Aleksandr Kartsev "Silk way"
Rodric Braithwaite, writer and former diplomat, British Ambassador in Moscow (1988-92) about Alexander Kartsev's novel "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".
Kartsev was posted to a reconnaissance unit operating around Kabul and Bagram. His unit engaged in the raids, ambushes, and house to house searches which were the bread-and-butter tasks of such units.
But Kartsev also met many ordinary Afghans in the villages near to the small outpost which was his home for many long months. He was indeed able to provide them with simple medical services which were otherwise unavailable to them. On one occasion he was kidnapped by a mujaheddin leader who made him cure the man's wounded brother.( Collapse )