Afghan Victory Day, also called “Liberation Day”, is a public holiday in Afghanistan that occurs every 28 April. It marks the day in 1992 when Mujahideen rebels overthrew the then-reigning socialistic, pro-Soviet regime.
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For the most part, the day is remembered and celebrated by former Mujahideen members only, even though it is a national holiday.
The background of the holiday is extensive. First, a new Marxist revolution erupted in Afghanistan and took power from the existing monarchical state. The new government soon warmed up to the Soviet Union, and the resistance that arose against this new regime, the Mujahideen, sided with the West and the U.S. Thus, the whole conflict became part and parcel of the Cold War.
When the socialist Afghan government feared it might lose to the rebels, it requested help from the Soviet Union, which invaded the country in December of 1979. The invaders seemed to have their own agenda too, however, as they quickly assassinated the sitting Afghan president.
As the U.S. sent supplied to the rebels and the U.S.S.R. continued to fight against Mujahideen who used guerrilla tactics, Soviet casualties grew too great. The invaders gradually withdrew, until they were all gone by 1989. The pro-Soviet government, however, held on until 28 April, 1992, when the Mujahideen finally defeated them and set up a new government.
The holiday is as much about the end of the long and bloody Civil War as about the defeat of the old regime. A million Afghans had died and a third of the population been displaced, so the people were relieved that the conflict finally ended.