The day the Soviets invaded Afghanistan – level 3

25-12-1979

On December 25, 1979, about three hundred Soviet planes with 30,000 soldiers flew to Afghanistan. They landed at Kabul Airport. The Soviet army immediately began occupying the city. In the following days, tanks and other Soviet troops entered the country from the north.

In the first few days of the Soviet invasion, Kabul’s presidential palace was captured, the President of Afghanistan was killed, and a pro-Soviet leader was appointed in his place. The aim of the invasion was to have an allied regime in the country.

Many local people opposed the invasion and they started fighting the Soviets. They were fighting in the mountains and they were called the Mujahideen.

The Soviet army couldn’t beat them. There were two reasons for that. One was the mountainous terrain they were fighting in, and the second was financial support from the United States to the Mujahideen.

The conflict was long. It lasted nine years and it was financially very costly for the Soviets. The Soviets finally decided to stop fighting and they left Afghanistan on February 15, 1989.

Difficult words: occupy (to take over), troops (groups of soldiers), appoint (to choose a person for a job), aim (a goal), allied (relating to friends in a war), terrain (a type of land).

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