In this file photo taken on January 1, 1988, an Afghan rebel armed with an anti-aircraft machine gun gets ready to fire at position in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. As Russia prepares to mark Friday's anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal, many see the 10-year Soviet war in Afghanistan as a necessary and largely successful endeavour.
In this photo taken on February 15, 1989, Lt. Gen. Boris Gromov, sits atop of an armoured personnel carrier driving from Afghanistan across a bridge over the Amy Darya River, at Termez, Uzbekistan. in a twist of history, Russia has emerged as an influential power broker in Afghanistan, mediating between feuding factions as it jockeys with Washington for influence in a country where a US-led coalition has been fighting for more than 17 years.
This photo taken on April 1, 1984 shows mujahideen tribesmen at a border camp near Wana in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, driven by fears that the US could try to establish a foothold next to Soviet republics in Central Asia after losing Iran in the Islamic Revolution. Moscow's initial plans for a quick operation were derailed by fierce rebel resistance, and in the years of fighting that followed, the Soviet Union lost more than 15,000 troops, according to official data.
Soviet Army soldiers with their war-dogs line up after their unit crossed a bridge on the border between Afghanistan and then Soviet Uzbekistan near the Uzbek town of Termez, Uzbekistan, on February 15, 1989. When the last Soviet tanks rumbled back home across a bridge on the border with Afghanistan 30 years ago, the withdrawal was hailed as a much-anticipated end to a bloody quagmire.
In this photo taken on February 15, 1989, Soviet Army soldiers help each other catch a train home after crossing a bridge on the border between Afghanistan and then Soviet Uzbekistan near the Uzbek town of Termez, Uzbekistan. Just like the ongoing Russian campaign in Syria, the Afghan war is widely perceived as a legitimate action against US-backed militants.
In this photo taken on February 13, 1989, the last Soviet unit stands stationary during a military parade on the tarmac of Kabul airport, just before leaving Afghanistan for the last time. The Soviet intervention drew strong international condemnation and imposed a heavy burden on the struggling Soviet economy. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ordered the pullout amid his efforts to conduct liberal reforms and end confrontation with the West.