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Without the helicopter gunship, the Soviets may have withdrawn years earlier. Its firepower and mobility and initial invulnerability put the guerrillas on the defensive. The Soviets used helicopters extensively and ruthlessly against the unprotected guerrillas. But like all innovations in war, this advantage also did not last long. The guerrillas adapted. They fought at night when the helicopter was least effective. Guerrilla intelligence discovered the time and location of planned Soviet attacks and set up air defense ambushes and dug protective bunkers. The guerrillas received newer and more powerful weapons which they used against the helicopters.
It was Hekmatyar who received anti-aircraft Stinger missiles from the U.S. government through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). "Hekmatyar's commanders in eastern Afghanistan were those who fired the first Stinger anti-aircraft missiles at Soviet warplanes," explained Mujda . Indeed, it was Hezb-e-Islami Commander Abdul Ghaffar who hit the first Soviet helicopter gunship with an anti-aircraft Stinger missile in eastern Nangarhar province in September 1986 .
According to SpyTalk’s Jeff Stein, however, an Afghan domestic intelligence agency report “says that Iran has supplied fresh batteries for some three dozen shoulder-fired SA-7 missiles stockpiled by Taliban forces in Kandahar, in anticipation of a U.S. attack.”
October 11, 1987|From Times Wire Services
The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Saturday that Tehran is making its own version of the U.S. Stinger anti-aircraft missile, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
KANDAHAR— Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that the date for withdrawal of the full 30,000-troop surge in Afghanistan is even more important than the number of troops who leave next month.