During the former occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviets used small teams armed with night vision devices and silenced sniper rifles to attack mujahideen supply “trains.”® Not knowing where the shots were coming from, the quarry could not return accurate fire. The only real problem with this technique is that one might lose quite a few refugees this way. A command-detonated claymore permits a closer look at the quarry and better conceals the presence of its user. To the enemy, it seems like a mine.
The Soviets laid 2,131 minefields in Afghanistan and then left in a hurry. While fully charted, some of their contents may still be there. The Soviets also dropped thousands of antipersonnel mines by aircraft over mujahideen trails. Those mujahideen, in turn, set in countless numbers of other mines supplied by the U. S. and China. As their locations were never mapped, most were never retrieved. By some estimates, there may still be as many as three million mines of various descriptions across the length and breadth of Afghanistan.® Thus, “ambush” would be the last thing expected after an explosion at night. When a Muslim militant acquires a large, albeit silent, torso penetration, it can mean only one thing—that there are U. S. troops to encircle within rifle range.
Without tiny hunter/killer teams, the British could never have defeated the Communist insurgency in Malaysia. Those teams would track and then ambush their quarry. Of course, it’s easier to hide in the jungle than in the desert. In sparsely vegetated Afghanistan, such teams would have to travel mostly at night. (Refer back to Figure 14.3.)