) was a major civil conflict in Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with some interludes, until 2002.
The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975.
The civil war was essentially a power struggle between two former liberation movements, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
At the same time, the war served as a surrogate battleground for the Cold War and large-scale direct and indirect international involvement by opposing powers such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the United States was a major feature of the conflict.
The MPLA and UNITA had different roots in the Angolan social fabric and mutually incompatible leaderships, despite their shared aim of ending colonial rule.
Although both had socialist leanings, for the purpose of mobilising international support they posed as "Marxist–Leninist" and "anti-communist", respectively.
A third movement, the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), having fought the MPLA alongside UNITA during the war for independence, played almost no role in the Civil War.
Additionally, the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), an association of separatist militant groups, fought for the independence of the province of Cabinda from Angola.
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