What if the Soviets had been allowed to occupy Afghanistan?

If the US had not armed the mujahideen and stayed completely out of Afghanistan during the 80’s, what would the world be like today? Would there still be a war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan today? Would the events of 9/11 have been less likely? Would the world be a better place, or worse?

Arguably, the USSR might have been able to limp along a few years longer without its defeat in Afghanistan, and the headlines of its collapse would be in competition with the seemingly interminable Monica Lewinsky saga.

Either the Soviets clean the place up and there’s no mess there today, or they create a bigger mess and leave. Amid the chaos, would some Islamic fundamentalists band together and blame America for not helping them, then years later, stage a bold attack with the aid of Osama bin Laden? (Then, an SDMB poster could hypothesize whether the world would be better off if America had helped the mujahideen?)

I’ve been watching CBS New’s piece on “Afghanistan: The Road Ahead” with interest. I guess the consensus is that the US needed to have helped Afghanistan rebuild after the Soviets left. Or the US needed to have focused on Afghanistan in 2001 instead of switching our attention to Iraq. But if we’re playing the time travel game, wouldn’t it be even smarter and cheaper to go further back to the late 70’s, early 80’s and let the Soviets take control of Afghanistan and inherit any future mess?

The Chinese might have armed the mujaheddin through Pakistan.

The mujaheddin would have gotten weapons from somebody anyway. At the least, they would have been funded by Muslim charities and would have been able to get money from unlicensed arms dealers. Besides, Afghanistan was already a well armed society, and AK-47s and AKMs were never hard to get.

They wouldn’t have to go very far. Fact is, guns aren’t that hard to make and the villagers of Darra Adam Khel sure love makin’ them.

This. It’s not like the US sold them heavy tanks and F-15s. Pretty sure they would have kicked the Russians’ teeth on their own, although their casualties might have been higher without Stingers. Hinds are terrifying machines.