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Soviet Invasion Of Afghanistan And India's Perception

The First World War had two power blocs- allied and axis. Allied power included Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Canada, Japan and United States of America, whereas the axis powers included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. The First World War started in 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the only heir to the throne of Austrian-Hungary Empire was assassinated by the Bosnian Serb nationalist, in response Austrian Hungary attacked Serbia and the war between two countries escalated when the alliances of both the parties intervened and changed this to a full scale war.

The allied powers won the war and with the Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920) which formed the Treaty of Versailles (signed in 1919 effective from 1920). Germany was held to be liable for the First World War by the Article 209 of the Treaty of Versailles. The punitive direction taken against Germany was to pay 6 billion dollars to the allied powers as compensation[1]. The direction was not only punitive, but one-tenth land of Germany was also handed over to the allied powers. Germany called this treaty as 'dictated peace' consequent to which, the nation lost its pride and prestige in the world political sphere.

Woodrow Wilson, the then USA president, in the joint session of the Congress on 8 January 1918 delivered a revolutionary 14 point speech. These points focused on resolution of issues in the world with debate and deliberation, and led to the establishment of League of Nations on 28 June 1919 with 56 members and 3 organs- assembly, council and secretariat. A strange point is that Woodrow Wilson talked about the establishment of League of Nations but USA, the nation of which he was the President did not join the organization.

The same time saw the rise of Benito Mussolini (in 1922) and Adolf Hitler (in 1933) in Italy and Germany respectively. Both had the feeling of nationalism and were against the Paris Peace Conference as Mussolini thought Italy did not receive its due from the treaty and Hitler believed that the treaty destroyed the pride and prestige of Germany in the world politics. This adamant feeling of nationalism led to the rise of authoritarian government and dictatorship in both the countries[2].

The Second World War commenced when Germany under the leadership of Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. This war also had two power blocs- allied (Great Britain, USSR, France and USA joined afterwards) and axis (Germany, Italy and Japan), when the allied power intervened in the German invasion of Poland to help the country, it led to a full scale war. The Second World War ended in 1945 when USA interfered and dropped two nuclear bombs named- 'little boy' and 'fat man' over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.[3]

After the war ended, the authoritarian rule and dictatorship also ended in Germany and Italy. The end of the war led to the creation of two superpowers- USA and USSR, as the economies of other countries deteriorated like of- Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy etc. thus the world was bipolar now. League of Nations was seen as a failure as its only goal was to resolve the issues between the nations and stop the possibility of war but the organization could not do so. But still there was seen a need of a world organization and thus United Nations was formed with the foundation of the Woodrow Wilson's 14-point speech to preserve peace and eliminate war with the encouragement of economic and social progress, safeguarding human rights and manage the refugee problems in the countries.

USA and USSR both had a developed economy and a strong political horizon. While, both the nations followed different ideologies, USA follows capitalism, which refers to an ideology in which the motive is to maximize profits, the resources are in the hands of few and there is prevalence of private property. Karl Marx, a socialist economist and a well known scholar, stated that capitalism leads to a division in the society and creates two classes- bourgeoisie and proletariat, while he stated that he was not opposing capitalism as a concept as according to him it has the seed of a proletariat revolution in itself which would lead to socialism, which he prefers. USSR, on the other hand followed socialism, which refers to an ideology in which the resources are public (for all), the government have the responsibility of distribution of resources and they are against private property as they believe it creates division in the society.

Both USA and USSR had the aim of portraying their ideology as supreme, which led to intense competition of the countries in the political front and led to a 'cold' war between the power blocs. But following the 'logic of deterrence' (both the countries had nuclear weapons and could cause humongous destruction to each other's country, thus with the logic and to avoid the destruction both nations decided not to attack each other) these tensions and the competition never led to a full scale military or a 'hot' war. 'Cold war' as a concept was coined by Walter Lippmann in 1947.[4]

Cold war has been divided into different phases. The first phase was in 1946-1949, both the sides tried to stop the expansion of each other's territory. Winston Churchill, the then Prime Minister of United Kingdoms, in his speech in the University of Westminster, in London UK, on 5 March 1946 used the term 'iron curtain' to refer the military and ideological barrier between countries and he believed that USSR's power can only be limited with the use of force. The only producer of atomic bombs then was USA. Joseph Stalin, the leader of USSR, wanted to expand his control and did not follow the Yalta Conference- held between Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the USA president, in 1945 to set a free and fair representative government in Poland after the Second World War. He ordered an attack on Poland and established communist regime in the country. He was also successful in establishing communist regime in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia.

The second phase of Cold War was in 1949-1953, USA with the purpose of unifying and strengthening the western allies formed North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with 12 countries in 1949. USA also signed a treaty with Australia and New Zealand called 'Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty (ANZUS)' in 1951. USA tried to expand its allies to Asia as well and thus signed a security treaty with Japan on 8 September 1951.

In this phase, the Korean War (1950-1953) also took place, USA and USSR divided Korea under 38th parallel into two zones of occupation, North Korea was under the communist rule supported by USSR and China. South Korea was supported by USA. On 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. United Nations Security Council sent its troops to South Korea and held North Korea as a 'violator of peace.' On 27 July 1953, Korea was officially divided into two and the two parts- North Korea and South Korea signed a peace treaty.[5] In this phase, USSR also countered the monopoly of US in the nuclear and atomic bombs and tested its first ever nuclear bomb in 1953.

The third phase of Cold War was in 1953-1957, in which there was a change in the leadership in the two nations, now the USA President was Dwight D. Eisenhower winning the 1953 elections and now USSR's Premier was Nikita Khrushchev. Scholars felt that with the change in the leadership the war would end or decelerate. USA continued signing of the various treaties; USA signed South-East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) with Pakistan, Thailand and Philippines in September 1954. In 1955, Middle East Defense Organization (MEDO) was formed and USA was giving military assistance to 43 countries and having more than 3000 military base around USSR now. In the response to these treaties of USA, USSR formed a 'Warsaw Pact' in 1955 with 12 countries.

The fourth phase of Cold War was in 1957-1962. In this phase, for the very first time a USSR Premier, Nikita Khrushchev visited USA. This was a 13-day visit held from 15 to 27 September 1959; the visit was seen as a symbol of goodwill and peace with development of personal relationship between the leaders of the superpowers. On 1 May 1960, a U-2 spy plane was seen over USSR, which re-ignited the tensions between the nations. Though the media objected that USA would never take such steps, Dwight Eisenhower, the then President of the nation agreed the presence of the U-2 spy plane and stated that it was for the security of US citizens from USSR, he further stated that the nation would continue to take these steps if necessary.[6]

In 1961, Germany was divided into two, where East Germany was under USSR but West Germany did not had the support of any country. Thus, the migration from East Germany to West Germany started increasing, as the people wanted a type of governance for their security and benefits. When no western power was taking control of West Germany, USSR was forced to create a 25 mile long wall to separate the two sides of Germany, to stop the migration.

The most important incident of this phase was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Cuba had a communist president Fidel Castro, and received assistance from USSR. Thus in 1962, he allowed the USSR installation of missiles in Cuba, which is just 90 miles away from the shore of America. This was the very first time that both the country's weapons were so close to each other. John F. Kennedy, the then president of USA, did not want to take a chance and have USSR missiles so close to the American shore and thus ordered to block the USSR ships going to Cuba and thus the crisis started. This crisis had the possibility of a full scale hot war but with the Logic of Deterrence it did not lead to a hot war.

Both the superpowers also used 'd�tente' for the relaxation of the issue as they now understood that the only way they can live together in the world is by peaceful co-existence. Easing of the tensions became the priority of the nations[7] and thus in the fifth phase of the Cold War 1962-1969 there were many treaties signed by both the parties for reducing the hold of Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was also the commencement of the hotline between Washington and Moscow in 1963, for the direct communication of leaders of the two superpowers. This was started by the then USA President John F. Kennedy. Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1963 for the end of nuclear test in space, underwater and atmosphere. This treaty was the base for many different treaties- Non Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968, which got its foundation from Partial Test Ban Treaty and became a hallmark for complete disarmament in the world and stop the testing of nuclear weapons.

Active d�tente was followed in the sixth phase of the Cold War 1969-1978 in which Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev introduced many cultural agreements and trade practices.[8] The Sea Bed Pact was signed in 1971, which stopped the nuclear tests on the sea bed. In 1971 after 18 months talk between US, Great Britain, France and USSR the west powers were allowed the access in West Germany. The Biological Warfare Treaty was signed in 1972 for curbing the biological agents in the world. In 1972, Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed for each side to have the control of maximum 100 ABMs; the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) was also signed in 1972 for freezing of the ballistic missiles. In 1973, there were co-operations in agriculture research, cultural expansion and scientific exchange of the two nations. In 1975 with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki, 34 countries of Europe and USA signed to improve d�tente in East and West. Though, with this measure d�tente was seen to be in its climax. It ended when USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

Afghanistan In 1977

Afghanistan gained independence on 19 August 1919 under King Amanullah Khan (Durrani Empire) after signing the Anglo-Afghan treaty, though Afghanistan was never under Britain as a colony, it signed the treaty with Britain for its independence. Since then Afghanistan was under monarchial government, the monarch was from the Durrani Empire. Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last king of Afghanistan reigning from 1933-1973, ruling for 40 years which was the longest in Afghanistan. When the king in 1973 went for a medical treatment in Italy, former Prime Minister Mohammed Dauod Khan, the king's cousin and brother-in-law, with Afghan army officials established a coup d'�tat against king's rule[9], ending the 225 year old monarchial government in the country.

Mohammed Dauod Khan established republican government and declared himself as the President and the Prime Minister of Afghanistan. This republic rule was alien to the Afghans as they were always ruled by a monarchial government. He had an autocratic rule proved with his several educational, progressive social reforms and foreign policies[10]. Though the educational and social reforms were successful, the foreign policies led to tense relations with the neighboring countries.

He also tried to suppress the dependence of Afghanistan to USSR. In his rule, the sole legal party in Afghanistan was declared to be National Revolutionary Party which was founded in 1975. In 1977, four years after the coup, Dauod Khan held elections for the constituent assembly in January to make a constitution. The assembly was part-elected and part-appointed. There were 41 members focusing on fundamental rights and duties, the power of the president (elected for a six year term) and government, a unicameral parliament with National Council.

With the establishment of the constitution, only National Revolutionary Party was allowed to nominate the candidates for the parliamentary elections. Supreme Court was the highest judicial institution there were 30 presidential nominated judges and 5-8 representative judges were from each province. 'Loya Jirga' was the grand assembly which held the highest manifestation of will of Afghans. It consisted of members of national assembly and the presidents of province and district assemblies. The Loya Jirga focused on the issue of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and supreme national interests; it had the power to amend the constitution and provisions to impeach the President in accordance to article 69 of the constitution.

But even after so many reforms and provisions, on 27 April 1978 Dauod Khan was killed in a coup that brought a communist government in the rule. The leader of the coup was Nur Mohammad Taraki, who was also one of the founding members of Afghan Communist Party. He declared himself the President and the Prime Minister of the nation. This was known as the Saur Revolution, the main organizer of the revolution was Hafizullah Amin. Taraki proclaimed independence from soviet influence and declared policies based on Islamic principles, nationalism and justice.

He followed a communist form of government, and proved his inclination towards USSR by signing a friendship treaty with the superpower[11]. In June 1978, the guerrilla movement Mujahadeen was created to fight against the Soviet-backed government. Mujahadeen[12] are the people who participate in jihad, as a fight on behalf of God, religion or community. Though many believe that they are one group but it includes 4 different groups- one that believe in jihadist ideology (which is regressive); the egalitarian vision of an Islamic government (which is not regressive); the leftist or Maoists (who felt that they were not heard); they people who pickup arms for resistance and fight the government and there laws.

The fourth category of mujahedeen grew a lot in Afghanistan when USSR invaded. In 1979, Amin grew to power and on March 27, 1979 he overthrew Taraki leadership and became the Prime Minister, while Taraki retained presidency. Still there were many protests happening in Afghanistan against the government's Marxist reforms and inclination to Soviet Union.

Soviet Entry In Afghanistan

After the protests, on 14 September 1979, Hafizullah Amin overthrew Taraki as the President too and declared self as the President. He had a nationalist view and attempted to improve the nation's relations with Pakistan and USA. As the President, he met with the three charge d'affaires of USA and interviewed with the American correspondent. These efforts of Amin grew tensions with USSR and then on 24 December 1979, on Christmas Eve, USSR army invaded Afghanistan. Hafizullah Amin was killed on 27 December by Operation Storm- 333 executed by Soviet Union in the Tajbeg Palace where Amin resided. Though, the palace was surrounded by the Afghan troops USSR was still successful in the invasion. In the attack, 30 Afghan palace guards and 300 Afghan military were killed with the capturing of 150 personnel by the Soviet army. This attack also led to death of two Amin sons, his daughter was also wounded but she survived. This operation led to the surrendering of the Afghan military with the end of the khalqist domination of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan; there were installation of pro-soviet measure and beginning of the Soviet-Afghan war. Many Soviet personnel entered Afghanistan from the Amu Darya, which is the major river of Afghanistan and other entered by air. Babrak Karmal was appointed as the leader of Afghanistan. From February 1980, there were many protests in the opposition of appointment of Karmal as the Prime Minister and the entry of USSR in Afghanistan on the streets.

The USSR army raped, killed and kidnapped the Afghans. Students and civilians rose against the USSR invasion but were suppressed by the personnel. The Soviet army was deployed in strategic areas of the city, suppressing any and almost all the protests that rose against them. By the early 1980s, mujahedeen rebels united against the invaders, that is, the Soviets and the Afghan army, which was backed by the Soviet Union. The USSR army used to attack the area with mujahedeen rebels but when the army would go away, they would settle at the same place again.

Due to this war, for the search of stability, appropriate employment, appropriate housing, security and welfare many Afghans migrated to Pakistan (south-east to Afghanistan) and Iran (west to Afghanistan) in 1982.

In 1984, Osama Bin Laden[13], the later leader of al-Qaeda (meaning 'the base'), came to Afghanistan to aid the anti-Soviet fighters. He started increasing his influence from 1979 and even met with Afghan leaders to raise funds for the resistance. It was only in 1984 that his influence increased in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he recruited Arab volunteers to fight against the USSR army in Afghanistan.

In 1986, USSR put a communist leader Dr. Muhammad Najibullah as the president of Afghanistan. But he followed the soviet guidelines to run the government and actually did no good to the nation.

In September 1988, Osama Bin Laden and 15 other Islamists formed al-Qaeda to continue jihad, fight against the Soviets and build a nation governed by Islamist laws and regulations. They not only focused on the expansion of USSR military in Afghanistan but also focused on America's expansion as they believed that the superpowers were the main obstacle to the establishment of a state based on Islamic laws and regulations.

USA Entry In The War

In 1973, Daoud Khan became a very close ally of USSR. But this alignment with USSR made USA very nervous. Things became worse when his government was overthrown and a Marxist-Leninist government was established in 1978, this was when USA started sending some money to the resistance groups of Afghanistan[14]. Some of the officials of the then USA government like the former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was very interested in getting involved and overthrowing the communist government of Afghanistan. But there were also some military leaders that believed that their getting involved in the Afghan politics will force the Soviet Union to get involved too, for the sole purpose of expansion.

Though, when USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979 the USA policymakers state that they were focusing on an extensive covert operation and believed that they now had to give support to the mujahedeen rebels. It was only in 1986 that they gave increased support to mujahedeen rebels. United States, Britain and China gave the arms to the rebels via Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). US officials started this for the recovery of the Afghan sovereignty and religious freedom; they also had an ulterior motive of not letting Soviet Union increase their influence to the Middle East and South Asia[15]. Though 'US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted in a 1998 interview that this aid to mujahedeen started in July 1979 which increased the probability that the Soviet Union would invade Afghanistan to increase their control and restrict the control of USA'- as stated by 'US Foreign Policy and the Soviet-Afghan War: A Revisionist History' by Julie Lowenstein. The mujahedeens rebels were not being trained by the CIA (USA's service) or ISI; they are just ordinary citizens who had guns and arms at their homes for their protection from the USSR military.

USA also pressurized Egypt to release group of strong Islamists- one of them was Ayman al-Zawahiri, which was second in command of al-Qaeda, from the prison. These Islamists were from Yemen, Arab and Saudi Arabia and these were the ones who formed al-Qaeda and gave strength to it.[16]

The aid to the resistance groups by USA, UK and China led to the funding strong fighters who were the ones to rise and start a civil war in Afghanistan when USSR and USA eventually decided to retract their armies; this civil war also led to formation of al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Pressure On United Nations[17]

On 11 February 1981, United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim appointed the Under Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar as his personal representative to Afghanistan crisis showing his commitment to resolve the issue.

In August 1981, de Cuellar got the information that Pakistan and Afghanistan would be resolving the crisis, but on September he got news that the negotiations were stalled because of the assertion of Afghanistan that the withdrawal of USSR from the area can only be discussed between the concerned parties, that is, USSR and Afghanistan and not with Pakistan as the Pakistan officials insisted. On 28 September 1981, Afghan Foreign Ministry criticized the role of USA in providing the resistance groups with arms and funds. He also asserted that the only way Afghanistan would ever accept the accord with Pakistan is when they have a routine timetable of withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Afghan soil agreed by USSR and Afghanistan. This meant that Pakistan would have little role in the agreement of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops. This led Pakistan to harden its position and insist a greater role in negotiations. Pakistan was so involved with the withdrawal of the Soviet army as many Afghan migrants were living in Pakistan which created problem for their citizens.

In June 1982 with the help of UN Under Secretary General Diego Cordovez there were eleven rounds of negotiations between Pakistan and Afghanistan with USSR and USA in the Geneva headquarters, known as the Geneva Conference. The conference was to focus on four points- Afghanistan to be politically independent and non-aligned, withdrawal of foreign troops from the nation, self-determination of Afghanistan and return of the Afghan refugees in honor. Although little resulted from the first round of talks but it marked the beginning of official forum for discussion of Soviet withdrawal. The Soviet intentions were revealed by Yuri Andropov, Chairman of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in November 1982 at Leonid Brezhnev funeral, to Zia ul-Haq, the former President of Pakistan, that Soviet Union wanted to get out of Afghanistan and would be able to do that only if Pakistan would cease the aid to the resistance groups of the area. The second round of Geneva conference continued in 1983 as the USSR military was facing a lot of expenses, causalities and international prestige. On 8 April, the conference began optimistically when USSR stated that when the condition is right they might consider withdrawing from Afghanistan, the talk was suspended on 22 April for the delegates to discuss with their governments. Pakistan was interested in this resolution of issue because of the increasing number of Afghan refugees settled in their country. This conference was a failure because of absence of a Soviet negotiator in the decision making.

The third round of the Geneva conference ended in 1984 when America stated that it was supplying assistance to Afghanistan resistance groups with $280 million per year.

The true withdrawal of Soviet military took place only when Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of USSR in 1985. This was because now the government of USSR was thinking of cutting down the extra and useless expenses it was making along the way which eventually led to destruction of the Soviet economy. The fourth round of Geneva conference was in June 1985, when Cordovez held talks with the USA Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Richard Murphy and Chief of the Middle Eastern Department of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, Yuli Alekseyev, both the officials believed that the position held by their countries in second conference was correct, that USSR would only withdraw from Afghanistan when USA would stop the aid to mujahedeen rebels. This confirmed the return of refugees as after withdrawal of USSR the Afghans would return to their country, international guarantors and non interference in Afghanistan by any other country's troops or government.

The fifth round of Geneva conference took place in August 1985 to establish government to government talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan. But Pakistan's Foreign Minister Yaqub Khan in the United Nations General Assembly condemned the Soviet and Afghan negotiators for changing the format of the negotiations and stated that it will not take part of the negotiations until there is refugee repatriation and Soviet withdrawal is stated in a proper timetable, this also ended without any conclusion.

In the sixth round of Geneva conference in December 1985, Afghanistan had the timetable for the withdrawal of the foreign troops but still Pakistan officials were not interested to talk. Though this talk ended but the official debate of USSR withdrawing from Afghanistan came into existence.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission made a critical report of the violations of the Human Rights made by USSR troops in Afghanistan in 1985. In 1986, USSR and Afghanistan talked about the withdrawal of the Soviet troops officially.

Thus the seventh round of Geneva conference was held in four different phases. In the first, on 4 May 1986 there was a change of leadership in Afghanistan from Babrak Karmal to Mohammad Najibullah. It also decided that the Soviet troops withdrawal would happen between three to four years, but Pakistan insisted of the withdrawal to be of six months or less. In the second phase, USSR, Afghanistan and Pakistan failed to agree on a timetable for the withdrawal.

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution for the seventh time demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the UN Commission on Human Rights condemned the Soviet occupation and Amnesty International accused USSR of participating in the torture of Afghan prisoners[18].

Cordovez obtained an agreement in November on measures to monitor a troop withdrawal but fell short of establishing a timetable. The third phase was in March 1987, when for the first time Pakistan officials were also present in the conference for the withdrawal of troops. In the fourth phase, the Pakistan officials raised the time frame for the withdrawal to six to eight months and Afghanistan decreased the time frame to sixteen to eighteen months, they still were not able to agree on the timetable for the withdrawal.

But finally in 1989 USSR troops left Afghanistan. The United Nations at the time of danger placed the interest of the country in danger (Afghanistan) forward and initiated the talks.

End Of Ussr Control Of Afghanistan

The work of providing assistance to the Soviet leaders to exit from Afghanistan started from 1983 by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry led by Yaqub Ali Khan. In 1984-1985 he even paid visits to China, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France and United States to set up a framework for the withdrawal.

From 1987, the Soviet army tried to provide strength to the Afghan military forces to fight the mujahedeen when they would have eventually left Afghanistan truly. The Pakistan President Zia ul- Haq was determined to put a conservative Islamist government in Afghanistan when USSR would have left the area.

On 14 April 1988 at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations a formal agreement was signed for the settlement of situation of Afghanistan between Afghanistan, Pakistan with United States and Soviet Union as the guarantors.

There were bilateral agreements between Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Afghanistan for non-intervention of Pakistan Islamic leaders in Afghanistan's politics and decisions. Secondly agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the return of Afghan refugees back to their homeland[19].

The agreement also contained the timetable of the withdrawal of Soviet military from Afghanistan. This withdrawal had to begin on 15 May 1988 and be ended by 15 February 1989. Thus, the nine year long Soviet invasion in Afghanistan was put to an end.

The agreement was basically between Afghanistan and Pakistan but the United States also stopped the supply of arms or funds to mujahedeen through Pakistan once the USSR withdrawal was complete.

But as mujahedeen was not included in the accord at Geneva, they refused to accept the terms of the agreement. Thus, after the withdrawal of Soviet forces a civil war broke out in Afghanistan and the puppet President Dr. Muhammad Najibullah failed to receive popular support but still retained power till 1992 after which mujahedeen rebels came to power.[20]

India's Perception
When the First (1914-1918) and Second World War (1939-1945) was taking place India was under colonial rule. But with the end of Second World War, Great Britain took a huge hit in its economy. This was the time that the colonies of Britain were demanding sovereignty and now that Britain was not economically well it was not able to suppress the resistance movements taking place and was forced to give independence to the colonies.

India, one of the colonies of Britain, became independent on 15 August 1947 from the 200 year old rule of Britain by the East India Company. The last viceroy was Lord Mountbatten who signed the independence of India. But this happened by the division/partition of British India into- India (as we know today) and Pakistan.

Even before India was independent the Cold War was commenced by the speech of Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of United Kingdoms in the Westminster College on 5 March 1946. After the independence of India the leaders were focused on developing India politically and economically. Thus India as a newly decolonized country, the leaders did not intervene in the tensions of the world and were focused on developing their nation first. Therefore India was not a part of any treaties or agreements of USA or USSR that is, the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization or Warsaw Pact respectively. But we cannot state that India was not a part of the Cold War, as not being a part includes the nation to not do anything at all in the international level. But this was not the case for India, as the nation was very much involved in the resolution of the issues in the world. The nation's leader Jawaharlal Nehru had formed Non Alignment Movement (NAM). This movement led India to maintain a distance from the superpowers and be the voice of the newly decolonized countries.

NAM was not just founded by former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru but 4 other leaders from the newly decolonized countries- the then President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser, first President of Indonesia Sukarno and first Prime Minister of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah. By this, India was able to make its own decision and stances which fulfill their interests and not worry of the interests of the superpowers and their allies. The policy of non-alignment was also criticized by many. Many stated that by this India is avoiding taking a firm stand in the world politics. Though India signed the Treaty of Friendship with USSR in August 1971 for twenty years� but this treaty did not stop India to have a relation with other countries and even the other superpower.

In the period of Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, India was politically and economically unstable, the country had 3 Prime Ministers- Charan Singh (28 July 1979- 14 January 1980), Indira Gandhi (14 January 1980- 31 October 1984) and lastly Rajiv Gandhi (31 October 1984- 2 December 1989).

With the end of 1970s, relationship between India and USSR had been more strong, close and cooperative. Though India from the 1950s-1960s got an economic, political and military support from USSR but at the end of 1970s it was accelerated. Scholars believed that USSR could not have received a much better third world ally to work against the Chinese and American expansion[21]. But for India, this support of USSR helped with the issues with Pakistan. When Soviet invaded Afghanistan in 1979, this relationship was disrupted largely. For India, the introduction of army to the country which was not part of the Soviet bloc and a part of the non-aligned movement (Afghanistan joined NAM in 1961) was repugnant to the historic foreign policy. It was a very tough position for India to hold, on one hand, it was averse to idea of a superpower meddling with the domestic affairs of a small country but on the other hand, the superpower which had invaded was a strong ally to India. In the United Nations debated also, India did not hold any one position.

Even though in an emergency special session of United Nations General Assembly in 1980, India broke the NAM position and openly supported the Soviet invasion when Brajesh Mishra stated that India obviously cannot look at the situation with a peaceful state of mind because literally a country had interfered in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. He stated that USSR government had assured India that it was only because of the request of Hafizullah Amin that Soviet troops entered the nation, further he stated that the Soviet troops would even withdraw from the area when the Afghan government would say so. He had an optimistic view of the Soviet nation and stated that USSR would not violate the independence of Afghanistan and will not stay in the nation a day longer than is necessary. Though, Indira Gandhi in her election campaign of 1980 criticized the Soviet invasion[22].

USA had a South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) with Thailand, Philippines and Pakistan. Pakistan at that time was one of the biggest threats to the security of India and thus, this was one of the major reason that Indian officials supported Soviet Union in the emergency session.[23]

Afghanistan had become the base of many terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Taliban, which put question to the security and the human rights of the citizens of the country. India always wanted what is best for its neighboring countries and therefore did not want the Soviet troops to leave the country before it had been stabilized. But because of the economic failure of the USSR under the Mikhail Gorbachev the troops had to leave Afghanistan before it was even stabilized.

Rajiv Gandhi shared close personal relation with Dr. Muhammad Najibullah and when Soviet withdrew from Afghanistan and Afghanistan was unsteady, this bond between Afghanistan and India became even stronger. But the resistance groups prevalent in Afghanistan had a negative perception of India, because of its pro-Soviet regime. Thus when the Najibullah government fell the relation between the two countries were destroyed.

In an interview with I.K Gujaral, the former Prime Minister of India, who was also the ambassador to Soviet Union in the Soviet Afghan Invasion, was asked whether India endorsed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in any way, to which he firmly stated NO that India did not in any sense endorse any kind of invasion as India respects the sovereignty of each state and will never think of attacking first and putting other country's independence in danger.[24]

The only other countries which supported USSR in the invasion was- East Germany, Vietnam and Angola, who were all the allies of the Soviet bloc. Oleg Troyanovsky, USSR ambassador, stated that this repetition of the conferences in UN for Afghanistan is a US attempt to destroy d�tente and peaceful coexistence of the superpowers[25]. Some Soviet scholars also stated that these conferences are taking place often not because UN was concerned about the sovereignty of Afghanistan but because UN is basically run by the funding of US and if US has a problem in a particular issue of the world, UN will for sure look into that.

Afghanistan After Withdrawal Of The Soviet Troops

USSR troops officially left Afghanistan on 15 February 1989. But this withdrawal led to a situation which every leader was afraid of. The withdrawal led to chaos in Afghanistan and rise of terrorist organizations- Taliban and al-Qaeda. After the USSR withdrawal we can see 3 things in Afghanistan- formation of al-Qaeda with Osama Bin Laden as the leader, rise of regime of Taliban and solidification of global violent jihad.

In 1992, the mujahedeen rebels overthrew Dr. Muhammad Najibullah's government. The protest was led by Ahmad Shah Masood in the capital, Kabul and the mujahedeens placed the Islamic leader Burhannudin Rabbani as President of the nation.

In 1995, the resistant group Taliban rose to power and assured peace in the country, unusually after the Taliban rise to power there were droughts and famine from 1995 to 1999 which led to one million Afghans to migrate to Pakistan, where they lived in refugee camps but still the citizens of Afghanistan who wanted better living conditions approved the Taliban rule. Islamic laws were applicable in the country as given in the sharia, the law governing body of Islam. The Taliban rule made the cultivation of poppies for the opium trade illegal, made better education policies, decreased the crime in the streets and reformed the employment for men, but for women they curtailed all the possibilities. Women were not allowed to go outside home without the full veil; they were also not allowed to go outside home alone. The United States did not recognize the authority of Taliban over Afghanistan because they knew that the Taliban rule was undemocratic and authoritarian, the human rights of citizens especially of women were also exploited largely.[26]

On 27 September 1996, Taliban assassinated the former president, Dr. Mohammad Najibullah. The mujahedeens murdered him and brutalized his body in full front of the international media. His terrible execution stands at the top of the Afghanistan tragedies, which further opened the way for the five year rule of Taliban. This act of Taliban led to the destruction of the relationship of Afghanistan with India.[27]

On 7 August 1988, al-Qaeda, now settled in Afghanistan bombed two American embassies situated in East Africa- Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. This led to death of more than 200 people. This led to Bill Clinton, the then USA President, to attack Osama Bin Laden's training camp in Afghanistan. By 2000, al-Qaeda was recognized as a terrorist organization by United Nations and Osama Bin Laden was seen to be hiding in Afghanistan, building an army of terrorist and training people.

In March 2001, Taliban stating that Afghanistan is an Islamic country thus issued threats to destroy any and all figurines and statues other religions, thus the the Buddhist statue at Bamiyam was destroyed. This was the most important attack against the historical and cultural heritage of the country which led to many protests in countries including India.

In September 2001, Taliban also assassinated the head of nation's insurgent and head of Northern alliance Masood Azhar. With the increase control of Taliban and Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, there was an increase in the terrorist activities in the world, the most shocking terrorist attack was of the 9/11 attack happened on 11 September 2001. In the attack, four commercial planes were hijacked by 19 terrorist of the al-Qaeda, the planes were then crashed in the World Trade Centre Towers in New York and Washington DC in USA. Each tower was badly destroyed, erupted into flames and killed thousand. Weeks later USA stated that the main suspect for the act was Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda situated in Afghanistan.

This act of the al-Qaeda led to the disastrous events for the world. World markets were badly shaken, the companies suffered losses and New York markets were closed for four trading days. As the towers were the heart of the New York's financial district, the Lower Manhattan infrastructure was damaged, the stock market fell drastically and commercial aviation facilities were closed leading many people to be stranded throughout the nation. On October 7 the members of NATO and USA launched airstrikes against Afghanistan; this was because there was no response to the turning over Osama Bin Laden to USA. The American warplanes started bombing the areas where there were Taliban and al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Within months thousands of terrorists were captured or killed. The Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders were forced to hide. This led to the strategic failure of the al-Qaeda as its base in Afghanistan was completely destroyed with the airstrikes. On December 7, Taliban surrendered the last of its Afghan territory and it was reported that the rule of Taliban has completely ended in Afghanistan.[28]

For the set up of the interim government on December 22, Hamid Karzai was declared the head of the government. In 2003, due to the increase of violence, NATO forces took over the security of Kabul. In January 2004, seeing that there is some stability in the nation in comparison to the previous years, the citizens wanted a constitution in the country, this constitution was made by the inputs of the Afghans, by the public meeting of villages. The office of the Prime Minister was removed, the ministers were directly under the rule of the President, there were provisions for the equality of women and the official language was Pashto and Dari. In October 2004 Presidential elections, there were 18 candidates in total and 10.5 million Afghans registered for voting. Hamid Karzai was elected as the president with 55% of the votes.

In 2006, the NATO peacekeeping forces had expanded to the south of the Afghanistan. The Taliban leaders launched raids and suicide attacks against international troops. On 12 May 2007, the Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah was killed by the US operation in the south of Afghanistan; this was also confirmed by the NATO forces and Afghan government.

USA President Barack Obama announced Richard Holbrooke as the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight against terrorism in 2010. He also dispatched more military and civilian trainers to the Afghanistan and approximately 17000 combat troops were ordered. Assistance was also given to Pakistan by America for the fight against terrorists.

On 2 May 2011, the leader of al-Qaeda was killed by the US forces in Abbottabad in Pakistan in a compound. The operation was named Neptune Spear. The operation ended the decade long hunt of Osama Bin Laden who was the mastermind of the 9/11 attack in USA. Al-Qaeda confirmed the death on 6 May and vowed to avenge the killing of their beloved leader.

On 11 March 2012, in the Kandahar massacre United States Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales murdered 16 Afghan civilians inside their homes and injured many in Panjwai, Kandahar. This led to President Hamid Karzai to order the pulling back of the American forces from Afghanistan. The Afghan army took over all the security and military operations earlier done by the NATO forces. In May 2014, USA President Barack Obama issued the timetable for the reducing of the US troop size in Afghanistan by 2016.

Hamid Karzai lost the September 2014 presidency elections and Ashraf Ghani became the president of the country. By December 2014 the NATO forces completely withdrew from Afghanistan but the US troops were still present in the country and continued to train the Afghan forces to maintain the stability in the nation.

On 15 October 2015, Obama defied his own decision of removing the US troops from Afghanistan by 2016 and states that 10,000 US troops will still be in Afghanistan in 2016 following to 5,500 troops in 2017 when his tenure to be the President would end. Obama states that this will be 'modest and meaningful' as the US troops would not take matters to their own hands but will just assist and consult with the Afghan commanders.[29]

Donald Trump the President of USA (after Obama) also continued to involve military of US in Afghanistan as 'the vacuum for terrorist[30]' and maintain peace and stability.

On 29 February 2020, there was a signing of the peace agreement between USA and Taliban that would serve the purpose of withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 and end the 20 year war in Afghanistan (2001-2021), this agreement was known as the Doha agreement. Taliban in this agreement pledged to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban. But this agreement was broken in 2022 when America and Taliban both claimed that the other side had violated the provisions of the agreement.

US secretary of state Anthony Blinken stated that Taliban had sheltered the al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, which was a violation of the agreement and thus the US troops invaded Afghanistan and killed him. Taliban stated that America is in violation as the agreement stated that the US troops cannot enter the nation, but they did to kill the al-Qaeda chief, which Taliban did not know was even in Afghanistan.[31]

Joe Biden was elected as President of USA on 20 January 2021. In April 2021 he announced the complete withdrawal of the US troops in Afghanistan. Taliban was successful in collapsing government of Afghanistan on 15 August 2021 when some of the US troops were still present in the country. This led to debates that whether the withdrawal of the US troops was necessary and could the collapse of government of Afghanistan by Taliban would have been a failure if US troops would still be present in the country.[32]

US to this answered that US had been spending a lot for the stability and peace in the other countries and now they would prefer that the large sum that they spend would instead be used for the development of America. On 26 August 2021, when the last withdrawal of the US troops was happening, there were two suicide bombings in Kabul airport as thousands of Afghans were trying to flee the country and had gathered at the airport waiting for flights because of the Taliban takeover of the country. The bombing killed 169 Afghans and 13 US personnel.

But still President Joe Biden did not reverse the course of the withdrawal of troops and still kept the end date of the America troops to exit to be 31 August. In his speech from the White House over this incident he vows to retaliate against the perpetrators of the attack at the airport- 'We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to make you pay.'

Taliban made their government in 2022 to rule over Afghanistan with Hibatullah Akhundzada as the supreme leader and Hasan Akhund as the acting Prime Minister of Afghanistan.

The seventh phase of cold war was between 1979-1989. The USSR troops invaded Afghanistan in 1979. USA boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow as a way to protest the 1979 invasion of Soviet Union of Afghanistan, in totality 65 nations refused to take part in the Olympics while 80 nations took part in the competition. While, the USSR refused to take part in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles giving the reason of security concern with the chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria prevalent in the United States. The boycott involved 14 Eastern Bloc countries led by USSR. The USSR troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989.

After the USSR troops withdrew from Afghanistan, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1) was signed on 31 July 1991 between USA and Russia (after disintegration of USSR due to high investment in weapons manufacturing and space research; protest by Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia for independence; Gorbachev reformist democratic policies of Glasnost and Perestroika) for the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, not more than 6000 nuclear warheads, 1600 intercontinental ballistic missiles and weapons, 80% of weapons were aimed to be removed by 2001. With that the second edition of START was also signed between USA and Russia on 3 January 1993, this led to reduction of the strategic delivery vehicles and number of warheads deployed.

The climax of cold war was when the Berlin wall (used to divide between East and West Germany) was collapsed in 1989, the cold war officially ended in 1991 when USSR disintegrated and there were many different and new states born by this disintegration, which had the choice of following capitalism or socialism. The cold war which was the ideological war between the two superpowers now that one had disintegrated there was prevalence of capitalism. Now, the bipolar world was changed to a unipolar world or as many scholars state a multipolar world because of the rise of many third world countries like China, India, and Japan etc.

As for Afghanistan, it is considered as 'failed' as without the support of the other country's troops either USSR and USA, Afghanistan was not able to function properly and have a stable government. The major reason of the invasion of USSR in Afghanistan as given by the officials was increase in the relations with USA. Afghanistan which was on the south of USSR, it was difficult and dangerous for the USSR to allow the increase of relationship of the country with the only other superpower present in the world. USSR withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in 1989.

When Afghanistan was under USSR it gave rise to the many mujahedeen groups, which led to the creation of the terrorist organizations like Taliban and al-Qaeda. These groups were major reason for the rise of the terrorist activities in the world, the major shock being the 9/11 attack of al-Qaeda under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden. USA invaded the Afghanistan in 2001 as a response of the 9/11 attack, which led to damage of the market of the whole world, with the motive of reducing the terrorist activities and kill the mastermind of the attack Osama Bin Laden.

USA withdrew from the nation with the orders of the President Joe Biden by 31 August 2021, ignoring the fact that Taliban had already taken Afghanistan under its control on 15 August 2021. These terrorist organizations always had the motive of having a state ruled by the Islamic laws and regulations given in the sharia and Quaran, giving no rights to women and all to men- the women were not allowed to go outside alone and not without their full veil. These groups are not only the reason of increase in terrorism in the world but are also the reason of the state of Afghanistan being unstable and never have a proper democratic government till now. Now even in 2023 there is no democratic government, it is the Taliban leaders who rule the nation.

Written By: Vidya Taneja

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