“Bleeding Wound”


In late December of 1979, The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in support Afghan communist government.

invasion use this one .jpg

Muslim guerrilla fighters were challenging the new Communist Government. The Soviet Union felt the civil war offered an opportunity to extend their communist influence. (Encyclopedia Britannica) The following video offers a simplistic concise overview of the conflict.


Over the course of ten years, the Afghan intervention placed a heavy financial  burden on the USSR. While the Soviets were able to mitigate cost by limiting the movement of their ground forces, ten years of conflict took a toll on the Soviet economy. In addition to the economic price, the Red Army failed to achieve decisive victory and were forced to leave the country in stalemate in early 1989. The following CIA Intelligence Assessment from 1987 highlights these claims.

CIA Paper .png

Case Comparison

Ultimately, the Afghan intervention is viewed as one of the straws that broke the camels back in terms of the fall of the Soviet Union. Ten years of warfare placed an economic drain on the economy. The Red Army’s failure to secure a victory further compounded the problem because it made the USSR look weak both home and abroad. Applying the lessons learned from history, it is interesting to study the United States invasion of Afghanistan. A strong argument can be made that the United States did not learn from the Soviet’s history. The United States has invested fifteen plus years into a counter insurgency, fighting the very people they armed two decades prior to the U.S. invasion. In a paper I wrote last semester, I cited a source which claimed that the Taliban still have a presence in over fifty percent of Afghanistan. Evidence supports the claim that the United States has fought the counter insurgency to a stalemate, just as the Soviets did in the 1980’s. It will be interesting to see what happens in Afghanistan when the U.S. pulls all of their troops out of the country.



Title Picture- https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=HcLid1xl&id=393B6018D58F9012043623A768BBE0FCC6665857&thid=OIP.HcLid1xlJlgNcUfdIdVJ7AEsDO&q=ussr+afghanistan+invasion&simid=608035961729583394&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0

Invasion picture- https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=OKZ2dAcM&id=EB2B7A29E8D4FBBD9B897DB7996D7204D677564B&thid=OIP.OKZ2dAcMSef3bZ2F4nJrMAEsC7&q=ussr+afghanistan+invasion&simid=608010466806268605&selectedIndex=12&ajaxhist=0

All other sources are hyperlinked or cited in text.

7 thoughts on ““Bleeding Wound”

  1. I definitely agree that the economic cost contributed to the collapse of the USSR. It was a lost cause the second they invaded Afghanistan (as history shows us w/ Britain, them, America, etc.) and the costs just rose and rose the longer they stayed. It is extremely ironic we’ve been fighting the same group we helped support during this war. Great post!


    1. Agree on the irony of the fact that the US is still fighting the forces it initially armed. So painful. Some good detective work here — like the CIA document — but check back on the video. How did you decide it was a credible source?


  2. I agree with Dr. Nelson, you’re sources for this post are nice! I appreciate the basic (yet incredibly convoluted) overview of the conflict, and then the CIA doc that highlights a specific perspective in the form of an intelligence assessment. Do you have a link for the source you used in your paper last semester highlighting the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan?


  3. This was a good post! You summarized it well and I too found that parallel between the Soviet invasion and our own. I wonder why we didn’t learn from their mistakes and try not to make the same. Hopefully we won’t have an economic decline as bad as the Soviets did at the end of all of this.


  4. I agree, the similarities between The US invasion of the area and the Soviets invasion are substantial. Interesting to see that both extremely powerful military forces were only able to battle their enemies to a stalemate.


  5. This is a really good post! I like the way you used your sources. I think it is strange that the U.S. didn’t learn from the Soviet failure in Afghanistan. We have made many of the same mistakes that they did during their war. However, we have a massive and flexible economy that can offset the costs of the war which they didn’t. I think proximity (we don’t share a border with Afghanistan) is another important consideration.


  6. I really appreciate how you tied this situation into things we see today. I recently did a paper on Afghanistan as well in which I noted there has been little progress. It does seem like we have fallen into the same trap as the Soviets did. I also enjoyed the video and the CIA document! Those were awesome finds!


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