Note: Next weeks article will be out a day early, on the Saturday, as I have to go into work on Sunday, and so won't be able to post on the normal day.
Whilst hunting for a story this week a friend mentioned Scud missiles, and I thought yeah an article on the 1991 Gulf War, and the battle between Scuds and Patriots, and how the Patriots managed to miss every shot they fired might work! So I started looking at Scuds, and quickly found a much more interesting use in their history.
The choice of attacking Jalalabad seems an odd one. The government troops had somewhere in the region of 12000 soldiers, while the Mujahideen had about 7000 men they could deploy. Equally the civilian population was seen to be very loyal to the government, some said that it was the second most loyal place in Afghanistan after Kabul. However it was seen as a test case to see how easy it is to capture a city, plus it was seen as having a large impact on the government.
However in the last case several of the government soldiers who surrendered were executed by the rebels. When word of these massacres got around the government troops refused to surrender as they knew they'd have no chance. With the airfield surrounded the government could only get helicopters into the city, and even that was risky. Equally using jets and helicopters to attack the enemy was made massively more dangerous by the presence of US supplied Stinger missiles. However by the 9th the airport had been recaptured, and the attack blunted. At the height of the battle the rebels fired over 12,000 rockets, mortars and artillery rounds over a period of 24 hours.
After three months of bitter fighting the Mujahideen withdrew on the 16th of May. The war, however was set to continue, despite the Mujahideen having a defeat in their first stand up battle.