Soviet Strategy, Tactics, and Dilemmas

  • William Maley


Having opted to inject its armed forces into a somewhat unpromising theatre of operations, the Soviet leadership was immediately confronted with a number of choices relating to the strategy to be pursued in Afghanistan, and to the military tactics which would best further that strategy. Many of the most important of these decisions were left to the Soviet military to take. In Chapters 4 and 5, I will discuss in more detail the most important specific operations in which the Soviets engaged, setting these in the context of the politics of the times. The aim of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the Soviet armed forces, and to examine in some detail the general types of strategic objectives and tactical approaches which the Soviets pursued. First, I give a brief sketch of the Soviet military. Second, I examine key dimensions of Soviet military strategy, both at a theoretical level, and in terms of the broad objectives of the Afghanistan commitment. Third, I outline briefly the different tactical approaches which the Soviet military adopted in Afghanistan. Finally, I set out four major challenges which the Soviets confronted in Afghanistan, and which they ultimately found it either difficult or impossible to meet.


Armed Force Soviet Leadership Military Tactic Tactical Approach Soviet Invasion 
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© William Maley 2002

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  • William Maley

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