It’s been 28 years since the Soviet Army officially withdrew its troops from Afghanistan; the bloody Soviet-Afghan war that lasted over nine years (late 1979 – early 1989) claimed lives of dozens of thousands of servicemen on the both sides. However, civilians took much more serious casualties over the period; about two million of them perished in ten years of the conflict.
A lot of Ukrainians served with the Soviet military contingent in that war; by various estimates, over 3,000 native Ukrainians were killed in action during the conflict. 72 warriors were awarded with the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union during the war; eleven of them are Ukrainians.
Informal negotiations for a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan had been underway since 1982. In 1988, the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, with the United States and Soviet Union serving as guarantors, signed an agreement settling the major differences between them known as the Geneva Accords. The United Nations set up a special mission to oversee the process. In July 1987, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country was announced. The withdrawal of Soviet forces was planned out by Lt. Gen. Boris Gromov, the-then commander of the 40th Army.
Among other things, the Geneva accords identified the U.S. and Soviet non-intervention in the internal affairs of Pakistan and Afghanistan and a timetable for full Soviet withdrawal. The agreement on withdrawal held, and on February 15, 1989, the last Soviet troops departed on schedule from Afghanistan.
The Soviet intervention eventually failed to crack down the rebel movement in Afghanistan. The civilian war, in fact, continues since 1992, as hostilities resumed between the government forces and the insurgents – the Mujahedeen.