MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti)
Afghanistan has designated February 15 a national holiday, Soviet Army Defeat Day, commemorating the withdrawal of the last Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989, Ali Eftekhari, a spokesman for the Ministry of Martyred, Disabled, Labor and Social Affairs, said on Tuesday.
He said the decision was made in line with a Supreme Court decree that comes more than two decades after the Soviet Union's Red Army was forced out by U.S.-backed mujahedeen.
Russians also observe a holiday on February 15, Memorial Day, for Russian armed forces personnel serving abroad, which this year marks the 23rd anniversary of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Soviet Union was involved in a bitter decade-long conflict in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. A million Afghan fighters and civilians are estimated to have lost their lives during the fighting. Some 15,000 Soviet soldiers also perished.
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Military exercises are held in order to prevent a war rather than prepare for one. If a potential enemy knows and sees that the Russian Army is constantly improving its skills and adopting state-of-the-art combat equipment and combat support systems he will hardly risk aggression against these Armed Forces and the country they defend.