Books to Read – The Great Gamble by Gregory Feifer

Great book to read on the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan back in 1979. It details the failing government at the time, the Soviets increasing investments to prop up the government, the lack of communication from the KGB on the ground in Kabul to the Kremlin and killing of Mohammed Taraki, the country’s first communist president as building blocks to the eventual invasion.

The Kremlin was also uneasy at the time for the fall of the Iranian Shah in Iran in 1979 and the spreading influence of the West as a result. Moscow was also seemingly not keen to see a communist run country unwind, giving Soviet Central Asia and the wide swath of Muslim populations  ideas for anti communist activity.  This book outlines the spetsnaz (special forces) activities in specific skirmishes and outlines in harrowing details the gruesome atrocities committed by both sides.

While the war killed more than 1m Afghanis during the decade long occupation (and 75k soviet troopers), it “poured the concrete” to the Russian’s response in Chechnya and Dagistan (which enabled Putin to secure power at home as it provided a rallying point and platform for his party) trained countless mujahideen in the country and along the border in Pakistan with CIA money, had an impact on the Russian invasion of Georgia and was tangentially related to the 2001 attacks in the US (those sponsoring the attack were related to a group of fundamentalists who trained in the early 1980s in Afghanistan in an effort to thwart the russians)!

Thus, our policies and foreign crises today are directly linked back to our foreign policy in the early 1980s in our cold war proxy fight against the Russians in the Panjshir Valley and throughout that war torn region.

5 responses to “Books to Read – The Great Gamble by Gregory Feifer

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