Afghan ambassador demands an apology from Russia for deployment of Soviet troops

Abdul Qayoum Kochai, an ambassador of Afghanistan in Russia, stated during a meeting of the Afghanistan ambassador with LDPR party in the Russian lower house of a parliament that Kabul expects the Russian authorities to apologize for deploying Soviet troops in Afghanistan in 1979.

Qayoum Kochai said that what happened in 1978-1979 was a mistake. “The Left party came to power [in Afghanistan] in 1978 but it wasn’t a real left-wing. The only thing they wanted was power,” RIA Novosti quotes him as saying. According to the diplomat, the Soviet Union recognized the legitimacy of the government then.

The first head of the state was Nur Muhammad Taraki who served as Prime Minister of Afghanistan from May 1978 to March 1979 and afterwards it was Hafizullah Amin, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers from March to December 1979, who “made his first mistake. This government was not independent but a puppet," the ambassador explained.

He said the Soviet Union’s second mistake was to deploy troops in 1979. "More than two million Afghans and a large number of Soviet soldiers were killed as a result of the mistake," reminded Kochai. He noted that this invasion destroyed the country’s entire infrastructure. "And the people of Afghanistan started what we call a big jihad," said Qayoum Kochai.

According to the diplomat, Kabul is now interested in developing Russia-Afghan relations so “these mistakes won’t happen again.” Qayoum Kochai added that “Such events may occur between neighbors. But now we expect the Russian government to apologize to the Afghan people.” The ambassador is certain that such a statement would “truly deepen and enhance relations between the states.”

The ruling monarchy was overthrown and a republican system was established in Afghanistan in 1973, followed by a civil war. In 1978, the People's Democratic Party came to power in Afghanistan and Taraki became General Secretary. When Amin succeeded him in 1979, he also acted as Chairman of the Presidium of the Revolutionary Council.

The USSR supported the government of Afghanistan but the new leadership’s infringement on people’s traditions and the foundations of Islam increased resistance to the government. NATO countries, Muslim states and China began to assist the opposition forces in the war.

In 1979, the ruling regime became in danger of being overthrown. In December that year, the USSR accepted requests from the local government to send troops into the country. The Soviet Union said that the main task of the deployment of Soviet troops was the need to create a "cordon sanitaire" at the borders of the USSR.

The cordon was established to prevent military actions from spreading out of Afghanistan to the Soviet Central Asian republics. The final withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan took place in 1989 in accordance with the Geneva agreements on a political solution.

During the war, more than 13,000 Soviet soldiers and 572 people from the state security services were killed. 28 employees of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs and 190 Soviet military advisers never returned from Afghanistan.

  Russia, Afghanistan, Soviet invasion