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 subsequent Afghan civil wars that followed the Soviet withdrawal, and the military thinking that is still informing the new Russian military. Featuring bold color 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.
Read an extract of The Panjshir Valley 1980–86
Table of 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