30 years on, Russia views Afghanistan war with pride
Moscow, February 14
When the last Soviet tanks rumbled back home across a bridge on the border with Afghanistan 30 years ago, the withdrawal was hailed as a much-anticipated end to a bloody quagmire.
Since then, Moscow’s view has changed radically. As Russia prepares to mark Friday’s anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal, many see the 10-year Soviet war in Afghanistan as a necessary and largely successful endeavour.
Even those who fought in the 1980s give grudging credit to Moscow for leaving a legacy that outshines Washington’s. They point out that Russian left behind a strong army and a 400-bed military hospital that is still among the country’s best health facilities.
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, driven by fears that the US could try to establish a foothold next to Soviet republics in Central Asia. The In the fierce rebel resistance and infighting that followed, the Soviet Union lost more than 15,000 troops. Estimates of civilian casualties in that period vary widely, from more than 500,000 up to 2 million.