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The Red Army and the Afghanistan War

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Soviet cogitations: 7
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 23:37
Ideology: None
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 24 May 2012, 23:56
In the past, I have studied The Soviet War in Afghanistan, and I recently took an interest in it again, and I am thinking, if the Russians won their war, 9/11 and the wars that the U.S. were apart of that followed would have never happened if the Russians were left alone to do the job the U.S. had to do years later.

I understand why the U.S. helped the Afghans - They were looking for payback because the Soviet Union helped the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. I get that, and I understand that, but that right there is why pride can be deadly because I have no doubt the Russians could have won their war against the Afghans if the U.S. didn't give weapons, (among other things) to the Afghans and we ended up shooting ourselves in the foot for it later. Now today, we suffer.

The Soviet Union, along with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan were trying to make a better world for the Afghans by changing with the times, making things equal for everyone, bringing education to all of the people who desired it, and were looking stopping poverty. But the Muslim fanatics were against that because all of those ideas were against their religion. They felt Allah has decided how everything is suppose to be, and to change things was a sin against him. So instead of just living their way, and letting others live their way, those Muslim fanatics ended up terrorizing people who were looking for a change in their lives, and Bin Laden ended up getting all his training from the U.S.A. and he used those skills to kill people on 9/11, which caused my country, the United States of America, to go to war with him, and not only him, but Iraq as well, which cost us lots of money. Well, people like me, not the rich people who started the wars.

Just another example of a stupid religion messing up the world. It's amazing the power that a fairy tale can have. No one has ever seen or heard God, yet they will gladly kill & do other messed up stuff over a being they can't prove exists. I'm an American, but my country shouldn't haved help those terrorist rebels in the 1980's because we ended up paying for it on 9/11, and paid for a lot more.

I truly believe my life, and everyone else's lives would be ten times better if the Russians won. I also don't think communism is nearly as bad as what the American media has made it out to be. I'd like to live an Atheist country. Maybe there'd be less violence. I'd also like free health care. Most of the hate or misunderstanding, of communism and socialism, stems from the era of the Cold War when Americans for decades were brainwashed against these ideas in all forms of media. Movies, books, newspapers, the radio, songs, television shows, (including children's shows) and even a record that was voiced by then actor Ronald Regan containing anti communist/socialist ideas were all forced onto Americans.

It's all about power and control though. Our leaders know they can use the God angle to keep people in line, and at the end of the day, they don't give a crap about you. We're just slaves. Granted, things could be a lot worst, but they could be a heck of a lot better too.

Gorbachev begged the U.S.A. not to arm the mujahideen because they were Islamist fanatics, but the U.S ignored him. Afghanistan might have been under Russian control today if Russia won, but I think it would be a dang better sight than it is now in my view with the way women and children are treated. AND there would have been no 9/11, no money issues going on in the United States of America because of the wars, and all this other nonsense that was later caused because of Bin Laden.

To go back to what I typed earlier about how the U.S.A. trained Bin Laden and Bin Laden ended up using what he was taught to attack the United States of America on 9/11. - Well, today, children in the United States of America are not getting the education they are entitled to get, Americans are losing their jobs left and right, my hours at my job stink, I won't even be working this summer, and that's because of the economy.....well, what economy?..... too many U.S. troops have died....and more is going on in the U.S.A. and it's all because of Bin Laden - A man my own country trained. Our troops going after this man was very pricy. Well, pricy for us, not the rich people who started these conflicts.

Now I totally supported the hunt for Bin Laden for what he did, and I am glad he is dead, but what if 9/11 happened? What if another country was willing to do all the work? Well, the U.S. had that chance in the 1980's, but because of the country's issues with needing to be Superman all the time, they ended up screwing over the rest of us. Because of that, that raise you needed won't be happening for a long time, if ever!

If the Russians won - 9/11, the wars that the U.S. were apart of that followed, and all this other nonsense would have never happened if the Russians were left alone to do the job the U.S. took over to do years later. But it's all about power, control, and the all mighty dollar.

The Russians were all mostly atheists, and they were going to war with a bunch of religious fanatics who desired for the whole world to be like them, and were willing to kill (and did kill, and will kill) plenty of people for it. And the Russians were the first ones (in modern times anyhow) who were willing to get rid of these guys and planned to destory all that Allah garbage!

I read that the Russian troops use to rape and kill the women, and take the babies and throw them into fires because they didn't need to deal with another generation in the future. The Russians also use to poison the wells in Afghanistan, blown up the mosques, and run over Afghan civilians in tanks. Now that is some disturbing stuff, but sometimes, it's needed to win a war, and keep in mind - The Taliban would gladly do the same things to anyone else who is against their views if they were given a chance.

During the U.S.'s war with the Taliban, American troops deliberately avoided any civilian attacks, refused to attack any mosques - even when the Taliban would hide in them - and made it point to drop ethnically correct food supplies to help feed the Afghans who were being hurt by the fighting. No wonder it took the troops so long to find Bin Laden. If you would like to win a war against a bunch of savages, you have to be more cruel then they are, and because we're such a nice little country, it took over ten years, a lot of money, and more importantly - a WHOLE lot of dead American troops to get this job done when it could have been done a lot sooner if the U.S. troops would have went in there and made at least a half-butt effort to make General Sherman proud!

I am a proud American, but the one thing I really dislike about this country is we have a very bad habit of meddling in the affairs of other countries. Will we ever learn our lesson and stop trying to be a "super hero" all the time?
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Soviet cogitations: 4465
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
Ideology: None
Forum Commissar
Post 28 May 2012, 07:35
Zeeboe wrote:
I read that the Russian troops use to rape and kill the women, and take the babies and throw them into fires because they didn't need to deal with another generation in the future.
Sadly, war is a dirty business ... particularly so when it is asymmetrical.

I'd say that I agree with much of your sentiment about how things would be considerably better (both for the US and the world in general) if the USSR had been left alone to destroy the Islamicist movement in Afghanistan. The problem with a great number of these sorts of foreign policy decisions made by the US is that there is no long term plan and a serious lack of imagination: The US made the simplistic analysis that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, whereas clearly the Islamicists of Afghanistan are not friends of the US. If anything, in the struggle against religious fundamentalism the US actually had a potential ally in the USSR, yet they failed to see it that way.

I often wonder whether if the US knew what was going to be the full consequence of their actions, whether they would have still acted as they did. Simply put, they have swapped a Cold War with Communists for a Hot War with Islamic fundamentalism. Even if I wasn't sympathetic to Communist ideas, I imagine that I would rather have the USSR as my enemy instead of Islamic fundamentalism. Apart from anything else, the fact that they were predominately atheists means that they would be a lot less likely to use certain military tactics.

In the long run, with the exception of very small group of the extremely wealthy, the US has really not benefited all that greatly from being the only "Super-Power". Of course, countries like the US are largely run to benefit the wealthy elite rather than the general population who are expected to get themselves potentially killed for it.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 28 May 2012, 13:44
Zeeboe wrote:
I read that the Russian troops use to rape and kill the women, and take the babies and throw them into fires because they didn't need to deal with another generation in the future. The Russians also use to poison the wells in Afghanistan, blown up the mosques, and run over Afghan civilians in tanks. Now that is some disturbing stuff, but sometimes, it's needed to win a war, and keep in mind - The Taliban would gladly do the same things to anyone else who is against their views if they were given a chance.


The Soviet army was actually very strictly disciplined against brutality toward the local population during the Afghan war. There were nearly 10,000 military trials within the army punishing those who did step out of line, and I've never heard of something so absurd as taking babies and throwing them into fires in an individual instance, much less as a regular occurrence. Same thing with running over civilians with tanks. About poisoning wells, it's well known that this was actually a practice of the Mujaheddin, which were supplied with poison grenades, and proceeded to throw them into the wells of any school, hospital, or community centre that cooperated with or was built by the DRA authorities. The thing about mosques is also ridiculous, given that the Soviet-supported DRA government built or renovated hundreds of mosques, and sent thousands of Afghans to the Mecca pilgrimage through the duration of the war, but especially during Karmal's attempt to form a national front government. Even the point about women comes off as absurd (though I will not claim that there was absolutely no rape, which would be an absurd assumption to make discussing any war). The DRA in alliance with the Soviets did more to liberate Afghan women than any regime before it, and the flowering of women's rights was one of the greatest accomplishments achieved by the communists, made to taste so bitter due to their defeat. The Soviet military had no reason to systematically show brutality against civilians, or to deliberately destroy infrastructure, given that throughout their presence in the country warfare consisted of attempting to change Afghans' allegiance and to crush Mujaheddin terrorism.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 7
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 23:37
Ideology: None
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 05 Jun 2012, 05:42
Thank you for the reply. This topic is a new one for me, and one I have taken a great interest in, so I hope to learn more about The Soviet War in Afghanistan. I am hoping to make a YouTube clip talking about it at some point, and also subtly promoting communism.

If I may ask, in regards of my first post, are most of my comments about the war correct? With the exception of my comments about war crimes of course, which I probably learned by reading the rebel Afghan point of view. Of course, the author's could never say that, but most likely their source came from the terrorists's opinion of the war.

If I may also ask please - Do you know of any books or other resources that can educate me on this topic more?
Soviet cogitations: 2407
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
Ideology: Other
Forum Commissar
Post 05 Jun 2012, 19:07
This is a very interesting article on the Red Army soldiers who joined the Mujahideen and converted to Islam:

Quote:
Red Army's 'ghosts' of Afghanistan

By Tom Coghlan
BBC News, Baghlan province, northern Afghanistan


To the men of the Red Army who fought in Afghanistan, their elusive mujahideen enemy were always called simply the "Dukhi" - the ghosts.
But when their last tank rolled back across the Oxus river in February 1989, the then Soviets left behind some Cold War ghosts of their own.

In the hills of northern Afghanistan, there are still men with pale skin who talk Russian when they are together.

Until 1981, Nasratullah was a soldier in the Red Army called Nikolai.

Together with two others, now known as Rahmatullah and Aminullah, he survives from a total of five Soviet soldiers known to have been captured and converted to Islam.

They went on to fight against their old comrades with the mujahideen.

'Terrible fight'

The ill-fated Soviet adventure in Afghanistan is often compared to America's disastrous foray into Vietnam.

Russia says 13,000 Soviet soldiers were lost between 1979 and 1989.

An estimated 1.3m Afghans, mainly civilians, also died.

Today, 45-year-old Nasratullah is a softly spoken, melancholic, chain smoker who earns $80 a month as a policeman.

But until his conversion to Islam, he was a junior officer from an elite Soviet parachute regiment.

He agreed to be interviewed only with the encouragement of his former mujahideen comrades. He remains close to the men who first captured him.

I didn't choose to convert. The religion chose me

Nasratullah

"We captured Nasratullah during an ambush in Kaligai village in 1981," recalls his white bearded former commander, Sufi Payda Mohammed, eyes rimmed with kohl.

His mujahideen band operated in the steep-sided valleys of Baghlan province, along the key re-supply route from the Uzbek border to Kabul.

The mujahideen commander remembers "a very terrible fight" during which they killed around 20 Soviet soldiers.

Nikolai was the sole survivor, captured after he exhausted his ammunition and hid in a drainage ditch under the road.

The area around what was known as Soviet Base 80 is still littered with the rusting tanks and destroyed supply vehicles.

Local people say Russian embassy officials returned to the area last year offering cash rewards for the location of the graves of missing Soviet soldiers. They left with six exhumed bodies.

Deserter

Nasratullah himself tells a different, more ideologically-driven version of how he came to fall into mujahideen hands.

He says he witnessed a massacre of more than 70 civilians at Kaligai.

Sufi Mohammed says he captured Nasratullah in an ambush

"We swore in the Russian army on the sword and the Bible to help society. It was against the law what was done," he says.

In horror and disgust, he says he simply turned and walked away from his unit.

Prisoners were often killed by both sides, but Nikolai was found by villagers who cared for him and then passed him to the mujahideen.

It was a year, he says, before he decided to convert. During that time he helped to mend mechanical equipment.

"I didn't choose to convert," he says today. "The religion chose me."

His former captors deny that any of the men were forced to become Muslims, or did so through fear.

Amnesty

They were renamed by the clerics who converted them. Nasratullah then spent eight years in the frontline with the mujahideen.

Remnants of the Soviet campaign litter the Afghan landscape

According to his comrades, the Soviet converts were decent fighters and particularly useful for listening to Soviet radio traffic.

"If you are in the frontline then you must fight and you must kill," is all he will say about fighting against his countrymen.

Nasratullah says he was born in 1960, in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. He will not give his last name.

His father was also a soldier in the Red Army and Nikolai attended a military academy, which he will not identify.

He volunteered for service in Afghanistan and served there for three months before his capture.

In July 1988, Moscow offered an amnesty to all Soviet prisoners of war in Afghanistan, whatever they had done during their captivity.

None of the Soviet converts took the offer, though all have visited their former homeland since the war.

"They said that they felt like white pigeons among black crows in Russia," says Sufi Muhammed.

"They told us 'we were devout and wanted to pray, but our families had no belief and didn't understand us'."

Disillusionment

When he visited Ukraine in 1996, Nasratullah met some of his old Red Army comrades.

"I have a good life here, though the economy is not very good"-Nasratullah

He says he was relieved when they did not blame him for his conversion, or for joining the mujahideen.

Like many of the veterans of Vietnam, the Soviet veterans have suffered wide disillusionment.

There were mass protests in June by some of the Ukraine's 150,000 Afghan war veterans, many of whom survive on a state pension of $40 a month.

"Russia and Afghanistan are not so different," says Nasratullah. "I have a good life here, though the economy is not very good."

Under the Taleban, Nasratullah and his fellow Soviets came to the attention of leader Mullah Mohammed Omar who, impressed with their devout lives, gave them homes and businesses.

All three have local wives and families. Three years ago, Nasratullah had a daughter he named Mosal.

But after the Taleban fell in 2001, the houses were reclaimed and none of the three is considered rich.

Locally, they are regarded as curiosities, and admired for being devout.

Nasratullah says that while he has the support of his old mujahideen comrades and his Islamic faith he will never leave Afghanistan.


Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4177312.stm
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 06 Jun 2012, 03:51
The worst kinds of traitors imo.


Quote:
"We swore in the Russian army on the sword and the Bible to help society. It was against the law what was done," he says.
What the hell is this? Swearing on Bibles in the Russian Army? Is this true?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 23:37
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New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 06 Jun 2012, 05:45
Thank you for the article. I enjoyed reading that. Well, I enjoyed getting the knowledge, but I am not fond of traitors. Defectors are indeed an interesting bunch. I'd like to study them more. I have trouble understanding their mindset, which is why I would like to learn about them.

I myself am a Christian who became an Atheist, but it took twelve long years before it happened, and I was in deny for a while, and I also went through a major depression as a result of discovering what I believed in passionately for so long was a lie, so it's took a lot of time for me to fully deconvert and be happy and content about it.

I don't see however how these men can be in their army, kill for their army, and then just turn their backs not only on their military, but the country they have always known, their race, and their families all within what sounds like a blink of an eye, and actually be happy and content afterwards in a whole new culture. It's also upsetting to read not enough of the men believed in the cause. I think their cause was wonderful.

I also wonder how the dectors were able to communicate with the Afghans, but I guess they figured it out. Not a fan of these men at all though. They should be ashamed of themselves.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 06 Jun 2012, 07:46
Zeeboe wrote:
If I may ask, in regards of my first post, are most of my comments about the war correct?


Well, there is no 'correct' view, but usually some accounts and perspectives can match up closer to reality than others. Your perspective is understandable, and frankly one I wish more Americans had. That the USSR was fighting radical Islamists back in the 1980s while the American government funded and supported them morally is disgusting, with their portrayal as heroes in the likes of Rambo and James Bond acting as the cherry on top of the cake. Even from the point of view of the thousands of Americans who died on 9/11, or the tens of thousands dead and wounded soldiers in the Middle Eastern wars (which were ostensibly presented to the public as wars against Islamic terrorism), this behaviour is unforgivable. Having said that, US activity in Afghanistan is wrong mainly from a moral/ethical standpoint. Ultimately it was the behaviour of the Soviet leadership in the late 1980s which made it impossible for Afghans to live in peace, equality, and with the other nice things you've mentioned. For the Afghan socialists to have won, the USSR would have had to exist, and to provide Afghanistan with economic and military assistance for several decades. Gorbachev and his allies prevented that through the political, economic, and social policies under the banners of 'perestroika' and 'glasnost', which ended up destroying the USSR.

With regard to recommended sources, it's been a while since I originally did a bit of academic research on the subject, but here are a few sources from a research paper I did:


Henry Bradsher, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union (Durham: Duke University Press, 1985). [Though my memory is a little hazy, I recall this and the other Bradsher book to have been among the most insightful, informative, and generally balanced.]

Henry Bradsher Afghan Communism and Soviet Intervention (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). [It is from this source that the number of Military Court charges against Soviet military personnel comes from. I don't know where I conjured the 10,000 figure, but the actual number of war crime sentences listed was 6410, 714 of them for murder.]

Verinder Grover (ed.) Government and Politics of Asian Countries 1: Afghanistan (New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications Private Limited, 2000). [As I recall this book had a lot of good facts and contributors discussing the DRA]


I don't recall the ideological perspective or drive of these sources, but I think they all have some interesting facts and insights, as I did cite them:


Amstutz, J Bruce Afghanistan: The First Five Years of Soviet Occupation Washington DC: National Defence University Press, 1986.

Oleg Arin and Lev Dvoretsky The Afghan Syndrome: The Soviet Union’s Vietnam (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1993). [As I recall, this book had more information about military operations.]

Anthony Arnold Afghanistan’s Two-Party Communism: Parcham and Khalq (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1983).

Joseph J Collins, The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: A Study of the Use of Force in Soviet Foreign Policy (Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1985).

Anthony Hyman, Afghanistan Under Soviet Domination: 1964-91 (Hong Kong: Macmillan Academic and Professional Limited, 1992). [Lots of information, even if it may be ideologically coloured.]

Mikhail Illyinsky, Afghanistan: Onward March of the Revolution (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 1982). [Book with the information about the Mujahideen poisoning water wells. Written by a Soviet journalist in an ideologically motivated fashion, but not necessarily devoid of facts because of it.]

Robbin F Laird (ed.) Soviet Foreign Policy (Montpelier, VT: Capital City Press, 1987). [For the Joseph Collins' contribution on Afghanistan.]

Alfred L Monks, The Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan (Washington DC: American Enterprise Institute, 1981).

Nancy Peabody. The Struggle for Afghanistan (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981).

Mark Urban, War in Afghanistan (Hong Kong: Macmillan Press, 1990).

I have a list of articles that you might find interesting as well, although for that you'd have to have access to academic journals (in fact most of these books can only be found in academic libraries).

...

Shig, I completely agree with you. About the 'swearing on the Bible', that is figure of speech. He's probably talking about the cultural divide between Orthodox Christian Russians and Muslim Afghans, or perhaps the Bible is a metaphor for the word 'good'. Anyway, of course this was not an actual practice in the Soviet army. Nikolai was very lucky that he didn't get captured by some more extremist rebels, who would have ripped out his fingernails, mutilated his genitals and sent him crawling to the nearest DRA garrison to strike fear into other Soviet soldiers.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 23:37
Ideology: None
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 07 Jun 2012, 02:35
Thank you so much Sir for those titles. I am heading to Amazon now to see if I can find them.

EDIT: Back, and I found a few, others I did not, but I have enough to get started, and I'll come back to this thread to get the titles of the other books to find when it's time.

If I may also ask please: Do you know of any books that deal with the subject of defectors during this war?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
Ideology: Other
Forum Commissar
Post 07 Jun 2012, 03:24
Quote:
Thank you for the article. I enjoyed reading that. Well, I enjoyed getting the knowledge, but I am not fond of traitors.


You are welcome.

The reasons why these men defected are discussed in the article.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Mar 2010, 01:20
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Forum Commissar
Post 07 Jun 2012, 03:25
soviet78 wrote:
About the 'swearing on the Bible', that is figure of speech. He's probably talking about the cultural divide between Orthodox Christian Russians and Muslim Afghans, or perhaps the Bible is a metaphor for the word 'good'. Anyway, of course this was not an actual practice in the Soviet army.
I didn't think so. It was just a little detail that made me question the authenticity of the article.

Thanks for all the references by the way.
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 07 Jun 2012, 03:37
They didn't defect but got captured and presented with a choice of joining the Mujahedin or having their balls (and heads) cut off.
Soviet cogitations: 7
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 May 2012, 23:37
Ideology: None
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 07 Jun 2012, 19:37
But according to the article, they joined by their own free will.

Political Interest wrote:
You are welcome. The reasons why these men defected are discussed in the article.


Yeah, I was just curious if any of them ever wrote a book about their experiences.
Soviet cogitations: 2407
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
Ideology: Other
Forum Commissar
Post 05 Dec 2012, 10:42
This is a documentary made by Russia Today about a Ukrainian man who was captured in Afghanistan. It shows how he made a life there and his return to Ukraine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TveNjPw5H5Q
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 05 Dec 2012, 13:35
There was also one guy who got captured and then joined the Muj. , fighting against his former comrades.
Later he converted and married an Afghan woman.
Soviet cogitations: 2407
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Nov 2003, 13:17
Ideology: Other
Forum Commissar
Post 05 Dec 2012, 13:53
Loz wrote:
There was also one guy who got captured and then joined the Muj. , fighting against his former comrades.
Later he converted and married an Afghan woman.


Yes, this happened in a number of cases.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2007, 23:25
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 10 Jan 2013, 15:45
What is often forgotten is the fact that many Afghan "mujahideen" (the name has been defiled by the islamist extremists who use it, but it actually can apply to any sort of islamic fighter) actually supported the DRA and the Soviets during the war. The thousands of Afghans who fought in the Jowzjan 374 unit under Abdul Rashid Dostum were one of the most efficient Afghan units during the war.
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Soviet cogitations: 716
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2007, 23:25
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 10 Jan 2013, 15:46
Loz wrote:
They didn't defect but got captured and presented with a choice of joining the Mujahedin or having their balls (and heads) cut off.


Then still they could desert/defect back to the Soviet side during armed combat instead of faithfully serving the mujahideen for so long a time.

You can just edit your first post if you think of something shortly after you've posted.
Please try to do that in future. Thanks.
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"Communism is more about love for mankind than about politics."
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