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1979: Soviets invade Afghanistan

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Soviet troops are fighting pitched battles in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. In the days leading up to Dec. 27, 1979, some 10,000 troops have been airlifted in to secure the capital and pull off what Radio Moscow is describing as a coup. Soviet troops have executed the country's president, Hafizullah Amin, decrying him as a "tool of imperialism" who was engaged in a losing battle against Muslim rebels known as mujahedeen. In this report from CBC-TV's The National, a guerrilla leader explains that the Soviets took action to maintain the communist regime ruling Afghanistan.
• At the time of the invasion, Afghanistan was a communist state ruled by the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. But the party had spurred open rebellion in many tribal regions in 1978 after introducing modernization efforts, including reforms to marriage laws. The rebellion threatened the stability of the Afghan government, which then requested help from the Soviets in early 1979.

• Meanwhile, the United States began arming the mujahedeen rebels in hopes of drawing its rival, the Soviet Union, into a long, bloody conflict.

• After a long period of buildup, Soviet troops began to land in Kabul on Dec. 25, 1979. Tasked with killing president Hafizullah Amin, who the Soviet secret police suspected was disloyal to the leadership in Moscow, they occupied the presidential palace and assassinated him on Dec. 27, 1979.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Dec. 27, 1979
Guest(s): Hafizullah Amin
Host: Knowlton Nash
Duration: 2:37

Last updated: October 22, 2014

Page consulted on November 3, 2014

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