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The Other Side of the Mountain

The Other Side of the Mountain
By Ali Ahmad Jalali and Lester W. Grau
Published by United States Marine Corps (1995)

 

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The authors are well-steeped in knowledge about both Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.  This book was wrote in 1995 - after the Soviet Union withdrew from its disastrous ten-year war and occupation of Afghanistan and before the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by the United States.

Ali Ahmad Jalali is a former Afghan Army Colonel who was a distinguished graduate of the Military University of Kabul.  He also attended Infantry Officers Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia; the British army Staff College, the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School, the Frunze Academy in Moscow, and the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.  He joined the Mujahideen in 1980 shortly after the Russians (Soviet Union some would say) invaded Afghanistan.

Lester W. Grau is a retired U.S. Army LTC.  He served in Vietnam as an infantry officer and later as a Soviet Foreign Area Officer (FAO).

From the book Introduction (wrote in 1995) by J.E. Rhodes, Commanding General of Marine Corps Combat Development Command:

"The Other Side of the Mountain was written from the reports of mujahideen combat veterans and provides a tactical look at a decentralized army of foot-mobile guerrillas waging war against a technologically superior foe.  Absolute supremacy of firepower did not guarantee victory.  Native knowledge of terrain and detailed study of a known adversary offset that advantage. . . . . .

The Marine Corps of the 21st century will have tremendous advantages over guerrilla forces.  Our equipment, technology, training and support are the best in the world. Yet, technological superiority is not in and of itself a guarantee of success.  Insight into our adversary's capabilities, tactics, motivation will provide the decisive edge".

Wise words indeed.

I read this book prior to going to Afghanistan in 02-03.  I read it upon my return.  I will likely have occasion to read it again.