Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Russian general reveals parallels

The Los Angeles Times has an interview with retired Russian General Ruslan Aushev who served for 5 years in Afghanistan in the 1980's:

Q: Do you remember a time when it became clear from events on the ground in Afghanistan that it was a losing war for the Soviet Union, that there was nothing to be done but withdraw? What was that time like?

When we entered Afghanistan in 1979, people gave us a very nice welcome. Exactly a year later, 40% of the population began to hate us. Five years later, 60% of the population hated us. And by the time we were to pull out, 90% hated us. So we understood, finally, that we are fighting the people. (link)
Note that the trajectory which the general describes is similar, though not identical, to what has transpired following the American invasion of 2001. While several opinion polls conducted between 2005 and 2007 found that a majority of Afghans supported the American-led occupation, the only poll to ask that question in 2008 found popular opposition to the presence of foreign troops.

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