The Panjshir Valley 1980–86

The Panjshir Valley 1980–86

The Lion Tames the Bear in Afghanistan

Campaign 369
  • Author: Mark Galeotti
  • Illustrator: Ramiro Bujeiro
  • Short code: CAM 369
  • Publication Date: 28 Oct 2021
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An in-depth look at the struggle between the charismatic rebel commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, 'The Lion of Panjshir', and the Soviet forces who fought to control the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan.

When the Soviets rolled into Afghanistan in 1979, they believed if they took the cities, the country would follow. They were wrong. The Red Army found itself in a bloody stalemate in the Afghan mountains, in the strategically vital Panjshir Valley, where they faced the most able and charismatic of the rebel commanders: Ahmad Shah Massoud, the ‘Lion of Panjshir'.

Time and again the Soviets and their Afghan counterparts sought to take control of the Panjshir, and time and again the rebels either rebuffed their clumsy attempts or ambushed and evaded them, only to retake the valley as soon as Moscow's attention was elsewhere. Over time, the rebels acquired new weapons and developed their own tactics - as did the Soviets. The Panjshir was not just a pivotal battlefield, it also shaped the subsequent Afghan civil wars that followed Soviet withdrawal, and the military thinking that is still informing the new Russian military. Featuring striking colour artwork battlescenes and detailed maps of the fighting, this is a compelling study of one of the hardest fought struggles of the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

Biographical Note

Mark Galeotti has been a specialist on Russia since the country was still part of the USSR. Born in the UK, he read history at Cambridge University and then took his doctorate in Soviet politics at the London School of Economics. He is currently a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, and an honorary professor at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

Contents

ORIGINS OF THE CAMPAIGN
CHRONOLOGY
OPPOSING COMMANDERS
- The Rebels
- Soviet
- The DRA
OPPOSING FORCES
- Soviet 40th Army
- The DRA
- The Panjshir Front
OPPOSING PLANS
- The Soviets
DRA
- The Rebels
THE CAMPAIGN
- Panjshir I, April 1980: first blood
- Panjshir II, August 1980: relieving Rukha
- Panjshir III, November 1980: returning to Rukha
- Panjshir IV, September 1981: a Soviet defeat
- Panjshir V, May 1982: taking the valley
- Panjshir VI, August-September 1982: the attempted mop-up
- Truce, January-August 1983
- Panjshir VII, April-September 1984: back to the war
- Panjshir VIII, September 1984: keeping Massoud off-balance
- Panjshir IX, June 1985: the reprisal
AFTERMATH
- Assessment
THE BATTLEFIELD TODAY
GLOSSARY AND ACRONYMS
FURTHER READING
INDEX


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