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Responding responsibly: West Germany’s Relations with the Mujahideen During the Soviet-Afghan War, 1979–1987

Jahn, Thaddeus Caspar Boyd (2020) Responding responsibly: West Germany’s Relations with the Mujahideen During the Soviet-Afghan War, 1979–1987. International History Review, 42 (4). pp. 755-773. ISSN 0707-5332

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Identification Number: 10.1080/07075332.2019.1647869


This article draws on extensive archival research to account for the complex dynamics and interplay between the Federal Republic of Germany’s Auswärtiges Amt and various Afghan mujahideen between 1979 and 1987. It discusses the resistance groups as diplomatic actors in their own right who attempted to gain material, financial and moral support by lobbying the West German government, law-makers and society. It also uncovers Bonn’s strategic considerations in dealing with these diplomatically proactive leaders, a reality that is contextualized in the FRG’s broader Cold War foreign policy guided by ‘politics, not force’ and the notion of ‘responsibility’. This article concludes that given the FRG’s strong preference for moderation, de-escalation and conflict settlement, West German support for the mujahideen largely remained indirect. Instead of providing weapons or making concrete commitments to resistance groups in Peshawar, Bonn settled on a solution that involved providing large sums of uncontroversial humanitarian assistance to the refugee camps in Pakistan, which they were fully aware would also benefit the resistance groups. Nonetheless, West Germany’s cautious approach failed to bring about the much-desired early political solution. This article contributes to the literature on resistance movements during the Cold War and the history of conflict in Afghanistan.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Divisions: International History
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2022 16:15
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2024 21:30

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