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Posted: 9/16/2001 9:50:36 PM EDT
With respect to current events, it seems that a ground war in Afghanistan may be inevitable. As a result, it would be interesting to note what the pitfalls of such an action would be. I tried to do some searching around on the web on the subject but haven't been very successful in finding the kind of info I want. If anyone could point me to some websites that have info on the Russian/Afghanistan war, I would greatly appreciate it.
Link Posted: 9/16/2001 10:13:44 PM EDT
I won't pretend to have the answer to that one, but I was living in the USSR at the end of their war there. It was not a very popular war at all. Noone even knew what they were doing there. Noone wanted to go, and certainly noone wanted to die there. They kicked ass while they were there. After all, there's not much left. They finally decided it was not worth keeping. Remember this was at the end of the Cold War, and we essentially bankrupted them. They simply could not afford the resources it took to stay. I do not forsee our troops getting slaughtered in Afghanistan. Refugees are already craming their neighboring borders trying to get out before we get there. Remember, we OWN THE NIGHT. A rabbit can't take a piss without us watching.
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 5:36:19 AM EDT
We helped supply the Mujahideen. Some of them have broken off from & are fighting the Taliban since they are more related to Tajikistan & Uzbekistan to the north. They are called the Northern Alliance. While they are Muslims also, they are not as radical (NOT fundamentalist)as the Taliban. The Afghan embassies & UN representation is from this group - The Northern Alliance. The NA controls maybe 15% of the country but the bulk of the population is NOT Tajik or Uzkek in ethnic orgin, rather they are ethnic Pashtuns (as in the Bulkans, I wonder how each side can tell each other???) No doubt a majority of the Pashtuns are kept in line by fear of the Taliban. The NA & Taliban were both Mujahideen groups originally fighting the Russians. Once they started fighting between themselves for control of Afghanistan the NA has been supplied by Russian. I read one report where they received 500 T55 and T62 tanks along with a large number of Frog 7 and Luna M missiles as well as helicopters. Most likely it was some of these that hit Kabul Tuesday night as shown on CNN.
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 6:46:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/17/2001 6:55:55 AM EDT by BushMeister]
I've heard a lot of commentators say that the Soviets were doing pretty well until the U.S.-supplied Stinger missiles showed up. Then helos & low-flying planes started to go down. Also, don't forget that China was aiding the Mujahadeen as well, not wanting the Sovs to have a secure base in Afghanistan. Also, let's not forget to mention that the Afghanis fought them tooth and nail, and had lots of help from outside muslim forces. Those "skin undershirts" they gave to captured Sov troops didn't help Sov morale, either. The combination of the Afghan War, Chernobyl, the drag of the arms race on an inefficient economy and nationalism combined, under the loosening of suppression brought about by Gorby's [i]glasnost[/i], to break up the USSR. I've heard the Soviets lost from 10-15,000 men dead in Afghanistan. I think their high "in country" troop figure was 100,000. One look at the scenery on any film clip of Afghanistan shows it to be a very rough country in which to operate. I certainly think the U.S. and UK will do a lot better than the Sovs in Afghanistan, but it's going to be very rough. Here's a map of afghanistan, reflecting ethnic breakdown. I think the Northern Alliance (anti-Taleban resistance) holds about 5% of the country in the northeast area, which would make most of the population in that area Tajiks, which might make co-operation by Tajikistan more probable: [url]http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/afghanistan_ethnoling_97.jpg[/url]
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 6:17:53 PM EDT
Why did the Soviets enter Afghanistan? How was it in their national interest? What were the desired outcomes? How was the military action expected to result in those outcomes? Was 'victory' defined prior to going in? They left due to the absence of suitable answers to these kinds of questions. Continued bleeding seemed unlikely to produce anything resembling victory. Sound familiar to anyone? You gotta have a plan and if people are going to be killed, your plan better have some serious backing. I imagine that those sheltering bin Laden are betting that we do not have the will or resources to lay on a serious ground threat. They are relatively (not completely) immune to air & missile attack. As we build toward a serious (read - ground) effort to smoke out bin Laden, those folks might rethink. He's only one guy, though, and can melt away pretty easily. We need to be careful not to fixate on him to the exclusion of others. We turned Aideed into a pariah and never got him. Other Somalis eventually took care of that, something they've been doing to one another for eons. Pakistan has a significant interest in some kind of stability in Afghanistan. That's the basis for their support of the Taliban government. If the Taliban are thrown out, then what? That's a question we need to sort through now.
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 2:19:17 PM EDT
Someone else posted this in GD I think http://call.army.mil/fmso/fmsopubs/issues/waraf.htm
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 5:36:07 PM EDT
Wouldn't it be nice to have the Russians there now?
Link Posted: 9/18/2001 7:02:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/18/2001 7:09:29 PM EDT by Mach1]
[url]www.bdg.minsk.by/cegi/N2/Afg/Waraf.htm[/url]Read this. Very good article. Basically, many factors contributed to the Russian defeat. the Soviets suffered from poor moral, lack of leadership, and underestimated their enemy. Afghan soldiers learned to attack at night - to lessen the effects of superior Russian firepower. It is interesting to note, that the Afghans thought the average Russian soldier was well trained, and when motivated, could perform. It seems that the Spetznazs were especially good. One of the few bright spots for the Russians during the war.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 2:07:44 AM EDT
Here's the text of a good article by John Keegan, the noted Brit historian, on this very subject, written 9/20/01. Part One: THE newspapers are full of portentous warnings of the dangers that lie in store for any western power foolish enough to cross Afghan frontiers. Columnists recall the 1842 massacre of the East India Company's army or the Soviet army's humiliation at the end of its occupation of the country between 1979 and 1988. The story is not one of unrelieved failure. Some interventions have been successful, while there are usually easily discernible explanations for why others failed. Efforts to occupy and rule usually ended in disaster. But straightforward punitive expeditions, for limited objectives or to bring about a change in Afghan government policy, were successful on more than one occasion. The key to successful Frontier campaigning was, and is, to hold the high ground. Any advance at one of Afghanistan's innumerable valleys was always accompanied by posting a string of pickets along the heights. It was easy enough to get a picket - a handful of armed troops - on to the ridges. The trick was to get them down unscathed. Many techniques were devised. Below the crest of a narrow ridge, the enemy waiting to attack the retreating picket were necessarily few in number. So soldiers were trained not only to run headlong down 45-degree slopes but to reverse course in mid-stride and take by surprise those intending to achieve surprise themselves. Tactics, however, do not win wars. The success achieved by Indian and British troops in the last days of the Raj depended on avoidance of general war and of policies designed to change society or government in Afghanistan. The Raj accepted that Afghanistan was unstable, fractious and ultimately ungovernable and thought merely to check its mountain warriors' irrepressible love of raiding and fighting. Russia, in 1979, made the mistake the East India Company had in 1839. It tried to impose a government in Kabul. Putting its own man in place was easy enough. Keeping him there proved the difficulty. Rebellion broke out and many towns in which Soviet troops had been stationed came under siege from freedom fighters. The Soviet army defined four aims for itself: lift the sieges; drive the freedom fighters out of the fertile valleys into the mountains; hold a zone around the Khyber Pass through which the freedom fighters were supplied from Pakistan; and eliminate the freedom fighters in the mountains. Over 100,000 Soviet troops were deployed, in static garrisons and mobile forces. The mobile troops moved in helicopters, supported by gunships. They were quickly successful in lifting the sieges. When, however, they took the war to the enemy, both in the Khyber Pass zone and the mountains, the inherent superiority of the freedom fighters as mountain warriors told. There were constant, costly ambushes. By 1984, most territory outside the towns had passed from Soviet control and Russian casualties had mounted to 15,000.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 2:08:46 AM EDT
Part Two: The Russians persisted, but a Vietnam-style war weariness set in among the conscripts, who were terrified of falling into Afghan hands, and after 1986 Russian air superiority was eroded by the supply of surface-to-air missiles to the freedom fighters by the United States. By 1988, the Russians had decided to leave and soon did so, on negotiated terms. The terms did not hold and the country fell into the hands of the freedom fighters' leaders. Their brutal behaviour laid the basis for the conquest by the Taliban, supported by the Pakistan army. The pattern to Afghanistan's foreign and domestic wars seems to go as follows. Foreign interventions aimed at dominance founder on the belligerence of the population, who abandon internecine conflict to combine against invaders, and on the country's severe terrain. In the absence of foreign interference, however, Afghans fall easily into fighting each other, often seeking outside help, which provokes intervention, thus restarting the cycle. Limited campaigns of penetration, aimed simply at inflicting punishment, can succeed, as long as the punitive forces remain mobile, keep control of the high ground and are skilful at tactical disengagement. Is this analysis any help to the Americans? It certainly warns against any plan to station large ground forces inside the country, even supposing they could gain access - the crucial factor. Even though Pakistan has declared itself a supporter of America's war, there are strong arguments against using Pakistani territory as a base. It is densely populated by 150 million people, practically all of them Muslim. The government depends on the army, which is around 30 per cent Islamic. Pakistan's help is welcome, indeed essential, but its territory is unwelcoming. More promising as a base area is ex-Soviet central Asia, much of it subject to Moscow's authority. The populations are small and the leaders anti-Islamic. Several states have large military facilities, constructed by the old Soviet Union for its Afghan war. As America may, and should, plan to mount only punitive attacks, central Asia promises to be the best basing area available. What the product of punitive attacks might be defies prediction. As one of President Bush's closest advisers is reported to have asked recently: "What can we do to Afghanistan that Afghanistan hasn't already done to itself?" Always poor and backward, it has been reduced by civil and foreign war to a wasteland. The best that can be hoped of military action is to regenerate division between its many tribes and factions, which may yield terrorist hostages to American wrath, and to frighten the Taliban leaders. There is no tradition of Islamic extremism in the country of the sort endemic in the Arab lands. Afghans, though doughty warriors, are also pragmatists. They like fighting but are prepared to live to fight another day if the odds are stacked against them. The trick America must achieve is to stack the odds in its favour.
Link Posted: 9/20/2001 7:53:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2001 7:54:03 AM EDT by jason_h]
Hey MTweanie, About the reasons Russia entering Afghanistan, I found this link from another discussion. [url]http://www.best.com/users/~samsloan/afghans.htm[/url] I don't know how accurate this guy is or if he is bending the truth a little, but it is an interesting read none the less.
Link Posted: 10/1/2001 9:51:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2001 10:24:01 AM EDT by DScottHewitt]
EDITED FOR NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS...... Scott
Link Posted: 10/1/2001 6:53:00 PM EDT
DScott - lol !! This page intentionally left blank.... If I told ya, I'd have to kill ya...
Link Posted: 10/4/2001 8:10:46 PM EDT
I remember reading an AIRFORCE 1987-89 article in which the writer for AIRFORCE Magazine was on assignment there with the Mujahadeen. Why did the Russians loose afghanistan. Because the Mujahadeen were able to fight with nothing. They used Car batteries to launch rockets. They had the STINGER. But most of all it was because by that time the USSR was having serious serious Morale problems. The Stinger missiles forced Sukhoi fighter-bombers to higher altitudes. Mi-24 Hind D helo's had to be very careful indeed. Many were lost. Kabul was under siege constantly even though the USSR occupied it many times. The SoVIETS lost worse then we lost Vietnam. They didn't try to get the populations support (being invaders they couldn't anyway) Second their methods grew to be as bad as the Mujahadeens. The list goes on and on. It was their Vietnam, but they also lost battles where we did not. The only way to fight guerilla's is totally annihilate them at every opportunity. The Mujahadeen love to fight that is all they do is make war. They have been fighting forever. They have never known peace. They don't even like peace. They Love war like Patton loved war. That makes for an enemy which is a complete pain in the ass. That is why I think that we will win this war in Afghanistan. Because we have sent Spec Ops over there and those guys love to fight. That is all they train for. Mind Body and Spirit. And I think our guys are better then theirs. Even though ours havn't been fighting forever. "I am a soldier sir and thats were the action is!" People think the movie Green Berets was totally propaganda. Some parts were but most of it isn't. Spec ops has some very very very committed practitioners of the Art of War in all forms. We will win.
Link Posted: 10/6/2001 9:17:26 AM EDT
Damn right we will
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