KASKAD (‘Cascade’), originated as a KGB special operations forces warfighting detachment in Afghanistan. There, the KGB were swamped as they faced many of the same issues American and coalitions forces face today in Afghanistan: corruption, radicalism, terrorism, tribalism, and installation of a political regime that was intended to be friendly to their cause. In 1980, the KGB was troop to task installing the Karmal regime as a Communist political institution for Afghanistan.

KGB_special_operative_Igor_Morozov_on_the_armored_vehicleKGB special operative Igor Morozov sits on top of the BTR-80 armored vehicle during his assignment to the Badakhshan province, c. 1982. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Historical Folly

Russia, like American and Coalition forces, captured the physical institutions of Afghanistan with little difficulty. Yet similarly the Russians were also unable to quell the disruptive nature of the beast that is Afghanistan.  The challenge for any force to truly and completely take and hold Afghanistan has remained a historical riddle. Plutarch, who chronicled the campaigns of Alexander the Great, took note of the guerilla-style fighters who opposed the Macedonians and Greeks. He compared the Afghans to the mythological Hydra; when one head was removed, seven more grew back in its place.