On February 15th 1989 the Last Soviet forces withdrew from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The war was sparked by a series of disastrous reforms by the Afghan Communist who had just recently taken power. Their reforms, such as allowing women the right to education, promoting secularism, and land reform; while good intentioned caused a push back from the more traditional forces in Afghan society, such as the religious clergy. This reaction culminated in an armed rebellion in the country side known as the mujaheddin and caused great strife in the country. The response of the central government to this threat was weakened by a divided leadership, with General Secretary Muhammad Taraki being assassinated by his second in command Hafizullah Amin, and Amin being replaced by Babrak Karmal. During all this the Afghan Government had requested Soviet military aid to squash the rebellion in the country side, the Soviets refused. However after the situation had deteriorated enough the Soviet Union felt if had no other option but to intervene, and on December 25th 1979 Soviet Troops crossed from the Soviet border into Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had two main reasons for her intervention, first off the Soviets were afraid of Islamic fundamentalism spreading from Iran into Afghanistan, and eventually into the Soviet Union’s Islamic Republics of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan; and secondly the Soviet Union as a super power needed to be able to subdue a neighbor right on her southern border in order to ‘save face’. The Soviet invasion was costly and cost the lives of over 1,00,000 Afghan civilians, 90,000 Mujaheddin, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet troops. The war was largely hidden from the Soviet public, while many soldiers were told it was their “Internationalist Duty” to fight and serve in Afghanistan.” The war sparked by these events are still going on to this day, and any understanding of the situation in Afghanistan must involve a study of the Soviet-Afghan conflict.
This is a relay interesting documentary on the subject: Afghanistan The Soviet Experience