Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89

Paperback | September 11, 2013

byRodric Braithwaite

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The story of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan is well known: the expansionist Communists overwhelmed a poor country as a means of reaching a warm-water port on the Persian Gulf. Afghan mujahideen upset their plans, holding on with little more than natural fighting skills, until CIA agentscame to the rescue with American arms. Humiliated in battle, the Soviets hastily retreated. It's a great story, writes Rodric Braithwaite. But it never happened. The Russian conscripts suffered badly from mismanagement and strategic errors, but they were never defeated on the battlefield, and withdrew in good order. In this brilliant, myth-busting account, Braithwaite - the former Britishambassador to Moscow - challenges much of what we know about the Soviets in Afghanistan. He provides an inside look at this little-understood episode, using first-hand accounts and piercing analysis to show the war as it was fought and experienced by the Russians. The invasion, he writes, was a defensive response to a chaotic situation in the Soviets' immediate neighbor. They intended to establish a stable, friendly government, secure the major towns, and train the police and armed forces before making a rapid exit. But the mission escalated, as didcasualties. In fact, the Soviet leadership decided to pull out a year before the first Stinger missile was used in combat. Braithwaite does not, of course, paint the occupation as a Russian triumph. To the contrary, he illustrates the searing effect of the brutal conflict on soldiers, theirfamilies, and the broader public, as returning veterans - the Afgansty of the title - struggled to regain their footing back home. A fine writer as well as an expert, Braithwaite carries readers through these complex and momentous events, capturing those violent and tragic days as no one has done before.

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The story of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan is well known: the expansionist Communists overwhelmed a poor country as a means of reaching a warm-water port on the Persian Gulf. Afghan mujahideen upset their plans, holding on with little more than natural fighting skills, until CIA agentscame to the rescue with American arms. Humil...

Rodric Braithwaite was British ambassador in Moscow from 1988 to 1992, and is now Chairman of the International Advisory Council of the Moscow School of Political Studies. He is the author of Moscow 1941 and Across the Moscow River.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:September 11, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199322481

ISBN - 13:9780199322480

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Table of Contents

ProloguePart 1: The Road to Kabul1. Paradise Lost2. The Tragedy Begins3. The Decision to Intervene4. The Storming of the Palace5. AftermathPart 2: The Disasters of War6. The 40th Army Goes to war7. The Nationbuilders8. Soldiering9. Fighting10. Devastation and DelusionPart 3: The Long Goodbye11. Going Home12. The Road to the Bridge13. The War Continues14. A Land fit for HeroesThe ReckoningAnnex 1: Timeline 1747-2001Annex 2: Leading PersonalitiesAnnex 3: Order of Battle of the 40th ArmyAnnex 4: The Alliance of Seven and its leadersAnnex 5: Indochina, Vietnam, Algeria, Afghanistan: A ComparisonSources and Bibliography