Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Other Side of the Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War - Lester Grau

Title: Then Other Side of the Mountain: Mujahideen Tactics in the Soviet-Afghan War
Author: Ali Ahmad Jalali and Lester Grau
Publisher: US Dept of Defence
Pages: 419

Content: The Western Forces were able to glean tremendous insight into the challenges of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan with the publication of The Bear Went Over the Mountain. In an effort to further capitalize on this, the US Marine Corps commissioned this work to gain a better appreciation of the guerrilla war from the perspective of the Mujahideen. Senior Mujahideen commanders were interviewed and their experiences are presented as a series of vignettes in a similar format to the above book. Additional analysis on the attacks is provided by tactical experts from the US military. This book represents small-unit guerrilla warfare at its most harrowing and most highly developed. Soviet and Mujahideen tactics centered on strangling the logistics support of the other; thus attacks on supply columns, rural food sources and displacement of populations was commonplace. Adjustments in tactical doctrine by the Mujahideen commanders was evident as the Soviets forced rural populations off of the land (creating a seven million person refugee crisis) thereby forcing the establishment of logistics caches for food and supplies (something previously un-necessary as the Afghans were supported by the population). An outstanding stand-alone and companion book that serves as the manual for Mujahideen tactics and a testament to both their tenacity and adaptability. 

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