On February 15, 1989, just over nine years after the first tanks rolled over the border from the then-Uzbek SSR, the Red Army withdrew its last troops from Afghanistan in what was a deeply humiliating and costly defeat that was ultimately the last, and most fatal, blow to the fate of the Soviet Union.
Much like the American experience in Vietnam, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was meant originally as a limited affair aimed at propping up a friendly Communist government that had been...

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