These two events are connected directly, despite the fact that USSR and the United States fought two very different wars in Afghanistan. Not to mention the fact that of all post-WW II American wars, war in Afghanistan was the only one I supported until I didn’t, when it became clear closer to mid-2000s that it had nothing to do with the tragedy of 9/11. So, here we are today:
This stunning song by Kaskad (a band of combat veterans) contains in its piercing lyrics such lines:
Прощайте, горы, вам видней,
Какую цену здесь платили,
Врага какого не добили,
Каких оставили друзей.
Farewell mountains, you know better
What price we were paying here
What kind of enemy we didn’t finish off
What kind of friends we left here.
I knew and know very many Soviet Afghan veterans, some were my friends, others I met in hospitals, from enlisted to officers, and while opinions differed, there was a general understanding that insidious islamization will continue if not stopped into the then Soviet Middle Asia and further. The USSR simply could not run from Afghanistan and it didn’t, if not for Yeltsin’s betrayal of Najibullah the history of Afghanistan may have been different. But it isn’t. Guys from Kaskad sang “farewell” and had these lines:
Биографии наши в полдюжины строк
Социологи втиснут, сейчас они в моде.
Только разве подвластен науке восток?
Мы уходим с востока, уходим, уходим.
Our biographies, a half a dozen lines,
Sociologists, they are fashionable today, will fit in
But is Orient subordinate to science
We are leaving Orient, we are leaving, we are leaving.
Well, evidently Russia is not leaving–she simply doesn’t have a choice. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan suddenly “GOT IT”.