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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | December 24, 2008

It’s Christmas Eve, but I still like to keep things on schedule. Enjoy!


December 24, 1979 - Soviet Tanks Roll Into Afghanistan

On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978.

As midnight approached, the Soviets organized a massive military airlift into Kabul, involving an estimated 280 transport aircraft and three divisions of almost 8,500 men each. Within a few days, the Soviets had secured Kabul, deploying a special assault unit against Tajberg Palace. Elements of the Afghan army loyal to Hafizullah Amin put up a fierce, but brief resistance.

On December 27, Babrak Karmal, exiled leader of the Parcham faction of the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), was installed as Afghanistan’s new head of government. And Soviet ground forces entered Afghanistan from the north.

The Soviets, however, were met with fierce resistance when they ventured out of their strongholds into the countryside. Resistance fighters, called mujaheddin, saw the Christian or atheist Soviets controlling Afghanistan as a defilement of Islam as well as of their traditional culture. Proclaiming a “jihad”(holy war), they gained the support of the Islamic world.

The mujaheddin employed guerrilla tactics against the Soviets. They would attack or raid quickly, then disappear into the mountains, causing great destruction without pitched battles. The fighters used whatever weapons they could grab from the Soviets or were given by the United States.

The tide of the war turned with the 1987 introduction of U.S. shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. The Stingers allowed the mujaheddin to shoot down Soviet planes and helicopters on a regular basis. (H/T -

The Soviets suffered 15,000 casualties, and the war launched a new wave of terrorism that gave rise to that piece of detritus Osama bin Laden.

Topics: HHH |

2 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. Morgan Says:
    December 25th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Talk about stupidity! The Soviets are having problems on multiple levels and it’s starting to show, so they decide to invade a neighboring country and install another satellite government. Good grief.

    Anyway, thanks for the highlights. They’re always interesting.

  2. Wyatt Earp Says:
    December 25th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Morgan - You’re welcome. And yes, it was one of their more nonsensical moves.