Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan on 24 December, 1979, sparking a war that would last a decade.
Twenty-five years on, the BBC asked people on both sides to look back on a conflict which marked their lives.
Ex-Soviet soldiers talk of what it is like to be veterans of a war fought for a state which has ceased to exist. An Englishman who lived with the mujahideen describes the terrifying experience of a gun battle and a Soviet nurse bears witness to the anguish of the wounded.
Bereaved civilians remember their dead and two younger Afghans who ended up abroad look back on the different paths which took them away from their homeland.
Click on the links above to read their stories.