||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (January 2013)|
|Part of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and Operation Cyclone|
|Soviet Union||Jamiat-e Islami|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Viktor Duhovchenko||Burhanuddin Rabbani|
|12 Soviets and 40 Afghan communists|
|Casualties and losses|
|52 killed||Russian estimates:
6 foreign instructors
Badaber Uprising was an armed uprising staged by Soviet and Afghan communist prisoners of war held at the Badaber fortress-jail in Pakistan on April 26 and 27, 1985. Against much larger forces of Pakistan's regular army and the Afghan Mujahideen from the Jamiat-e Islami party, the captives' attempt to liberate themselves failed. As a result of the artillery shelling of the Badaber prison, all the prisoners of war were killed in this two-day uprising.
The Badaber camp, 24 km from Peshawar, was the military training center for the Afghan Mujahideen militants who opposed the Soviet presence in their country. They trained under supervision by military instructors from the United States, Pakistan, the People's Republic of China and Egypt. The Badaber base belonged to Jamiat-e Islami of Afghanistan. Supported by the U.S. Operation Cyclone, the Tajik-dominated Jamiat-e Islami of Burhanuddin Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Massoud was one of the most influential, major opposition group that resisted Soviet influence in Afghanistan.
Soviet and DRA captives were brought to the base in 1983-1984 after being held in zindans by rebel units. They were made to do hard labour that included quarry work and the loading of ordnance. As of 1985, 25 Soviet and about 60 Afghan captives were held in Badaber. Communication with the shuravi or Soviets was prohibited during the period of imprisonment and punishment for doing so was whipping.
On 26 April 1985, at about 6 pm, a group of prisoners rose in rebellion, when only two of 70 Afghan Mujahideen were guarding the prison, while the others were gathered on the drill square performing evening prayers (namaz). The captives entered the armory, took weapons and ammunition, and tried to escape. Some sources say that the main objective was to capture the fortress' radio center to report the prison's location.
The escape attempt was thwarted when Haist Gol, the head guard of Badaber prison, raised the alarm. He took all possible measures to prevent the escape of the prisoners. The prisoners were thus confined to the base but were able to seize key locations in the fortress. Mujahideen detachments, as well as Pakistani infantry, tank, and artillery units of the XI Corps quickly blocked the fortress area. Several attempts to recapture the fortress were repelled by the prisoners.
Burhanuddin Rabbani, then leader of Jamiat-e Islami, arrived at the base on 9 pm and began negotiations with the prisoners. He proposed that they surrender and promised that their lives would be spared. The prisoners demanded to meet the Soviet and Afghan ambassadors to Pakistan and representatives from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. They threatened to blow up the armory if their demands were not met. Rabbani rejected these demands, fueling attacks that continued throughout that night.
By 8 am on 27 April, it became clear that the revolt was nowhere near ending. Rabbani missed being hit by rockets fired from the fortress, but his bodyguard received serious shrapnel wounds in the attack. The Jamiat-e Islami leader decided to finish the battle with an all-out assault on the fort. He drew on artillery units, in particular rocket systems 9K51 Grad, tanks, and Pakistan Air Force helicopters for the attack against the prisoners defending the fortress.
The following events are viewed very differently by opposing sides. Some say that one of the artillery shells struck the armory building, setting off an overwhelming explosion. The series of explosions practically leveled the prison at Badaber. Three wounded and shell-shocked survivors were dragged to the walls and killed by the attackers using hand grenades. Other sources said that the defenders blew the armory up themselves, after it became clear that the battle was in vain.
The identities of the captives were largely unknown. Among them, Junior Sergeant Nikolay Saminj was posthumously awarded the Kazakhstan Republic Order of Valor, 3rd degree December 12, 2003, and Private Alexandr Zverkovich was posthumously recognized in memory of the 10th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Afghanistan.
According to varying Russian sources, approximately 100 to 120 Afghan mujahideen and 40 to 90 Pakistani soldiers were killed during the uprising. The explosion destroyed the Badaber base, three 9K51 Grad multiple rocket launchers, thousands of shells and rockets, about 40 cannons, mortars and machine guns. The fortress' chancellery was also destroyed, along with the list of captives.
The incident caused alarm among Pakistani government officials and Afghan mujahideen. On April 29, 1985, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan, decided to classify all information related to the incident. On the same day, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the head of the Hezbi Islami, issued an order stating: "Do not capture shuravi soldiers in the future, but annihilate them at the taking place." The intelligence reports from the Aerospace Service Center on April 28, 1985 shocked the Soviet government as well: "The crater size on the image received by communication satellite reaches 80 meters."
On May 9, 1985, a representative of the International Red Cross visited the Soviet Embassy in Islamabad, and confirmed the armed uprising of prisoners of war. On May 11, 1985, the Soviet Ambassador Vitaly Smirnov issued a warning to Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, which stated: "The Soviet side holds full responsibility for what had happened to the Government of Pakistan and expects that it will make appropriate conclusions about the effects posed by his complicity in the aggression against the DRA and thereby against the Soviet Union."
The Soviets carried out a number of counter-measures against Pakistan after this incident. In 1987, these amounted to 234 deaths in Pakistan. On April 10, 1988 the Ojhri Camp, an ammunition depot outside Islamabad, was blown up killing up to a 100 people and wounding more than a 1,000 more. Public speculation in Pakistan was that the 17 August 1988 mysterious crash of ul-Haq's plane might also have been the work of KHAD and the KGB in retaliation for the brutal treatment of the Soviet POWs. On May 16, 1985, the DRA's permanent representative of with the United Nations sent a letter concerning this incident to the United Nations Secretary-General, which was circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and the Security Council.
According to Colonel Yousaf Mohammad, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence officer, the incident "could quickly get out of hand, or lead to international confrontation". The fact of the uprising was concealed by Pakistani government for many years until the dissolution of the USSR. Only in 1992  were the six names of the participants in the uprising given to Alexander Rutskoy committee by Shahryar Khan, the deputy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.
In 2002, the application for award of three uprising participants, the Russians Igor Vaskov, Nikolai Dudkin and Sergei Levchishin, was sent by the Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. The response was negative: "Unfortunately, there is no basis to proceed with the application for award".
In popular culture
The Russian/Kazakhstani movie Peshavar Waltz, released in 1994, was loosely based on this incident.
- Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, a similar uprising of the Taliban and al-Qaeda captives in a fortress prison in Afghanistan in 2001.
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