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.


U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his wife visited Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Dec. 18, 2015. While there, Carter met with Afghanistan Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai, Gen. John F. Campbell, Resolute Support and ‪U.S. Forces Afghanistan commanding general, and several other distinguished guests. Carter and Stanekzai held a press conference for the U.S. and Afghan media. Later, the defense secretary met with troops stationed at Fenty.
American and Coations Strongpoint – Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, DVIDS 

The forces of Alexander set the roadmap for American and Coalition forces in Afghanistan, relying on strategic strongpoints and a long-term garrison. Russia had other plans. The KGB set out to simply eradicate all opposition to the Karmal regime and to Russia, by first creating a new Afghan security service, Khedamat-e Etala’at-e Dawlati (KHAD),  as the new justice and internal peacekeepers of Afghanistan. Yet, Afghan security force failed to perform effectively in the field, became corrupt and relied heavily on executions and torture for their few successes. Under the command of Muhammad Najibullah, who demanded to be called “Comrade Najib,” spearheaded these tactics and soon simultaneously took command of Afghan internal intelligence.


The KGB was impressed with Comrade Najib’s work and soon followed suit, and amplified their methodologies, reviving the atrocities of Stalinism as their counterinsurgency doctrine. This soon backfired on the KGB and KHAD, despite their best efforts to implement the big, dumb hillbilly go-to of, “Kill’em All.” This dumb-ass move amplified the insurgency against the Russians and their puppet government and paved the way for foreign fighters to take root in Afghanistan; such as Usama bin Laden to led Al Qaeda and Zarqawi to form Daesh [ISIS/ISIL.] This is on example of why the, “just nuke’em” mentality never works.

Enter the Spetsnaz as KASKAD

Regardless, the KGB needed a means to put out the fire that they had started. The KGB coopted a bold new move in conjunction with Comrade Najib and KHAD intelligence to lay the framework for KASKAD. The force was initially composed of 145 man units, heavy with KGB commanded, Spetsnaz and supplemented with KHAD infiltrators. The units were simply tasked to locate, infiltrate, destabilize and destroy the Mujahideen.