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Thread: The Soviet experience in and leaving Afghanistan

  1. #1
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Hundreds of Bodies Found in Soviet-Era Prison

    The Moscow Times quotes a BBC report, "An underground prison dating back to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan has been found on the northern outskirts of Kabul."

    "This is a big mass grave from the Russian days," said General Ali Shah Paktiwal, a senior police official, the BBC reported.

    The Defense Ministry could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. But retired general Makhmud Gareyev, who served as senior military adviser to the Afghan government from 1989 to 1992, told Interfax on Friday that the BBC report was "disinformation."

    "Maintaining underground prisons is a tradition of the mujahedeen," Gareyev told Interfax.

    Paktiwal, the Afghan police official, told the BBC that the prison was located at a base that had belonged to the country's communist-era defense ministry.

    "There are at least 15 rooms full of dead bodies," he said, adding that more rooms could still be discovered underground, the BBC reported.

    In 2006, NATO-led forces found a mass grave in Afghanistan that was also believed to contain victims of the country's communist government. Some 2,000 bodies were found near the notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison east of Kabul.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-13-2019 at 06:01 PM. Reason: 7,099v today before merging

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    Default L. Grau's "Breaking Contact Without Leaving Chaos"

    Moderator's note: I have today 16th Jan '09 consolidated several threads on the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. In January 2013 several, small thread located and merged here - mainly on intelligence aspects..In January 2015 several old posts (held elsewhere were released here).

    Breaking Contact Without Leaving Chaos: The Soviet Withdrawal From Afghanistan, By Mr. Les Grau, FMSO-JRIC Analyst. This article was previously published in The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, April-June 2007, Volume 20 Number 2.

    http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/doc...Withdrawal.pdf
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-14-2015 at 07:42 PM.

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    Default see it live...

    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    "3-D Soviet Style: A Presentation on Lessons Learned from the Soviet Experience in Afghanistan" by Anton Minkov and Gregory Smolynec, Defence R&D Canada, October, 2007.

    This is a surprisingly informative (but neverthless limited) document, given both its brevity and especially since it was originally in .ppt form.
    Actually, the authors are offering a presentation of this in Ottawa shortly:

    The Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Centre for Security and Defence at Carleton University cordially invite you to a talk on

    3-D Soviet Style: Lessons Learned from the Soviet Experience in Afghanistan

    Presented by Anton Minkov and Gregory Smolynec

    The presentation is based on research conducted by Gregory Smolynec and Anton Minkov on the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. The project was undertaken in 2007 for the purpose of determining whether this history offered any lessons to be learned for the Canadian Forces (CF) participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    3-D Soviet Style examines the history of the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan and the evolution of Soviet strategy from the initial invasion through several stages to the withdrawal of Soviet combat forces in 1989. The presentation pays special attention to the problems the Red Army encountered in securing their lines of communication and to the efforts the Soviets made in building Afghan security forces. It includes information on the Soviet counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, and it provides information on the adjustments the Soviets made to their force structure and equipment in response to the exigencies of the operational situations they faced. 3-D Soviet Style outlines the state-building efforts the Soviets undertook in Afghanistan and their social and economic policies. The presentation also examines the policy of “National Reconciliation” adopted by the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan to stabilize the country through internal and external diplomacy.


    About the presenters

    Dr. Gregory Smolynec and Dr. Anton Minkov are Strategic Analysts with the Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA), part of Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC). Currently, Anton is assigned to the Directorate of Strategic Analysis and Gregory is with the Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence. Anton has a PhD in Islamic History (McGill University). His book Conversion to Islam in the Balkans was published in 2004 by Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden). Gregory Smolynec has a PhD in History (Duke University) and a Master of Arts in Russian and East European Studies (Carleton University).


    Wednesday, 30 January 2008
    3:00 pm, Room 1304 Dunton Tower
    Carleton University

    For more information please contact:
    Professor Piotr Dutkiewicz at piotr_dutkiewicz@carleton.ca or
    Ginette Lafleur at ginette_lafleur@carleton.ca

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    Very interesting Rex, thanks for posting this info.^

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    Default The Soviet experience in and leaving Afghanistan

    Somehow in all these years I missed this:

    The Limits of Soviet Airpower: The Bear Versus the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, 1979-1989

    This manuscript analyzes the failure of Soviet air and ground forces to defeat the Afghan mujahideen during the nine-year Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In pursuit of this objective, Soviet military strategy underwent a process of increasing radicalization that eventually resulted in a sanctioned policy of terror by Soviet air and land forces. During this period, airpower played a critical role in this campaign of terror by providing the platforms for punitive bombardment, chemical attack, aerial mining, troop insertion, and fire support. The ability of a relatively ill-equipped and technologically inferior opponent to force the eventual withdrawal of one of the world’s most vaunted military powers has broader implications for contemporary political and military leaders. Soviet military operations against the mujahideen in Afghanistan, from December 1979 until the withdrawal of the Limited Contingent of Soviet Forces in February 1989, provide an instructive case study for evaluating the efficacy of airpower as an instrument of coercion. The Afghanistan example offers an excellent historical case for measuring the inherent limitations of airpower as a coercive instrument in the conduct of counterinsurgency operations.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-14-2015 at 07:41 PM. Reason: Fixed link and update Note

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Overlooked

    Red Rat,

    Just noticed IISS, London on 27th May 2009, held a seminar 'The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan and its implications for NATO strategy', perhaps two names to add to the speaker list: http://www.iiss.org/events-calendar/...nato-strategy/

    Sir Rodric holds - sometimes - very different views than the FCO "line", notably on intelligence. The academic, Artemy Kalinovsky, has a CV on: http://afghanistan-analyst.org/Docum...inovsky_CV.pdf

    I was there for the Kilcullen talk the next day!

    davidbfpo

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    Default Agricultural Advisers...

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I do wonder has anyone applied the principles to advising in Afghanistan - which is different from Iraq. Secondly have any coalition members who've done advising written so well?

    I was chasing AAR's of Soviet Agricultural Advisers the other day and noted these references on the blog Ghosts of Alexander

    Louis Dupree. 1973 Afghanistan Princeton University Press

    Eden, Naby. "The ethnic factor in Soviet-Afghan Relations" Asian Survey, Vol XX, No. 3, March 1980
    Sapere Aude

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    That link is dead. This one is active: http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTR...c=GetTRDoc.pdf

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Soviets experience in Afghanistan (consolidated thread)

    Recently a former Soviet (Red) Army general reflected upon his experiences in Afghanistan and the situation today.
    This was his opening:
    Our mission was never to win. The Soviet Army was sent in to prop up a corrupt regime and the AFG leadership was all too happy to stand back, stay in the safety of their guarded compounds in Kabul, and let the Russians do the fighting for them. "They refused to do anything for the benefit of the people. In his mind, "from the perspective of the average Afghan, little has changed since".
    davidbfpo
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 10-26-2009 at 02:41 AM.

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    Default Attachment added

    Apologies and attachment is here!
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Some very interesting ideas there. I especially like the one about establishing a corps of counter-Mullahs. The Saudis do something sort of like that when they re-hab AQ people. I am not so sure the Taliban would be up for a debate though. I think if the counter-Mullah weren't protected they would just kill him.

    The idea of getting some sort of low level court, that works, going that isn't connected with the Taliban is also of great import.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    GWU, 30 Oct 09: Afghanistan Déjà vu? Lessons from the Soviet Experience
    The debate over U.S. policy in the Afghanistan war features striking and troubling parallels with the choices faced by Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, according to Soviet documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive....

    ...In terms that parallel those offered to President Obama by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Soviet military told their leaders in the mid-1980s that the war was not winnable by purely political means and that the initial analysis on the basis of which the troops were introduced did not take into account the historical and religious context of the country. Most strikingly, the Soviets complained that the top leader they helped to install lacked political legitimacy and probably would need to be replaced....
    Colonel Tsagolov Letter to USSR Minister of Defense Dmitry Yazov on the Situation in Afghanistan, 13 August 1987

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    Default Mountain Pass battlefield again

    Thanks to MPayson for pointing at this.

    Let slip the dogs of war, Paul McGeough (Australian), writes on the Soviet and current campaigning at Satukandav Pass, Paktia Province: http://www.smh.com.au/world/let-slip...0925-g6bi.html (This item will be copied to the 'Soviet General comments' thread).

    davidbfpo

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    McGeough's article is good but it illustrates an attitude that is starting to bug me a little. Perhaps this is not the proper place to express this but so much of the reporting I see seems to further the idea that the Taliban is 10 feet tall, they are sort of a military glacier that will grind all in its path. It reminds me of what the officers of the Army of the Potomac told Gen. Grant about Gen. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia when Grant showed up to run things in the east. Grant was quite irritated at the attitude expressed and told them all to knock it off. I think we need a Gen. Grant now to talk to some reporters and pundits.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Soviet Intelligence Operations in Afghanistan

    Any good works out there on Soviet intelligence operations in their Afghanistan war?

    How they were organized? Where they focused? What methods were used? Successes and failures?
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    In terms of good works take a look at the following even though they have already been suggested on the Facebook page if you haven't seen it, or do not have Facebook.


    .The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, By Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin

    .The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, By Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin


    I've only flipped through the first one I've mentioned. However I own The World Was Going Our Way, and it has alot of information on Soviet intelligence operations in Afghanistan throughout the conflict. As well as throughout Central Asia as a whole with information also about the events and operations in the region leading up to Afghanistan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Any good works out there on Soviet intelligence operations in their Afghanistan war?

    How they were organized? Where they focused? What methods were used? Successes and failures?
    In terms of good works take a look at the following even though they have already been suggested on the Facebook page if you haven't seen it, or do not have Facebook.


    .The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, By Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin

    .The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, By Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin


    I've only flipped through the first one I've mentioned. However I own The World Was Going Our Way, and it has alot of good information on Soviet intelligence operations in Afghanistan throughout the conflict. As well as throughout Central Asia as a whole with information also about the events and operations in the region leading up to the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan.
    Last edited by Kevin23; 12-22-2009 at 03:40 AM.

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    The Cold War History Project is always a good start,

    http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cf...%20Afghanistan

    In particular check out this working paper on KGB operations in Afghanistan by Mitrokhin

    The KGB in Afghanistan - Geographical Volume 1
    February 01 2002 - This text is an edited version of a manuscript outlining the KGB's operational activities in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1983, authored by Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to Britain in 1992. Mitrokhin tells us that the KGB was deeply involved with Soviet Afghan policies from the very beginning. The piece deals with events in and around Afghanistan and the activities of the Bolshevik nomenklatura in the region between 1962 and 1983. It is based exclusively on information from the KGB archives to which Vasily Mitrokhin had access to. Please read the note on sources under the collection listing to understand the limitations of this material.

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    Default Soviets experience in Afghanistan (consolidated thread)

    From a comment left by poster "1110" on the blog:

    Russian Advice on Afghanistan

    I found a lot to agree with and a lot with which to disagree. I felt like a lot of the article was posturing and manipulative, but I tend to read a lot into fairly innocous statements.

    For example:

    It is not only the nature of war and its means that have changed; the whole world has evolved.
    Disagree.

    Officials in Brussels and Washington who are thinking of a rapid exit strategy for the ISAF mission are engaged in elaborating on a suicide plan. Withdrawal without victory might cause a political collapse of Western security structures.
    Ehh...

    A “successful end” to the operation in Afghanistan will not come simply with the death of Osama bin Laden. The minimum that we require from NATO is consolidating a stable political regime in the country and preventing Talibanization of the entire region.

    That is the Russian position. We are ready to help NATO implement its U.N. Security Council mandate in Afghanistan. We are utterly dissatisfied with the mood of capitulation at NATO headquarters, be it under the cover of “humanistic pacifism” or pragmatism.
    Fair enough.

    That said, we are training CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces — an operational formation of elite units from Russia and our allies in Central Asia — in case of a NATO fiasco.
    At first, sounds cool, but... huh? What are these elite units going to do? Be the Uzbek Border Patrol?
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    Check out the following:

    KGB: The Inside Story. Also by Christopher Andrew
    The Soviet-Afghan War. By the Soviet General Staff

    Also, it wouldn't suprise me if Grau's two pieces on the Soviet-Afghan war has some valuable intelligence sections in it.

    Hope that helps!

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