Afghanistan’s Civil War (1979-1989): Illegal and Failed Foreign Interventions Cover Image
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Afghanistan’s Civil War (1979-1989): Illegal and Failed Foreign Interventions
Afghanistan’s Civil War (1979-1989): Illegal and Failed Foreign Interventions

Author(s): Patrick C. R. Terry
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence
Published by: Instytut Nauk Prawnych PAN
Keywords: Afghanistan; Soviet Union; USRR; civil war

Summary/Abstract: For about ten years now people in NATO member states have, on a daily basis, been confronted with the faltering attempts by their troops to create a semblance of stability in Afghanistan. It is now widely recognized that Afghanistan has become an intractable international problem. This article, however, focuses on previous attempts to impose solutions. Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing throughout the 1980s, the two Cold War superpowers, the USSR and the USA, intervened in Afghanistan’s affairs. In this article the legality, under international law, of those efforts is examined. This requires an extensive analysis of international law as applicable to external interventions in civil wars. It will be demonstrated that neither the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan, nor the USA’s massive support of the Afghan rebels, was reconcilable with international law. Considering the fact that these ill-advised interventions in Afghanistan backfired on both superpowers, they constitute a good object lesson to demonstrate that the prohibition of external interventions in civil wars not only reflects what international law demands, but is also simple common sense. Recent interventions in Bahrain and Libya are also briefly examined as to their legality, and this examination includes projections whether the unsatisfactory results of the Afghanistan interventions will be replicated there.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 31
  • Page Range: 107-164
  • Page Count: 58
  • Language: English