I finished reading Afghanistan The Bear Trap. Excellent book, notes are here. I'm going to have to read Stephen Coll now to get the rest of the story.
How many lessons can be applied to Iraq?
1) The American supply operation was all about killing soviets. When they left, the arms flow stopped. Point: Will countries stop supplying Iraqi rebels if the U.S. withdraws?
2) 'Puppet' regimes are capable of living on their own, Najibullah stayed in power for four years after the Soviets withdrew troops. The Soviets continued, crucially, to provide arms. Point: Perhaps local forces are capable of acting more effectively in their own interest then foreign troops?
3) The Soviet response to the Mujahideen was incredibly lethargic. No strategy at all beyond Afghan borders, except to prevent attacks on the USSR proper. Point: Burying your head in the sand does not help the situation, it just makes it last longer.
4) The Soviets gave up when the Mujahideen got effective AA weapons. It took 7 years of conflict before they got them. Point: How many years will we be fighting in Iraq before someone gives the rebels good AA weapons?