View Full Version : SILENT SOLDIER - The Man behind the Afghan Jehad (on-line read)

09-04-2007, 02:59 PM
Silent Soldier - The Man behind the Afghan Jehad
Brigadier (Retd.) Mohammad Yousaf, S.Bt.


In September, 1983, I was a brigade commander attending a divisional exercise at Quetta when I received a telephone call that was to send me on a new posting to ISI. I was told I must fly to Islamabad immediately to report to the Director-General. To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement. I was filled with misgivings. I knew the reputation of ISI, I knew that all who worked within it were regarded with intense suspicion by their seniors as well as their peers, I knew that I had no previous intelligence training and, above all, I knew the reputation of the Director-General, General Akhtar to be that of a dedicated and demanding taskmaster. I had served under him previously when I commanded a battalion in his division. Now he was a lieutenant-general in charge of the country's most powerful military organization. Of the thirty or so brigadiers whose postings had been announced at that time I was the only one going to ISI. Within 72 hours I reported to my new boss.

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Although this seams not to be full book (or finished post on Web) I still think that some people will find this read interesting.

09-04-2007, 03:04 PM
Afghanistan - The Bear Trap
Brigadier (Retd.) Mohammad Yousaf, S.Bt.

At the start of this book, which tells the story of my part in the Afghan Jehad, I want to acknowledge the debt I, and indeed Pakistan and the Mujahideen owe to the 'Silent Soldier', General Akhtar Abdur Rahman. I served under him for four years at the height of the war, but he carried the enormous responsibility for the struggle against what was then the Soviet superpower, for over eight years. I call him the 'Silent Soldier' because of his great humility and modesty. Few people, apart from his family knew him as well as I did until he was assassinated, along with President Zia-ul-Haq, in the plane crash in August 1988. At one blow the Jehad lost its two most powerful leaders.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 President Zia sent for General Akhtar, who had recently taken over as Director of ISI. At that time nobody in authority in Pakistan, and certainly no overseas government (including the US), thought the Soviet military might could be confronted. Afghanistan was written-off as lost. The only person within the military to advocate supporting the Jehad by Pakistan, and the only person to come up with a plausible plan for doing so, was General Akhtar. He convinced the president that no only was it vital to Pakistan's interests to fight the aggressors, but that there was every chance of defeating them. Some years later Zia was to say to him, you have wrought a miracle, I can give you nothing worthy of your achievements. Only God can reward you.

My job during my time at ISI was to command the Afghan Bureau which was charged with the day to day running of the Afghan war. General Akhtar was my superior, charged with devising, controlling and supervising the strategy to bring about victory in the field. Put in its simplest form he was the strategist, while I was the tactician. At the outset he was almost alone in thinking that the Soviet Union with all its modern aircraft and armor could be brought down by a few thousand poorly trained and armed Mujahideen. It certainly seemed an impossibility at the beginning. I recall being very skeptical myself when I first joined ISI on General Akhtar's orders.

As events were to show he was right. Under his leadership, under this order, under his strategy, the communist menace was not only confronted, but turned back - forced to retreat. Little wonder that the chief architect of this humiliation was on the top of the KGB's hit list with a huge price on his head. Nevertheless, during the time that I knew him he never wavered or showed concern at the danger or, but continued to press on with the Jehad.

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