The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, set off a putrid spiral of death and destruction. The countless atrocities affected every aspect of Afghan life, but civilians sustained the most disturbing and outrageous losses. Their horror and tremendous agony has, for the most part, been either ignored or glossed over by Western news conglomerates
During the Soviet military aggression in Afghanistan, over one million Afghans died and millions more were wounded or left to fend for themselves without the benefit of food, water, medical care, or housing. There were also numerous eyewitness accounts of incredible cruelty and acts of cold calculated murder. One such act was observed by a doctor in September of 1984 who witnessed Soviet troops in a Afghan village: "They tied them up and piled them like wood. They poured gasoline over them and burned them alive."
An Afghan resistance leader recounted how Soviet soldiers treated civilians who were left behind when another village was abandoned: "The Russians tied dynamite to their backs and blew them up." Another eyewitness described a fiendish practice that Russians used to extract information about the mujahadeen (Muslim freedom fighters): "They would slowly roast a child over fire".
The Soviets also, reportedly would encircle villages, enter every dwelling, and kill every inhabitant, including old men, women and children. Before leaving, they would burn down the entire village. A 1986 report gives a chilling account:
"In three small villages near Qandahar, last year, the Soviets killed close to 350 women and children in retaliation for a Mujahadeen attack in the vicinity. After slitting the throats of the children, disemboweling pregnant women, raping, shooting and mutilating others, the Russians poured a substance on the bodies which caused instant decomposition.
The mujahadeen were like Mao Tse Tung's fish in the sea, and the Soviets in the mid-1980's began to adopt a policy aimed at draining the sea itself. Civilians were driven out of their homes as Soviet forces indiscriminately bombed villages and destroyed crops, orchards and irrigation systems, and scattered anti-personnel mines over large tracts of the country-side where a guerilla presence was suspected".
Other eyewitnesses describe harrowing incidents of cruelty and almost unspeakable butchery:
"The Russians took 14 of us and made us stand in a line near this wall. Two Russian soldiers stood in front of us with machine guns. We began reciting The Holy Kalima from the Holy Qur'an, because we knew we were about to die. They machined gunned everyone of us. I fell. There were a pile of bodies, all on top of me. The soldiers searched us and took our money.
They moved me but I just pretended to be dead."
An unidentified Soviet soldier described what he perceived as, "..no such thing as a peaceful population, they were all guerrilla fighters. I remember how we once rounded up all the women and children, poured kerosene over them and set fire to them. Yes, it was cruel. Yes, we did it, but those kids were torturing our wounded soldiers with knives."
Another Russian describes the wanton lack of regard for human life, and what he perceives as reasons for the Soviet soldiers propensity to kill without restraint:
"A young soldier might kill just to test his gun, or if he's curious to see what the inside of a human being looks like or whats inside a smashed head. But there is also the fact that if you don't kill, you'll get killed.
It's a feeling of being drunk on blood. Often you kill out of boredom or because you just feel like doing it-it's like hunting rabbits.
Maynom, an Afghan villager from Laghman province, describes a living hell:
"The rockets were falling all around us like leaves off a tree. My daughter's head was smashed open. Her brains were hanging from a branch. I lost Everything-my cousins, my nephews, everybody was killed-my wife, four children."
With the numerous methods of inflicting suffering and devastation on a defenseless civilian population, there are none as revolting and as devilish as the purposeful targeting of children with the dispersal of millions of land mines.
Many of these explosive devises were designed to look like toys, and were fashioned in bright colors to attract the curiosity of children. These land bombs were shaped like butterflies, or kites, or made of translucent plastic (making them especially irresistible to unsuspecting children. Apparently, the purpose was to murder and to maim chidren who the Soviets feared would mature into freedom fighters. This practice, while either ignored or overlooked by Western media, is documented by independent news sources