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New Left Review I/121, May-June 1980


Roy Medvedev

The Afghan Crisis

How is the Soviet government explaining its actions in Afghanistan to the Soviet people and to what extent is it possible to agree with this explanation?

The Soviet government’s explanation for the action in Afghanistan is contained in tass press releases and in the interview that L. I. Brezhnev gave to a Pravda correspondent. The explanation was published at the end of December 1979 and the beginning of January 1980 and it consists of three points: (1) The Soviet government sent its forces into Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government and in accordance with the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation that had earlier been signed. (2) The Afghan government made this request because the new regime, established as a result of the democratic revolution of April 1978, was in a critical state with the rise of counter-revolution. The Afghan army was not able to defeat the insurgents with its own forces. (3) The success of the counter-revolution in Afghanistan is due to the support it is receiving from the usa, China and Pakistan.

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