KABUL -- Remembering the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Afghans are watching Russia's invasion of Ukraine closely, calling it an illegal act of aggression perpetrated by an authoritarian dictator.
Using security concerns and Ukraine's aspiration to join NATO as a pretext, Russian President Vladimir Putin's real intention is the occupation of Ukraine, analysts say.
They say history shows Putin is not afraid to kill civilians, destroy infrastructure and disrupt world peace and security to get what he wants.
"Ordered by Putin today, the air and ground assault with the deployment of advanced weapons and aircraft is an aggression against an independent state and a violation of Ukraine's national sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Wais Naseri, a Germany-based analyst of Afghan affairs.
"Under the pretext of preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, Russia is trying to break up Ukraine and occupy it," he said.
"Authoritarian, adventurist and bullying politicians like Putin can, unfortunately, trigger world war and cause global instability and anarchy."
"Putin is playing with the fate of free and independent states," he said. "By pursuing his sinister agenda, he will cause a military confrontation in Europe and, beyond that, will disrupt global security and economy."
"Putin dreams of reviving the tsarist era and the Soviet Union and seeks to regain control over former ... Soviet states," Naseri said.
"Therefore, despite the excuses it makes, Russia's intention behind military action is occupation."
"Putin is trying to change the history and geography of the world," he warned.
"If Russia emerges victorious in Ukraine, its next target will be Poland, the Baltic states and other European countries to break them up and pave the way for their occupation," Naseri added.
"Apart from its inhumane and immoral nature, Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a flagrant violation of international law," said Fahim Chakari, a university professor and political analyst in Kabul, said.
Ukraine is an independent and sovereign state and a member of the United Nations (UN), he noted.
"Putin is an authoritarian politician who has ordered the destruction of Ukraine and its infrastructure," he added.
"We urge the UN to stop the ongoing aggression against Ukraine and violation of its national sovereignty by Russia," Chakari said. "The UN must support and defend Ukraine and its people."
Putin's plan to occupy Ukraine
Days before launching the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday (February 24), Putin unilaterally recognised the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, two rebel-held regions of Ukraine.
"The recognition of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine by Russia and the military invasion of Ukraine has no legal basis," said Barna Salehi, an international relations analyst based in Kabul.
"Through a staged referendum, Russia broke Abkhazia and South Ossetia away from Georgia in 2008 and recognised them to establish its military and political presence there," he said.
"Following the same playbook, [Russia] annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014."
"A full-scale Russian attack on Kyiv will disrupt world order and upset the global power equation," Salehi added.
"Most of the residents in the Donetsk and Luhansk are Russian speakers who, according to a pre-planned plot, were provided passports and citizenship by Russia," said Salim Paigir, a Kabul political analyst.
Putin put his plan into action [on Tuesday] and formally recognised those regions."
It is a much-used plan, Paigir said.
"To occupy other lands, great powers first issue passports to the residents of those lands and provide them with different assistance packages. Over time, under the pretext of defending its citizens, they then occupy those territories," he explained.
"There will be no winner in the Ukrainian war, and all parties will suffer in the conflict," he said.
Afghans against Russian aggression
"It is Russia's old habit to invade other countries and occupy independent territories," said Mohammad Akbar Mirzae, 57, a resident of Kabul and former employee of an NGO.
"With more than 100,000 well-armed troops, the Soviet Union occupied our country 43 years ago," he said. "It led to the killing, wounding, maiming and displacing of millions of Afghans, and marked the start of more than 40 years of war and bloodshed in our country."
"By invading our country, Russia tore apart our land and people," Mirazae said. "Today, by doing so in Ukraine, it wants to occupy and destabilise Ukraine permanently and start a never-ending conflict there."
"We Afghans who have suffered from Russian aggression strongly condemn Moscow's assault on Ukraine."
Just last year, Russia stoked Afghans' outrage when the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted an incorrect map of Afghanistan that eliminated the Afghan-Chinese border.
Following the backlash, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted a tweet on March 13, stating, "The interactive map of the world as presented here is schematic and may not provide an accurate representation of national borders."
Afghan political analysts and social media users, however, rejected Moscow's explanation, calling it a "dirty game".
"Cutting off parts of Afghan territory and attaching them to another country show Russia's policy of aggression and occupation towards its neighbours and the region," Najibullah Azad, leader of the Bawar Movement and a Kabul-based political analyst, said at the time.
"Russians have good experience in occupying other lands," he added. "Before this, they changed Ukraine's map and took Crimea from it."