The evacuation of the Russian Embassy of Kabul: how airborne soldiers rescued the diplomats

Heroes 06/01/20 Evacuation of the Russian Embassy of Kabul: how airborne soldiers rescued the diplomats

Shortly after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan the Pro-Soviet regime of Mohammad Najibullah fell. But the Mujahideen seized Kabul in 1992, made a war between them. In the capital of Afghanistan, there is such a dangerous situation that Russia had to urgently evacuate its Embassy.

a Burning Kabul

in the Summer of 1992 army field commander-I-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar reached Kabul, in which, after the resignation of Najibullah settled other factions of the Mujahideen. Differences between southerner Hekmatyar and his rivals of Massoud, Dostum and Rabbani, the were many – from the question of who will lead the state to control drug traffic. The bombing of Kabul led to the fact that the infrastructure and residential buildings began to crumble. The shells fell on the territory of the Russian Embassy. Although our diplomats 2 weeks almost never left the underground shelter, among them were killed and wounded. In these conditions, Moscow decided to evacuate the Embassy. To take out 170 employees of the Embassy and members of their families, defense Minister Pavel Grachev sent to Kabul 3 military transport aircraft Il-76. They are the same in the Afghan capital profit 3 groups of Marines of the 51st parachute regiment, under the leadership of Colonel Nicholas Ivanica that were supposed to provide security for the operation. Each group consisted of 2 officers, 7 enlisted medical personnel.

the Evacuation under fire

At the airport diplomats brought in several trucks. Previously, the Russians managed to negotiate with the Mujahideen, who promised 2 hours to stop the shelling and allow the aircraft to fly. But events developed according to plan. When Elah flew to the airfield, Mujahideen opened fire on them from the mountains. Part emplacements Russian troops suppressed, but the shells continued to fall on runway. While the men had an audience of diplomats in the cabins, two of three planes were shot down. Second, fortunately, was able to take off after the first despite a damaged chassis. The third Board in the air and went up.

“a Group that included diplomats, including the Embassy, and technical employees, went from the airport building by bus to their plane. At the moment when we began to disembark from the bus, under the wing of Il-76 exploded projectile”, — said in an interview with RIA Novosti, one of the participants of those events, the Russian diplomat Andrey Avetisyan.

From a body shot ignited the fuel tank. The plane at that time already there were people, and the paratroopers began urgently to carry passengers out of the fire. It is particularly distinguished senior Sergeant Sergei Arefyev, who pulled the wounded commander of the reconnaissance company, senior Lieutenant Igor Matvienko.

as one of the plane burned, 59 of the Embassy staff headed by Ambassador Evgeny Ostrovenko were forced to stay in Kabul. They are located in the basement of the dilapidated airport. The Ambassador offered to fly on one of the survivors of Silt, but he refused. 9 paratroopers volunteered to guarding diplomats. Commanded the remaining men himself Colonel Ivanic. Of the troopers in addition to Matviyenko, were wounded, two privates. They operated on the Afghan military doctors.

Kabul – Mazar-e-Sharif – Termez

In the basement of the Russian spent two days, and substantial assistance they had controlled the airport, the militia commander of the Uzbek, Rashid Dostum. In the end, ustumuze on two sides of the local aviation has deployed Marines and diplomats in Mazar-I-Sharif, close to the borders of the former USSR. From there on the cars they drove in the Uzbek Termez, August 29 and has already arrived in Moscow. After completion of the press centre of the Ministry of defense reported that two officers, Evonik and Matvienko will probably be awarded the title of hero of Russia. But instead the star of the Hero in the next, 1993, received paratrooper Sergei Arefiev, subsequently major of militia. Besides him, the Heroes were military pilots, Evgeny Zelenov and Anatoly Kopyrin. Other participants in the evacuation of the Embassy presented medals “For bravery” and the order “For personal courage”.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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