S. President Jimmy Carter signed a secret directive providing clandestine assistance to the Islamic fundamentalist forces" (3). In this manner, Afghanistan leaders and the Soviet Union failed to underestimate the will and determination of fundamentalist insurgents, while the U.S. failed to recognize it was seeding the foundation of the deadly Taliban.
Historian and author David Loyn calls the proxy wars of other nations (Britain, Soviet Union, and the U.S.) in Afghanistan "the great game," maintaining that the country is the graveyard of Empires (24). Loyn writes that "The history of Afghanistan is that invaders and conventional forces invariably lose in the end. Just as the Russians did, the west faces a determined insurgency, financed from abroad and inspired by Islamist fundamentalism. The Taliban, with an endless supply of recruits...could fight forever" (24). It is this reason and the harsh terrain - immune to modern warfare - and corrupt government of Afghanistan that thwart efforts of nations such as the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Despite the communist takeover in the late 1970s, many cite the wasted resources and failed efforts in Afghanistan as ultimately responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union.