The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Nearly ten years of bloodshed and political turmoil have followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Soviet occupation not only proved a major trauma for the people of Afghanistan; invasion ended at a stroke the growth in superpower detente that had characterized the late 1970s; and back home in the Soviet Union the effects of escalating military costs and over 13,000 young military casualties have been felt at every level of society. The decision to withdraw combat forces under the provisions of the Geneva Accords of April 1988 is one of the most dramatic developments in the international system since the end of the Second World War. Unable to overcome fierce insurgent Mujahideen resistance, the new Soviet leadership under General Secretary Gorbachev has opted to cut its military losses under a veil of UN diplomacy. The effects of this decision will be felt not only in Afghanistan but in the Soviet Union, in Southeast Asia, and in the wider world. This book is designed to explore the background to the decision to withdraw and its broader implications. The authors, all established specialists, examine the Geneva Accords; the future for post-withdrawal Afghanistan; and the impact of withdrawal on regional states, Soviet foreign and domestic policies, the Soviet armed forces, Sino-Soviet relations, and world politics. They write from diverse disciplinary perspectives while bringing together a shared sensitivity to the issues that complicate the Afghan question.