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Old 05-03-2010, 09:17 PM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Operation Cyclone and allied efforts

The Pakistani ISI has its own agenda for arming the mujahideen, of course. The best and newest of the weapons received from the Americans they keep for their own army. What they do send they send to those factions they want to end up powerful in the Afghanistan of the future. One of those they most favour is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former communist who had come to Islamic radicalism in Kabul college and been trained in a military camp in Pakistan. He is the most important leader of the Hizb-e Islami, a faction devoted to a united Islamic state in Afghanistan, with old tribal organisations superseded by religious authority. Though the US never ceased its support for him entirely, alternatives to his strident religious beliefs and increasingly indiscriminate violence were sought and found. These were then supported, sometimes without the knowledge of their Pakistani allies.

Of all the commanders of the mujahideen, none have the mystique and reputation of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir. Like Hekmatyar, he had been an engineering student before the insurrection, but unlike his colleague, he is a Shi’ia Muslim and moderate in his beliefs. An intelligent and erudite man, he speaks many languages and is a powerful orator with a wry sense of humour. He fights for Afghanistan and Allah, not Allah and Afghanistan. But he is a Tajik, not a Pashtun, and so cannot easily command the loyalty of all Afghans. For many, tribal loyalties supersede whatever personal admiration they might have for the heroic Tajik commander.

He has success in the field against the Russians time and time again, making the region of Panjshir an area where no Soviet forces may travel in safety. His followers know victory and multiply. He leads his own Tajik people and unto him gather even Uzbeks and Pashtuns. He has established absolute authority in the Panjshir valley, appointing not only warlords, but civil administrators, judges and public defenders. He trains soldiers by the thousands, but he provides health care and education for the people under his rule. He is considered by many outside the country and in it to be the brightest hope for Afghanistan, not only for military victory, but for building a successful multi-ethnic society.

The Americans begin to direct increasingly more aid his way after 1986, but it is nowhere near enough. His military is large in comparison with many mujahideen groups, but the Russian forces arrayed against it dwarf it many times over. If he were content to supply his own men, he could perhaps fight an unending guerrilla war, but Massoud is determined to take control over Afghan territory and drive out the invading Russians. To that end, he extends his influence even outside of his own Panjshir, with force of arms and with diplomacy. Many commanders, seeing his success and his wisdom, choose to join him.

One such commander is Commander Tor Gul Khan. He leads a band of just over a hundred warriors, much reduced after ferocious battles over the last year. About a score of his men are the remnants of his own company in the Afghan Army, from which they defected when the Russians came. The others are new recruits who have joined with them since then or the remnants of his brother’s band of mujahideen. Many of these also have military training. The Afghan National Army numbers more than 300,000 and one man in ten deserts every year. Some go to escape war, but others, having learnt the necessary skills, go to join the mujahideen. Thus the Russians teach the men who come against them the wisdom of modern war.

In his band, there is a sharpshooter of great fame. He kills Russians as other hunters kill deer or wolves, carving a notch in the wooden stock of his old Mosin-Nagant rifle for each one. He is Gorbat, who is named the Eagle, and in the way that such coincidences happen, his fame spread even to Peshawar where the Western intelligence agencies stationed their officers. A debriefed mujahideen informant told stories of him and a deserter from a Russian airborne unit confirmed some of them.

By convoluted methods, a decision was reached. The military value of sharpshooters for the mujahideen was considerable, but more than that, the morale value of having heroes among them was recognised by the politicians whose job it is to send men into danger on questionable precepts and determined to justify an outlay of American cash and the risking of a British life.

Colour Sergeant Kenneth Wilson of the Special Air Service was informed of his impending resignation from the Regiment and of his new career. He would not be in any way, shape or form an employee of Her Majesty’s government. After signing papers to that effect, he would report to the SIS for an immediate course of remedial training in the Farsi of his childhood.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

I'm told that Terry is still being caught in possession of Martini-Henry and Snider Rifles from previous Afghan wars, as well as Lee-Enfields.
I suspect that this would have been even more so in the 1970s and 80s.

Bear in mind that some of their rifles will be locally made knock-offs and may be a lot less reliable than the originals (e.g. Izhmash chromed the bores of their AKs to protect them from the corrosive primers used in WarPac ammunition - I somehow doubt that Afghan gunsmiths copied that particular feature, which may be something to do with the poor state of a lot of the rifles out there).
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

I have read in some Paladin Press book that the quality of afghan home made weapons really varies. You get wath you pay for, the spectrum is from cheap backwood AK or WWII plagiate to high quality weapons.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Who is Terry, and why does she factor into this?
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:13 AM   #15
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Presumably you've seen the film Charlie Wilsons War [Tom Hanks]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Wilson%27s_War
Drama set in that conflict detail americas $2 billion[?] in military aid to the Mujahideen.

May or may not be useful...
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: Tactical Shooting: The Honour of Pashtunwali

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragitsu View Post
Who is Terry, and why does she factor into this?
Heh. In this case "Terry" is HM Forces pet name for "The Taliban" (compare "Jerry", "Ivan", "Johnny Frog" ... that sort of thing).
No idea where it came from (apart from aliteration, and possibly because they are *ahem* terry-rists) but the Firm seem to be using it pretty freely at the moment and it keeps cropping up in the media. Obviously US Forces are calling them something different.
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