During the nine-year Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s and the subsequent Afghan civil war, the town of Khost was besieged for more than eleven years. Its airstrip's 3 km runway served as a base for helicopter operations by Soviet forces.
It began soon after the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops, when Afghan guerillas took control of the only land route between Khost and Gardez, effectively putting a stop to the Soviet advance.
Operation Magistral was an offensive launched to relieve it at the end of 1987. The first convoys reached Khost at the end of December 1987. When the main Soviet force had withdrawn, Mujahideen groups cut off Khost once again, as they had done since 1981.
Following the creation of the Commander's Shura, which united the Peshawar Seven and assault was coordinated to capture Khost, an assault which at least according to former special envoy to the Mujahideen Peter Tomsen was more an ISI operation than a Mujahideen one. This fighting was a co-ordinated attack by the forces of Hezb-e Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Jalaluddin Haqqani and local Ahmadzai tribes led by Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi. The Ahmadzai were able to spearhead the assault after Hezb-e Islam and Haqqania suffered setbacks, and eventually able to capture the city and negotiate the surrender of the garrison resulting in victory on March 31, 1991.
- ^ Tomsen, Peter. The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failure of Great Powers. 2011
- ^ Tomsen, Peter