Conflict Belligerents: Soviet Union, Afghanistan and the Sunni Mujahideen
Conflict Winner: Sunni Mujahideen
Conflict Location: Afghanistan
Death Toll: 750,000+
16 Soviet-Afghan War Facts for Kids
The Soviet-Afghan War was an armed conflict between the Soviet Union, Afghanistan and the Sunni Mujahideen.
The Soviet-Afghan War is sometimes called the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan.
The Soviet-Afghan War started on December 24th, 1979 and ended on February 15th, 1989.
The Soviet Union and Afghanistan fought against the Sunni Mujahideen in the Soviet-Afghan War.
The Soviet-Afghan War is one of the many proxy wars fought during the Cold War.
The Sunni Mujahideen won the Soviet-Afghan War by forcing the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan was the first time the USSR invaded a country outside of the Eastern Bloc.
It’s estimated that over 70,000 military personnel were killed during the Soviet-Afghan War.
The Soviet Union alone had around 13,000 combat deaths.
It’s estimated that between 500,000 and one million civilians were killed during the Soviet-Afghan War.
The leaders on the Mujahideen side were Ahmad Shah Massoud (Lion of Panjshir) and Abdul Haq.
The leaders on the Afghanistan side were General Secretary Babrak Karmal and President Mohammad Najibullah.
The Mujahideen were given Stinger missiles by the United States of America. This allowed them to actively shoot down the Soviet Union’s helicopters and became a major turning point of the war.
The Mujahideen proved to be very difficult for the Soviet Army. They were fierce fighters who were defending their homeland and their religious beliefs. They were very successful at using the terrain to their benefit and had many places in the mountains to hide.
Due to the length of the war and the losses sustained by the Soviet Union the Soviet-Afghan War is sometimes referred to as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam. Which is a reference to the losses sustained by the United States during the Vietnam War.
The Soviet-Afghan War resulted in the destruction of most of Afghanistan’s infrastructure. This made Afghanistan become one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world.