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Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 15. februar 2009 / Time Line February 15, 2009

Version 3.5

14. Februar 2009, 16. Februar 2009

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 272
Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton
Washington D.C., February 15, 2009 - Twenty years ago today, the commander of the Soviet Limited Contingent in Afghanistan Boris Gromov crossed the Termez Bridge out of Afghanistan, thus marking the end of the Soviet war which lasted almost ten years and cost tens of thousands of Soviet and Afghan lives.
As a tribute and memorial to the late Russian historian, General Alexander Antonovich Lyakhovsky, the National Security Archive today posted on the Web ( a series of previously secret Soviet documents including Politburo and diary notes published here in English for the first time. The documents suggest that the Soviet decision to withdraw occurred as early as 1985, but the process of implementing that decision was excruciatingly slow, in part because the Soviet-backed Afghan regime was never able to achieve the necessary domestic support and legitimacy - a key problem even today for the current U.S. and NATO-supported government in Kabul.
The Soviet documents show that ending the war in Afghanistan, which Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev called "the bleeding wound," was among his highest priorities from the moment he assumed power in 1985 - a point he made clear to then-Afghan Communist leader Babrak Karmal in their first conversation on March 14, 1985. Already in 1985, according to the documents, the Soviet Politburo was discussing ways of disengaging from Afghanistan, and actually reached the decision in principle on October 17, 1985.



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