Twenty years ago, as today, the military balance could not have been more uneven. Intent on conquering Afghanistan, the Soviet Union poured in vast resources of men, modern equipment, air power and sophisticated command and control facilities. Their enemy, the Afghan Mujahideen, were outgunned and outnumbered and yet it was they who were to prevail thanks to their superior local knowledge, resilience and limited external support, on this occasion from the CIA, secretly channelled through the Pakistani Government.
The lessons in Afghanistan – The Bear Trap have never been more relevant than they are today in what has been so recently declared by the US President as The War Against World Terrorism.
For a clear understanding of what the pitfalls are of a major military intervention into one of the World’s most primitive and hostile environments, reading Afghanistan – The Bear Trap can arguably not be bettered. Written by their puppet-master, Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf, then Director of the Afghan Bureau of Pakistan’s ISI over the crucial years 1983-1987, no-one was closer to the heart of the Mujahideen’s operations.
In this remarkably frank book, he describes with commendable clarity the extraordinary death by a thousand cuts that was to be the shocking fate of the Soviet army. As well as being mandatory reading for military planners, it is guaranteed to. fascinate all with a Certainly in those days of martial law under Zia, apprehension, even fear, of what the ISI could do was very real.