1987: Bombs Over Kabul
In 1987, the Soviet war in Afghanistan was in its late stages, but what if, (here's the PoD): the Soviet government decided to overthrow Gorbachev's ideals and launch a nuclear attack in Afghanistan's metropolitan centres? What would have become of this world?
In our universe, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on December 8, 1987. However, due to Gorbachev's somewhat capitalist outlook on Communist values, and the negative feedback he received from his superiors, it would be probable that he'd be overthrown by his own government. So, here's the PoD:
On August 27, 1987, at 11:31 am, Gorbachev was sorting paperwork in his office, when four thugs, armed with automatic weapons, broke down the door and forced Gorbachev to strip at gunpoint. Forced into a closet and bound with duct tape, the four then drove to the Moscow Kremlin, where they ordered the launch of nuclear missiles at the city of Kabul on the condition of a hand-written request from Gorbachev (which he had, prompted by force, hastily written at the preservation of his life). The order was taken as a serious matter, and on August 28, at the stroke of noon, Operatsiya Krasnyĭ tuman (Russian: Операция Красный туман: Operation Red Mist) was launched and a fleet of Mikoyan fighter jets appeared in the skies over Kabul.
12 missiles were launched. Between 1pm and 4pm, over 65% of the population was killed/injured. Gorbachev was found and rescued by Moscow Police later that day.
From August 29 to November 4, air raids were conducted over the skies of Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif. The Afghan mujahideen, along with the US, Canada, and its other supporters hosted the Karachi G8 summit in Pakistan on November 6 to discuss whether to engage with enemy forces. The decision was ruled that the allied belligerents would launch nuclear missiles at Soviet air bases in Siberia from several outposts in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos (28 in total). On November 8, Mikhail Gorbachev joined efforts to launch Operation Amontillado (referring to Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado').
Officially launched on November 10, 1987, Operation Amontillado was kick started with the destruction of the Magadan-Yaktusk Nuclear Defense Silo on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk. The campaign raged on, killing 70,000 Soviet soldiers and 25,500 American ones until February 15, 1988, when Gorbachev's 'successor' to the role of General Secretary, Petya Yakolev, was executed with a shot to the head by Green Beret Jo Kelsey after being found hiding inside a wrecked APC near SERPUKhOV-1. This was known as Operation Hamlet (named after Shakespeare's famous play).
Gorbachev re-assumed control on 'R-Day', March 21, 1988, and this day was declared a national holiday until the break-up of the Union on October 28, 1990, due to Gorbachev's infliction with Hepatitis E months before and failure to organize a general election in late '89. The conflict was afterward dubbed the 'Gorbachev overthrow' or the '1987 Soviet bombing campaign'. Gorbachev later visited America and later became a guest professor of socio-economics at Stanford University. The uprising against Gorbachev, dubbed the 'New Soviets', helped inspire a guerrilla movement on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg which lasted through until the late 1990s.