Afghanistan, the beginning     

veteran’s corner

Tom Krabbenhoft

Greetings we’ve been blessed with rain and what a difference it makes.

A positive note: Talk about making a difference, Alana Christensen has been doing Veterans a solid. She has been acquiring Bison Football tickets for Veterans for FREE (with the help of generous ticket donors). If you are a veteran and would like to attend a game please give her a call at 701 899-2578. Thanks Alana and to all the generous ticket donors.

For the next couple of weeks I’m going to write about Afghanistan and will try and draw a simplistic circle at how we arrived to August 31st.

My interest in Afghanistan was sparked many years ago. At Ft. Bliss TX, they had 3 MTS (moving target simulator) buildings for the Stinger Missile. At the end of the 3rd and least used building there was a shop with garage doors. My curiosity led me there one day. The building was owned by one of the defense contractors that made the Stinger Missile.

There I met Marv G. a Hispanic gentleman that was an engineer with the company.

Many of you will recall that the Russians had invaded Afghanistan and were indiscriminately bombing, strafing and mining civilians.

As well documented by movies Charlie Wilson’s War, TV and our own governments admission we supplied the Afghans with the Stinger Missile.

The Afghans battling Russians then were called the Mujahideen. The Mujahideen would spilt into the Northern Alliance and The Taliban in 1992. More on these later.

Marv was part of the group that trained and supplied the Mujahideen with Stingers. Marv volunteered to go to Afghanistan and train these fighters with the Stinger. He was given training in basic customs and words. He grew his hair and especially beard. Being Hispanic his blending into the locals was easy.

Marv showed me pictures and some videos he took. I was absolutely enthralled how these barely above the stone age people held out on the biggest army in the World.

The first aircraft downed there was a helicopter. It was led into a valley to suppress an ambush. Women and kids appeared from the high ground and threw rocks down upon the helicopter, eventually breaking a rotor. The vehicles being destroyed were stripped of wire. The wire was then strung across narrow valleys, luring helicopters in again. The choppers would be entangled in the wire and destroyed.

The introduction of the Stinger forced the Russians to much higher altitudes. This lowered the effectiveness of their bombing raids. Without air cover it made vehicle movement difficult. 

The introduction of the Stinger changed the war. It’s estimated the Russians lost upwards of 25% of its Air Force. Think of the human and economic components of the war. The Russians had neither left to spend, thanks to the Stinger.

 

Next week: The Mujahideen spilt and terror seeds planted. 

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