Three thousand, three hundred and thirty-eight days is the length of time the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan. From their invasion on 27 December 1979 to the day the Red Army limped out on 15 February 1989, just over nine years of extremely ugly warfare took place. A million Afghans died, several millions were displaced, more than a million were disabled. The damage to Afghanistan’s infrastructure was profound. The Soviets claimed they lost about 14,000 troops, although outside estimates claim up to three times that.
By the time the next president of the United States has been sworn in, we will have occupied Afghanistan for 2,662 days. The length of the US/NATO occupation of that country will match the time the Soviets were there on 27 November 2010, a little more than a year and a half into the new administration. I can’t see Clinton, McCain, or Obama getting us out of there by the end of 2010, can you?
The war in Afghanistan drained the Soviet Union, which was already overextended in its committments to spread the revolution. In Afghanistan, it couldn’t even manage to maintain the Communist government on its own border.
And just about three years after they finally pulled back from Afghanistan, the Soviet Union collapsed. Phffft. The Supreme Soviet dissolved itself the day after Christmas 1991, one day short of the twelfth anniversary of the invasion.
For us, that would be 6 October 2013.