The Soviet military involvement in Afghanistan in December 1979 sect shock waves throughout the world in general and the Muslim world particular. Many observers were almost sure that it would not take the Soviet superior and over whelming Military and Air Force power very long to control Afghanistan and to quell, what were described as localized pockets of resistance. But Afghan Mujahideens refused to be another Hungary or Czechoslavakia by proving a hard nut to crack. Latest tanks, modern aircraft, deadly helicopters, chemical weapons and best equipped soldiers of former USSR were unable to snuff out the flames of freedom and stifle the indomitable courage of poorly armed, poorly financed and poorly sheltered but brave afghan Mujahideens. They remained determined to fight to the last man and to the last drop of their blood, plunged the invaders into deeper and deeper quagmire till their complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. They finally created history with golden words by forcing the Soviet bear to retrace its step and withdraw in shame in 1989. Pakistan, which decided to stand by the Afghans, stood the test of time and faced a super power boldly in the face. She has certainly won sympathies and lasting friendship of the afghan people to the maximum benefit. Withdrawal of former USSR forces ushered in another era of changed regional environments and major policy shifts. During the military presence of a super power across our borders and continuing influx of refugees with far reaching social, economic, political, ecological and military consequences, Pakistan was forced to change defense strategy according to the then military and geo-strategic situations. Pakistan was trapped in a situation where options left were limited in view of former USSRs presence on one hand and Indian hegemony designs on the other hand. Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan has undermined the importance of Afghan issue at the international forums in particular and at the national level in general. Capturing key Afghan cities by the Mujahideens in the final phase of their struggle was not based on their realistic assessments.
Soviet Military involvement in Afghanistan caused large scale and continuing displacement of the Afghan population. Some six million Afghans, approximately one third of the country’s 1978 population, were estimated to have fled Afghanistan during the 1980s or were stranded in various countries as refugees sur place, with half total finding refuge in Pakistan and the other half in Iran. Between 800,000 and one million were believed to have been internally displaced by the hostilities.
The final withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan was completed in February 1989. The immediate collapse of the Najibullah government did not take place. As early as mid-1989, however, there were reports of refugees returning continuously to Afghanistan to cultivate their fields and rebuild their homes. By the close of 1991, UNHCR estimated at least 300,000 Afghans had repatriated.
During the course of research work, an effort has been made to carryout an in-depth study of the following major aspects:- How did the former USSR cultivate its relations with Afghanistan in the back drop of Afghan geography and history? What were the consequences of Russo - Afghan relationship? What were the overt and covert motives of former USSR to involve military troops in Afghanistan in December 1979? What was the pattern and strategy of deployment of Red Army in Afghanistan? What was the nature, scope, strength and role of Afghan resistance movement besides their major strengths and weaknesses? What were the factors which led to the withdrawal of former USSR troops from Afghanistan? What were the implications for Pakistan of the former USSR military presence in Afghanistan? What were the options available for Pakistan during Afghan Crisis (1979-1989)? What were the major impacts of former USSR military involvements in Afghanistan on the security of Pakistan? What were the international relations specially with Afghanistan, USA, China, Iran, France, Saudi Arabia, India and some of the other countries of the world and their impact on the security of Pakistan? What were the economic consequences of Afghan refugees and the role played by the Muslims and the Arab brotherly and friendly states besides donor countries? What was the state and status of refugees and their impact on the security of Pakistan?
The research work draws heavily upon the wealth of information available in UN documents, official reports and statements, press reports, interviews, commentaries and above all scholarly works, which have mostly been duly cited and acknowledged. It is my hope that the conclusions, survey, analysis and perspectives offered by the research work will contribute to a better understanding of Soviet Military involvement in Afghanistan and its impact on the security of Pakistan.