This is an Establishment documentary made by explorer and ex- British Tory MP, Rory Stewart. Despite being inaccurate in much of its description of both Soviet (he fails to point out that the Americas LURED the Soviets into intervention) and of American intervention it is still worthwhile watching, especially the first part.
Afghanistan: the Great Game
In this episode Stewart tells the story of #Soviet and United States involvement in #Afghanistan. From 1928 until 1978 there had been relative peace and in the 1960s and ’70s was on the hippie trail but the #coldwar was at its height with Afghanistan surrounded by American allies #Iran and #Pakistan. In northern Afghanistan soviet aid was provided and in southern Afghanistan American aid. In #Kabul Islamists and communists vied for supremacy and when the communists took control in 1978 they asked the #SovietUnion for military assistance. Reluctantly they agreed after the Afghan president went to #Moscow in 1979. 80,000 troops entered Afghanistan and the United States saw a chance for revenge against the Soviets who aided the communists in Vietnam. The #CIA covertly through #GeneralZia, President of Pakistan, provided modern weaponry. #CharlieWilson and socialite #JoanneHerring were prominent in the raising of 9 billion dollars covertly passed to Afghanistan. In 1988 the Soviets pulled out and the country descended into a vicious five-year civil war that the #Taliban emerged victorious imposing strict Islamic law. Afghanistan became a safe haven for many #terrorist groups and when the twin towers were attacked in New York the USA.
In this episode Rory Stewart tells the story of #British interventions in #Afghanistan in the 19th century, when the British #Empire became obsessed with the idea that their rival, #Russia, was considering the #invasion of Afghanistan as a staging post for an attack on British India. It was a period of mutual suspicion and paranoia that later became known as “The Great Game”. Afghanistan was perceived by #Victorian Britain, as it’s believed to be today, to be an immediate threat to British national security. In this first film, #RoryStewart tells the story of the decision-making that led to the first British invasion of Afghanistan, and the three #Anglo-Afghan wars fought in this era. And he tells the story of Afghanistan’s unlikely reaction to this period. When an Afghan-elite made a futile attempt to impose western-inspired ideas and modernity on the country.