RKB asked, “Refresh my memory about the night vision device that SOF provided.”
“SOF’s Jim Coyne who I had met in Peshawar, made arrangements for me to meet Bob in Boulder around ‘81 and ’82, where we planned for SOF to aid us.” Hassan said
“We were getting small amounts of support and training in small groups from the ISI. We were not all armed for each operation. We were little groups but with a lot of public support. They came to us when we are in Pakistan. The elders of the tribes said ‘If you want to do something we are with you.’ I went to all the different tribes and 50–60,000 joined up. My four brothers went to Paktika province and Kandahar and border areas. Now it has become a political party but I left because my uncle was the leader and we had our differences.
“We used [the night vision device] inside of Afghanistan to escape back to Pakistan when we were surrounded by the Russians. Initially, after we had mobilized and returned to Afghanistan, after two or three weeks we flooded the [Khost] airport to keep the planes from flying in. It had a mud runway. We were 35 or 40 freedom fighters strong.
“After we were back in Afghanistan for about three weeks, I believe someone had given a report to the Russians of our whereabouts and activities. As soon as we approached the area we were headed, three Russian armored carriers pulled up in front of us.
“Anyhow, we were operating around Paktia and Paktika. ‘Those are Russians, we can’t fight them,’ we said. We realized they must know about us. They had radios. We fled the area when it became dark, slipping through the Russian lines by using your night vision device. They were firing everywhere, either to scare us off, or hoping to accidently hit us since they could not see us around the bends.
“We were expecting to shoot up bunch of fuel tankers. That area was new for us. We had no idea where we were going. We headed back toward the Pakistani border and the safe area. The night vision was guiding us until we returned to Pakistan then when we got in we said ‘Thank Bob.’
“What was the impact on the war with the Russia with American Stinger,” RKB asked.
“Wonderful. The Stingers played a major part in taking out Russian aircraft.
“If found, because of the help he was giving us, Robert would have been tortured. Straight to jail and lots of torture,”
It wasn’t the first or last time RKB had avoided jail or torture.
Article by Dr. Martin Brass