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On December 24, 1979, Soviet troops began landing at Kabul Airport and at other bases in Afghanistan. By December 27, some five thousand Soviet soldiers were estimated to be in Kabul alone. Soviet troop,, and tanks were crossing into Afghanistan. Afghan soldiers who might have resisted were rendered ineffective when their Soviet advisers had them turn in their ammunition for blanks. On December 27, Soviet spetsnaz troops attacked Prime Minister Amin's palace complex, overcame loyal Afghan troops and killed Amin. Meanwhile, Babrak Karmal, who had been dismissed from his post in the Afghan Foreign Service months earlier and had withdrawn to Moscow, broadcast a speech from Tashkent, purporting to invite the Soviet Union into Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan Government.

Since the invasion, there have been over 100,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan at all times, with the numbers sometimes running as high as 115,000. The bulk of the fighting has been conducted by Soviet forces. The Wakhan corridor has been virtually annexed by the Soviet Union and several provinces are reported to be substantially depopulated and under virtual occupation by Soviet forces. Afghan resistance forces, popularly known as Mujahidin, operating from sanctuaries outside Afghanistan as well as within the country, continue to fight the Soviet forces and the governmental apparatus that was introduced and is supported by the USSR.

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