December 27, 1979 – Soviets topple Afghan government

December 27, 1979 – Soviets topple Afghan government

As invading Soviet troops and tanks roll into Afghanistan, Afghan President Hafizullah Amin is murdered in a Soviet-backed coup.

Afghan Babrak Karmal, a product of the KGB, was installed in his place. Despite early gains, the Soviet army met with unanticipated resistance from Muslim guerrillas, who launched a jihad, or holy war, against the foreigners.

Armed by the United States, Britain, China, and several Muslim nations, the muhajadeen, or holy warriors, inflicted heavy casualties on the Russians.

In April 1988, after years of stalemate, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a peace accord with Afghanistan. The last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan in 1989, where civil war continued until the Taliban’s seizure of power in the late 1990s.