No one will ever know how many Afghans the Soviet bombs, bayonets, and butterfly mines killed, but most estimates vary between one to two million. As a percentage of Afghanistan’s pre-war population, the higher estimate compares to the mortality the Soviet Union itself suffered during World War II. Soviet “tactics” successfully depopulated large parts of the country. U.N. Special Rapporteur Felix Ermacora concluded that this was a matter of deliberate Soviet policy and called it “migratory genocide.” The Soviets used chemical weapons, destroyed villages and irrigation systems, carpet-combed whole sections of the cities of Herat and Kandahar, and seeded the country with millions of land mines, some of them disguised as toys. Soviet mines are still killing and maiming people to this day, and large areas of arable land are still out of production because of them. Much of the challenge we face in Afghanistan today lies in undoing the reversible portions of the horror wrought by the Soviets — a horror that Mikhail Gorbachev initially escalated and eventually abandoned. New restrictions on our own rules of engagement in Afghanistan reflect Afghans’ enduring resentment the Soviet terror-bombing campaign.
Friday, January 01, 2010
Posted by macbeach at 12:39 AM