News / Europe

25 Years After Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan, Many Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned 25 Years After Soviet Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistani
X
February 14, 2014 11:57 AM
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. As U.S. forces draw down from Afghanistan later this year, questions arise about the lessons learned from the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. VOA's Kokab Farshori has the details

VIDEO: This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. As U.S. forces prepapre their own draw down later this year, questions about the Soviet's 1989 departure arise.

Kokab Farshori
— As the U.S. prepares to draw down combat forces in Afghanistan later this year, wrapping up the longest war in American history, questions arise about lessons learned from the Soviet's own 1989 withdrawal, which happened 25 years ago today.

Fears of leaving the war-stricken country in bad shape, much as the Kremlin did a quarter-century ago, are only exacerbated by tensions surrounding Afghan President Hamid Karzai's unwillingness to sign a security deal with the United States that would allow some Western troops to remain in the country.

While the impending U.S. draw down veritably begs for comparison to the Soviet pullout, Brookings Institution security expert Michael O’Hanlon says to think twice before drawing explicit parallels.

"There are really no parallels in how we got to the war in the first place or how we fought the war," O'Hanlon said. "And now the United States, as part of the coalition, is spending five years on a gradual process of reducing its forces in Afghanistan. But the Soviets had decided at one point that they had lost, and they left."

While a bloody civil war followed the Soviet departure, such a massive conflict may be less likely in today’s Afghanistan, which appears to be in better shape than it was 25 years, says Ahmad Majidyar of the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.

"It is the first time that the Afghans have an elected government, whereas during the Soviet time, the Afghan leaders were appointed by the Kremlin," he said. "And the second key difference is that the insurgency in Afghanistan is very much limited compared to the insurgency of Mujahideen in 1980s. There are perhaps 25,000 active Taliban fighters, but during the 1980s, that number surpassed 100,000."

Crucial lessons

But according to O'Hanlon, the most critical lesson Washington could learn from a post-Soviet Afganistan isn't likely to be found at the end of 2014, but in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001.

"I think the first lesson the United States learned it learned after 9/11, and that lesson was [that] we cannot ignore or abandon Afghanistan," O'Hanlon said. "After the Soviets were defeated, we essentially stopped paying attention, and through the 1990s, the United States basically ignored Afghanistan and let it descend into sectarian conflict, anarchy, and then of course the rise of the Taliban and, of course, sanctuaries resulted from that."

While some experts dismiss similarities between the Soviet's 1989 withdrawal and the 2014 U.S. draw down, they agree that the world cannot afford to let the country revert into a terrorists' safe haven.

"The Taliban does not have the means to re-establish itself or recapture Kabul, so the real threat is not from a Taliban military offensive after the NATO withdrawal," Majidyar said.

He added that commitment from the international community will be vital to Afghan governance and that Afghans themselves should be united to save the political structure they now have.

"It's about the sustainability of the Afghan institutions," Majidyar said.

Earlier this week, Afghanistan has released 65 accused militants from a former U.S. detention facility near Bagram Air Base, despite warnings from the United States.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the release was a "major step backwards" for the rule of law in Afghanistan, and poses serious security concerns as U.S. troops prepare to leave.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kaiser from: ae
February 15, 2014 12:35 PM
And also be noted they left pakistan alone yo handle million of Afghan national as refugees in Pakistan.

Pakistan got lots of cross border funded terrorism which help in growth of local terrorist and militant group.

USA will leave unstable pakistan and afghan and stay thousand miles away and will see them in more worst condition.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid