Statement on the Eighth
Anniversary of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
December 27, 1987
is the time of year when Americans gather in the company of their families and
friends, make resolutions for the New Year, and reflect on the year gone by. It
is precisely at this time, when we are thankful for our blessings of liberty,
that we should remember the valiant struggle of a brave people located far from
years ago, on December 27, 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in an unprovoked and
blatant affront to both human decency and international law. The Soviets
promptly installed a series of puppet dictators and since then have attempted
ruthlessly and systematically to destroy the ability of the Afghan people to
resist. Despite 8 years of occupation, they have not been able to subdue the
proud people of Afghanistan.
5 million Afghans have fled the ravages of this Soviet war on their homeland
and the oppression the Soviet Army has imposed. As many as 1 million Afghans
have been killed. In destroying crops, factories, homes, schools, and mosques,
has sought to deprive its enemy -- the whole Afghan nation -- of the means to
support and feed themselves, to sustain their culture and their faith, and
thereby to bring them to their knees. But the Afghan people will not be
conquered. With an abiding faith in God and a passionate love of freedom, they
have shown the world what price free people are willing to pay to remain free.
They remind us that freedom is not a gift but a cherished prize to be won and
preserved by ceaseless struggle.
a number of occasions I have invited the Soviet leadership to explore all
opportunities to bring peace to Afghanistan. We have welcomed
recent Soviet statements of an intent to withdraw.
Unfortunately, their deeds have yet to match their words. General Secretary
Gorbachev and I discussed this issue during our recent meetings here in Washington. At that time I asked
him to announce a timetable for troop withdrawal, including dates when this
withdrawal would begin and end. I call once again on the Soviet Union to translate its
declared intentions into reality by promptly and irrevocably withdrawing all
Soviet forces from Afghanistan. Let 1988 be the year
of action, the year that will see the Soviet Union end once and for all
its brutal occupation of Afghanistan. After 8 long years and
despite their unrelenting efforts, the Soviets simply have failed to defeat the
Afghan resistance on the battlefield. At the same time, the world has
repeatedly and clearly called for the prompt withdrawal of all Soviet troops. The
United Nations most recently approved by record votes resolutions against the
Soviet occupation and abuse of human rights in Afghanistan.
people of Afghanistan have, as much as any
people in history, won the right to freedom and independence. We applaud their
commitment and steadfastness, for their cause is the cause of free people
everywhere. Let us pray that in the year to come a free and independent Afghanistan will again take its
place among the community of nations.