The Future of the Soviet Role in Afghanistan

A Trip Report

by Francis Fukuyama

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Conversations by the author with Pakistani defense and intelligence officials and Afghan exile sources indicated that the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan had reached a military stalemate as a result of Soviet tactics and sensitivity to casualties. Despite the fragmented and primitive nature of the opposition, Moscow has no short-term solution for reversing the deterioration of its local Afghan political base. It has several as yet unexploited military options for breaking the back of tribal resistance, such as a full-scale pacification effort, but all would require a substantially higher troop commitment and casualties than the Soviets have at present.

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