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The December Decision
By Stirling Newberry
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 30 June 2005
On October 9th 2001, in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks and as part of the preparations for going to war in Afghanistan, a series of essays were prepared on previous involvements in that country. One of documents prepared, edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, was on the lessons of the Soviet invasion and occupation from 1979 until 1988. Afghanistan has a long history of foreign intervention, having been one of the key squares in the "Great Game" between Russia and England.
In dry national security prose, the report noted that "the last war of the Soviet Union created or aggravated the internal dynamics that eventually culminated in the dissolution of the country itself." This is, perhaps, too strong a phrasing, but it certainly didn't help. Moreover, the ease of the invasion and the failure of the occupation created certain sharp lessons for other powers that seek to impose their will by direct force.