In Washington the impact of the Iranian Revolution of January 1979 had barely subsided when a new crisis erupted. The United States was once again caught by surprise when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on 23 December that year. This constituted a major development in the context of the Cold War, in which Soviet expansionism was seen as a major threat to US regional interests. The subsequent conflict in Afghanistan – between local rebels, known as the Mujahideen, who were funded and armed by a range of states including the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the local communist government and the Soviet forces – decimated the infrastructure of this Central Asian state. The decade-long conflict also laid this fragile state open to a long and divisive civil war following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.