Already in the spring of 1979, the leadership of our country firmly understood that the situation in Afghanistan required military intervention. That is why it is necessary to be ready for any variants of succession of events. Here the idea of a quiet and imperceptible introduction of small military units into the rebellious country arose. In the late spring of 1979, this decision was finally made and Vasily Vasilyevich Kolesnik (GRU colonel) was ordered to create a special forces battalion staffed by representatives of the indigenous nationalities of the southern republics. Carrying out the order, Kolesnik collected soldiers from various parts of the Soviet Union. Motorized infantrymen and tankmen, paratroopers and border guards got into the detachment. They were sent to a small district Uzbek town of Chirchik. All the soldiers, warrant officers, officers and even the battalion commander himself were of Central Asian nationalities, mainly Uzbeks, Turkmen and Tajiks, nominally Muslims. With such a composition, the detachment had no problems in language training; all Tajiks, as well as half of Turkmen and Uzbeks, were fluent in Farsi, which was one of the main languages in Afghanistan.
The first Muslim battalion (but not the last, as history has shown), in the world being the 154-th separate special-purpose squad as part of the fifteenth brigade of the Turkestan IN, was headed by major Khabib Tadzhibayevich Khalbaev.
Initially, the unit had the following goal - to protect Nurmuhamed Taraki, the president of Afghanistan, who was trying to quickly lay down the socialist foundations in his country. Opponents of such radical changes were enough, and therefore Taraki very rightly feared for his life. By that time, political upheavals accompanied by bloodshed had become quite commonplace for Afghanistan.
The new formation was well provided with all the necessary resources, the fighters did not have limitations and limits on the means. The squad personnel received a completely new weapon. In accordance with the Decree of the General Staff of the Turkestan Military District, the battalion was allocated training grounds for two military schools: the Tashkent All-Arms Command and Tank School, located in Chirchik.
Throughout July and August, the soldiers were intensively engaged in combat training. Daily conducted tactical exercises, driving military vehicles, shooting.
Endurance fighters tempered in thirty-kilometer marches. Thanks to extensive material and technical means, the personnel of the "Muslim battalion" had the opportunity to achieve a high level of training in conducting hand-to-hand combat, shooting from all available types of weapons, as well as in driving BMP and BTR in extreme conditions.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, the soldiers of the “musbat” hastily sewed the Afghan uniform and prepared the necessary papers. Each fighter received documents of the established type in the Afghan language. Fortunately, there was no need to invent new names - the servicemen used their own. In Afghanistan, especially in the north of the country, there were many Uzbeks and Tajiks, and there were also Turkmen.
Soon the battalion replaced the Soviet military uniform with the uniform of the Afghan army. In order to make it easier to recognize each other, the soldiers of the detachment wound bandages of bandages on both hands. For even greater realism, military personnel constantly trained in Afghan uniform so that it had a well-worn look.
When at the end of the GRU check the battalion was already preparing to be sent to Afghanistan, another coup took place in Kabul. The closest associate of President Taraki Hafizullah Amin eliminated the previous leadership, taking control of the country. The reinforced training of the special detachment was suspended, visits to the higher commanders ceased, and life in the battalion became similar to ordinary army days. But such a lull did not last long, soon an order was received from Moscow to resume training. However, the purpose of training has changed completely. Now the servicemen were preparing not for defensive, but for assault operations against the Afghan government. This time, with the departure of the battalion, they did not delay. A list of the personnel that December 5 of December 1979 was supposed to take off on their first flight to prepare the camp was announced. The rest of the battalion was to join them on December 8.
During the flight, the soldiers of the "Muslim battalion" noticed one unusual fact: a detachment of military men of mature age was flying in the plane, but in soldiers' overcoats. Interested fighters were told that a group of sappers had gone with them. Only later it turned out that these were important "bumps" from the KGB and the GRU.
The detachment under the leadership of Uzbek Habib Khalbayev joined in Bagram a battalion of the security guard of the airbase from the 345-th separate parachute regiment, which had been stationed here since July 1979. And on December 14, another battalion of 345 arrived to them.
According to the original plan of the GRU leadership, the Muslim battalion was to come out of Bagram, immediately capturing the residence of Amin, who was in Kabul. However, at the last moment, the dictator moved to the new residence "Taj Bek", which was a real fortress. Plans quickly amended. The detachment was tasked to get to Kabul under its own power and appear near the Taj Bek Palace, as if to reinforce security. On the morning of December 20 around 540, GRU special forces fighters moved to the capital of Afghanistan.
In appearance, the detachment was very similar to the usual military formation of the Afghans, and the new president, Amin, was confident that the fighters had arrived to exercise external security for his new residence. On the way to the palace, servicemen stopped patrols more than a dozen times, passing only after receiving the appropriate password or permission from above. At the entrance to Kabul, the battalion was met by Afghan officers who escorted a special detachment all the way to the presidential palace.
The first line of protection of the "Taj Bek" was considered to be a company of personal bodyguards Hafizullah Amin. The third was a security brigade, under the leadership of Major Dzhandat - the main charge of Amin. Our Muslim battalion was to make the second line. From the air strike the palace was defended by an anti-aircraft regiment. The total number of soldiers at the palace reached two and a half thousand people.
The fighters of the GRU were placed in a separate unfinished building, located four hundred meters from the residence. The building did not even have glass on the windows, instead of them the soldiers pulled blankets. The final stage of preparation for the operation has begun. Every night on the nearby hills our fighters produced lightning flares, and in the boxes they launched engines of military vehicles. The commander of the Afghan guard showed dissatisfaction with such actions, but they explained to him that a routine training was under way related to the specifics of possible military operations. Of course, everything was done in order to put down the guard's vigilance, when the detachment would indeed go on assault.
Colonel Kolesnik, who drew up the plan for the operation, later talked about it: “I signed a signed and developed map on the map to Ivanov and Magomedov (respectively, chief adviser to the KGB of the USSR and chief military adviser to the Ministry of Defense). They approved the plan orally, but did not want to put their signatures. It was clear that while we were thinking how to accomplish the task set by the leadership, these cunning people would decide how to avoid responsibility in case of failure. Then I wrote on the plan in their presence: “The plan is approved orally. They refused to sign. ” I set the date, time and went to my battalion ... ".
In our operation to storm the palace, we took part in: the groups “Thunder” and “Zenith” (24 and 30 people, respectively, the commanders Major Romanov and Major Semenov), the Muslim battalion (530 people, headed by Major Khalbaev), the ninth company of 345. regiment (87 man, commander of the senior Vostrotin), anti-tank platoon (27 man under the leadership of Starley Savostyanov). The operation was supervised by Colonel Kolesnik, and his deputy was Major General Drozdov, the head of the illegal intelligence service of the KGB.
The time of the assault was postponed, as the information came that the Afghans were beginning to guess about everything. December 26 fighters were allowed to make a hiking bath. Fresh linen, new vests were distributed to all. Khalbayev received an order to cover the special forces of the KGB and suppress any groups trying to break into the residence. The main task of seizing the palace was entrusted to the fighters of the Zenit and Thunder groups.
At around 7 in the morning of December 27 on the 1979 of the year, the assault brigades of the KGB began to climb the mountain along the only serpentine road on a conditional signal "Storm 333". At this time, the people of Khalbaev seized important positions and firing points near the palace, they removed the guards. A separate group managed to neutralize the leadership of the infantry battalion. Twenty minutes after the start of the attack, "Thunder" and "Zenith" in combat vehicles, overcoming external guard posts, broke into the square in front of the palace. The doors of the troop compartments opened, and the men poured out. Some of them managed to break into the first floor of the "Taj Bek". A fierce clash began with the personal protection of the self-styled president, most of which consisted of his relatives.
Parts of the Muslim battalion, together with a company of paratroopers, formed an external defense ring, reflecting the attacks of the guard brigade. Two platoons of GRU special forces seized the barracks of the tank and the first infantry battalions, fell into their hands Tanks. It turned out that there were no bolts in tank guns and machine guns. This was the work of our military advisers, who, under the pretext of repair, removed mechanisms in advance.
In the palace, the Afghans fought with the stubbornness of the doomed. The hurricane fire from the windows pressed the special forces to the ground, and the attack choked. It was a turning point, it was necessary to urgently raise people and lead forward to help those who already fought in the palace. Under the leadership of officers Boyarinov, Karpukhin and Kozlov, the fighters rushed to the attack. In these moments, the Soviet soldiers suffered the greatest losses. In an attempt to reach the windows and doors of the palace, many soldiers were wounded. Only a small group rushed inside. In the building was a fierce battle. The commandos acted decisively and desperately. If nobody left the premises with raised arms, then grenades immediately flew through the broken doors. However, the Soviet soldiers were too few to eliminate Amin. Only about two dozen people were in the palace, and many were injured. After a short hesitation, Colonel Boyarinov ran out of the main entrance and began to call for help the fighters of the Muslim battalion. Of course, the enemy also noticed him. A stray bullet, rebounded from a bulletproof vest, pierced the colonel's neck. Boyarinov was fifty-seven years old. Of course, he could not participate in the assault, his official position and age allowed him to lead the battle from headquarters. However, it was a real officer of the Russian army - his subordinates were going into battle, and he had to be with them. Coordinating the actions of groups, he also acted as a simple attack aircraft.
After the soldiers of the Muslim battalion approached the help of the KGB special forces, the fate of the defenders of the palace was sealed. Amin's bodyguards, about one hundred and fifty soldiers and bodyguard officers bravely resisted, not wanting to surrender. The fact that the Afghans were mainly armed with German MP-5, who did not pierce the armor of Soviet soldiers, saved us from great losses of our servicemen.
According to the story taken by the captive assistant Amin, it became clear about the last moments of the dictator's life. In the first minutes of the battle, the "master" ordered to inform our military advisers about the attack on the palace. He shouted: "We need the help of the Russians!" When the adjutant rightly remarked: “That's how the Russians are shooting!”, The president lost his temper, grabbed an ashtray and threw it in the slave’s face, shouting: “You're lying, this cannot be!” Then he tried to call him. But there was no connection. In the end, Amin dejectedly said: “That's right, I suspected it ...”.
When the skirmish stopped, and the smoke in the palace cleared, the corpse of Hafizullah Amin was found near the bar. What actually caused his death, remained unexplained, whether our bullet, or a fragment of a grenade. There was also a version that Amin shot his own. This operation was officially completed.
All the wounded, including Afghans, were treated. The civilians under protection were taken to the battalion location, and all the killed defenders of the palace were buried in one place not far from Taj-Bek. The graves for them dug prisoners. To identify Hafizullah Amini Babrak Karmal specially flew. Soon the radio station of Kabul transmitted a message that, by decision of the military tribunal, Hafizullah Amin was sentenced to death. Later, the words of Babrak Karmal to the people of Afghanistan sounded on tape. He said that "... the torture system of Amin and his entourage - the executioners, murderers and usurpers of tens of thousands of my compatriots ..." was broken.
In a short but furious battle, Afghans lost about 350 people killed. Approximately 1700 people were taken prisoner. Our soldiers lost eleven people: five paratroopers, including Colonel Boyarinov, and six soldiers of the Muslim battalion. Also killed was a military doctor Colonel Kuznechenkov, who happened to be in the palace. Thirty-eight people earned injuries of varying degrees of severity. During the shootout, two young sons of the president were killed, but Amina's widow and her wounded daughter remained alive. At first they were kept under guard in a special room at the battalion location, and then were transferred to government representatives. The fate of the other defenders of the president turned out to be tragic: many of them were soon shot, others died in prison. This outcome was apparently promoted by Amin’s reputation, which even by Eastern standards was considered a cruel and bloody dictator. By tradition, his surroundings also automatically fell a spot of shame.
After Amin was eliminated, a plane immediately flew to Bagram from Moscow. In it, under the supervision of KGB workers, was the new head of Afghanistan, Babrak Karmal. When the Tu-134 was already going down, the light suddenly went out on the entire airfield. The plane landed only with the side headlights. The crew of the aircraft threw a brake parachute, but the plane had sunk almost to the edge of the runway. As it turned out later, the head of the airbase was an ardent supporter of Amin and, suspecting that something was wrong when landing a strange plane, turned off the lights, hoping to arrange a plane crash. But the high skill of the pilots avoided the tragedy.
Interesting facts about the operation began to emerge much later. First, it turned out that during the entire assault there was no connection with the command post. The reason for the absence so no one could clearly explain. An attempt to immediately report on the liquidation of the president was also unsuccessful. Secondly, it was only a couple of years later, at a meeting of the participants in those December events, it became known what could have been the delay in reporting the death of the president. It turned out that the military leaders had developed a reserve plan for the destruction of Amin and his entourage. A little later, the assault brigades, the task of seizing the presidential palace, received the Vitebsk division, which did not know about the earlier actions of the KGB and the "Muslim battalion." If the message about the achievement of the goal did not come in a timely manner, the Belarusians could start a new assault attempt. And then it is not known how much unknowingly, in the resulting confusion, the participants of the first offensive would have been killed. It is possible that just such an outcome of events - to remove more witnesses - was planned.
And here is what Colonel Kolesnik said: “In the evening of the next day after the assault, all the leaders of this operation were almost put to rest by a machine-gun burst by a Soviet soldier. Returning from a banquet organized on the occasion of the successful completion of the operation, we were fired at the Amin’s “Mercedes” near the General Staff building, which is under the protection of the paratroopers. Lieutenant Colonel Shvets was the first to notice strange flashes on an asphalt road and understood what they meant. He slipped out of the car, cutting the watch with a choice mat. It worked better than the password. We called the head of the guard. The appeared lieutenant first received in the ear, and only then listened to the end the order of the use of weapons by sentries at the posts. When we examined the car, we found several bullet holes in the hood. A little higher and neither me nor Kozlov would be alive. Already at the end, General Drozdov quietly said to the lieutenant: "Son, thank you for not teaching you to shoot your fighter."
The unique Muslim unit created under the auspices of the GRU was almost immediately after the storming of the palace was withdrawn from Afghanistan. All equipment was transferred to the Vitebsk division. The servicemen were left with only personal weapons and on January 2 of X-NUMX by two An-1980s in full were sent to Tashkent. For the successful conduct of the special operation, the fighters of the “Muslim battalion” were awarded orders and medals: seven people received the Order of Lenin, ten people received the Order of the Red Banner, forty-five - the Order of the Red Star, forty-six fighters were awarded the Medal of Courage, and the rest were awarded the medal "For military merit." Colonel Kolesnik became the Hero of the Soviet Union, he was soon granted the rank of general.
The battalion temporarily ceased to exist, the servicemen were discharged into the reserve, and all the officers were scattered around the various garrisons for further service. After the re-formation by October 1981, there was no one in it who took part in the storming of the palace.
Many events connected with the coup in Afghanistan were presented by the Soviet press in a completely different light. According to the original media version, President Amin was arrested. And then a fair trial, he was sentenced to death. The film was shot in advance and prepared for the show after the death of the dictator. The participation of the Soviet special forces and the real death of the self-styled president was not mentioned anywhere.
After the killing of Hafizullah Amin, the 40 Army units occupied cities, villages and the main centers of the country continued to enter Afghanistan. Industrial and administrative objects, highways, airfields, mountain passes were taken under control. At first, no one was going to fight, hoping only to convince those around them with serious intentions. As a last resort, solve all the tasks with a little blood, without assuming about the future scale of the hostilities. The point of view of the General Staff was such that it suffices only to demonstrate powerful military force, missile units, tanks, artillery. This will instill horror into the hearts of the opposition, forcing them to surrender or just run up. In fact, the emergence of aliens in an Islamic country that holds the experience of countless wars, a country where the majority of the population knows how to handle weapons from early childhood, has ignited a civil war that has already begun, giving it the meaning of jihad.
Despite the fact that the operation to eliminate the president was carried out successfully, Western countries were not slow in identifying this fact as evidence of the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, and the subsequent leaders of Afghanistan (Karmal and Najibullah) were called puppet leaders.
October 30 1981-th year at two o'clock in the morning 154-th separate special forces unit, previously called the "Muslim battalion", crossed the state border of the USSR and rushed to the place of the future deployment. Thus, the second arrival of the “musbat” to the Afghan land took place. The new unit commander, Major Igor Stoderevsky, served with him until the very end of the war.
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