FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Russian Generals Raise Questions About Pentagon’s Afghan Victories

The recent Moscow visit of General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command, provoked debates among Russian generals, especially about the US information about hostilities in Afghanistan. The general was apparently pleased to tell his Russian colleagues and journalists at a press conference in the Marriott Hotel that the efforts of the counter-terror coalition, which Russia supports, were yielding fruit. In particular, that battle in the Shah-e-Kot mountain area in the Paktia Province ended “brilliantly,” as Gen. Franks said. The enemy was routed and control of the territory was turned over to the government.

But the Russian military experts I talked with after the general’s visit were sceptical about the “brilliant success” of Operation Anaconda, held 30 km away from the city of Gardez. The American special troops lost ten men and officers, 70 were wounded, two Chinook helicopters were hit and five were serious damaged. My interlocutors doubt that this can be described as a major victory.

On the other hand, the experts said they did not have reliable information about the operation, but then this is the problem of not only experts and not only Russian experts at that. CNN, Euronews and other television companies did not cover Operation Anaconda as thoroughly as they did Operation Desert Storm. However, the US and European press carried enough facts that prompt conclusions about the inadequate preparation of US special troops for hostilities in the mountains.

In particular, Colonel-General Valery Mironov, former commander of the 108th Motorised Division in Afghanistan (1979-82) and former deputy defence minister of Russia, told me that the Pentagon made quite a few major mistakes during that operation. The massive use of air-fuel explosive (vacuum) bombs, which are prohibited by international conventions, did not help, and the general says could not help to liquidate the leaders of the Taliban bandit groups hiding in the mountains. They resulted in major destruction, burning out caves and tunnels in the rock and possibly even provoked the recent earthquake, but did not wipe out the opponent’s troops. The Americans did not show the international community killed or wounded Taliban, prisoners of war or weapons and hardware of Al Qaeda. Maybe the Taliban left the caves before the bombing started? There is no answer to this question.

Another mistake of the Americans was an attempt to finish off the enemy in the mountains outside Gardez with the help of Afghan troops, disregarding the local national and ethnic features, in particular relations between different clans, says the Russian general. It was extremely imprudent to use Tajik units in the battle against the Taliban, says Mironov. The Americans should not have done this under any conditions in the area controlled by the Pashtu. The Pentagon saw its mistake too late, after its decision provoked acute contradictions between tribal leaders. As a result, the operation lost the dynamics.

One more serious drawback of Operation Anaconda was the use of small commando units at the initial stage, says Colonel- General Mironov. The Pashtu who support the Taliban can fight in the mountains much better than any commandos. This explains the US losses and bad weather, fog and technical problems with helicopters, to which the Pentagon referred, had nothing to do with this. Success was ensured only after the Germans, the Dutch and other members of the counter-terror coalition joined the operation, although the Europeans sustained human losses, too.

Valery Mironov believes that these facts prove that it would be unwise to speak about a “brilliant victory” of the counter- terror coalition. The coalition will face more serious trials and one can only wish it to stand them with the smallest possible losses.

Viktor Litovkin is a military analyst for the Russian magazine Obshchaya Gazeta.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail