For ten years the Soviet Union was mired in a war in Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1989. So difficult was this war that it is often referred to as Soviet Union's Vietnam. In 1978 Afghanistan experienced a coup which brought to power a communist regime - the brutality of this regime led to open rebellion by the following year, precipitating the Soviet intervention and their coup in December 1979.
The war was costly for Russia. They lost almost 15,000 troops and its failure to win the war was a contributing factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union. In America, the government countered the Soviet effort by supporting the efforts of the Mujahideen - a decision that would come back to haunt the US, given that many members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban were former members of the Mujahideen.
- 1989-02-15 Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan ends