The BBC ran a piece last week recalling the end of the Soviet venture in Afghanistan, and comparing it to the current one...
By the late 1980s, Moscow's exit strategy was basically the same as Nato's today - to build up an allied government in Kabul with sufficient trained army and police forces to defend itself, thereby allowing foreign troops to leave.
But even with the backing of a 100,000-strong Soviet army and billions of rubles in aid, the Afghan government struggled to establish its legitimacy and authority much beyond the capital - much like President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed administration today.
This bleak assessment of the situation in late 1986 by the Soviet armed forces commander, Marshal Sergei Akhromeev, sounds eerily familiar.
"Military actions in Afghanistan will soon be seven years old," Mr Akhromeev told Mr Gorbachev at a November 1986 Politburo session.
"There is no single piece of land in this country which has not been occupied by a Soviet soldier. Nonetheless, the majority of the territory remains in the hands of rebels.
"The whole problem is that military results are not followed up by political actions. At the centre there is authority; in the provinces there is not.
"We control Kabul and the provincial centres, but on occupied territory we cannot establish authority. We have lost the battle for the Afghan people".
More at the link, and if that is not sufficiently cautionary, one can think back to the British experience in Afghanistan in 1842.
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