This Day in International Law – December 5th

By: Liana Solot

On December 5th, 1978, the Soviet Union (USSR) signs a “friendship treaty” with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. This act was significant to international law, mostly because this treaty was later used as a pretext for the Soviet invasion. Major uprisings occurred regularly against the government led by members of the traditional establishment who lost their privileges in the land reform. The government responded with heavy military reprisals and arrested, and exiled and executed many Mujahideen (holy Muslim warriors). The Mujahideen belonged to a number of different factions, but all shared, to varying degrees, a similarly conservative ‘Islamic’ ideology. This led to the Soviet war in Afghanistan the following year, in December 1979, when the USSR organized a massive military airlift into Kabul. Soviet forces secured Kabul, against Darul Aman Palace. With Aman’s death, Babrak Karmal took place as Afghanistan’s new head of government.

 Liana Solot is an L.L.M. Candidate at Berkeley Law. She is a student contributor for Travaux.

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