Attempts at Controlling the Strategic Frontier Posts
After the February uprising the armored units of the invading army and of the Kabul regime embarked on offensive operations in some of the provinces. The purpose of these spring operations was to block the main entrance routes before the snow melted along the mountain passes leading to Pakistan. It was hoped that the mujahideen then would not be able to enter the country from Pakistan. The frontier garrison of Asmar, situated in the upper part of the long Kunar Valley, became the center of attention, perhaps as a demonstration of the might of the Soviet Union.
Yet Asmar, along with its surrounding districts, proved to be beyond government control. In the previous year Abdur Rauf Safay, commander of the garrison, had waged a successful operation from there against the Khalqi government. The Soviets now intended to recover Asmar and at the same time to show their strength to the people of Kunar Province, who had risen against the Khalqi government a number of times. First helicopter gunships and warplanes rocketed and bombed the surrounding districts of the garrison. Then a large force parachuted into the empty garrison. But when they withdrew the air force, the mujahideen of the surrounding hills poured into the garrison, wiping out all except a small number of its new Afghan occupants, who were taken alive. The invaders bombed and rocketed the surrounding districts of Asmar. According to some reports, they also used napalm bombs and chemical weapons. At the same time, they dispatched there a large force from Asadabad, the provincial capital. The people of Asmar fled to Pakistan. The invaders occupied Asmar as well as the garrison town of Barikot, but they still could not block the entrance routes along the border. The frontier district of Kama near the city of Jalalabad, after changing hands a number of times, was also occupied and military posts established there. But the southern frontier belt, beginning in the Jalalabad area, still remained open, despite the operations that the Soviet forces carried in the Surkhrud and Khugianay regions.
Meanwhile, by blanket bombing the Soviets destroyed more than 80 percent of the villages between the district of Ghazni and Muqur along the highway between Kabul and Kandahar. They did this to make the road safe for traffic that passed through the populated areas between Kabul and Kandahar. Kandahar was ultimately connected to the Soviet border by a concrete road that the Soviet engineers had constructed in 1965. In early April the mujahideen destroyed a large number of military planes stationed on the Bagram air base near Kabul, striking at them with rockets launched from hills. They had obtained these rockets and light and heavy weapons when the garrison of Hussaynkot near Kabul deserted in mid-March. In clashes between the invading forces and the mujahideen in the northeastern provinces of Qunduz, Baghlan, and Badakhshan, hundreds were killed. The high rate of Soviet losses in Badakhshan and other areas was attributed to the inability of their soldiers to maneuver on the battleground. After they had shelled an area from the air and the ground with rockets, the Soviet soldiers would then go straight to the spot, but this tactic made them easy targets for the mujahideen, who had hidden themselves in unsuspected places. For two years the Soviet soldiers went straight ahead in battlefields. Because of this approach, they lost about 350 men in a series of clashes with the mujahideen near the Dasht-e-Saqawa in Charasia close to Kabul. The date of the battle is not known.