The Afghan nation began to emerge in the late eighteenth century. It was ruled, with brief interruptions, by a succession of monarchs whose consolidation of power was constantly undermined by civil wars and foreign invasions. The current borders of Afghanistan were delineated in the nineteenth century, as a result of the "great game" rivalry between Russia and Britain. Britain exerted some influence over Afghan foreign policy from the late nineteenth century until the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919. Afghanistan joined the UN in 1946.
In 1973, King Zahir Shah was overthrown in a coup by his cousin and former Prime Minister, Muhammad Daud. Daud declared Afghanistan a republic, with himself as president, and the King went into exile in Italy.
Daud's government, however, was opposed by both the leftist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) and traditional ethnic leaders. In April 1978, leftist military officers overthrew and killed Daud and PDPA leader Noor Muhammad Taraki became President.
Late in 1978, Islamic traditionalists and ethnic leaders began an armed revolt, and by the summer of 1979 they controlled much of Afghanistan's rural areas. In September, Taraki was deposed and later killed. He was replaced by his deputy, Hafizullah Amin, but Amin also failed to suppress the rebellion, and the government's position weakened. On 25 December 1979, Soviet forces entered Afghanistan, and took control of Kabul. Babrak Karmal, leader of a less hard-line faction of the PDPA, became President. Karmal adopted more open policies towards religion and ethnicity. However, the rebellion intensified.
Early in 1980, the Security Council met to consider a response to the Soviet intervention, but a draft resolution condemning it was not passed, due to the negative vote of the USSR. The matter was then taken up in the General Assembly, which held an Emergency Special Session on Afghanistan over five days, from 10 to 14 January 1980. The Assembly adopted...