On December 11, 1979, a bomb exploded near the Soviet UN mission in New York – a provocative act designed by the American secret services on the eve of the surge of Soviet military troops into Afghanistan.
On September 16, 1978, the pro-Soviet Afghan leader Nur Mohammad Taraki was overthrown following the coup d’etat and replaced by the new leader, Hafizullah Amin.
In several months Afghanistan had gone through all the stages any socialist state would go through, as all lands were confiscated and all private land was put into the collective agricultural units and this reflected negatively on the living standards of the population.
The Soviet authorities were outraged by the fact that the overthrow had taken place without their knowledge. Neither Leonid Brezhnev, then-leader of the Soviet Union, nor Yury Andropov, the KGB head, or Andrey Gromyko, the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs were aware of it. Amin managed to win over the top officials of the country, and, Brezhnev could not but acknowledge Amin on his new post by sending him a congratulatory telegram.
However, the Soviet authorities got worried over nothing, as Amin had decided to resume their adherence to the Soviet Union, as all the multiple Soviet military and civil advisers had always been lending huge support and served as true protection against the menace from the North. Amin was the first one to suggest introduction of the Soviet troops into the country to secure his position and control the Pakistani border solely by means of his own forces.
The Soviet diplomatic mission used every effort it could to make sure the Afghan leader abstained from bringing in troops, as the Soviet government was reluctant to embark on such a perilous venture.
However, after the Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel had been signed by the countries’ leaders on March 26 of 1979 in Washington DC, the Soviet positions in the Middle East were seriously undermined.
Besides, the Justice Party of Süleyman Demirel of Turkey, which took over in November of 1979, allowed Americans to dislocate several flight squadrons in the areas in the proximity of the Iranian and Soviet borders. In December of 1979, a meeting between American authorities and then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collaboratively decided – against the will of the Soviet Union – to deploy the new nuclear-guided weapon systems in Europe, all aiming toward the Soviet Union. All such events seriously threatened the Soviet Union’s position on the international arena, which demanded action on the part of the Soviet Union.
Extensive participation in the life of Afghanistan was a serious item on the Soviet budget. Besides, none of the Soviet leaders wanted to resort to military force. While the Soviet authorities were debating whether to bring in troops into Afghanistan or try and settle the tension peacefully (which they preferred) the American secret services performed two provocative acts in a row.
On December 11, a bomb detonated right by the Soviet UN mission in New York, and in a week, an office of the Soviet airline Aeroflot blew up in Munich, Germany. There were no victims recorded in both accidents. As a result, the decision to introduce the troops to Afghanistan was made on December 12, 1979.