The accords consisted of several instruments: a bilateral agreement between the Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the principles of mutual relations, in particular on non-interference and non-intervention; a declaration on international guarantees, signed by the USSR and the USA; a bilateral agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan on the voluntary return of Afghan refugees; and an agreement on the interrelationships for the settlement of the situation relating to Afghanistan, signed by Afghanistan and Pakistan and witnessed by the Soviet Union and the United States.
The agreements also contained provisions for the timetable of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. It officially began on 15 May 1988 and ended by 15 February 1989, thus putting an end to a nine-year-long Soviet occupation and Soviet war in Afghanistan.
The Afghan resistance, or mujahidin, were neither party to the negotiations nor to the Geneva accords and, consequently, refused to accept the terms of the agreement. As a result, the civil war continued after the completion of the Soviet withdrawal. The Soviet-backed regime of Najibullah, though failing to win popular support, territory, or international recognition, was able to remain in power until 1992, when it collapsed and was overrun by the mujahidin.