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Detente and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan


Read the following passage.
By the 1970's, the Cold War had been going on for more than 20 years. The US & USSR
wanted to improve relations with each other. Both sides adopted a policy of dtente. The goal
of dtente was to reduce the tensions and the risk of Nuclear war between the superpowers.
Dtente was meant to thaw out the icy relations between the USA and USSR.
The term dtente has been applied to several different strategies used by the USA and USSR
including: arms control talks and treaties;
cultural exchanges; trade agreements.
Dtente did not end the Cold War, but it was
a step towards peace between the countries.
Afghanistan had been an independent
country in Asia since 1919 (the end of World
War I). During much of the 19th century
Russia had tried to control it. During the
Cold War, Afghanistan remained nonaligned, but had accepted aid from both
sides. In 1978 a military group overthrew
the Afghani government and set up a puppet
government of the USSR. This new government was communist. The Mujahedeen were a
group of Afghani rebels who opposed the new Communist government of Afghanistan. The
USSR sent troops in to stop them, starting a Soviet-Afghani war. This ended dtente.
The US protested the invasion and supported the Mujahedeen with money and weapons to
fight the Soviets. In 1988, the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, and various groups fought to
control the country. In the end the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group, gained control of
most of Afghanistan.
Osama Bin Laden, a leader of the Taliban, was originally funded in his war against the
USSR by America. Years later, Americans would come to regret this support, but during the
Cold War Americas greatest fear was the spread of communism. American leaders would
rather support a dictatorship that was not communist than any form of government that was.

Answer 6 of the following questions in complete sentences.

1. What was dtente? What strategies did it include?

2. Why did the US and USSR employ dtente?

3. What was Afghanistans position in the Cold War?

4. Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan?

5. What was the mujahideen? What was their goal in the Soviet-Afghani War?

6. Who supported the mujahideen? How? Why?

7. What was the result of the invasion of Afghanistan?

8. How does the US support of the mujahideen show an end of detente policies?

9. What is one way the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is similar to the Vietnam War? What is one
difference?

(The characters in this cartoon represent USSR


Premier (leader) Leonind Brezhnev and US President
Richard Nixon.)

1.

What are the characters hiding behind their backs?

2.

What do you think the cartoonist is saying about dtente and arms-limitations?

3.

What is the cartoonist saying about the honesty of these world leaders?

4.

Why do you think the leaders would possibly lie about limiting their amount of nuclear
weapons?

What is a long-term effect of the Soviet invasion of


Afghanistan in 1979?

The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan faced opposition


from

(1) Communism was strengthened in South Asia.


(2) Hostilities between China and India lessened.
(3) The influence of militant Islamic groups increased
in the region.
(4) Tensions along the border between Pakistan and
Afghanistan were reduced

(1) Glasnost policies


(2) Afghanis
(3) NATO
(4) Ho Chi Minh