Hard lessons from Afghanistan

Hard lessons from Afghanistan


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Former Kabul correspondent Alan Johnston reflects on decades of turmoil in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion in 1979 to the intervention by the West.

An old Russian tank rots in Afghanistan

An old Russian tank rots in Afghanistan

Hard Lessons from Afghanistan

Alan hears from ordinary Afghans who witnessed events, Russian soldiers who served in Afghanistan and the American intelligence experts who served in the field as well as some of the British commanders who have since faced fierce fighting in the Hindu Kush.

Programme 1: Trapping the Bear

The tale of the catastrophic miscalculation that humbled the mighty Red Army in the Hindu Kush.

Tens of thousands of troops, tanks and helicopters poured into Afghanistan late in 1979. They laid waste to the land for a decade, during which millions of Afghans died or were forced to flee.

But in the end it was the Russians who retreated, chased out, in part, by the Cold War warriors of the CIA who backed the rebels in the mountains.

First broadcast 5 November 2008

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