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Spetsnaz in Afghanistan

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Party Member
Post 04 Nov 2009, 05:38
I don't understand what the use of the Spetsnaz in Afghanistan. Forgive me for misinterpreting, but wasn't the spetsnaz used for fighting in urban environments? What were the type of missions that the spetsnaz were assigned for?
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We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 04 Nov 2009, 07:05
Spetznaz are special forces and shock troops. They can be used in any environment and train for every environment.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Feb 2005, 02:51
Party Bureaucrat
Post 04 Nov 2009, 14:35
The term spetsnaz is a bit overused nowadays, it originally refers to the GRU Spetsnaz, the long range reconnaissonce and special warfare arm of the Soviet military, which participated in the Afghan war. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, special anti-terror units mushroomed, there are Alpha and Vympel under FSB, and Rus and Vityaz under MVD, and they are all called "spetsnaz".
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 04 Nov 2009, 23:45
Alpha and Vympel were always SpetNaz iirc. Vympel and Alpha are actually a much higher level of training then regular SpetzNaz units. More importantly SpetNaz are not your regular long-range recon. They're also used as shock troops.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
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Post 05 Nov 2009, 00:53
Quote:
They can be used in any environment and train for every environment.

Yeah I knew that, but didn't the Soviet army lack training for fighting in Afghanistan's rugged mountainous terrain? I knew that Spetsnaz could be used as shock troops, I assumed that they were intended for fighting in an urban terrain. (Destroying communications and headquarters) I wanted to know what kind of missions would be typical of the spetsnaz in the Soviet-Afghan war.
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We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 05 Nov 2009, 08:01
The Soviet military definitely had problems in the Afghan war at the beginning, because their doctrines and equipment were primarily developed for European and Far East Asian terrain, and for conventional warfare. However from what I've read Spetsnaz shock troops were very successful nearly from the beginning of the war in search and destroy operations. Helicopters would take small groups of men to locations suspected to contain insurgents, drop them off, and leave them for some hours or days to destroy the enemy. Because these men operated without vehicles, often under cover of night, and were professionally trained, the advantages Mujihideen forces had on convoys (being on the high ground, choosing time and place of attack, etc) were neutralized, and they took massive casualties as a result.

I am of the opinion that had the Soviet and Afghan governments come to an agreement with Pakistan about the latter closing its western border in exchange for the Soviet military leaving Afghanistan, the Afghan military, with the aid of the Spetsnaz missions described above, could cope with the Mujihideen and over time stabilize the country.
"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.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
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Post 05 Nov 2009, 08:08
As I recall, the American vice president is pushing for a similar strategy to be implemented in the current war. I guess he's read up on Afghani Military history.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 05 Nov 2009, 09:03
First thing is first, Pakistan can't, to this day, control it's Pashtun tribal areas on the border with Afghan. Despite massive American aid, and US airstrikes, it's really not happening. Second off taking control of the border did not require help from Pakistan. It required greater troop commitments from the USSR. The CC refused this to the general staff, who right off the bat wanted to insert 400 000 troops to make sure the borders were secure along with the major population centers and highways. SpetzNaz search and destroy missions would make sense within that context, where there is a finite number of enemies, and a limited area. Within the context of the Afghan war, they were hardly any more impressive then other Soviet military actions which, with the possible exception of convoy ambushes, were tactically highly successful in relation to the Mujahadeen.

Current American strategy is to produce enough troops for control of borders via proxies (i.e. Afghan and Pakistan) rather then deploying American forces, because it would provide a more long term solution, and establish closer US ties, essentially making the two states dependent on the US in terms of military development.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Feb 2005, 02:51
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Post 05 Nov 2009, 10:57
The war in Afghanistan is unwinnable for the US, because it is an imperialist war, it does not benefit the people nor does it have the support of the people, in order to prevent the public opinion turn against the war completely, casualty figure has to be kept low, and the primary way to keep casualty low is to rely on high power, long range weapons, the problem with such weapons is that they cause heavy collateral damage, which incures the resentment of the local population, who will then provide the insurgents with the popular support that will render the latter unkillable.

P.S. The fact that little was done to build the Afghani economy also contributed to the unkillability of the insurgents.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 05 Nov 2009, 11:18
Rubbish. Victory and defeat are subjective. And if the goals of the American government are to devastate Afghan thoroughly to demonstrate to anyone what the consequences are for harboring people America doesn't like, then they've won. They've demonstrated that the consequences of supporting anti-US forces are such that the entire country will be in ruins.

More specifically stand-off munitions are also guided munitions. Soviet Union had no problem with using close up weaponry, and not having to worry about public opinion as much. They caused many times more collateral damage. So that generalization is also inaccurate. The US is actually trying to avoid collateral casualties. Albeit for reasons that have more to do with the domestic audience then anything else.

EDIT: They could win the war in a few weeks, if they called up the reservists and deployed 400-500 thousand troops there for a few months. All major resistance would be crushed. All borders would be secured. And by the time this deployment is scaled down, nothing would be left of the insurgents. This is what initially happened to the Taliban regime, albeit with smaller troop numbers. The problem is the price tag, and the long term occupation.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Post 05 Nov 2009, 14:07
Quote:
Rubbish. Victory and defeat are subjective. And if the goals of the American government are to devastate Afghan thoroughly to demonstrate to anyone what the consequences are for harboring people America doesn't like, then they've won. They've demonstrated that the consequences of supporting anti-US forces are such that the entire country will be in ruins.

No, they are not subjective. If you've read von Clausewitz's On war, and agree with war being the continuation of politics by other means, then you realize that a war is won when you reach your political objective. If your objective is punishing Afghanistan for harbouring people America doesn't like, then the war would have stopped after serious campaign of bombardments and destruction of infrastructure. This is not the objective, but the excuse on which the USA went to Afghanistan. the USA's objective in Afghanistan is control of the country's natural gas, oil and mineral reserves. This requires the local population's support in the long run. Something that, as Roy said, won't be happening this way.
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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 05 Nov 2009, 21:15
So it is subjective, since your political objectives are subjective. They are defined by you and do not exist outside of that definition. You presume to know what the objectives of American political leadership in Afghan are long term? Care to provide some backing for the claim?

Btw I have read On War.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Embalmed
Post 05 Nov 2009, 21:18
You win a war when you've objectively - materially - reached the goals you'd set.

Stalin's goal was to raise a red flag on the Reichskanzlei. This has objectively happened. You can't argue about whether there was a red flag on the Reichskanzlei on May 8th, 1945. The Red Army has objectively won the Great Patriotic War.
~Signatures must be in english. This is an english-speaking forum~
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 05 Nov 2009, 22:44
You can argue that Stalin's goal wasn't raising a red flag above the Reichstag, but starting a world revolution. In fact a certain Viktor Suvorov argues just that in his book Icebreaker.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Embalmed
Post 05 Nov 2009, 22:48
Interesting. Tell me more.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Feb 2005, 02:51
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Post 05 Nov 2009, 23:40
Quote:
Victory and defeat are subjective. And if the goals of the American government are to devastate Afghan thoroughly to demonstrate to anyone what the consequences are for harboring people America doesn't like, then they've won. They've demonstrated that the consequences of supporting anti-US forces are such that the entire country will be in ruins.

==The American ruling elite are not hotheads who go into wars on a whim, as wars cost a lot, both monetarily and socially, the return must be sufficiently high to make the investment worthwhile, the only detail is whether this return is direct economic benefits, or geopolitical advantages that will translate into economic benefits later on. Therefore, victory and defeat are not subjective for the Americans, if they gain more than they put in, it's a victory, and and if they gain less than they put in, it's a defeat.

Of course, one can argue that the military industrial complex are always the winners, as in every war, money are transferred from the pockets of the taxpayers to those that of the military industrial complex, but this type of military keynesianism is unsustainable in the long term, and is beyond the scope of the current discussion. But if you are interested, here's a good read: http://www.alternet.org/story/83555/

Quote:
More specifically stand-off munitions are also guided munitions. Soviet Union had no problem with using close up weaponry, and not having to worry about public opinion as much. They caused many times more collateral damage. So that generalization is also inaccurate. The US is actually trying to avoid collateral casualties. Albeit for reasons that have more to do with the domestic audience then anything else.

==If the Soviet Union completely crushed the mujahideen and stabilised the Afghan puppet government, then you could say that my generalisation was inaccurate, but it was the Soviet army and not the Mujahideen that pulled out of Afghanistan, and the puppet government collapsed. And my generalisation is probably not general enough, I should have said, unless the insurgency doesn't have any popular support, or that you are willing to emulate Genghis Khan, just trying to actively kill the insurgence will create more animosity towards you, making it more difficult to win.

Quote:
They could win the war in a few weeks, if they called up the reservists and deployed 400-500 thousand troops there for a few months. All major resistance would be crushed. All borders would be secured. And by the time this deployment is scaled down, nothing would be left of the insurgents. This is what initially happened to the Taliban regime, albeit with smaller troop numbers. The problem is the price tag, and the long term occupation.

==The last sentence is the important part, if given unlimited resources, even a six year old can win every war, but unlimited resources do not exist, war fighting is all about achieving the best outcome with what you have, but in the case of the Afghanistan, the very nature of the imperialist state and war it's conducting has determined both the amount of resources they can devote into the war, and the way they conduct the war.
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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 06 Nov 2009, 01:59
Quote:
The American ruling elite are not hotheads who go into wars on a whim, as wars cost a lot, both monetarily and socially, the return must be sufficiently high to make the investment worthwhile, the only detail is whether this return is direct economic benefits, or geopolitical advantages that will translate into economic benefits later on. Therefore, victory and defeat are not subjective for the Americans, if they gain more than they put in, it's a victory, and and if they gain less than they put in, it's a defeat.

Of course, one can argue that the military industrial complex are always the winners, as in every war, money are transferred from the pockets of the taxpayers to those that of the military industrial complex, but this type of military keynesianism is unsustainable in the long term, and is beyond the scope of the current discussion. But if you are interested, here's a good read: http://www.alternet.org/story/83555/


Thanks for the read, I'll definetly check it out. However the long term benefits derived from geopolitical advantage are intangible. You can't measure how much more or less successful US economic imperialism would be if they had not gone to war in Afghan. So consequently that's not a measurement. That's semantics. Secondly you're assuming unitary and rational decision-making on the part of the US. That is not the case. There are competing interest groups within the US. The goals of the war may be dictated by the objectives of one of those groups, even if in the long term it would be detrimental to the US as a whole. Military keynesianism is only one such example. And geopolitical objectives is, I think, exactly what the US is after. Not economic ones, in this case.

Quote:
If the Soviet Union completely crushed the mujahideen and stabilised the Afghan puppet government, then you could say that my generalisation was inaccurate, but it was the Soviet army and not the Mujahideen that pulled out of Afghanistan, and the puppet government collapsed. And my generalisation is probably not general enough, I should have said, unless the insurgency doesn't have any popular support, or that you are willing to emulate Genghis Khan, just trying to actively kill the insurgence will create more animosity towards you, making it more difficult to win.


The point is that your argument about stand-off munitions doesn't hold water. And of course the USSR left because of internal politics. Just like Soviet commanders were not granted the necessary forces for political reasons. Soviet political leadership saw balance of power considerations in Europe as more important then some Central Asian shit-hole. It's not a matter of force being the wrong solution. It's a matter of not enough force, and incorrect application of force. You're right in the sense that attrition warfare doesn't work against insurgencies that have popular support and an independent source of supplies. However that doesn't mean that they can't be defeated militarily.

Quote:
The last sentence is the important part, if given unlimited resources, even a six year old can win every war, but unlimited resources do not exist, war fighting is all about achieving the best outcome with what you have, but in the case of the Afghanistan, the very nature of the imperialist state and war it's conducting has determined both the amount of resources they can devote into the war, and the way they conduct the war.


More importantly the interests of those who want to gain certain results from this war are strong enough to start the war, but not strong enough to push for that kind of effective solution. In the end we come back to the same thing. Victory and defeat is contingent on the objectives. And what if the secret objective of the war is actually to undermine US credibility in the region? What if the war was started by insiders in the US?

You see what I did there? Same thing you did. Made an assumption about the intentions of those behind the war. But even this is a gross oversimplification. The war may not have been in the interest of any one group but simply the result of the sum of internal politics plus the geopolitical circumstances externally.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Politburo
Post 06 Nov 2009, 02:21
Quote:
The war may not have been in the interest of any one group but simply the result of the sum of internal politics plus the geopolitical circumstances externally.

War is "the result of the sum of internal politics plus the geopolitical circumstances externally", weather it coincides with the interest of a group or not. That's the same as Clausewitz definition of war.

Quote:
You presume to know what the objectives of American political leadership in Afghan are long term? Care to provide some backing for the claim?

Since I'm not in the decision-making process of the USA's government I cannot know the actual objectives. All I can do is deduce them by their actions. Control of the country is the primary objective, either for their resources or to complete the surrounding of Iran. That would be an objective (not-subjective) objective, since it can be measured.
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"Where Argentina goes, Latin America will go".
Leonid Brezhnev

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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 06 Nov 2009, 05:43
In this case objectivity would mean that it exists a-contextually. It's something that exists outside of ourselves, our perceptions, etc. Since we are talking about goals set out by people, there is no objectivity, unless you're of the no free will camp.

My point in regards to the definition of war is that there may not be ANY rational policy (such as control of resources, or geopolitics) behind this war at all. It may be, like it has already been suggested, simply the bantering of the MIC. It may be a reaction to the 9/11 attacks, to create a perception of the US government doing something to deal with the problem. It may simply be an attempt to do something in a context where doing nothing is just too shitty of an alternative.

In any event, the basic point stands. The definition of victory in our analysis is subjective to our perception of US intent.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 06 Nov 2009, 08:32
TRL, lets back this up to the 1980s. Pakistan today is more unstable than it was back then.

Quote:
First thing is first, Pakistan can't, to this day, control it's Pashtun tribal areas on the border with Afghan.


There is a difference between being unable to control your border and actively supporting Mujihideen forces in the border area with your military and secret service, coordinating virtually all the arms and support coming from the US, China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The problem the Soviets faced due to Pakistan's porous border was far worse than that faced by the US and NATO forces today.

Quote:
Second off taking control of the border did not require help from Pakistan. It required greater troop commitments from the USSR...The CC refused this to the general staff


Andropov perceived the existence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan as a potential bargaining chip for negotiations which might lead to the withdrawl of Pakistani support for the insurgency. He obviously felt confident by 1983-84 that with the loss of Pakistani support the insurgency could be contained. As for the Party quarreling with the army, I find that difficult to accept, at least at the pinnacle of power, considering Andropov and Ustinov were close friends and political allies (now's the part where you tell me that Ustinov was an armaments procurement bureaucrat with no knowledge of military affairs).

...

Quote:
You can argue that Stalin's goal wasn't raising a red flag above the Reichstag, but starting a world revolution. In fact a certain Viktor Suvorov argues just that in his book Icebreaker.


Suvorov is a hack and a liar. His arguments about the Soviet Union's offensive doctrines and aggressive plans are sensationalist bullshit. Of course the doctrines promoted quickly turning to the offensive in case of war -Russia had seen several major wars on its soil just in the period of the early 20th century. Do you judge Soviet military doctrines in Europe during the Cold War aggressive, despite the fact that the Soviets never launched a war against NATO, and had no ultimate intention of doing so?

Stalin's goals in WW2 were made pretty clear by Stalin himself, as documented by Geoffrey Roberts: he wanted to break up and contain German and Japanese militarism from rising again to threaten the world. He believed that over time it would be a historical inevitability for capitalist countries to go to war with one another, and that the role of the Soviet Union was not to spread the revolution by the bayonet (a Trotskyist idea), but to defend itself first and foremost and then to help defeat the aggressive power. See Stalin's Economic Problems (1952) for his own words.
"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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