The Participation Of Afghan Mujahideen In The Artsakh War

Afghan mujahideen have participated in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in 1991-94. They did so most actively in 1993 after Rovshan Javadov, the commander of the Special Forces Detachment, met Prime Minister of Afghanistan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-e Islami party. They negotiated military assistance to Azerbaijan in the form of mujahideen.

A few months later, one of the most famous Afghan field commanders, Abdul Rashid Dostum, arrived in Baku. After negotiations, airspace was established between Baku and Kabul, through which the mujahideen would be delivered to the conflict zone. The mujahideen mostly were from the Hezb-e Islami party and Arab Afghans.

Interestingly, there is an opinion that the transfer of troops (mujahideen) to the conflict zone could not be carried out without the participation of either the American or Pakistani authorities.

The strength of the arrived mujahideen is not known exactly – it was estimated to be from 2000 to over 3000. These figures were obtained by the Armenians from the captured Afghan Bakhtiyar Verbolahh Babersayn (from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan).

According to The Washington Post, there were 1,000 conscripts from Afghanistan in Azerbaijan.

The Afghans were mainly deployed in the directions of Fizuli, Kirovabad, and Zangelan. There was also information about Afghan bases in Al-Bayramli, Beylagan and Shamkir districts, and territories near Mingachevir. Afghan mercenaries served in the 860th and 723rd motorized rifle brigades and some other units.

Soon enough after their arrival, the Afghans got into a disagreement with the Azerbaijanis because the latter did not comply with Sharia norms – most importantly, drank alcohol. Their relations also particularly deteriorated due to the presence of Russian mercenaries on the side Baku – the memory of the Afghan war had not yet subsided in the minds of the mujahideen.

There were also rumors that the Azerbaijani authorities deliberately did not send the corpses of Afghans to Kabul in order to cover up their participation in the war along with the real number of casualties in their army.

In 1994, the Armenian president sent a letter to the president of Afghanistan, requesting the Afghan authorities to prevent their mercenaries from interfering in the conflict. The Afghan president only expressed condemnation of the Afghan participation in the war.

On December 21, 1994, a letter from Armenia with evidence of the participation of mercenaries was submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission.

Interesting fact – according to a study by Michael Taarnby from the Real Instituto Elcano Research Center in Spain, among the mujahideen who arrived in Karabakh was the notorious Emir Khattab who would become a prominent participant of the Chechen war.

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