American Soldiers in Afghanistan vis-Avis the Soviets …

Recently I read a very interesting article in Quora that compared the American war effort in Afghanistan with that of the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, I can’t find the article, but I hope I remember some of the salient points:

1. The Soviets fought the Afghan Islamic jihadis whom the Americans were indirectly funding by way of enormous sums of money and weapons given to the corrupt military regime of Pakistan.

2. Those same Islamic jihadis, that the Americans supported and funded for so long, ended up forming the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The Taliban was definitely supported by the Pakistani military – and hence, was supported by the US. Eventually, Al-Qaeda planned and carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001, turning on their former sponsor. Afghans know this. Most Americans don’t.

3. The Soviets actually entered Afghanistan as a result of a legal request from the then-existing Afghan communist government — which was divided into two factions that hated each other and at times murdered each other. The Americans most definitely received no such legal, official invitation. Sure, wanting revenge is normal, but the American government makes a big deal about legality — when it suits their interests. Again, Afghans are quite aware of this hypocrisy.

4. Much or most of the educated folks in Afghanistan at that time were very much in favor of one or the other communist groups. Next time you ride in a taxi or whatever with an Afghan refugee driver, ask him or her about this. [There are, in fact, a lot of highly-educated from all over the Middle East who have taken refuge from the endless wars over there. The US does not use their skills wisely. – my addition]

5. Before the Soviet intervention and later all-out wars, Afghanistan was a fairly peaceful and not totally undeveloped place. The Soviets gave a lot of actual aid for improving transportation, education, health care, the position of women, dams, electricity, etc. current American aid does zilch for the people but lots goes into the pockets of corrupt officials — which is ALL of them. Afghans know this. Americans think that Afghans are all Crazy jihadis. (Yes, I am quite familiar with how the USSR ended up being one of the most repressive and f***ed up nations around.)

6. The same religious reactionaries  (or their descendants) who used to fight the Soviets are now fighting the Americans. The Afghans know this. Americans, in general,  don’t.

7. The Soviet army had much a more hands-on methodology or ‘doctrine’ than the American one does today. Soviet soldiers actually went out on patrols, regularly [and had members who were fluent in the various Afghan languages. They didn’t really need interpreters. – my addition] If they suspected that somebody in village X had given intel to the Jihadis, then they tended to kill everybody in Village C. Face to face. Not with a drone or far-off and invisible artillery 10-20 minutes after a small arms attack from some jihadis.

8. The Soviets controlled the cities, not the countryside; whenever the Soviets left a region, the jihadis came back. The Americans now control the cities, and the skies, but not the countryside. Whenever the Americans or their allies leave a region, the jihadis come back.

8. Consequently the Afghan jihadis had and have lot more respect for Soviet soldiers than American ones, who they see as seldom going out on patrol, never knowing the local languages, and being totally reliant on superior electronic warfare: really, not warriors.

9. The writer noted that the American-installed governments in Afghanistan are among the most corrupt ones on the planet. Afghans know this. Americans don’t.

10. Afghanistan is more like a continent of warring tribes than a nation. The tribes don’t speak the same languages- literally – and have bad blood going back hundreds or thousands of years. Betrayal (of people whom they have smiled to, shaken hands with, eaten with, received cash payments from, etc) is the norm, not the exception.

11. The writer also predicted that as soon as the Americans withdraw, the “elected” regime will fall very, very fast, and that the jihadis are just biding their time until the Americans get sick of the war. They are very confident that they will win.

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Published in: on May 3, 2018 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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