Operation "Raduga" ("Rainbow") - Dagger and Cloak

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Operation "Raduga" ("Rainbow")

Operation 'Raduga' [Rainbow] was devised to take the three ministers illegally out of Afghanistan to the USSR. This involved a cover story about rotating personnel from the ‘Zenith’ unit which protected Soviet buildings. A detailed description of the fugitives was given to Moscow so that written portraits could be prepared.

On 18 September ten members of the unit flew from Moscow to the air base at Bagramin an Il-76. The plane carried two covered lorries. Part of the load was sent as diplomatic baggage. One of the lorries carried special containers. Also on the plane was an operational group from Directorate S of the FCD: V. S.Glotov, the leader of the group, M. Talybov, an interpreter, N.S. Zorin, a specialist on documents, V.I. Adrianov, from the 7th Directorate of the KGB, a make-up artist with the necessary accessories hurriedly brought in from Berlin, 3 wigs,products and equipment for doing hair and creams and liquids for changing the color of hair from black to auburn, light-brown and chestnut. An AN-12 accompanied the plane from Ferganato Bagram.

An operational group was established by the KGB Residency and Representation consisting of S.G. Bakhturin and B.N. Kabanov, who were informed of the nature of Operation‘Raduga’, and two officers from the KGB Representation, Yu.D. Ivanov and A.I Dadykin, who were to be used 'unconsciously' to guard and conduct the ‘Raduga’ party from Kabul to Bagram.They were to be assisted by four members of the Kabul ‘Zenith’ unit under the command of the commander of the unit, N.A. Surkov. L.P. Bogdanov was directly responsible for running the operation and the leader of the operation, B.S. Ivanov, was to be involved when necessary.

The plan for Operation ‘Raduga’ was as follows.

  1. The operational group would travel to Bagram, 60 kilometers from Kabul, before the arrival of the plane. There would be a car, the embassy bus driven by a Residency operational driver and a GAZ-69 lorry. The people and lorry would be unloaded from the plane. When the plane was unloaded, the vehicles would set off for Kabul, led by Kabanov. Ivanov and Dadykin would see the vehicles through the Bagram checkpoint.

  2. The car carrying the ‘Zenith’ group baggage would unload at the villa and then‘Raduga’ would be loaded. Prior to this the make-up artist would do the necessary work on Gulyabzoi, Watanjar and Sarwari and give them the required appearance. Before the actual loading of ‘Raduga’ into the lorry, Surkov did a rehearsal with a soldier from the ‘Zenith’ unit.The ‘Raduga’ container and the disguised luggage would be put into the car. Then the convoy led by Kabanov’s car, followed by the lorry with ‘Raduga,’ the bus carrying the departing soldiers from the unit and the GAZ-69 with a cover party would set off for Bagram along a route planned to avoid the heavily guarded central part of Kabul. Between Kabul and the first control point a car carrying the Soviet military adviser at the Bagram airbase would join the convoy to ensure that the cars passed unhindered through the control points on the route. Bakhturin and Dadykin were in charge of the convoy as it passed the Bagram checkpoint and drove across the aerodrome to the plane. The Soviet embassy had earlier requested the Afghan commander of theairbase through the military adviser to co-operate in allowing onto the base people leaving for the Union at the end of their tour of duty and their luggage.

  3. The car containing ‘Raduga’would be put on the plane without being unloaded. The members of the ‘Zenith’ group who were leaving would then board the plane.

  4. The ‘Zenith’ soldiers would carry Soviet passports withexit-entrance visas. The operational officers were provided with accreditation from the Prime Minister of the DRA and diplomatic passes. A timetable down to the last minute was drawn up for the route.

In view of Sarwari’s appearance, a container was prepared for him by the Residency with all essential equipment. Unavailable parts were obtained by the Center. It was equipped with four small mountain rescue oxygen tanks sufficient for six hours. Gulyabzoi and Watanjar were documented as soldiers from the Zenith unit and given Soviet passports.

After intense preparation and measures to distract attention Operation ‘Raduga’ was carried out on 19 September. The ministers were flown to Tashkent. Many people were awarded honors and congratulated by the Chairman of the KGB for their role in the operation.

Source: Vasiliy Mitrokhin, The KGB in Afghanistan

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