How Afghanistan defeated the Soviet Union | DW Documentary

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The Soviet deployment in Afghanistan triggered a 10-year conflict that changed the world. This film unveils the full story of this war, which marked the beginning of the fall of the USSR.

In April 1978, Afghanistan’s President Mohammed Daoud Khan was overthrown and murdered in a coup d’état led by communist rebels. But not everyone in the conservative country welcomed the communist reforms, and a number of insurgencies arose against the new government. In an attempt to prop up the regime, Leonid Brezhnev sent Soviet troops to Kabul. It was supposed to be a short deployment. But the conflict with the anti-communist Muslim guerrillas, the mujahideen, intensified, and the Red Army ended up remaining in Afghanistan for almost ten years.

This was a time when America had an interest in weakening the Soviet Union’s economy and military. After Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1981, the United States increased its military aid to the mujahideen, using Pakistan and its intelligence service as a go-between. Thus, Soviet troops were not only fighting the mujahideen. Afghanistan became a proxy battleground for the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was disintegrating. Their army had taken heavy causalities in Afghanistan, and the Soviet population were openly rejecting the war. Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew from the war, but the tide could no longer be turned. A few months after the withdrawal of the last Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Two and a half years later, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

Through exclusive archive material, this documentary unveils the full story of the war that spelt the beginning of the end for the USSR.


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💬 Comments on the video

Dear viewers,

We sincerely apologize that the maps @ 02:00 and 12:50 fail to display the disputed territory of Kashmir. We would like to thank our audience for watching so closely and drawing our attention to this issue. Unfortunately, we are unable to replace the map at this stage as the documentary is a film we have licensed, however, we deeply regret that this mistake happened and would like to offer our apologies for any issues it may have caused. We have passed on the information to the production company.

The DW Documentary Team

Author — DW Documentary


America "We are going to make Afghanistan into Russia's Vietnam".
Also America "We made Afghanistan into America's second Vietnam."

Author — David O'Connell


So John Rambo did not singlehandedly defeated the Soviets?

Author — John D Comments


The narrator said that the US was “tricked” into giving weapons to extremists 😂😂

YEAH RIGHT.. THEY KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING! just like how the US supplied isis and al-qeada fighters in Syria with weapons and aid

Author — MK4VLI S


Afghanistan: The Graveyard of the Empires.

Author — Lars Jorgensen


And America, like a blind elephant, stepped into that hole 20 years later.

Author — Irish Tino


1989 America: wow those soviets were dumb

2020 America: 😅



They defeated the Soviets with simple American anti-aircraft weapons, And defeated the Americans with simple Russian Kalashnikovs, Afghans are true warriers.

Author — mike mike


That guy called Vladimir Kalashnikov, it's the most Russian name ever lol

Author — Supahfly uk


"Congratulations, Comrades Capitalists. If they aimed your weapons a bit better, nobody would ever see your film." That's golden.

Author — Chungus Karbunkel


I’m sure America will never regret giving the Afghan rebels money, weapons, supplies and support, right? Right....right?

Author — Thomas Price


Ahmad Shah Masood, The Lion of Afghanistan. Heard a lot about him from my Afghan Friend.

Author — King OfEverything


Don't miss DW's coming "How 9/11 was US made".

Author — Norman Protorczyn


the enemy of my enemy if my friend and now they are my enemy.

Author — Peace Men


nato in afghanistan for 20 years,
too much money burn out,
so as human life being wasted for nothing

Author — 沈紹光


"They seem to like us better when we don't go there" - A British general after the second time they got their asses kicked in Afghanistan.

Author — LK


This war never had a happy ending for Afghanistan.

Author — Ferdaws’s Stories


Thats how the USA created its own Frankenstein

Author — Himangshu Arnheim Bora


better Title be like: Afghanistan playyard of great Empires.

Author — Mathew mehdi afg


The public were kept in the dark by the media just like what is happening now in the U S

Author — Malcolm Allerton