[R-G] NSARCHIVE Digest - Afghanistan and the Soviet Withdrawal 1989-20 Years Later - implications for the US (and Canada)
shniad at sfu.ca
Sat Feb 14 11:37:54 MST 2009
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Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 9:00:14 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: NSARCHIVE Digest - 26 Jan 2009 to 13 Feb 2009 (#2009-11)
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Topics of the day:
1. Afghanistan and the Soviet Withdrawal 1989-20 Years Later
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 22:12:09 -0500
From: National_Security_Archive=92?= <archive at GWU.EDU>
Subject: Afghanistan and the Soviet Withdrawal 1989-20 Years Later
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 272
Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton
Posted - February 15, 2009
For more information
National Security Archive - 202/994-7000
Washington D.C., February 15, 2009 - Twenty years ago today, the commander of the Soviet Limited Contingent in Afghanistan Boris Gromov crossed the Termez Bridge out of Afghanistan, thus marking the end of the Soviet war which lasted almost ten years and cost tens of thousands of Soviet and Afghan lives.
As a tribute and memorial to the late Russian historian, General Alexander Antonovich Lyakhovsky, the National Security Archive today posted on the Web (www.nsarchive.org) a series of previously secret Soviet documents including Politburo and diary notes published here in English for the first time. The documents suggest that the Soviet decision to withdraw occurred as early as 1985, but the process of implementing that decision was excruciatingly slow, in part because the Soviet-backed Afghan regime was never able to achieve the necessary domestic support and legitimacy - a key problem even today for the current U.S. and NATO-supported government in Kabul.
The Soviet documents show that ending the war in Afghanistan, which Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev called "the bleeding wound," was among his highest priorities from the moment he assumed power in 1985 - a point he made clear to then-Afghan Communist leader Babrak Karmal in their first conversation on March 14, 1985. Already in 1985, according to the documents, the Soviet Politburo was discussing ways of disengaging from Afghanistan, and actually reached the decision in principle on October 17, 1985.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.
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