Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 27th, 2019

Russian Troops Withdrawal Lessons

Saturday was corresponded to the 30th anniversary of Afghanistan victory and defeat of Soviet Union which withdrew their troops in Feb. 15, 1989 after a nine-year war that claimed the lives of 14,000 Soviet national troops and nearly one million victims taken from Afghan people. Pertaining to this, there was an official ceremony about this occasion in the Presidential Palace with the presence of the second vice president, chief executive officer and other Afghan officials and jihadi leaders. Many of government officials and political leaders made detailed speeches about the historic events and appreciated the people of Afghanistan for so many sacrifices they made to defend their sacred land. the common important points which were unanimously emphasized was to learn lessons from the united resistance of Afghan people against the Soviet invaders and the  bitter events happened after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan. 
After forty years from the start of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and thirty years after ultimate defeat and withdrawal of the last Red Army soldiers, we must learn or must have learnt a lot of lessons. These lessons are important because we seem to be in a similar situation to the thirty years ago. Exactly, we are in the face of a continuing historic crisis and on the eve of US forces withdrawal at least a part of them are to leave Afghanistan. Now, many think there are similarities between withdrawals of former Soviet troops and untimely US troop’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; and thus, there is similarity in nature of both attacks. However, there are clear differences between withdrawals of US forces and Soviet Union from Afghanistan and also important differences between now and thirty years ago.
The Soviet Union attacked on Afghanistan aiming to expand communism and reach international waters while in terms of international law, this practice was called full aggression and occupation. But the United States attacked on Afghanistan based on an international agreement and a UN Security Council decision to combat terrorism. In addition, the Soviet Union failed to establish a legitimate and elected system in Afghanistan and it was not essentially aimed to so in Afghanistan. While after the US counterterrorism factions in Afghanistan, a legitimate and elected system was established and a formal agreement was signed between the Government of Afghanistan and its international partners, and the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan was defined in legal frameworks.
Anyway, the common similarity is the risks and dangers which are more likely to be repeated after US withdrawal in Afghanistan. It seems that the nature of the threats and the dangers of the withdrawal of the Soviet soldiers remains the same with the threats and the dangers of the current time. After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, civil wars began, and all political groups including the government of that day, which were regarded as a puppet state, could not agree on a mechanism to be acceptable for majority of Afghan people. Unfortunately, after the collapse of Dr. Najib’s government and the presence of the Mujahideen in Kabul, the ethnical and domestic war intensified and the disorder reached enough to provide grounds for the presence of terrorism in Afghanistan and the Taliban regime. On one the hand, war and violence continued, and on the other hand, Afghanistan fell down intro retrogression and barbarism.
Now, despite the existence of the basic institutions of the state and an acceptable constitution with global standards, security institutions and close to 300,000 defense and security forces, there are individuals who dream to return to the past.  Most of those who enjoyed from power and public resources in recent years but deprived later are eager to repeat such a fate. They feel that if we go back to the starting point and zero again, it’s likely to get the opportunity to use from such anarchic state. And thus, this is the only way to return to the realm of power and enjoy unlawful economic and political opportunities again.
Now the most important lesson to be learned is the emphasis and consensus on current continuation, political system and overall protection of the current constitution and the achievements of many years that were obtained through sacrifices of Afghan people. In recent years, a minimum of relative order and stability has been created. This order and stability neither easily have been achieved and nor at a low price. In fact, the current political systems in which the people can breathe have been attained with cost of blood of hundreds of thousands of people who have been victimized within past forty years. These blood donations and sacrifices should not be easily lost. The only way to protect and maintain this system is consensus on common axes and values. Those who easily cross from common values and axes should be punished by the public opinion and current democratic processes.
Therefore, the greatest lesson to be learned from the withdrawal of the Soviet Red Army is to maintain the political system and achievements of recent years, as well as to comply with the constitution and move in line with this law and to respect the rules of the game by all political groups, especially by government. The current constitution is the only rule of the game, and elections are the only possible way to gain power. Any way other than the election mechanism and any attempts to disrupt the rule of the game, will return to zero and start another crisis.