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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

Documents on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that began in December 1979. The documents begin before the war, spanning from 1968 to 2004. They come from various sources, though a large number are from Russian archives. The collection contains many different types of documents, but a large number of them are memos, cables, and Politburo decisions. Hafizullah Amin, the then president of Afghanistan, was the main target of the Soviet invasion, which successfully assassinated him on December 27. The later documents include commentary on the later stages of the war and the Soviet withdrawal. (Image, abandoned Soviet tank)

  • August 11, 1979

    Conversation of the chief of the Soviet military advisory group in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Gorelov, with H. Amin

    Conversation of the chief of the Soviet military advisory group in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Gorelov, with H. Amin in which Amin again asks for Soviet troops to help boost the morale of the people of Afghanistan

  • August 25, 1979

    Report from Soviet Deputy Defense Minister Army Gen. Ivan Pavlovskii, during visit to Afghanistan

    Report from Soviet Deputy Defense Minister Army Gen. Ivan Pavlovskii, during visit to Afghanistan on meeting with Amin and Amin’s request for Soviet troops

  • September 13, 1979

    CPSU CC Politburo Decisions on Afghanistan (excerpts)

    CPSU CC Politburo Decisions on Afghanistan (excerpts) calling on Puzanov to meet with Taraki and try to mend the rift between Taraki and Amin

  • September 15, 1979

    Cable from Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko to Soviet Representatives in Kabul

    Cable from Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko to Soviet Representatives in Kabul expressing the necessity of dealing with Amin but that representatives should try to prevent repression against Taraki’s supporters

  • September 15, 1979

    CPSU CC Politburo Decision with report by Gromyko, Ustinov, and Tsvigun

    CPSU CC Politburo Decision with report by Gromyko, Ustinov, and Tsvigun on Amin’s ultimatums to Taraki, and on how to curtail repression from Amin’s supporters of Taraki’s supporters

  • September 16, 1979

    Information from CC CPSU to GDR leader E. Honecker

    Information from CC CPSU to GDR leader E. Honecker regarding the tensions in Afghanistan between Taraki and Amin and the ineffectiveness on Soviet pressure for greater Afghan unity

  • September 17, 1979

    Telegram from East German Embassy in Kabul to Socialist Unity Party (SED) General Secretary Erich Honecker, 17 September 1979

    Report on the situation in Kabul following the overthrow of Nur Muhammad Taraki in a coup.

  • September 20, 1979

    Excerpt from transcript, CPSU CC Politburo meeting

    Excerpt from transcript, CPSU CC Politburo meeting where Brezhnev expresses his belief that Soviet-Afghan relations will not change significantly due to Amin

  • September 27, 1979

    Meeting of Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and Afghan Foreign Minister Shah-Valih, New York

    Meeting of Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and Afghan Foreign Minister Shah-Valih, New York regarding the apperant lack of US policy toward Afghanistan. (excerpt)

  • October 01, 1979

    Information from the CC CPSU to GDR leader Honecker

    Information from the CC CPSU to GDR leader Honecker on Amin’s overthrow of Taraki and the situation in Afghanistan

  • October 04, 1979

    Transcript of Brezhnev Honecker summit in East Berlin (excerpt on Iran and Afghanistan)

    Transcript of Brezhnev Honecker summit in East Berlin (excerpt on Iran and Afghanistan) with Brezhnev discussing the leadership of Amin and expressing continued Soviet support for Afghanistan

  • October 10, 1979

    Information of KGB USSR to CC CPSU International Department

    Information of KGB USSR to CC CPSU International Department regarding the impact of the situation in Iran on Afghanistan

  • November 03, 1979

    Record of Conversation Between Soviet Ambassador Puzanov and Amin

    Record of Conversation Between Soviet Ambassador Puzanov and Amin on the situation in Afghanistan

  • November 05, 1979

    Soviet Defense Minister Ustinov, Report to CPSU CC on Mission to Afghanistan of Deputy Defense Minister Army-Gen. I. G. Pavlovskii

    Soviet Defense Minister Ustinov, Report to CPSU CC on Mission to Afghanistan of Deputy Defense Minister Army-Gen. I. G. Pavlovskii describing military assistance provided by Soviet Union in Afghanistan and areas that necessitate improvement

  • November 29, 1979

    Report on the Situation in Afghanistan, Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, and Ponomarev to CPSU CC

    Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, and Ponomarev report to CPSU CC on the increased repressions by Amin in Afghanistan. Brezhnev and other Soviet leaders may meet with Amin to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries, relating to petroleum products, food, and industrial goods. These topics are on the path to progressive socioeconomic reforms in the DRA.

  • December 01, 1979

    Personal memorandum Andropov to Brezhnev

    Personal memorandum Andropov to Brezhnev regarding the situation in Afghanistan following Amin’s coup

  • December, 1979

    Alexander Lyakhovskiy's Account of the Decision of the CC CPSU Decision to Send Troops to Afghanistan

  • December 02, 1979

    Telegram from Chief Soviet Military Adviser, 'Report from Kabul'

    H. Amin requests that the Soviet government send one reinforced regiment to Badakhshan.

  • December 04, 1979

    Telegram from Chief Soviet Military Adviser, 'Report from Kabul'

    H. Amin requests subunits of Soviet Internal Troops capable of keeping order in the northern regions together with the DRA people’s militia.

  • December 06, 1979

    Extract from CPSU CC Politburo Decision

    Extract from CPSU CC Politburo Decision about the dispatch of a special division to Afghanistan upon the request of Amin