If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chapter VI.1

Days of the Mujahideen

Graveyard of Empires

“Oh gods, from the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger, and the vengeance of the Afghan— deliver us.”

— Old Hindu saying

Friday, February 25, 2005

Kabul, Afghanistan

Have arrived in Kabul. Attached is a pic of part of Kabul from the plane. My first thought was wow, this place is beautiful, my second was, why anyone in god’s name with half a brain would want to invade this hell hole. Think of the worst place you have ever seen, Kabul makes it look like a 1st world country. It is unbelievable and beyond words. I rode in with a guy who had been here three years ago; he said it looked exactly the same. I don’t know where the money is going; doesn’t look like it’s going to the Afghans. I will take more pics. It makes me wonder what the hell we have been doing for the last three years with the invasion that is “going well”.


I was here, as part of a team training up the Afghan secret service, the Presidential Protective Service (PPS) at a camp on the eastern edge of Kabul in what amounted to a mini-boot camp. In addition, there was a another, smaller, team embedded and working with the protective agents who had already graduated and were participating with Dyn contractors in protecting president Karzai at the Presidential Palace. It felt good to be back in the field again. Things weren’t quite as intense here as they had been in Baghdad, which made for a nice change.

01MAR05 (Journal)

Two days ago half the class shot their pistol qual. If I remember right, only one had to requal— one of the guys I was watching. He shot a 194/200 the second time, passing easily.

The students were so happy. Those I was watching/supervising were thanking me. Hell, I didn’t do anything; I’d only been there three days. I don’t know but it almost seems that the guys don’t get that they are the ones that did it, that they passed the test on their own. In any case, I was proud of them, even in that short time, they were my guys.

By way of contrast, on Monday, it was the M4. If we shot the qual right now, of my six guys, three would pass easily, one would a strong possible, one a possible, and one would fail for sure. If I was betting I’d say that four of the six pass with one passing on the requal.

Failure to qual means getting dropped from the course. You feel bad— the language barrier is a problem, the culture/background is a problem and I don’t know the best way to give them my best.

The one just won’t listen and is likely a lost cause, though he is motivated. On one hand, I feel like he needs more attention and on the other, because he is lost, I feel like he is draining valuable time that could be spent helping others.

You really want these guys to make it, not for you but for them. These guys have nothing, and I mean nothing, and yet they have everything to lose if they don’t make it. This job for them represents an incredible chance.

I remember when I joined the Navy, it was my last hope. If I didn’t make it there I was going to try the Foreign Legion or kill myself.


The word is Arabic and roughly translated means, “If God wills it.” I am hardly an Arabophile but this word and the concept behind it has popped up constantly during my time in Iraq and here in ‘Astan. I want to say that it is almost a “fatalism” only that isn’t quite right. It can be maddeningly frustrating on the range because some of these guys, if not all unconsciously, believe that everything, but specifically in this case, the bullet’s impact point is a result of God’s will, and not the geometry of the alignment of their eye, rear sight, and most importantly, the front sight. Slapping/jerking the trigger is easy to fix; anticipation of the gun going off/recoil is even easier and once the guys see/understand what they are doing they can practically self-correct. But this ingrained idea that God controls EVERYTHING is hard to get around, personal responsibility kinda goes out the door. I really hate to over-generalize here, but an article that came out while I was in Iraq and borders on elitism (racism is probably too harsh a word), at least captures the differences and frustration from a western perspective. I don’t know how many times I’ve been screaming “Jawok, jawok, jawok,” (spelling questionable) at these guys (you start to learn from your translators); “front sight, front sight, front sight!”

Rarely do we have to change the sights on the Glocks as the classes cycle through; each student being issued the same weapon each day— we don’t shoot from beyond 25 yards and the things are fairly well dialed in from the factory. If an agent is having trouble beyond what is believed to be the ordinary an instructor will put a few rounds through it to verify that the sights are okay and that it is just user error. Rarely, and I mean rarely, the rear sights are adjusted— I think I did three over six months. If you have to do it, you have to do it out of sight of all the other students as any student who sees you adjusting the sights on another Glock will immediately demand that you adjust his as well; swearing that the reason he is shooting low and left is not because he is anticipating the recoil and slapping the trigger but because the ‘white man’s magic’ has not been properly attuned on his weapon. The idea though, of actually taking responsibility for one’s aiming, or lack thereof, on the range was, to some, a complete novelty. I will say this though, the Glocks were supplied with a NYPD 8-fucking-pound-trigger and you really had to mash the hell out of that thing. My own Glock, at home, came with something like a factory four/four-and-a-half pound trigger pull. I remember the first time I shot my qual, didn’t feel like pre-qualifying ‘cause I was too cool for school, and it felt like I was cycling through cement to get through the rapid-fire portions of the qual; my goddamned finger was tired when it was over. But that, that is a long way from, “If God wills it.” Of course, having said that, you have to realize that most shoots for me are night shoots as my eyes are usually closed.


As the C-130


over the southern hills

framing the Logar Pass

a little bit of hope

left me—

even though I was

sitting safely on the deck

of our bar

drinking sangria

out of a box.

The land is so

desolate and larger than life

that you unconsciously

latch onto things that

you recognize

as singularly


or risk being

devoured completely

body and soul;

safety in numbers.

The C-130 was gone

and although I knew

to the contrary

I felt the more


for it.

03MAR05 (Journal)

Yesterday we were supposed to shoot the M4 qual but had to shut the range down (for reasons that I now forget). Rather than let the class have the rest of the day off Bean and M&M took them for a march out behind the camp. I followed along driving the gator “ambulance”.

Bean had them run up the hill behind the camp. I thought I was going to pass out. My legs felt like they were sixty pounds each and my vision was going dim (fucking elevation); still not used to this altitude. At the top, Bean lined them up and had them yell, “Allah Akbhar” (God is great) at the top of their lungs. It was cool as hell and I was glad that I had been there to see it. These guys (it appears to me) don't have as big of a concept as teamwork as we do, but it was obvious that they enjoyed/appreciated that someone respected their religious beliefs. The cynic in my tried to ignore the fact that suicide bombers in Iraq chant the same thing with the same fervor.

The M4 qual was today and everyone passed but “Popeye”. He is right-handed but left eye dominant and just can’t get a good sight picture. He leans all the way over his rifle trying to use his left eye and the rounds are going half-way up the hill behind the targets. We tried having him shoot left-handed, to no avail; then wearing a patch over his left eye, hence the nickname, but that didn’t work either. He will be dropped. Everyone felt bad for the dude but Geezer stated it correctly, we are here to weed out the ones who don’t belong.


You have


known freedom—

true freedom

until you have raced

like the cold, hard, frozen wind

down the white, snow-capped

Hindu Kush

Across the greening

Shomali Plain.


Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 8:04 AM

The hours here are a lot less than in Baghdad and I am not complaining at all. The biggest danger is boredom and I am doing alright with that so far. ISAF has a base across the road from our camp (all the Europeans) and they have a bunch of bars and cafe's there- which you won't find on any US bases- so I go over with the rest of the guys at least once a week for a change of pace and to be part of the group.

I like the Afghans better than Iraqis. To me, they seem a little simpler but more honest. Some of the students speak a bit of English but we rely on interpreters who, like the ones in Baghdad, tend to be young guys. Once the basics have been relayed, I can usually get the message I want to across just by pantomiming it out- the weapon handling is so specific that they generally understand.

In a way, I guess, it's funny, if I were doing this in the states, if someone just kept screwing the pooch in spite of what I was telling them, I could care less if they graduated or not. These guys though, you honestly want to do well. We have been on the shooting range since I got here. We alternate a team with rifles on one day and another team with pistols the next. Of those two teams, they are split so only half are firing at a time so I have assumed responsibility for three guys on the firing line or about twelve in total. It makes you grin when you see them start to catch on, catch their own mistakes, and do well.

One guy has been infinitely thankful simply because his rifle kept jamming up and I got him a new one and helped him get it sighted in. He passed his rifle qual on the second time. A week later, he's still thanking me. What I can't get through their heads is that we/I will help them, but they are the ones doing the hard part; they are the ones pulling the trigger. It is satisfying though.

Anyway, it's getting late so I am going to hit the rack. Happy b-day again,



Went with the palace guys down to Logar as part of the Advance for the dedication of a provincial center which Karzai attended. Logar is not a nice place and this kind of attention means that the center will likely be blown up or burned down within several weeks (it was). Some things you just shouldn't draw attention to. In any case, it was nice to get out and see some more of the country— just beautiful. The first pic is of one of the countersniper teams set up on a building across the road. You can see the mountains in the background.

The second pic is from several weeks ago when I was working on the first formal threat assessment for this place- they've been here over two years and have a company that actually provides security. Oh well, better late than never I guess. Nice location, the downside is that they couldn't have picked a place with more high ground overlooking our camp that we do not control. A rather basic strategic blunder. I'm starting to believe that maybe the Navy has about the best damn training because I find myself constantly pointing out stupid crap to people from other services that falls within their training that they should have realized.

23MAR05 (Journal)

Went over to the ISAF base last night with Skipper and Falcon in search of Danish nurses. Somehow got invited back to the Romanian bar- (actually, the German pharmacists showed up at the Dane bar and yelled, “The Americans are here!” usually something that would terrify me and send me diving for my rifle.) which no one knew even existed; even the Germans with us were frightened of the place- Uber alles my ass.

Anyway, the Romanians serve us up this booze which they have bottled themselves in used plastic water bottles and it tastes like diesel fuel filtered through exactly two pieces of white bread with honey added for some wonderful flavor to cut the diesel. This shit started eating through my paper cup almost immediately!!

The Romanians, who had obviously been drinking a lot of this crap, weren't dead, which I took as a good sign, initially. In any case, we were trapped out in the open with nowhere to ditch this poison. Skipper and I were looking at each other and laughing with fear, whispering, “We have to get the hell out of here!”

We ended up stating in strong, responsible terms that we had a curfew and beat feet the hell out of there; leaving the German pharmacists in abject terror— screw those Aryan savages who drug us there in the first place. It's every man for himself in a war-zone and obviously the reality of the poison the Romanians were serving up hadn't reached their Reich-addled minds yet.

Needless to say, we won't be drinking with the Romanians anytime soon.

PS- I have been told that the Romanian 'poison' is made with plums...and diesel that is.

31MAR05 (Journal)

Went over last night to ISAF, the German pharmacists were having a BBQ/party. My god, that was the best steak I have had in a long time, and not just in Kabul. They also had this “herb” butter that just kicked ass.

The SAT night before we had the Danes over for a party— big bonfire. There were packs of powdered “Hurricane” mix and I went to work. Ended up mixing them with Absolut Vodka and not rum since the Vodka was free. The guys drank the majority of it and were apparently hating me for it the next morning. Good times. Party was a big hit; just doing our part for international relations/goodwill.

Afghanistan in Three Seasons


“It’s going to

rain here one day,”

he said,

“and when it does

the streets will run

red with tears.”


The snow came down slowly


quietly burying the

refuse and destruction

under a redeeming blanket of white...

desperately trying to

forgive twenty-five years

and a lifetime of sins

like so many

repentant gods.



the freest and costliest


still has roots here

deep, simple and true.

02APR05 (Journal)

Got an email from Wendy today; she will be leaving London tomorrow— I am nostalgically sad….

For reason’s probably more selfish than anything, I am sad to hear that you are leaving London, though I knew it was coming. It meant a lot to me, more than I’ve ever said, knowing that you, your apartment, and London were there as a buffer, a full breath of fresh air between going to and coming back from some hard places and times.

Knowing that I could hit the ground and take a nap in your living room after a shower, the curtains blowing reassuringly in the breeze as the sounds of the London street washed over me meant the world. As did knowing that I could easily slip into your orbit and feel like I was home and that for a while, my concerns were held at bay, if only because they couldn’t keep up.

London will always feel a lit more like “sanctuary” because of you.

Going over to the ISAF base tonight— 80’s night at the Sunshine bar. Will raise the glass to you, London, and the road not yet taken.

The Storm

The clouds

curled around to the south

of the city

slowly marching north

against the prevailing breeze

as I sat on the steps

of our bar


the lightning rip the sky in half

over Kabul

like so many

Hekmatyer or Northern Alliance


The clouds slowly crept


to envelope

Pul-e-Charki Prison

to the southeast

blotting out the stars

one by one

in its inky blackness

13APR05 (Journal)

New students arrived Monday. Issued them their gear— guys are still wearing the shoes they came with because we don’t have boots in their sizes; same thing with some of the covers and boonie hats. It’s goddamned sad and embarrassing. More on this later.

We had the Caribinari over yesterday to shoot at our range and then later for T’s and Skipper’s going away party— the best one yet.

In return, they had us over tonight or an honest-to-god home-cooked Italian meal. The hospitality of these guys, and most the guys we’ve come into contact with, brings a tear to your eye. Although, the fuckers did break out twelve-packs of airline-size bottles of Grappa. My god, the tequila grape is hateful, just hateful. Although it is better than the tequila I ran across in Baghdad. I don’t know where the stuff had come from, mysteriously winding up in the freezer of the fridge in our office (the freezer was only about 20 degrees cooler than room temperature; the fridge portion was room temperature. Anyway, there was a flat of 12 oz cans of tequila, “Amigo”. Upon closer inspection, I can see that it is bottled in the UK, which I can tell you, knows fuck-all about tequila. Gin? Sure. Scotch? Maybe. Tequila? Fuck no! But then hey, it’s a war zone (and those were the early days) and you drink what’s available. The sieges are always fun until you run out of booze. But just remember, Amigo is NOT your friend….and neither is Grappa.


This is s’posed to be DoS’s flagship operation here in Afghanistan and we can’t get resupplied with the gear that we need to issue the new students. It is a fucking travesty and you feel bad for these guys. We are making runs to Bagram to get rejected uniforms left by soldiers returning to the states just to cover our bases. And it’s obvious that the contract for a lot of the gear we issue went to the lowest bidder, and I mean the fucking lowest. Some of the boots are worn out in two weeks, no shit. The agents call them “two-week boots”. In no time the heels are just shot and they look like pig’s feet, the guys wobbling around on the things. We’ve got guys in torn/ripped uniforms, guys without their complete kit because we’ve run out, and guys walking around in uniforms too big for them because that’s all there is. This is the best we can do…in our premier foreign aid/diplomatic program? It’s shameful. I’m embarrassed. A superpower? I wonder sometimes.

Spring Evening

Sat on the steps

of the bar— watching

the sun set and

listening to some

Bad Religion—

“…father can you hear me?”

There is new snow

on the peaks of the

Hindu Kush

and the clouds looked

like molten lava

in the fading light—

it’s times like these that

make you never want

to go back


To the south


or frogs

are creaking

towards the FOB

as Scruffy stalks

an EIC student—

just arrived.

The first star

is out

over the camp sat dish

I think it could be


though I could be


Far off- to the southwest

beyond House Hill

towards the Logar Gap

dark thunderheads

and lightning that rips

the sky in half

looking so much

like a Taliban arty strike

15APR05— Unsent Letter to Gwen

Sitting here tonight, I have little recollection, if any, of what I may or may not have written you over the last 5-6 years though I imagine there is a page somewhere for every line you have received. Yet, I am stuck feeling that none, if any of it, of what I mean to say, was actually communicated. And I find myself fearing that if I do not try to correct that now, tonight, I will never again get the chance.

So much to say; more that I ever could get in a pathetic/stupid email, even if I were to write all night. At least this then; know that you, somehow, reached through all the armor, defenses, lies and illusions and touched me, touched my naked soul. At a time when I was horribly and terribly lost and struggling it both damned and saved me— don’t know if that makes any sense or not.

In any case, I am most sorry for repaying your kindness with confusion, your strength with weakness, and your compassion with selfishness. I have few regrets in this life, and you are one of them. I wish I would have been a better person. I doubt that this will go far in setting things aright between us. However, I had to say something.

03MAY05 (Journal)

Finally had our security meeting today to address the issues brought up in my 10APR05 Threat Assessment. The lack of foresight and imagination shocked me. They couldn’t imagine the FOB not being next door till I brought up the Khobar Tower bombing or the Marines in Beirut in ’83. Then they suddenly got quiet. The total lack of insight just blows me away.

When bomb searches were brought up P. complained that he actually had to supervise or spot check his ANA guys or they wouldn’t do it right. WTF? There is a definite lack of imagination; no appreciation (or interest in it) the local background or history and therefore an inability in defending against what we are incapable of imagining (will cover some of the history of Mujahideen and Russian operations later). You’d think I’d get to the point where I’m just not shocked anymore. Who knows, maybe one day I will

Eulogy for a Living Man

I wouldn’t have tried to stop you—

only made sure

you saw

with both eyes and your heart

where you were going—

couldn’t have stopped you

if I had wanted to.

I wish you could have

been there in France with me

on Liberty

how we would have


and danced

till the sun came up—

grabbing women on the street

to spin them about

in our small drunken joy

just so.

I would have given you


and you me


the smoke

from our cigars


with the rising sun

reflected on the golden-green waves

an offering to the gods

of our rightness

and purity of heart.

They killed you instead

in a whispering haze of M-77 smoke

for your belief

and lied to your family—

a well spoken lie

blank check drawn against an account

of fear.

And I’m left here

sipping bad gin under Kabul’s dark mountains

with my cynicism

and none of your belief

wishing to god

I could lay down with her warm smile

and sparkling laugh

and forget

that I ever knew you

because your absence

glaringly highlights

what we have become

what we are not

any longer.

My brother,

We will meet again

in the House of the Rising Sun

and the world will not

be able to contain

Our laughter!

05MAY05, 0025 local (Journal)

I feel like the 4th wise man, constantly pulled and distracted. I can only hope that at the end of it all there is some mercy for me.

08MAY05 (Journal)

I miss the ocean. Sometimes on the range, over the past couple of weeks, the clouds billow up in the hump between Cistern and Truck hill, where the range flag pole is, and I can almost pretend I’m some Caribbean island. The clouds look just like that when they billow up right offshore…and angel white. But instead of the ocean, they are sitting on mountains to our NNE. It doesn’t matter though, it makes me smile.


Couple of weeks ago, in the bar, Midday told me you don’t do this job except for the money. I think, hope, he was being cynical. At the end of the day, out here, it don’t matter if you get paid $1 or $1,000,000.00/day. Dead is dead. You damn well better care about what you’re doing or it was all for nothing, meaningless.


Last THUR was Cinco de Mayo. One of the students collapsed from heat stroke during lunch— PJs took him to ISAF. Gold team leader picked up the student’s weapons from the classroom. Somewhere between there and the car, he stopped another student and started yelling at him, waving the pistol in the guy’s face.

Bean grabbed him and took the weapons away. The TL added to his problem by stating, “It was okay, I knew the gun was unloaded.”

The instructors met after all the other students had gone home for FRI and talked about what to do. I pushed hard that the guy had to go; that this was part of an escalating pattern of behavior that I had personally witnessed— which had been highlighted by the “shirts” incident the day before. I sat in the bar, thinking about it, as Falcon and Cinco sacked the guy. I felt fucking terrible. I knew how he felt. When I went to boot camp, I knew that my options if I didn’t make it there were either the Foreign Legion or suicide. The thing was, the guy had a big heart— as Cinco said, “He’s as big as a mule and as smart as a tractor… or is it the other way around?” The guy had quit job to come here, told everyone what he was going to do— cried while talking about fighting in the civil war.

I sat in the bar and wondered if I’d made the right decision, if there might not have been another option. However, I kept going back to the fact that I believed I had a greater responsibility to the other 52 students, the PPS agents at the palace, and the President of Afghanistan. It didn’t feel good but it was the right decision. Falcon and Cinco told the guy they’d take him in the next class and to come back hard. We took up a collection for the guy, about $80— spur of the moment. Then he was gone and we started drinking. Some of the FOB guys (and gal) came over later and I danced with Captain V. (she’s cute) to Son of a Preacher Man— a sad, strange day.

You May Want to Check the Scoreboard, Again, on the Way Out…

“We are content with discord, we are content with alarms, we are content with blood, but we will never be content with a master.” — Afghan Tribesman

I have run into so many people here, mostly Americans, that have told me that we have won in Afghanistan and are just mopping up that I hardly even notice anymore and instead of laughing just mutter, “Yeah, whatever; let me know how that’s going for ya in two or three years. I’d read The Bear Went Over the Mountain and The Other Side of the Mountain, covering the Russian and Mujahideen perspectives of the war ’79-’89 war in Afghanistan, before arriving and have gotten sick and tired of pointing out to these geniuses that the Russians couldn’t do it with 180,000 troops over ten years and we aren’t even four years into this thing yet with a whole lot fewer troops. I understand that everyone likes to be a winner, especially in this day and age; but self-delusion has never struck me as a helpful or admirable trait. But then again, maybe it’s not so much self-delusion as it is just plain ignorance. Either way, I am not encouraged.

One senior U.S. military commander told the Post "We have no strategic plan. We never had one." He was referring to the Bush administration's Afghanistan program…”

Excerpts From The Other Side of the Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War[1]

Vignette 1 from Chapter 14: Urban Combat

Kidnapping a Soviet Advisor

By Commander Shahabuddin


Potential informants and government spies surround urban Guerrillas. They must frequently move around unarmed and the government can usually react to their actions much faster than they can in the countryside. For this reason, urban guerrilla groups in Afghanistan were usually small and fought back with short-duration actions. Many urban guerillas lived in the country side or suburbs and only entered the cities for combat.

Kidnapping a Soviet Advisor

We were in contact with an Afghan driver from Paktia Province who drove for a civilian Soviet adviser. The advisor worked with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) mining industry. We wanted to kidnap the advisor. The driver has trained for a short time in the USSR and so the advisor trusted him. The driver agreed to help us, but we did not trust the driver and asked him to prove his loyalty. He stated “I will bring my family to stay in a Mujahideen-controlled area as proof of my trustworthiness”. The driver came to our camp with his wife and family. I sent his family to my village of Shewaki to stay while we captured the advisor.

One day the driver informed us that the adviser’s wife was coming from the Soviet Union to join him. The driver would take the adviser to the airport to meet his wife. We gave the driver a small hand-held radio and told him to contact us if there were any changes. We would contact him within twenty minutes of his call. The driver called us one morning. He reported that the adviser’s wife was arriving that day and that no one would accompany the adviser to the airport but the driver. We dressed one of our Mujahideen in a DRA’s military officer uniform and put him in a car and sent him to wait at the bridge over the Kabul River at the micro rayon in East Kabul. He got out of the car and waited for the adviser’s car. Soon, the Soviet adviser’s car arrived. The driver pointed at our Mujahideen and told the adviser “That’s my brother. He’s going to the airport. Can we give him a ride?” The adviser agreed and they stopped to pick up “the officer”. He got into the back seat behind the advisor and pulled out a pistol. He held the pistol to the adviser’s back and ordered the driver to drive to Shewaki. Another car, carrying eight of our Mujahideen armed with pistols and silencers, followed the adviser’s car. We had no trouble with the checkpoints since the guards saw the DRA officer’s uniform, saluted and waived the car and its “security tail” right through.

We took the advisor to Shewaki and burned his car. The government launched a major search effort, so we moved the adviser again to the Abdara Valley. Government helicopters strafed Shewaki after we left and landed search detachments trying to find the adviser. We kept the adviser in the Abdara Valley near the Chakari monument (the Buddhist pinnacle) for two days. Then we moved him to Tezin, near Jalalabad, for a few more days. Finally, we took him across the border to Peshawar, Pakistan, where we turned him over to one of the factions. I do not know what happened to him.

Vignette 7 from Chapter 14: Urban Combat

Alcohol Can be Deadly

By "The Mountain Man"


After we interviewed this source, the authors agreed that he should be provided anonymity.

The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) 8th Infantry Division was garrisoned at Kabul. We had a contact that was an officer in that division. Over the years he provided us with lots of good information. His cooperation put him, and his family, at risk. He wanted to defect to the Mujahideen. We helped engineer his defection while hurting the enemy. We told our contact to arrange a party on 24 September 1983. He invited the Political Officer of the 8th Division and two Soviet advisers who worked with them to his home in Kot-e Sangi. The three accepted this invitation and arrived at night driving their military jeep. Our DRA officer contact had plenty of Western whiskey and shish kebabs on hand. The Soviets and the Political Officer ate and drank and became totally drunk. They passed out. Then the DRA officer summoned us. We came into his house and carried the unconscious drunks out to their jeep. We drove them to the village of Qala-e Qazi located to the southwest of Kabul. Since we were in their jeep, no one stopped us or challenged us. We took the drunks out and sent the jeep back to the DRA officer. He loaded his family into the jeep and took his family to Pakistan. He then joined our cause openly.

We carried the drunks to a hideout in the Morghgiran (“chicken snatchers") Mountain village. When the drunks sobered up the next day, we offered them the chance to convert to Islam and to choose a righteous path. The Soviets became very angry and began cursing and insulting us. They stated that "There is no way back from the path chosen. Afghanistan will be communist. We will not accept you or your dirty religion." They refused to cooperate. We could not get them out of the area without some cooperation on their part and we could not shoot them because the shots might draw attention from nearby security outposts. So, we buried them all alive. We kept their clothing and papers, which we eventually sent to the Islamic Party of Gulbuddin Hikmatyar (HIH) headquarters in Peshawar, Pakistan. The next day, the Soviets surrounded the area, so we left and went to Parwan and Maidan. While the Soviets were looking for us, they had a clash with Mawlawi Rahmatgul’s forces. After the clash, the Soviets found where we had buried the three. They were all dead and their bodies had turned black.

[1] By Ali Ahmad Jalali and Lester W. Grau

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