30 years ago today, the end of Gorbachev’s nightmare and the beginning of everyone else’s
15 February 1989- The last Soviet combat soldier in Afghanistan, Col.-Gen.Boris Vsevolodovich Gromov of the 40th Guards Army, walked across the Friendship Bridge spanning the Amu-Daria river between that country and what is now Uzbekistan.
The nine-year conflict, which began with the Soviet takeover of the country on Christmas Eve 1979, cost the Motherland 14,453 killed and 264 missing (some of which have later been found alive) of the more than 600,000 that cycled through Afghanistan during the war.
It is estimated that as many as 2 million Afghans on both sides and caught in the crossfire, also perished.
Without Moscow’s support, the Pakistani-Saudi-U.S.-backed Mujahedin quickly swept away the Communist government in Kabul, replacing it after the resulting civil war with the Taliban.