Wednesday marked the 8th of Saur, the 29th anniversary of the defeat of the Soviet Union by the Afghan mujahideen on April 27, 1992, when the government of Dr. Najibullah was overthrown.
Meanwhile, a number of former mujahideen commanders have warned against a repeat of the post-Soviet situation when the US pulls out.
A number of residents in Afghanistan have said that all people including the political leaders of Afghanistan have to unite at this important juncture of history---warning that there would be a civil war in Afghanistan if the Taliban tried to gain power militarily.
Abdul Baseer Salangi is one of the Afghan mujahideen commanders who fought against the soviet forces.
“The war did not stop even with the presence of NATO, the international community and the UN, this has roots to the 7th of Saur which paved the way for this endless war,” said Salangi.
He said that the UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey will be a good opportunity to bring peace in Afghanistan, however he suggests that the government should announce a nationwide uprising against the Taliban if the militant group refuses to participate in the Turkey meeting.
“There is a need for a major uprising within the framework of the Ministry of Defense against the Taliban if the Turkey conference does not produce results; without this, we do not have any other option,” said Salangi.
Saifuddin is another commander who took up arms against the Soviets when he was only 15.
“The political leaders need to unite, they should sideline their personal differences and then move toward the enemy, we should convince the enemy that this war is not in the interest of anyone,” said Saifuddin.
“No one is able to rule over Afghanistan alone,” said a resident of Kabul Abdul Karim.
“The Afghan people are tired of 40 years of war, the people should be provided with peace and calm, there is a need for unity and consensus to get it done with the support of regional countries,” said a resident in Kabul Habibullah Shahi.
While a moment of victory over a foreign invader, the date also marked a another tragic shift in the trajectory of Afghanistan's history, as the country was thrown into civil war and infighting between different mujahideen factions seeking power.
In 1979, the Soviet Union entered then neighboring Afghanistan hoping to shore up their newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. Almost 100,000 Soviet Union soldiers rapidly took control of major cities and highways around the country, but war soon broke out with the rise of the mujahideen.
The war lasted nine years and an estimated one million civilians--including children--were killed, along with 90,000 mujahideen fighters, more than 20,000 Afghan troops and over 14,000 Soviet soldiers.
In 1979 Hafizullah Amin was the ruler of Afghanistan. The Soviets were told by their KGB spies that Amin's rule was a threat to the USSR-controlled part of Central Asia, and that they suspected that he was not loyal to the Soviet Union.
The Soviets also suspected that Amin was behind the death of his predecessor, President Nur Muhammad Taraki.
In light of this the Soviets decided to remove him and on December 22, 1979, Soviet advisers to the army of Afghanistan took many steps. They stopped all telecommunication links in Kabul. No messages could come inside the city, or go outside the city. Soviet air force troops also reached Kabul.
Sensing danger, Amin sought refuge in the presidential palace, but on December 27 about 700 Soviet troops took over the major government and military buildings in Kabul.
On the same night, the Soviet troops reportedly destroyed Kabul's communication systems and minutes later stormed the presidential palace.
By morning, Amin and his two sons had been killed. Babrak Karmal was immediately appointed as head of the government and he ruled the country until he resigned in 1986. Dr Najibullah Ahmadzai took over in 1987 and ruled until 1992.
Soviet soldiers remained in control of most major cities thereafter, while the mujahideen continued to fight them around the country.
Globally there was dissatisfaction about the Soviet’s occupancy and the then president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, said the Soviet action was "the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War".
By the mid-1980s, many mujahideen groups had organized themselves and were receiving help from a number of countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
But after their withdrawal, peace in Afghanistan remained elusive as civil war broke out. This lasted for about 10 years and was then followed by the Taliban’s takeover – a regime that lasted just over five years.