The War in Cold War

afghan children soviet tank.jpg

Afghan children play on the remains of a Soviet tank in the Behsood district of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Feb. 18, 2013.

Soviet 1979 invasion of Afghanistan

On December 24 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Soviet Union’s actions in Afghanistan demonstrated that they wanted to transform Afghanistan into a Communist State and exploit Afghanistan for their resources. The USSR tore through Afghanistan destroying infrastructure, killing civilians, and instituting Soviet policies. The Soviet aggression caused the United States to create a covert action program that was designed to radicalize the Mujahideen Muslims against the Soviets. When the Soviets finally pulled out in February 1989, Afghanistan was socially, economically, and physically decimated. The weakness of the Afghan government allowed extremists and terrorists to enter the country and gain power. The Soviet imperialism provided terrorist groups like Al Qaeda with an inspiration and impetus for their actions against ‘colonial tyrants.’ The invasion left a lasting impression on the infrastructure of Afghanistan and paved the way for the proliferation of Radical Islamic Terrorist Groups (Russia’s Impact on Afghanistan).

Here is an excellent video reference with a brief synopsis of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 101History – Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan


The Cost of War

The Soviet Union, ending a long silence about the exact number of its casualties in the war in Afghanistan, said today that 13,310 soldiers had been killed, 35,478 wounded and 311 are missing (Soviets List Afghan War Toll). The Soviet Army also lost hundreds of aircraft, and billions worth of other military machines. One CIA estimate was that the expense of $200 million (from the United States) by 1983 had bled the Soviet Union of a much greater sum: $12 billion. Thirty-five years ago, one of the last empires of the 20th century set itself on the path to ruin (The Soviet Invasion Of Afghanistan 35 Years Ago Today) . The most staggering statistic is the estimated loss of 1 million Afghan civilians throughout the conflict.

Long-term Impacts

The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan resulted in numerous long-term impacts that would effect the region and those involved indefinitely.  It destroyed the already ailing relationship the Soviets had with the western nations, and undermined Soviet relations with the Third World. “Following the bizarre logic of the Cold War, in which the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it caused the United States, recently rocked by the Islamic revolution in Iran, to become an ardent supporter and arms supplying to the Islamic revolt in Afghanistan”(Invasion of Afghanistan). Arms that would later be used against the United States with the deployment of US troops into Afghanistan in 2001.


Featured Image: “Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.” The Cold War, edited by Walter Hixson, Primary Source Media, 2000. American Journey. Student Resources in Context, Accessed 23 Apr. 2017.

Afghan Children Photo:

Video Link:


4 thoughts on “The War in Cold War

  1. The costs of the war were truly staggering for the Soviet Union. I’m glad you wrote a paragraph about the long term affects of the war. It really did pave the way for the Taliban to take over and in turn our invasion. Great post.


  2. Great stuff here, Brady. Do make sure you use quotes when citing directly from one of your sources (check this: Following the bizarre logic of the Cold War, in which the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it caused the United States, recently rocked by the Islamic revolution in Iran, to become an ardent supporter and arms supplying to the Islamic revolt in Afghanistan). The video is really interesting and straightforward. How did you assess its quality as a source?


    1. I viewed the video as more of a broad summary for someone with no background knowledge of the invasion or status of the region/ USSR during this time. I value the video as an informative source that would need further evidence, research, and citations to be a scholarly source.


  3. That makes sense. Since you are “the expert” here (this is your blog, after all), you want to make sure you can stand by whatever material you feature here — so you should find out as much as you can about the video (who made it, why, when, and with what resources). Also, please do add quotation marks to the relevant excerpt from the 17 moments subject essay. Thanks!


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