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Featured Interview with a former SSG Colonel.

Discussion in 'Pakistan Army' started by Horus, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Horus

    Horus ADMINISTRATOR

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    Interview with a former SSG Colonel.


    This is the interview of a retired SSG Officer known as Colonel (R) Safdar Hussain Abid who has served in SSG from 1966 till 1990. Took part in 1965 war with India and also the infamous Soviet-Afghan War, It was a rare chance for me to Interview him and ask him questions about SSG, War with India, Soviet-Afghan War, IBO’s (Intelligence based operations) during Soviet-Afghan War & the role of ISI.


    Faisal Aijaz: When did you join Pakistan Army?

    Col (R) Abid: I entered PMA in 1961. After I graduated, I was selected for Infantry Division under I Corps in Kharian.

    Faisal Aijaz: How was your relationship with General (R) Musharraf ? And what is your opinion about him ?

    Col (R) Abid: He was a great friend and a fearless soldier and also my course mate. At first when I went to Infantry Div, Gen (R) Musharraf was moved to Artillery Reg. I remember just few days before the 1965 war, I was having dinner with General (R) Musharraf and he quietly said ‘Since we two really don’t care about death, so why don’t we opt for Special Services Group (SS)? To which then I replied ‘We’ll fight together, We’ll live together and We’ll die together.’


    Faisal Aijaz: What was it like to be on the battlefield during 1965 War with India?

    Col (R) Abid: Our plan to join SSG was dropped off due to the war which eventually started right after few days. General Musharraf and his team established their Artillery battery near Khem Karan sector while I was in an area of Rann of Kutch along with Major Shabbir’s 6th Frontier Force regiment. We knew the fact that the Indian Army’s strength was quite obvious numerically but we gave them a serious blow.

    Faisal Aijaz: When did you join SSG? How tough was the training?

    Col (R) Abid: Our plan to join SSG was dropped off due to the 1965 war, so in 1966 I opted for SSG along with General (R) Musharraf when we were recently posted to the rank of Captain. The training was quite tough and rigid obviously but we knew from the beginning that all this pain and agony would be worth it in the end. The training was mostly held at Cherat & Attock.

    Faisal Aijaz: What are your views on the liberation of Kashmir ?

    Col (R) Abid: I have been part of covert activities in Kashmir and also held several reconnaissance missions when we were disguised as Kashmiri Mujahideen and during those days on several occasions, we used to take part in riots & public protests with our Mujahideen forces against Indian Army. It is a known fact that one day Insha’Allah we will liberate Kashmir & Kashmiri’s from Indian resistance.

    Faisal Aijaz: Since you joined SSG in 1966 then you must have been with the legendary Brigadier Tariq Mehmood ?

    Col (R) Abid: Definitely. He was a Major at that time and also my platoon commander. I was assigned as Capt TO (Training Officer) for his platoon. HALO courses were held at PTS (Parachute Training School) in Peshawar. So during the training of other officers, we used to aboard on C-130 and I used to be on the right door of the plane whereas Brig Tariq was used to be on the left one in order to assist our team for Airborne Course, HALO Jumps and Night Drops. In the end we used to jump together and while in air we used to hold our hands together as a form of unity before landing on the ground safely. These are my few golden memories with Brig Tariq Shaheed that I’m sharing with you.

    Faisal Aijaz: Did you ever get a chance to train with U.S Special Forces ?

    Col (R) Abid: Yes indeed. In 1970 and then in 1979. I used to train with United States Army Special Forces known as Green Berets or Snake Eaters. The best part about it was that the American Special Forces always used to acknowledge that Pakistan SSG is indeed best in the world although our American counterparts were equipped with advanced military tech and we were not even close to them. We used to perform various military drills such as advanced weapons familiarization, mountain-warfare and airborne.

    Faisal Aijaz: Was SSG really a part of the operation that led to the liberation of Mecca in 1979 ?

    Col (R) Abid: Yes. I recently returned from United States at that time when the Siege of Mecca took place in 1979. Saudi authorities contacted us and It was then Brigadier Tariq Mehmood who led the whole operation along with his team and French Special Forces GIGN were given the task of protecting the out skirts of Mecca.

    Faisal Aijaz: What are your views about General Hamid Gul ?

    Col (R) Abid: I always call him as my ‘Sufi General’. He was not a commander but he was a brilliant intelligence spy and an expert on Unconventional Warfare and other various military tactics and used his mind in a very complexed manner. In 1987, when General Gul was elevated to the post of DG ISI, I was assigned the task of SSG Deputy TO (Training Officer) for ISI Covert Division & Joint Intelligence/North responsible for Afghanistan.

    Faisal Aijaz: What do you have to say about Pakistan’s premier Intelligence ISI ?

    Col (R) Abid: I’m just going to give you provide you with a thin sheet of shadow regarding ISI. When I went to United States to train with U.S Army Special Forces, they always used to acknowledge and say that ISI is the most feared intelligence agency in the world. Elements within Israel & India tried to stop our Nuclear Project but the ISI took care of everything and by the grace of Allah, Armed Forces and ISI, we are now a nuclear power. During the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, West Germany’s Intelligence Agency BND came to Pakistan and handed over a piece of brick taken from the Berlin Wall to Lt. General Hamid Gul and the inscription said ‘With deepest respect to Lt. General Hamid Gul for giving the first blow to Soviet Union.’


    Faisal Aijaz: What was the greatest achievement of ISI at that time?

    Col (R) Abid: ISI achieved so many things militarily during my time but the greatest to me was and will always be ‘Soviet-Afghan War’. When It was all over, the ISI was on top of the world and even the American CIA acknowledged this several times. Let me tell you something very interesting, Soviet Red Army came to Afghanistan with their almost 300 transport & attack helicopters carrying thousands of soviet airborne soldiers and spetsnaz, ammunitions and other stuff, bomber aircrafts and jets such as Su-25, Mig-21, Su-17, Mig-23. When President Amin was assassinated by the Russian GRU Spetsnaz, that was the time when our ISI moved in. CIA funded us and provided us soviet-made weapons bought from the black market which was then transported from Pakistan to Afghanistan for Afghan Mujahideen. The entire process was under the control of General Akhtar Abdur Rehman who was the DG ISI at that time. We were even provided with United Kingdom’s Blowpipe MANPADS which came out to be a total failure when we gave it to Afghan Mujahideen because It was ineffective and then only United States decided to gave us their US made Stinger missiles which came out to be a huge success when Afghan Mujahideen gunned down several Soviet Hind assault helicopters and aircrafts. Only a handful of ISI officers went to Afghanistan for the training and assistance of Mujahideen and It was our ISI who single handedly mastered the proxy war in Afghanistan which resulted in a huge blow for the Soviet Union. It was indeed a nostalgic dive for us.

    Was there any Special Tactics adopted by ISI ?

    Yes. Soviet Union established their main bases in Bagram, Shindand, Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Kabul Int Airport etc. The two most important Soviet installations in Afghanistan were at Bagram and Shindad where they even stationed their naval reconnaissance bombers and electronic warfare aircrafts. The Soviet Army was fully mechanised: they always travelled in vehicles. The Russian Spetsnaz troops including VDV put on Afghan clothes and grew beards; they looked a bit like Afghans but we always managed to ambush them. ISI contaminated the main water supply lines to these three crucial bases and in return around 40 percent of Soviet Union personnels were affected by polluted water then which then resulted in several diseases. We improvised guerrilla warfare technique for which the Soviet Union army was unprepared. Their troops were stationed mostly in remote areas far away from their actual bases which was an advantage for the Afghan Mujahideen to disrupt Soviet Union’s main supply routes for weapons. Soviet Union forces did not even had special boots for the rugged mountainous terrain because of which they suffered whereas the ISI provided special boots made for mountain warfare to Afghan Mujahideen.

    What happened after the withdrawal of Soviet Union in 1989 ?

    I took retirement from the Army when I reached the rank of Colonel in SSG in 1989 for some reasons that obviously cannot be specified here. It was also a very crucial year for us as in 1988 we lost our best Generals (Gen Zia Ul Haq and Gen Akhtar). May Allah make them among the inhabitants of Jannah. Also in 1989, General (R) Hamid Gul then oversaw the largest post soviet afghan war military exercise in 1989 known as ‘Zarb-e-Momin’. It was a proud moment for us indeed.

    What will be the outcome If we go to war against India in the nearby future?

    War involving countries includes many factors. Yes the size of Indian Armed Forces gives them the edge over us but Pakistan Armed Forces by the grace of Allah have overcome major obstacles in the past. We might be less in numbers but we do know how to defend Pakistan and its borders. NATO could not defeat Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan; whereas Pakistan Armed Forces have almost defeated a large scale counter-insurgency in Waziristan. By the grace of Allah, we have got one of the finest armed forces in the world and we should be proud of it.

    What are your views on General Raheel Sharif and his military doctrine and fight against terrorism?

    Well I know for sure that General Raheel Sharif is doing a tremendous job and my support to him will always be there. He’s a brave general and one of the finest that we got today and we certainly have to give him the credit for wiping out the menace of terrorism from our country.

    Credits: Faisal Aijaz:
     
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  2. oFFbEAT

    oFFbEAT SENIOR MEMBER

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    We have been saying this all along.....those Pakistani flags are raised by Pakistanis...not by Kashmiris
     
  3. Irfan Baloch

    Irfan Baloch SENIOR MODERATOR

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    I know .. thousands of Pakistanis in those rallies in Sri nagar, they all manage to take part in those rallies in thousands and then come back and go back again with their flags. goes to show how how inadequate a million plus Indian military is. you should send more troops there this way the army can outnumber the entire Kashmiri population then you can win the war of flags.
     
  4. Pulsar

    Pulsar SENIOR MEMBER

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    Ah! The cat is out of the bag. And then you guys scream that what's happening in Kashmir is an indigenous movement and Pakistanis have nothing to do with it!!!

    Now its confirmed the games you guys play to keep Kashmir on the boil. It's blatant interference in the internal affairs of India.
     
  5. Rajput_Pakistani

    Rajput_Pakistani FULL MEMBER

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    The man is clearly saying about "those days", the period around 1965 war,
    Yes, we infiltrated behind Indian lines then. Is there any connection between 50 years old happening and 2015 situation of IoK?
    Secondly, all your cry and hue have no meaning, when your current PM and previous Army chief has admitted of India hand in arming, abetting and fighting along Mukti bahini.
    Was that justified? Where were international laws and internal affairs of a sovereign country?
     
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  6. Foxtrot-Bravo

    Foxtrot-Bravo FULL MEMBER

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    And if Kashmir seriously wants to be with India? Why India has deployed more than half of its military there? Out of my mind, huh? o_O
     
  7. Pulsar

    Pulsar SENIOR MEMBER

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    To defend India against the Pakistan Army and its proxy non state actors! That's why.
     
  8. Foxtrot-Bravo

    Foxtrot-Bravo FULL MEMBER

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    Ha ha ha !! Put up some credible excuse mate, this one goes old now.
     
  9. Sipahi

    Sipahi SENIOR MEMBER

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    SSG should train the Kashmir lads who are fighting on their own right now.
     
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  10. AUz

    AUz SENIOR MEMBER

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    Nothing much of real substance in this interview.

    He didn't give away any details. I remember another interview @Irfan Baloch posted with a SSG officer who has taken part in COIN operations in tribal agencies. Man, that was something to read about!
     
  11. Irfan Baloch

    Irfan Baloch SENIOR MODERATOR

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    this guy gave up something which shouldnt have been shared re contaminating water supply of the soviets . it freshens the old wounds and we are looking up to good relations with russians. they know we hurt them bad and so did they through terror groups in rest of Pakistan but thats old thing now.

    re not giving up much information. its all to do how much rep you have with someone. I was denied an interview with someone I know well on the story of Kahuta and its security and the crazy events of 80s. he did tell me much but refused flatly a written or recorded interview . his story is no less exciting. from capturing and beating up spies , journalists, diplomats to foiling preps for raids, bloody encounters, going hot and readying guns and missiles right from the point of jets flying from sri nagar towards us to the point of sikh body guards making plenty of holes into indra gandhi.
    his details was so intricate and detailed that i could smell the grass and the pine trees of that place and the chill of the weather and pin drop silence as the gunners waited for Indo- Israeli raid. his prep presentations to Dr Qadir and other senior staff and the selfless service of the locals to the entire program and its security and role of SSG and ISI in prepring the defenders.

    maybe i will convince him in our next meet i will get him to allow me a draft of the interview and have it reviewed and approved by ISI and then share its approved version here there are moments which are laugh out loud and some are tragic too
     
  12. Moonlight

    Moonlight PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Some people need to read this more than twice at least. Who blames him for all the mistakes of previous COAS. Also, believe he is not fulfilling his job.
     
  13. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    How can it be a "known fact" when it has not happened yet ("will liberate")? Who can foretell the future with such certainty?
     
  14. Norwegian

    Norwegian ELITE MEMBER

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    He is day dreaming
     
  15. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    No, it is probably just bad English or proof reading.