• Lasha Tchantouridze Norwich University – the Military College of Vermont
Keywords: Afghanistan, the Soviet Union, the United States, NATO, ISAF, the Taliban


Original Research Paper

DOI: 10.37458/ssj.2.2.10

The two-decade-long U.S.-led military mission in Afghanistan ended in August 2021 after a chaotic departure of the NATO troops. Power in Kabul transferred back to the Taliban, the political force the United States and its allies tried to defeat. In its failure to achieve a lasting change, the Western mission in Afghanistan is similar to that of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. These two missions in Afghanistan had many things in common, specifically their unsuccessful counterinsurgency efforts. However, both managed to achieve limited success in their attempts to impose their style of governance on Afghanistan as well. The current study compares and contrasts some of the crucial aspects of counterinsurgency operations conducted by the Soviet and Western forces during their respective missions, such as special forces actions, propaganda activities, and dealing with crucial social issues. Interestingly, when the Soviets withdrew in 1988, they left Afghanistan worse off, but the US-backed opposition forces subsequently made the situation even worse. On the other hand, the Western mission left the country better off in 2021, and violence subsided when power in the country was captured by the Taliban, which the United States has opposed.


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