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Rodric Braithwaite, writer and former diplomat, British Ambassador in Moscow (1988-92) about Alexander Kartsev's novel "Silk way".
Aleksandr Kartsev "Silk way"
Alexander Kartsev's novel is a lightly disguised autobiographical account of his service in Afghanistan between August 1986 and October 1988. He was a career officer in Soviet military intelligence - the GRU. By the time he had finished his basic training, the GRU had become increasingly concerned about the lack of good human intelligence in the war in Afghanistan. So they devised a new scheme. They would give young officers eight weeks very intensive medical training. Once in Afghanistan the medical knowledge could be used to gain the confidence of the Afghan villagers and so get a feeling for what they and their clansmen were up to. With a touch of black humour the GRU called it Operation "Medecins sans Frontieres".
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Aleksandr Kartsev (www.kartsev.eu)
In north-western Pakistan lies Chitral--a high mountainous region, previously known as Kafiristan, or `land of the infidels'. Amongst the local residents, one often comes across blue-eyed blondes--something quite rare for Central Asia. In terms of religious denomination, the locals are pagans (adherents of pantheism). It has been claimed that these peoples are the descendants of the warriors of Alexander the Great. To be fair, we might note that many different peoples make this same claim in this part of the world, mostly without any real grounds. (For more detail on Chitral, see: http://www.artofwar.net.ru/profiles/sergei_skripnik_andrei_greshnov_p/view_book/pamirskie_pohody_chitral)...
After Kabul emir Abdurrakhman-khan's 1895 `missionary' campaign, a series of the tribes lost their faith. Some were effectively wiped out altogether. But a small number, who re-settled in north-eastern Afghanistan, continue to this day to live out their own lives, hidden from outside eyes.