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Russian Special Forces
225 pages; 8 chapters, 4 appendixes and 2 special reports
The Soviet Spetsnaz, or Russian Special Forces Commandos, had been flourishing
for 40 years when the west first learned of them from the gifted Russian historian Viktor
Suvorov (a pseudonym). Russian Special Forces describes in sensational detail, the
story of Spetsnaz commandos during the past 50 years. Spetsnaz commandos are
part of Russia’s desant army, which is earmarked for fighting behind enemy lines.
Although Russian special forces desant troops include helicopter borne and
parachute units, Spetsnaz commandos are the best that Russia has. Spetsnaz desant
operations in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beslan are described in detail in this
“In 1983, however, spetsnaz forces went on the offensive in Afghanistan. Working in conjunction with heli-borne
troops and Afghan militia, they attacked isolated towns and villages, which the Mujahedeen had once considered safe.
These tactics are reported to have been used in November 1984 during fighting at Black Mountain in Nangarhar
Province. Infiltration and supply routes were ambushed or peppered with mines, while villages suspected of helping the
guerrillas were razed to the ground in a ''scorched earth' policy as vicious as any seen in Vietnam. Some of these
operations may have been carried out by spetsnaz disguised as guerrillas, who burned mosques and food supplies to
heighten tension between warring Mujahedeen factions.
In Afghanistan 3-5,000 Soviet spetsnaz troops were deployed for over ten years. There were two types of Soviet
spetsnaz in Afghanistan. "...the KGB...developed a new covert unit of its own. No doubt piqued by their old rivals the
GRU getting so much of the action, the KGB has set up an active measures unit to rival them..."
GRU spetsnaz trained the 20,000 strong Afghan secret police known as the Khad. In 1984, the Khad began a campaign
of terror and assassination against mujahedeen in Peshawar and the refugee camps. By 1985, six prominent
mujahadeen commanders and ninety-five other Afghanis had been rubbed out by the Khad operation. At the same time,
a spetsnaz intelligence and observation post network reduced mujahadeen supply caravan traffic by 75% in two years.
There was close cooperation between the KGB, communist Afghan intelligence (KhAD) and Spetsnaz forces. "...KGB-
KHAd agents would try to track (Mujahedin aniaircraft) missile supplies from Pakistan and use Spetsnaz forces to launch
raids against the sites. This was particularly effective against larger immobile Mujahedin anitaircraft guns like the ZU-23
or Oerlikons...” “
Excerpt from Russian Special Forces
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