The following is some rare combat footage from the Soviet-Afghan War as it shows the conflict from the point of view of the Afghan Mujahideen as they wage war in the mountains of Afghanistan. At 0:20 into the video, one Mujahideen fighter and the cameraman filming the combat footage is narrowly missed by a poorly aimed, friendly RPG fired by their fellow Mujahideen fighters.

The Mujahideen and the Soviet Afghan War

Today, the term Mujahideen is used to describe spiritual Muslim warriors engaged in conflict across various war zones. However, the birth of the modern Mujahideen was arguably in the Soviet-Afghan War that raged throughout the 1980s between the Soviet Union and the government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government against a string of insurgent groups that were collectively known as the Mujahideen.

In 1979, following a cry for help from the government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA), the USSR began moving Soviet troops into Afghanistan. Resistance to the DRA and the Soviet Union degenerated into what became known as the Soviet-Afghan War that would rage until 1989.

Mujahideen

Initially, the resistance that spread across Afghanistan was chaotic and centred around various tribal warlords controlling warfare in specific regions. Before long, the conflict escalated and grew more sophisticated. International involvement and coordination between resistance in different regions grew fast.

Eventually, seven of the main Mujahideen fighting units aligned themselves together as a political bloc called the Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen. But despite this, the Mujahideen parties were not under a single command and still had various ideological differences.

Mujahideen
Soviet troops with a US-supplied Stinger Missile that they captured from the Mujahideen.

Under the call of Jihad, Afghanistan saw a flood of foreign fighters hailing from across the Muslim World entering the country with the aim of assisting the Afghan Mujahideen. Some of these foreign fighters would gain extensive combat experience in Afghanistan go on to become some of the most infamous men in modern history. One of these foreign volunteers was none other than Osama Bin Laden.

Throughout the Soviet-Afghan War, the Mujahideen were largely funded and armed by private donors as well as Islamic charities around the world. However, they were also funded by foreign states such as China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and most awkwardly, the United States of America who were subsequently attacked with many of the same weapons they had supplied the Mujahideen in the 1980s when the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

Mujahideen

Throughout the Soviet Afghan War, the Mujahideen were fierce fighters who showed no mercy to Soviet conscripts unfortunate enough to be deployed to the ”graveyard of empires”. The USSR lost around 15,000 Soviet Soldiers with over 35,000 wounded.

The Soviet Union withdrew all of its forces from Afghanistan in 1989. The conflict had proved to be exceptionally expensive for the USSR. Recently declassified CIA documents reveal that the war cost the Soviet Union around 18 Billion Rubles when the Ruble was more or less equal with the dollar. This combined with the catastrophic Chernobyl disaster in 1986, is considered as one of the final nails in the coffin that led to the subsequent fall of the USSR.

Avatar
Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is an international security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare. He is from the UK but his work means he is based in various countries around the world.