Reassessing Soviet Motives for Invading Afghanistan

A declassified History

Author: David N. Gibbs


This article reassesses Soviet motives for invading Afghanistan in 1979, based on newly available archival materials, especially from the former USSR. The article argues that these Soviet documents show that the 1979 invasion reflected defensive rather than offensive objectives. Specifically, the USSR sought to restrain extremist elements of the Afghan communist party, who were undermining stability on the southern Soviet frontier. The findings of this article are at odds with with long-standing views that the invasion of Afghanistan was part of a larger Soviet strategy aimed at threatening the Persian Gulf and other western interests.
Regions: Central Asia
Countries: Russia/USSR

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