787: Green Map Soviet Exodus

Pakistan, Turkmen, Unknown, 1990s

Like its Najibullah counterpart, this map based rug documents the Soviet exit from Afghanistan. While the Najibullah genre focuses on a pseudo-heroic narrative style, this piece documents the withdrawal utilizing more concrete and physical manifestations. The central country of Afghanistan is again depicted in green, but its surrounding nations are labeled rather than drawn. The scale of the weaponry brings attention to the underdog nature of the Afghan forces with its individual armaments (Kalashnikov assault rifles, shoulder rocket launchers, and rifles), as the USSR is represented as a greatly superior military force with tanks, helicopters, and truck and tank based rocket launchers. The text also highlights the attempt by the USSR to coopt Afghanistan and places the Mujahedeen in the role of hero as it fought to protect Afghan interests. In regards to spelling errors, keep in mind that the text is written by those who are most likely not English speakers and who may be working from a pattern.

By Alicia Cunningham-Bryant