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`Guerrilla war in Afghanistan`
Material posted: Valetskiy OlegPublication date: 05-06-2013

Eighth infantry division was stationed in Kabul. We had our own agent in this division, the officer. For many years he supplied us valuable information. His cooperation with us was dangerous both for him personally and for his family. This officer wanted to go to the Mujahideen. We helped him after he destroyed the enemy.
We were given a task for our agent to arrange 24 September 1983 the party. He invited the political officer of a division and the two Soviet advisers with whom he worked, to his home in Kuchi Sangi district. All three of them agreed and came to visit him late at night in his Car.

Our officer was prepared for the feast and lots of whiskey shish-kebab (shashlik). All three ate and drank a lot and, in the end, completely drunk. They are passed out. Then the officer called us and we loaded real body in their jeep. We took them to the village of Kala Kazi, and in the South-West of Kabul. As we drove in their car, no we did not stop and did not pursue. We pulled the drunk out of the car, and the car was sent back to our man-officer. He put his family and went to Pakistan, where already openly joined the us.

We hid in the woods drunk in the village of Kuh-Morgian. When the next day woke up drunk, we invited them to convert to Islam and embark on the right path. Soviet advisors were very angry and began to insult us. They stated that "with the chosen path no going back, and Afghanistan will still be a Communist". "We will not accept your dirty religion", they said. They refused to cooperate.

We could not let them free without permission of the cooperation, but also could not shoot them, as the sound of gunfire could attract the attention of the soldiers located nearby to security positions. So we buried them in the ground alive.

We collected their clothes and documents and sent to HIH in Peshawar. The next day, the Soviet units cordoned off the incident area, so we were forced to hide first in Parwan, and later on in the Maidan. While the shorawi were looking for us, they engaged in battle with a detachment of mawlawi Rahmat Gaulle. After the fight the shorawi found the place where we buried advisers. But they were all dead, their bodies blackened.

September 25, 1986, 35 of the Mujahideen went up the mountain to an altitude of 1.5 km on northeast from the airfield of Jalalabad. It was just after noon, and they were hiding for almost 3 hours in the supine position. They tried to be in the vicinity of the start and runway, as they were now directly within Afghan defensive fortifications.

The group commander, engineer, Jaffar, could clearly see soldiers at checkpoints on the perimeter of the runway, immediately behind the barrier. At each end of the runway was located on a few tanks and APCS. Gaffar approached the band even closer than it was necessary in accordance with the received instructions, but he knew this area very well, and conducted the preliminary investigation confirmed the presence of well-hidden approaches that can be used even in the daytime.

I personally chose the Jaffar for this operation, along with another field commander named Piligrim, who was entrusted the execution of this task in the Kabul area. For us it was the moment we've been waiting impatiently for four years, the chance on equal terms to confront our most hated foe in this war. Both commanders was entrusted to attack the helicopter gunships, or any aerial target with the help of the American system of portable anti-aircraft fire "stinger". In this, the first time, the use of these weapons resulted in the competition between the two commanders. In Rawalpindi, where they and their people were trained, they argued with each other who will first open an account victories. In order to maintain their enthusiasm, I agreed to this game, allowing you to exit Darvesh on the job two days earlier, as he had a long way to Kabul. It was one of the decisive moments of the war. After years of lacking the opportunity to respond to the air attack, the Mujahideen got finally a weapon worth their morale.

The long wait for a suitable target was rewarded at three in the afternoon. All looked at the sky to see a magnificent sight - no less than eight helicopters belonging to his most hated enemies - the helicopter gunships Mi-24, was approaching the runway for landing. The group of Jaffar were three Stingers, whose operators have raised now were already loaded launchers on the shoulders and get in position for firing. Another Mujahid, armed with a video camera, was shaking in nervous excitement, trying to focus on rapidly decreasing helicopters. Firing calculations were within hail of each other in a triangle pattern in the bushes, because no one knew the direction from which the target may appear. We have organized each calculation so that three people were shot and two others holding missile tubes for quick reloading.

Although the stinger has an effective ceiling of firing more than 3 kilometers, Ghaffar waited for the leading helicopter started making the last circle before landing. Helicopters almost got ambushed by the most technically difficult Western portable missile complex for firing from the shoulder. It was the world's first use of "Stingers" against a real opponent. The stinger entered service in Germany in 1981, next year to the 82nd airborne division of the United States. During the American invasion of Granada in October 1983, U.S. forces had "Stingers" in service, but never not used them. The stinger fires a rocket with a thermal infrared guidance heads, capable of hitting low-flying, high-speed jet aircraft, even if they are flying directly at the shooter. The missile warhead equipped with high destructive power with a substantial immunity to countermeasures. As soon as the head of the missile acquired the target - no sources of heat, such as missile traps, can't knock it off course. The only way to avoid the homing head of the missile acquired the target, or too high to affect the possibilities of rockets or missile to shoot trap with such frequency that between them there was virtually no interval. Thus, it becomes clear how often to shoot trap and what stock of such traps is necessary to have on Board. In this case, with the approaching helicopter was not shot off any traps. The attack was reinforced by an additional advantage - a complete surprise.

Three hand waited for the command of Jaffar. They had to fire almost simultaneously, each choosing its own target. Aiming and production of the shot was very simple. The shooter was holding the launcher, or as the military calls its box, on his shoulder. On top was the tube containing the missile, which advocated the end of the Lodge. The tube is usually just thrown away after firing the rocket, but I insisted that all the tubes were collected and returned to base, for safety reasons. Empty tubes served also as proof that the commanders really shot missiles, not just hid or sold them. No empty tubes, I would have just got more ammunition. Each Mujahideen selected a helicopter through the open sight on the launcher, the system "friend or foe" intermittent sound signaled that action came the enemy target and "stinger" captured the head guidance of the heat radiation from the engines of the helicopters. If the goal was out of reach, the gripper head of missile guidance would have been impossible, and the sound would not be heard. Triggers were pressed, missiles fired, and the gunners could immediately reload their launchers, to hide or to start backing off. This weapon works on the principle of "fire and forget", there is no need to stay in place, to guide the missile to the target, exposing themselves to the risk of being discovered. Only a miracle could stop the missile, flying at speeds over 1,500 miles an hour from hitting the target.
When the lead helicopter was just 200 metres above the ground, Jaffar ordered: "Fire", and the Mujahideen cries of "Allahu Akbar" went up with rockets. One of the three missiles malfunctioned and landed, without having broken off, just a few metres from the shooter. The other two slammed into their targets. Both helicopter stone fell on the runway, smashed into pieces from the impact. Happened wild brawl between fire calculations while reloading missiles, as everyone wanted to shoot again. Two more rockets went up in the air, one hit a target as successfully as the previous two, and the second was very close, as the helicopter sat. I believe one or two other helicopters were also damaged due to the fact that their pilots had to put the car. Crazed pilots tried to land faster, with rapid recklessness. Five missiles, three targets - Mujahideen triumphed.

Their cameraman was so overcome with elation that he tried to shoot, running around, so that the entire record of this event consisted largely of blurred pieces of the sky, bushes and rocky soils. He was able more or less to calm down, only removing the black smoke rising from the crash site of the helicopter. Later this record was shown to President Reagan, and the tube from the first missile was handed over to the CIA so they could make him a worthy souvenir.

It was a memorable day. Jaffar won the bet and became a living legend. In the following months, he brought down ten helicopters and aircraft using "Stingers". Later I called him to Istanbul to meet with General Akhtar, who awarded him a special gift for his achievements.

His opponent, Piligrim, was not as successful in its mission outside Kabul. He was a task - not to come close to the airport, and to have their people on the normal direction of the landing aircraft and helicopters, some distance from the runway. From this position he had to start a rocket attack on Kabul, in order to force the aircraft to rise into the air for a counter attack. I also offered him that he tried to get closer to take-off field, during the night, for it was possible to shoot down a Soviet transport plane. After several days of waiting a suitable target emotions took over, and the Piligrim fired in a fast-moving jet, moving in the direction of him, in the extreme distance. The missile missed the target, as the following two. He broke the rules, which he had studied during training, so I had to bring it back to base for more thorough training and education. It has always been regarded as a personal insult, but the Piligrim arrived for re-training in a relatively good mood. Within two weeks, upon his return to Afghanistan, he has fully restored his name confirmed by two quick goals.

After the ceasefire the people of Jaffar quickly gathered the empty tubes and destroyed the unexploded missile by smashing it with rocks, since they did not have a special set for destruction, and they couldn't just leave her there, because she could fall into the hands of the enemy. Their return to base was uneventful, although after about an hour after their departure they heard the roar of a jet plane in the distance and the sound of exploding bombs.
On that day, an immediate reaction to the downed helicopters in Jalalabad was not followed, the Russians were just stunned. Then the airfield was closed for a month. When flights resumed, the technique flying has changed dramatically. The helicopter never took a flight in a straight line, gradually declining path, they sat down in a steep spiral, sharply falling from a great height, firing missiles every few seconds.

Both the commander - Jaffar and Piligrim - belonged to the party of Hikmatyar, so the second training course was held for the two people out of the party Khalil Mahmoud from Jalalabad and from Kabul Arsala. They were both veterans, very respectable for their operations; my officers, who had been with them in Afghanistan, highly of them spoke. Our confidence in them was subsequently confirmed by successful shots from "Stingers".
Although the achievements of Mahmud were seriously undermined by his irresponsibility. His indiscretion was tantamount to a Declaration publicly that now Soviet troops are used against American Stingers. After his first target near the dam, Surubi he gave a big press conference for journalists. He gave them secret information, which includes the main location of the training camp and the details of my policy rewards - two new missiles per target hit. Mahmud went so far that even allowed journalists to photograph the mujahedin with "Stinger".

It was a significant breach of security, but it could not detract from the fact that at least we had a weapon that could be decisive for victory in the war. When the news reached all the Mujahideen, there was a wave of jubilation. Their morale has risen to unprecedented heights, and I was almost overwhelm noisy the requirement of each party and to provide them the opportunity of obtaining this weapon. To have a "stinger" was a symbol of high status. Unfortunately, the appearance of these weapons was very small without any need - are small and not soldiers but American and Pakistani politicians.

We felt that the first victim "Stinger" has been the helicopter gunships Mi-24, was symbolic. This helicopter was the most hated for many years, and not so much for what a lot of Mujahideen have been killed in that car, and for countless hundreds of civilian casualties, women and children.

It was an impressive helicopter, created by Soviet designers as a means of fire support on the battlefield - he could carry a lot of weapons, but also up to eight fully equipped soldiers. This helicopter was the equivalent of the American helicopter "black hawk", the workhorse of the war, anyway, so he was treated by the Russians and Afghans. Under its auxiliary wings had four pylons for missiles or bombs. With a full load the helicopter could carry 128 missiles, plus four Napalm bombs or bomb of high destructive power, while its cannon could fire at the rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. In the first year of the Soviet invasion model Mi-24 "Hind D" with reinforced armour of the belly and the cockpit appeared in Afghanistan in large numbers. The armor made him almost impervious to our medium and heavy machine guns. Being at high altitude, about two miles, he could attack ground targets with impunity as our SA-7 could not reach him at that altitude. Even in range of these obsolete MANPADS infrared released just a few traps could divert the missile off course. Technical details this work of art military thought have been carefully classified. "US magazine" has even offered a million dollars as a reward to the one who first capture intact the Mi-24. I have already described in the fifth Chapter, as two helicopters were handed over to representatives of the USA, after their pilots defected machines to the enemy. As far as I know, nobody got the reward - in any case we do not received.

Be that as it may, we were able to shoot down several helicopters before us on a weapons received "Stingers". Our success has always been the result of superior tactics, the element of surprise, so we could get close before the pilot had time to realize his danger. Sometimes we shot the rocket up the side hills of the valley, hoping that in case of any helicopter in the valley we will be able to throw him off the slopes. Some time it worked, so we even knocked down a few helicopters using conventional anti-tank grenade launchers RPG-7, but the pilots quickly learned, when bet in the game served their life, so in most cases they are kept high enough.

One of our most outstanding accomplishments in combat aircraft before the use of "Stingers" in 1986 was that we shot down a MiG-21 piloted by a Soviet major General. He was flying from Kandahar to Shindand when his plane was shot down by a missile fired from a SA-7. General successfully ejected, but was captured by the Mujahideen, although they did not know about the importance of the prisoner. The missing General was probably the most massive search operations from the air for the entire war. Many planes were up in the air in search of the missing MiG. Fearing the scale of retaliation, the Mujahideen, who seized the General's prisoner, shot him, and didn't even know for several days that he was a General. Later the Mujahideen brought his parachute back to Pakistan, where he is still kept as the memory of success.

The crew of the Mi-24 consisted of three people. The pilot, co-pilot, performing the role of the shooter, sitting in tandem, one above the other in the front cockpit, while the flight engineer was sitting in the main cabin with the troops. In Afghanistan the Russians had hundreds of helicopters, including reconnaissance and transport. The main bases of deployment of Mi-24 were in Bagram, Shindand, Jalalabad and Kunduz. Afghan air force had a large number of helicopters at Kabul airport, including a squadron of Mi-24, and another in Jalalabad. These Afghan helicopters, the crews were usually mixed, Soviet-Afghan. It was considered necessary to do so to be sure that the job was carried out in accordance with the orders. With the hostilities, and particularly after we started using Stingers, all helicopter pilots began to show a reluctance to attack ground targets from low altitude. The Russians were inclined to send the Afghans on difficult missions, while Afghan pilots would sometimes shoot up all your ammo for any easy targets and reported on a successful strike, whereas they are not even close flew over appointed to strike the object. Distrust of allies grew, which was confirmed in intercepted radio-talks.

And Soviet and Afghan pilots tried to fly in pairs. From the beginning of the war, the columns usually given air cover, the helicopters hovered over or crawling on the road column, or, for less important columns rose into the air at the first sign. The mi-24 was used in all punitive strikes or operations to protect and support ground forces. Sometimes they worked as aerial artillery, sometimes combined attack at low level flight with landing the position, but the helicopter was always used as the primary instrument in search and combat operations, gaining thus its infamous reputation.

The attack of the village Scold in 1982 was typical of Soviet methods. In Rogane lived about 800 people, it was located in 8 kilometers North-West from Ali Hale. It was a prosperous agricultural village located in a narrow river valley, Scold, and support the Mujahideen. Made of clay houses clung on the lower slope of the mountain, on both sides of the valley. In the centre of the village were numerous wells and more houses. Any piece of land was used, it was possible to grow wheat or corn.

One day the inhabitants of the village as usual was doing her household chores, when at 9 am six helicopters were spotted high above the valley. The leading pair fell right over the valley. With a height of about 700 meters launched the first rocket, then another volley, then another, explosions of great strength tore the old houses and killed or maimed in them. At least for two hours continued the incessant bombardment with short intervals needed for one pair of helicopters could fly, giving the place to another. When the helicopter runs out of missiles, he circled over the houses pouring their cannon fire. At this time on earth young people tried to flee, moving towards the mountains, left - over older men and women with children were hiding between the stones and large boulders. Many of them died on the spot, a much larger number died later from shock and massive blood loss. When seemed to lull, the survivors have crawled out of hiding to tend the wounded. It was useless, any movement below was the signal for the next pair of helicopters came to attack. There was no resistance. The number of Mujahideen in the village at the time of the attack was negligible. They had no anti-aircraft weapons and no caves where they could hide.

The next phase was marked by the appearance of ground forces by Ali Hale. Two hundred Marines, reinforced by tanks, armored personnel carriers and mortars stopped a few hundred metres from the village. They spread out before opening fire. In half an hour the fire from small arms, mortars and heavy machine guns carried the stones and any possible place to hide. Finally, around noon, the Soviet captains gave the order to cease fire. None of the Russians have not received even a scratch. It was a so-called search-and-destructive operation in which a destructive part took a more important part than search. Afghan officer yelled through a megaphone that those who remained alive, came out of hiding. Being in a state of shock, numb, wailing women and children were separated from a handful of men who still were able to walk. Started Prochaska ruins, the soldiers opened fire on any building remaining standing. Nobody paid any attention to the wounded, simply did not notice, until then, until the soldiers left the village, taking with him several men for questioning.

It was the end of the village Scold. All 200 or so survivors went to Pakistan, carrying their wounded on horses or mules, or just carrying them on blankets. They spent ten hours to get to Parachinar hospital. At that time the surviving women happily escaped, accompanied only by blows and curses. There was no rape, no blood-curdling massacre, as the operation involved not only the Soviet troops. In the presence of Afghan troops, the Russians tried to refrain from more heinous cruelty. After a similar operation somewhere else three young girls were captured by Soviet soldiers and pushed into the helicopter, raped and thrown out during the flight are still alive. Multiply Scold hundreds of times, and you can imagine the magnitude of what is meant by the Soviet scorched earth tactics. None of them did not even attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people, instead they only ruined, killed civilians, either drove them from their seats. It was their method of eradicating the opposition, depriving the Mujahideen of support, and pressure on Pakistan through the influx of refugees. I must admit that they were partially successful with such actions. I think if we had a "stinger" in service in 1982-1983, countless civilian lives would have been saved.

For nearly six years a ban on the receipt of "Stingers" to us was a political decision. And I realized that this case is rather political than military, and tried to prove the necessity of the use of these weapons by Mujahideen. In early 1984 a delegation of US representatives who had previously advised Congress on matters of war, visited me in Rwalpindi. One of the members of the delegation asked what weapons I would recommend to counter the growing threat from Soviet aircraft. Without any hesitation I answered - "Stingers". Upon returning back to the Embassy this man asked the head of Department, the CIA, the Mujahideen, why not give it weapons, because it is recommended by Brigadier General Yusuf. The response of the CIA read: the Pakistani government against these weapons fell into the hands of the Mujahideen. This was only part of the truth...

Head of Department, the CIA immediately contacted me, refuting the opinion that the CIA was opposed to Stingers arrived here on armament, while I was fully aware that it was the reluctance of my government. And already the same evening I had to speak with General Akhtar. I focused my statement on the fact that I was not aware of the political motives of why we could not accept this weapon, and thus my recommendations were exclusively professional military judgments. The General called a meeting with the delegation in order to clarify the situation. At this meeting I was not invited.

No one denied that the stinger is an ideal weapon with which the infantry could shoot down enemy planes and helicopters, but only if Pakistan decides that it's worth it. The rockets were the best missiles of this class in the world at the time, and only recently were adopted by the U.S. Army, so its technological solutions were still carefully kept secret. President Zia had such a view on this question (which has changed to 1986) transmission of such high-tech weapons to the Mujahideen would be contrary to the policy of supply the Mujahideen only weapons produced in countries with Communist regime. The advent of such weapons as the stinger, could long remain a secret, or even rocket launchers could have been captured or seen by enemy agents. In this case, how could Pakistan continues to state that it does not allow direct deliveries of weapons from the U.S. to the Jihad movement? Besides, though no one ever openly failed to recognize this, the President worried that the missiles could fall into the hands of representatives of terrorist organizations that could use it against Pakistani aviation. He had many enemies and they tried to shoot down his private plane. The bitter irony of fate - later President Zia was killed in the terrorist sabotage against their aircraft, but without using "Stingers".

But the CIA did not explain to my guests that the point of view of the Pakistani government coincided with their own. The U.S. administration was frightened by the possibility that their amazing weapons could fall into wrong hands. If they began to supply these weapons to the Mujahideen, they would have to lose sooner or later, either as a result of capture during operations or abducted by agents of Khad, or just could be sold by unscrupulous Mujahideen. Sell just one "Stinger" could provide people with money for life. It is true that the Americans were afraid that this technology could get to the Soviet Union. They were concerned that the weapon could, eventually, be used by terrorists against civilian Airliners. In this regard, they feared that the weapons could fall to Iran, in connection with the war in Afghanistan and a common land frontier was quite likely. Subsequently, their fears are well justified, and Iran and the Soviet Union had obtained Stingers in 1987, although the fears of Americans that they can be used against them, had no under itself the bases.

In late 1985 I considered the use of "Stingers" as only the unused possibility of defeat Soviet troops in battle. I became more and more insistent in demanding the provision of effective anti-aircraft weapons. As I've already said, I was deceived: first time with the delivery of anti-aircraft guns "Oerlikon", then MANPADS "Blowpipe". And Pakistani and Afghan representatives have the same answer: "Assume that weapons getting into the hands of the Russians, assume that the terrorists can use it against the President, you can guarantee that it will never happen?" Of course, I couldn't guarantee, but since by that time one "stinger" has been stolen from U.S. military base in West Germany, the strength of such arguments was open to question. The only thing I knew - without this weapon the morale of the Mujahideen couldn't be high all the time.
Thanks to a bizarre game of destiny we have temporarily lost base Jawara and the Soviet/Afghan army successfully conducted an operation in the area of Ali Hale that, in the end, bowed high opinion to my point of view. Although I was heavily criticized for the fact that we have created strongholds and defended them in regular fights, this error (if it was a mistake) allowed me to get the "Stingers". They should have given us the superiority in force on the battlefield. In April 1986 there was heavy fighting along the border with Pakistan, battled all forgetting about the risk, giving us, therefore, what we needed. I used every opportunity to promote their demands and to General Akhtar and to the CIA. I reinforced his message by opinion of analysts who say that the Mujahideen will not be able to continue to fight after being so drained; there was a shortage of men, the men were so exhausted that the younger generation hesitated to join the Jihad. I don't really agree with these theories, but they gave me some additional arguments to convince. In the middle of that year, President Zia was inclined to agree. Unexpectedly, we were close to having to get "Stingers".

The first problem was training. Even with these weapons, we still insisted that the Mujahideen were trained by Pakistani and not American instructors. Thus, our instructors had to undergo training in the United States. They flew there in June 1985. Meanwhile, training courses for operators "Stingers" with a trainer, were held in my backyard, in Ogiri camp, in Rwalpindi. All training sessions took place with the help of this simulator, there was no real fire until the group started using "Stingers" in Afghanistan.

The agreement with US says that they will put us up to 250 launchers together with 1000-1200 missiles annually, so we had some time to train a sufficient number of groups to use all "Stingers." We have not had any issues about the fact that we could just flood Afghanistan with this weapon. Increasing the number of weapons would be gradual.

I have personally interviewed and selected the majority of field commanders for training. I was looking for people with the reported data about participation in the battles, especially those who worked well with the old SA-7. As a result half of those who were taught how to use the "Stingers", were experienced by the arrows SA-7, with one or more target struck.

The U.S. officials insisted that the courses for the Mujahideen lasted for four weeks. Ten of our instructors from Pakistan who have completed eight courses in America, felt that three would be enough. Our first release was doing until then, until it became clear that they were experienced by the arrows. Usually three weeks was enough, for some was missing and 15 days. From the USA there arrived the officer to observe the lessons of our first group, and I learned from him that it was normal percentage of hits for the American army was 60-65 % in the case of missiles at targets. They described this as a percentage. Based on statistics collected by us later, we found that during actual operations the Mujahideen, the percentage of successful hits was 70-75 %, while the Pakistani instructors reached 95 %.

I attribute this high result at the expense of high quality training, determination of the learners, and the natural pull of the Mujahideen for weapons and the aggressive anti-aircraft tactics we employed with "Stinger". In contrast, attempts to use this weapon of the Pakistan army were unsuccessful. A certain amount of "Stingers" was delivered into service units stationed on the border with Afghanistan, to answer the countless "persecution" of the Mujahideen of Soviet aircraft intruding into the airspace of Pakistan. As far as I know, the Pakistani military fired twenty-eight "Stingers" on the planes and helicopters of the opponent, not knocking either one. In early 1987 the Pakistan army claimed that it had shot down an air target with the "Stinger". Everyone was very excited. The corps commander at Peshawar, General Aslam Bag (now commander of the Pakistani Army and the only General who doesn't get on Board the presidential plane in Bahawalpur, exploded in August 1988) wanted to interrupt a meeting to inform the Prime Minister personally. I then happened to be in Peshawar, and I asked Hekmatyar, whose area of responsibility the aircraft is believed to have been shot down, check it out for me. He made radio contact with his base, and he was informed that no airplane or helicopter was not shot down.

The same evening, being in Islamabad, I received a call from General Akhtar, who wanted me to arranged the recovery of the wreckage. He was stunned when I explained that there was no downed aircraft, and insisted that I sent the officer to personally check. I did, and he confirmed our version of what happened, to the great shame of the Pakistani army. And they sent a officer to the Mujahideen to collect the wreckage from another downed plane, as evidence of their achievements. But in the end admitted the error.

A special team flew from the USA to establish the reason why we could not achieve the results when using "Stingers". A senior Army officer did not want to acknowledge the many killed by the Mujahideen by saying that it's all propaganda. The President and General Akhtar insisted, they said that they were given a useless, outdated version of the "Stingers". I believe that partly the reason for the poor results was that the Pakistani army did not use these weapons in offensive mode, they staged ambushes against enemy aircraft, and engaging them in a vulnerable position, before suddenly attacking. They usually sat in one place, in a defensive position and waited for some kind of objective will not appear in the vicinity of their position, although, frankly, it was the only thing they could do under the circumstances, sitting on the border.

The topic of how best to shoot our splendid weapon was the subject of many enthusiastic discussions. Since we could not suddenly flood Afghanistan with hundreds of "Stingers", the choice lay between strategy operations near aerodromes of the enemy, or the strategy of using weapons near the Afghan-Pakistan border, keeping, thus, strict control over the groups and reducing the risk that the missiles can be captured by the enemy. I was a supporter of the first strategy. I thought that the group should be used safely for the daring attacks on vital airfields, as this was where our goals were in large numbers. If we were able to pounce and to strike a powerful blow at the very beginning, we could get a huge moral advantage. The strategy for passive protection of our border bases could allow the enemy to regain the initiative. All of our American friends agreed with my point of view, except the Ambassador.

Prevailed good, fighting mood. As already discussed, the first successful use of Stingers occurred at Jalalabad airfield. We also included Kabul - Bagram in phase one of this weapon. Followed by sending those missiles pass through the Hindu Kush for use at airports in Mazarisharif, Faizabad, Kunduz, Maimana and close to the river Amu-Darya. The third phase involved the use of missiles for defense of the provinces bordering Pakistan, with the final deployment close to the airfields of Kandahar and Lashkar Gah. These areas were intended to be used in the least because of the absence of mountains, which allowed the enemy to quickly determine the location of the Mujahideen with the help of aviation, and destroy them relatively easily.
The use of Stingers tipped the tactical balance in our favour. Success followed success and therefore the morale of the Mujahideen has been raised, while the enemy fell. Now the Afghan and Soviet pilots were reluctant to fly at low altitude, attack ground targets, while all the transport aircraft at Kabul airport and all other airports flied up and sat only in the company in


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