanistan’s President Mohammed Daoud Khan was overthrown and murdered in a coup d’état led by communist rebels. However, this new communist regime was not welcomed by everyone and as a result, the number of insurgencies against the new government increased dramatically. In an effort to prop up the regime, Leonid Brezhnev, the former General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union sent Soviet troops to Kabul. This deployment of forces was not meant to be for long but the conflict with the anti-communist Muslim guerrillas, the mujahideen, intensified, and the Red Army ended up remaining in Afghanistan for almost ten years.

This was a time when America had an interest in weakening the Soviet Union’s economy and military. After Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1981, the United States increased its military aid to the mujahideen, using Pakistan and its intelligence service as a go-between. Thus, Soviet troops were not only fighting the mujahideen. This is how the country of Afghanistan managed to became a proxy battleground for the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was disintegrating. Their army had taken heavy causalities in Afghanistan, and the Soviet population was openly rejecting the war. Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew from the war, but the tide could no longer be turned. A few months after the withdrawal of the last Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Two and a half years later, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

Through exclusive archive material, this documentary unveils the full story of the war that spelled the beginning of the end for the USSR.

Directed by: Nicolas Jallot

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