Naryshkin Highlights USSR's Afghan Experience in Special Military Operations

20 February

Sergei Naryshkin, Chairman of the Russian Historical Society (RHS) and Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), emphasized the significant value of the Soviet Union's experience in Afghanistan for conducting special military operations (SMOs).


"The lessons learned from the Soviet military's participation in Afghanistan are exceptionally relevant for the current SMO," he said at a round table dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.


Naryshkin highlighted that the decision to deploy troops to Afghanistan was driven by the need of safeguarding the USSR's security. "Following the demise of Nur Mohammed Taraki, the Secretary-General of the Revolutionary Council of Afghanistan, in a coup, and his replacement by Hafizullah Amin, Afghanistan faced the  threat of disintegration and widescale NATO intervention. This was more than mere assistance to a friendly nation; it became a necessity for safeguarding the Soviet Union's own security. Hence, on December 12, 1979, the Central Committee of the Party ratified the decision to deploy a limited troop contingent, and within two weeks, the first Soviet units crossed into Afghan territory," he said.


"Regrettably, the resolution of Afghanistan's deeply rooted contradictions proved elusive with the removal of the unpopular Amin regime alone. The region became a magnet for extremists from various nations. The anti-government factions received active support from the Americans and their NATO allies, who generously supported the radicals with financial resources and weaponry, including Stinger surface-to-air missile systems. In this context, it is indeed symbolic that al-Qaeda (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) nurtured by the Americans during those years, would later strike New York on September 11 in New York," remarked the SVR chief.




Naryshkin underscored the outcomes of the Soviet soldiers' involvement in Afghanistan, as well as the contributions of civilian specialists from the USSR, in comparison with the repercussions of the hastily assembled international coalition led by Washington.


"Scholars recognize that the Soviet Union left behind a legacy of over 100 industrial, transportation, energy, and social infrastructure projects, including the Naghlu HPP, the Salang Tunnel, and the Kabul Polytechnic University building, among other significant structures," - he pointed out. - "Even though there's no lasting peace in Afghanistan, these efforts have definitely helped improve its economy."


"The 20-year presence of the Western coalition forces on Afghan soil is primarily remembered for the widespread corruption among the occupying authorities and numerous war crimes," Naryshkin asserted.


Before the round table discussion, Naryshkin toured an exhibition at the RHS House showcasing Afghan posters and leaflets from the 1980s sourced from the collections of the State Museum of Oriental Art and private collectors.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: official website of the President of the Russian Federation

Based on materials from TASS