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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid