Military Review

Leaving Afghanistan, we took the war with us

Leaving Afghanistan, we took the war with usThe French, considered the founders of military historiography, have a sophism: “Professor, did you not say anything about the significance of the French revolution?” - “Have mercy, it is still too early to talk about it ...”

Twenty-two years ago, the railroad arrows lit up the fates of the last soldiers with blue Afghan medals on their uniforms. During this time, we have witnessed a confusion of times: the fate of 300's missing our compatriots has not yet been clarified, the name of Shuravi, who has risen in the Pakistani Badad camp, has not been named, and has already decided everything for everyone. In the Afghan decade, a bold purple stamp was set: aggression, defeat, tragedy ... And only? We keep in memory the indisputable, confirmed by sight and hearing. We will wait a little with the rest.


Year 1988. Near Shindand. In tolerable Russian language, an Afghan dervish walks with a medal “For Victory in the Great Patriotic War” tied at the waist. Perhaps its only participant and gentleman of the living Afghans. He was “shaved off” in 1944 by mistake when he was visiting his father-in-law in Soviet Tajikistan: “You came to postpone the big war between the Afghan Tajiks and the Pashtuns. Stay here longer. If you don’t end the war, take it with you. ”

The super-conscript-Chechen who is besieging the divisional political department: “Understand, I have five daughters, not a single heir. I want to adopt a kid from the Herat children's home. This is my international duty. ” Not given due to sanitary differences here and in the Union. Where are you today, senior sergeant? Did your heirs wear a shahid belt?

Night canyon with a soviet column trapped in dushman fire. Nervous machine with rotating blades. Judging by the map, it's impossible to sit here. The searchlight beam directed at the helicopter is randomly interrupted by dots-dash of scurrying figures and stretchers. Small silhouette in the nimbus of the headset: “Everything? Cover with fire. I take off. Unperturbed and, it seems, to no one but the Lord God, an accountable surgeon looks at the clock hand with the bloody dial: rubber gloves - up to the wrists. How many lives fit in seconds?

From the chronicles of the same day.

Fuel truck on fire. A blond sergeant rushes into the cockpit. Taxiing out of the column and presses, presses on the gas. Led away The soldier rolls on the sand. Knocks down the flames ... Then a note appeared in my creative notebook: “They still did not become gamblers!”

From the roadside outpost, in a glimpse, a single and almost unarmed Beteer “ran away”: it was always kilometers away from the native 40 garrison, it always got away and today it will go ... It’s dead on the night road. Tried to call for help. Either have time or not. The car was surrounded by spirits coming down from the mountains - many spirits. I had to batten down the hatches: as if such a command came from the outpost. Spirits knocked on the armor, began to kindle brushwood on it. The sergeant takes a commander's decision - to shoot himself the whole crew. The last shoots himself. After some time, help comes up. Pumped out one sergeant. Weak, Hollywood?

By the way, there is a clue from this plot: why not a single western mercenary was captured for the whole of Afghan. A whole squad of “black storks” probably trusted the letter of the Soviet military charter too much. Therefore, it is reasonable to reason that the distance between the head marching outpost and the main column cannot be kilometers in 70 ... The head "storks" burned alive, without any doubt that they had the whole column in their hands. Tried to even get inside the burned cars. It was then that the main forces approached ... Could anyone from the shuravi have even thought of a line from the Geneva Convention on the Rules of Warfare, and even more so about some prisoners there? When everything was quiet, someone from the oriental erudite guessed to give a command - excuse me, moralists - to remove his trousers from the remains of the “storks”. Circumcised among them almost was not, and the squirrel - oh, what a non-local. There was no way to present such politically requested evidence to the world. The gorge. The nearest helicopter-safe site is 100 kilometers. And the heat for 50. So they did without politics and panikhids, forgive, Lord, us sinners ...


When the third toast is raised at the officers' table, the memory returns me, according to the early Afghani past - the translator Dari, to the Kandahar gorge 26 of October 1988 of the year ... The boy-soldier in the blue torn shirt is crying on the steps of the medical “pill” - more frightened than wounded. He is patiently soothed by the “hunting” cigarette by a great ensign-medical assistant. Desperate, he beats the boy with his foot under the knee - first one, then the other: “See, the legs are working ... Show me where it happened? So the hands are intact. ” The ensign bends an arm in an elbow, brings a sobbing “internationalist” under his nose: “And what is this?” In response, a smirk and a grimace again. “But he will not see. Got it? ”HE is the one who lies at the rear axle. Between him and the wheel - broken windshield. With a preserved sticker: a stewardess in white gloves and a gentle scarf invites you to fly. Under the bloody tarp? Phantasmagoria: stuck together vortices are scattered on a scarf ...

No, this is from some strange play.
From pre- or post-war tapes.
Can't light scarf flight attendant
Remind bloody tarp.
I raise my third toast in memory of that - under a tarp ...

At the end of 1988, the command of the 40 Army received an order to prepare a martyrology approaching the end of the war. Deadline, as always, yesterday. All the archives in the headquarters were raised. Telephone numbers of direct communication with Moscow and Tashkent — the headquarters of the Turkestan District — were overstrained. Qadroviki and mobists, military commissars and physicians, sometimes forgetting about subordination, godlessly tangled each other. A week later, the list of irretrievable and sanitary (wounded) losses with a weighty application of reports, inquiries, investigative materials and with a strict security classification was attached to the commander Boris Gromov’s folder for the report to the USSR Defense Ministry’s operational group general of the Army Varennikov. And then a sensation struck: at the first and almost the only press conference for foreign journalists accredited in Kabul, the main political worker from the Varennikov group - General Lev Serebrov openly called the loss: 13650 dead. Firstly, to clarify the information that became “more official” about the “ruined tens of thousands”. Secondly, to mobilize the commanders to the bloodless withdrawal of troops: and so - how much lost. Confirming that before no one was patted on the head for the dead, I would note that the latter had a proper effect. The exit was almost lossless. I testify as an officer who had to do with the difficult negotiating field. With many gang leaders on the western route of the withdrawal of troops. Was that list final? Of course not. Until 15 February, there were still three months left. There was no complete clarity with the retired and deceased already in civilian hospitals. Later they named the number of the missing and prisoners: exactly 333.


So, the secrecy stamp was removed from the Afghan theme. They began to speak openly about the war, without stupid euphemisms like: “organizing training battles in conditions close to real ones” and almost posthumous awards of “leading army-wide socialist competition”. I had to rebuild and television "storytellers, reluctantly." Especially when Leshchinsky ceased, at times, to let out the gates of the garrisons.

The end of the war fell on a period of masochistic self-exposure, and even meanness. Where did the soldiers, who left to take the caravans for tomorrow, turned out to be not only the Red Star-Benladen versions of the Red Star, but also quite domestic leaflets on the topic: take your overcoat, let's go home? Like, get to Moscow, come in or call - we will help. And under the leaflets were signatures, oh, what famous politicians of that time. Note that press products of this kind, as a rule, were not transferred to "comrades" and were burned in one heap in place, more often without the intervention of whom they should. Then the same compassionate people took a clean sheet and meticulously filled one side. Reverse. So it remained: looting, desertion, and hazing.

After reading "a", we will add a "b". How many cases in memory when commanders, without any instructions, organized “Shmon” soldiers returning from the raid. Remembering where the clock came from in the pocket of the lad, finish the story to the end. Where is the foreman, where the company was taking the guy in front of the line on an improvised parade ground. Then the owner of the "battle trophy" was sent for a pood boulder. And not always in the nearest ravine. Without giving time for a smoke break, the boy was persecuted for the same second stone drill. And then they were forced to put the watch on one boulder and slam the other. Believe me, a little remained indifferent to the spectacle ...

There were deserters. But let's not forget about the Tashkent shipment. She, too, was often besieged by fugitives. Their other garrisons. Asked to send to the war. One such "magician Copperfield" managed to get to another shipment - Kabul, where he surrendered to a dazed army Themis, presenting not even a military ID, but a certificate of registration official and a certificate of completion of courses in service dog breeding. "It was a boy at that time the eighteenth year." And there was still at least six months until the draft. The first reverse ANM guy returned home.

And as for hazing, you cannot throw words out of the song here: practically no one from the last “Afghan” call went to the “combat”. "Grandfathers" are not allowed. Up to the point that they “built” excessively zealous lieutenants.

Against the background of the first perestroika congresses, there was such a biting topic: they say, they beat on their own ... Many former "Afghans" remember how in 1987 a helicopter pilot, by the way, the son of a popular military commander, shot a volley at his own paratroopers in the confusion of battle. Then he tried to shoot himself. Returned to the Union. Written off and drunk. It was. There was another. During one of the most bloody battles in the history of the Afghan war - in November 1988 near Kishkinahud, Helmand province, platoon commander Lieutenant Gonchar, paramedic officer Private Abdurakhmanov and Private Semashko took the dead crew out of hell for more than 3 hours tank... It is worth remembering the report of the lieutenant, who had turned gray and had already taken to his chest: “The combat unit exploded ... a raincoat-tent was not needed ... they took one machine gun. For 10 years of Afghanistan, a truly military association was created - the 40th Army. Already at the withdrawal of troops, the Western UN observers meticulously photographed the soldiers' bells and whistles on the fighting vehicles leaving the union. Wasn't this army enough for us in the future? Saying goodbye already in Kushka on the night of April 1989, with my 5th Guards Division, I probably greatly alerted the watchful “non-Afghan” guard who was guarding the divisional banner. In the echoing silence of the empty headquarters, already with a suitcase in my hands, I walked right up to the glass case with the banner, knelt down, got up, gave Honor ...


15 February 1989, I had the opportunity to participate in the evacuation of the UN observation post from the Afghan town Turagundi adjacent to the Soviet Kushka: the post was located at the first former export-import office from the border. The duties of the UN officers were to officially certify the “termination of the status of the stay of foreign troops” along the western route of their withdrawal. The Turkmen Kushka, in contrast to the Uzbek Termez, where the main forces of the 40 Army, led by the commander Gromov, were leaving, therefore did not become a symbol of the end of the Afghan campaign.

The morning of February 15 was preceded by a nervous sleepless night. The night before, the UN officers asked the chief of the western route — General-Pishchev's deputy commander 40 — to increase the security of the observation post: along their line, they seemed to receive a warning that there might be trouble in the end. To which the general, least anxious about diplomacy, frowned, threw out: “Thou shalt be tormented? Look, look, the nearest column is meters in 500 ”(in fact, a kilometer with hook). Then, slightly warmer, he nodded in my direction: “You are a major. What is not security? Let's…"

Shooting really did not stop until the morning. Most likely, this is how the shuravi said goodbye to Afgan, and not the Mujahideen - from the shuravi. Generally speaking, which of the Afghans is for whom, at that time it was already difficult to determine. Glory to Allah, for some time the actual control over Turagundi was carried out by local "contractual" Turkmen, who belonged to Shuravi better than to the new "federal" army.

How young they were ... Officers of the Kandahar special forces detachment (snapshot of the middle 80-x.).
Photo from the book "The tragedy and valor of Afgan."

The “federal” guards of fasting thought mostly about themselves: they could have left, where it was warmer. So, I must say, and happened on the last night. All we could do was to lock the doors and windows and go down to the semi-basement toilet: we decided that the walls from the booths would play, if anything happens, as bullet catchers. Nonsense, of course, but how to calm yourself? There, at the brought desks and on the topchans, there was a while away as soon as possible. The UNOs repacked their belongings for the tenth time, separating their own from two kinds of breech: handing over to the Afghans and taking with them, so that they could dismantle the radio point just before they left. I wrote poems with the vehemence of a fatalist. Along the way, I finished a couple of packs of cigarettes: first, some "branded", then NZ, that is, issued along with rations - "Hunting" ... For 6 kopecks.

... somewhere in 9.20 - 9.30 past the last one on the route of the UN post, the technical circuit of our last column was thundering. Unlike the head with banners like: “Meet, Fatherland, sons!” And “I came back, mother!”, The last car was decorated with an amateur inscription: “Leningrad-Vsevolozhsk”: probably, the last private shuravi was called from there, who left Afgan through the river Kushka . Afghan security guards - about seven people - lazily pulled themselves up to “fasting” at about nine o'clock. Moreover, almost immediately after the release of our last car, they began very persistently to seek from me a "farewell baksheesh" - in the form of an AKSU automaton. It also did not lift the mood, although up to the very "ribbon" there were only meters of 400. True, then their attention shifted to the United States utensils to be surrendered: heaters, dishes, bedding. So, on the Afghan coast of the 50-meter Kushka River behind the impenetrable snow, in addition to the Afghans themselves, there were three “extra”: two UN officers and me. The guards went down to "explore" our basement. There was silence, I must say, eerie. Did the last cares about us just forgot?

But no: somewhere in 9.50 from the border, two cars emerged from behind the snow curtain - the “UAZ” and behind it a half-empty “Ural”. They slowed down at the UN post, handed their backs to the porch, and a short, dense major who jumped out of the "UAZ" and flew at me with a frantic request to find a sheet. Immediately from the steps of the "Ural" jumped the classic domestic ensign. Apparently, having received a scolding for not taking the United Nations goods in a timely manner, he didn’t start up with the drivers to load, than inspire observers rather than embarrass them. On the porch of the post for three hours already there were three 3-4 bulky boxes and how many suitcases, which we took turns guarding. The United Nations forces — they were the Lieutenant Colonel of the Fijian Army, Alfred Tuatoko and the Canadian Major Douglas Mayr — under the leadership of a determined warrant officer, helped the scaffolds without a visible awareness of their involvement in the fact of history.

To whom and why the sheet was needed, I did not understand and rather automatically entered into negotiations with the Afghan guards. Meanwhile, they were pulling out a box of utensils pasted over with a UNGOMAP logo ribbon from the basement - United Nations Good Office in United Nations and Afghanistan - United Nations Assistance Missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I remembered that on a pack of “Winston” that belonged to a Canadian, it was not so greedy that I had expropriated this pack from him. I did not see how the "Ural" just as rapidly dissolved in a snowy fog. Something was fixed in the brain: “Find us on the helipad”.

Approximately at 10.00, the five of us started off: in the front seat, the driver and the major with the sheets in huge mittens seemed to be for the airfield; in the back are both UN and I. The last impression of that time about Afghanistan: a dry elderly border guard wrapped in an old English overcoat. Without raising his eyes, he calmly ate something from an aluminum pan, sitting by a black-red-green barrier that had not been lowered in the past two weeks. On my “bad hafez! “Farewell, Afghanistan!” He grudgingly looked from under his cap with a wide green band. Twenty meters later, already in the neutral zone, that is, at the very “ribbon”, the car was famously stopped by a Soviet colonel with a Central Asian appearance, as it turned out, a great director by nature. Look, this episode is left in the photo! He pulled the major along with the sheet onto the snowy road. Away from the colonel stood with a camera, perhaps his driver. Behind the major came the rest. Greeting the UN officers, by the way, in French, the colonel, with dignity, I would say, with gusto, spread out - there was no snowstorm - the sheet was behind our "UAZ". We, Russian-Soviet, without any command almost at the same time wiped her feet on her. The colonel said something obscenely like, “Well, guys, it seems the war is END!” This word complements almost all of our emotions. The sheet remained lying in the snow ...

The colonel with the major, his photographer and our driver, hurried off somewhere, drove to the Soviet coast. Meters 50 to the border cordon, we walked with the UN soldiers. Ahead of a snowy shroud, the contours of a stirring crowd — a man of a hundred and fifty — appeared. Our border guards, holding hands, tried to hold her back. Where there! When it was already about fifteen meters before them, a group of men in camouflage uniforms broke through to us, sweepingly toppling several border guards from a broken chain into the snow. Pushing me away from the UN officers, they eagerly asked: “What are you, the last one?” He shrugged: “Probably.” It turned out that they were guys from the Dnepropetrovsk club of international soldiers. One of them was the first to enter 1979 in December in Afghanistan. They very much wanted to “go behind the ribbon” at least a meter one hour before the conclusion was completed, so that they could then return to Kushka with the last “Afghan”. Not allowed ... Hugs, cameras, voice recorders, some kind of inappropriate bravura music ...

Dissonance against the background of this nervous, spontaneous and sincere ceremony sounded insistent interrogations of women of mourning: "And what will not be transports?" Someone started a rumor that they would bring healthy people through Termez, and that the wounded and sick would be taken through the "invisible" Kushka. About forty women came from different parts of the Union - what if a funeral is lying and a son, husband or brother is alive? And today there is a charming young woman in an expensive fur coat with a schizophrenic gleam in her eyes: “Are you from the Red Cross? (Apparently, the analogy with the United Nations) You tell me the truth when uglies are taken? ”On her eyelashes, along with snowflakes, the last Hope of Man melted.

And then - the most responsible, most memorable phrase, which happened to translate for their translation fate. The Canadian observer answered dryly to the question about the completion of the withdrawal of troops: “As far as I know, there are no Soviet troops left along the western axis of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan” ... Earlier Then I translated many famous people, including Clinton, Princess Diane, Najibullah, Jiang Zemin, Mengistu ... But this phrase I mastered, it seems, on the third exhale. The throat was lumpy. On the clock, the calendar was 10.20 15 February February 1989.

In an hour and a little, another bridge, in Termez, will cross the commander Gromov's armored personnel carrier. And here in Kushka, the first of the journalists who met on the Soviet coast (from Central Television) received a copy of the most documentary of my poems. It has the following lines:

Crumpled sheet music:
Forget about everything -
Just the time has come to return.
The snow is naive and clear.
It is completely weightless.
And for some reason, the eyes are watery ...


Today it is so easy to succumb to the seeming exhaustion of the Afghan theme. The whirlwind of events of recent years dispelled the pathos of the tribunal rhetoric of the "warning" and the "unhealthy." No one gets up in the library line for "Zinc boys." For someone, the password “Shuravi” became a pass to the successful circle, for someone - to brotherhood. For most, this is not just nostalgia for youth. It is a symbol of the former “unity of faith” that is understandable to all post-war generations, in which the secret and superficial, high and shallow merged into one. Afgan is one of the few common world outlook scales left from previous times: when a truce was required in the heat of battle in Karabakh or Prednestrovia, parliamentarians from among the former "Afghans" were sent to neutral "height".

And for many more years 15 February in many families of the Union reviving on this day will raise the third toast. Standing Silently.
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  1. Alexander
    Alexander 20 February 2011 12: 46
    It’s impossible to defeat the Russians, but it can be decomposed and then destroyed.