Very Good Afghan/Soviet War Book

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by sneeky_turd, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. Just about half way through this book, its a very interesting read. It contains plenty of first hand accounts by the Mujahideen fighters, describing their ambushes on Soviet convoys and their attacks into the Soviet controlled areas. Really good read for anyone interested in the Afghans way of fighting during that particular war and obviously certain things still seem to ring true to todays efforts out there.

    Afghan Guerilla Warfare: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet Afghan War
    By A. Jalali and Lester.W.Grau
     

    Attached Files:

  2. by the name of your title, i was half expecting that it would be a SOVIET book.... quite misleading to be honest...
     
  3. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    I have to say I was confused by the authors names and title of the thread.
     
  4. It does indeed look highly interesting. I think I might have to get meself a copy. Thanks a bunch for the head-up, Sneeky.

    MsG
     
  5. Is that the civvy version of "The Other Side of the Mountain" ? Certainly it's the same authors. If you're serving you can ask the US FSMO for copies; don't forget "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" as well for the Russian side.

    Links to PDFs of the above buried in this thread:
    Thread
     
  6. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Its the companion book to 'The Bear', written by the same bloke, using Muj commanders' recollections of ambushes, etc. with a lessons identified para after each story. I'm currently part way through and am finding it useful.
     
  7. Anybody who takes the veracity of the claims by Rahim Wardak [present Min of Defence] as credible, as they do in this book, shows the danger of collating Peshawar bazaar gubchup as gospel, which has allowed their naivety and preconceived perceptions/agenda to cloud better more sanguine judgement.

    Wardak was a fraud then, as he is now. He set up bogus attacks against disused power lines staged for TV coverage and would 'create' large scale operations in cahoots with ISI, complete with briefings using NATO formation symbols which the Septics lapped up and happily paid for.

    Wardak would brazenly boast to other Muj commanders that he was purely staging these spectaculars for the money, kit & cudos he got for staging these farces.
    It was not for nothing that he earned the title "admiral" rather than his self appointed rank of "general", from those in the know on the Frontier.

    Sadly this did not include the Septic Station chief, Milt Beardon, whose self congratulatory book The Main Enemy, The Inside story of the CIA's Final showdown with the KGB shows as little understanding of the situation on the ground as do the authors Jalali & Grau this book.

    Wardak’s real rank was Major, as the attaché to the Afghan Embassy in DC when the Sovs invaded; where he jumped ship and came under the heavy influence of Messrs Johnnie Walker & Co, before being semi-dried out and sent back out to Pakistan.
    Whenever he went into the field he had an ISI 'minder' with him.

    The weakness of this book is shown by the absence of many of the fundamentalist Hezbi commanders -both Khalis & Hekmatyar- as well as those from Sayaf & Jamyaat, esp. Massoud - who were real fighters.

    The amount of b*ll*x being served up in Peshawar by the media savvy groups like NIFA, being the best at manipulating naive Western media, which would have been exposed had these authors actually made a trip or two to Kabul province or the Panjshir.

    The application of NATO parameters to the Muj's ops bares little relation to the haphazard way in which the Muj conducted their war. Massoud, Khalis & Hekmatyar's forces were the exception.

    The relevance of this book today has to be highly discounted, partly for the manner in which the material was collected but also due to the abilities of the Mujahideen groups then [with very few exceptions], bare little relation to the determination & skills of the Taliban forces we face nowadays.

    There are a few good accounts of travelling with the Muj - Pergrine Hodson's Under a Sickle Moon being the best contemporaneous account & Robert Kaplan's Soldiers of God, as well as Jason Eliott's An Unexpected Light - written nigh on ten years later.
    All these authors benefited by going cross-border, and not being stuck in Pakistan beholden to Muj groups’ extraordinarily bad attempts at PR -grossly inflated claims & propaganda- NIFA BS was perhaps the worst.

    If you are looking for an authentic Soviet perspective, then Artyom Borovik's The Hidden War is also well worth reading
     
  8. 'Anybody who takes the veracity of the claims by Rahim Wardak [present Min of Defence] as credible, as they do in this book, shows the danger of collating Peshawar bazaar gubchup as gospel, which has allowed their naivety and preconceived perceptions/agenda to cloud better more sanguine judgement'.

    The Grau/Jalali book uses a number of vignettes from several different muj commanders from different factions, some of which describe complete ****-ups as well as their victories. Take them with a pinch of salt by all means, but it's still worth having a copy in the Coy/Sqn library.

    'The Bear Went Over the Mountain' was compiled by the Frunze Academy (roughly speaking, the Russian equivalent of JSCSC) and translated by Grau. Again, worth a peak, as is the translated General Staff history edited by Grau and Gress, 'he Soviet-Afghan War: How a Superpower Fought and Lost'. Again, it's a partial history (the account describes a 'successful' offensive up the Panjshir valley in May 1982, without adding that 40th Army had to fight another six battles there, and still didn't crush Massoud) but it's worth a peak.
     
  9. 'Sadly this did not include the Septic Station chief, Milt Beardon, whose self congratulatory book The Main Enemy, The Inside story of the CIA's Final showdown with the KGB shows as little understanding of the situation on the ground as do the authors Jalali & Grau this book'.

    Seconded. Bearden repeats the ISI's line about how fundamentalist fighters like those led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were the best fighters, without explaining how he knows this - given the fact that the Pakistanis banned CIA officers from crossing into Afghanistan and seeing things for themselves.
     
  10. An interested read that fills in some of the Washington end of the arms supply to the Muj is the book Charlie Wilsons War.
    Amazing how much influence 1 guy who sees a crusading opportunity to kill some commies can have over millions of dollars of budget.