Ausef- Fearless, Ausef would lead us into areas well watched
by Communist gunners. As we crouched behind anything we could
find, sniper's bullets tore through the leaves around us. Ausef
stood upright, exposed, to show us where to step and what to
avoid. The man had an aura of invincibility around him that infected
his people. None of them were afraid of death. They laughed and
joked under mortar fire. Ausef liked to get Communist gunners
to fire on one another, a favorite trick. They loved to crawl
up close to Communist posts and taunt the garrisons inside by
bullhorn. Ausef staged volleyball games in ruins that provided
just enough cover to protect the players from snipers but not
enough to keep them from seeing a volleyball apexing briefly
back and forth between unseen players. It was a game and it was
fun, but it was a message too.
Ausef displays weapons taken from a captured Communist post.
Not only did they take the post, many of the garrison came over
to his side. Under the weapons are stacks of papers tracking
the loyalty of garrison conscripts to the Communist cause. Communist
conscripts behind fortified walls could fight and play with Ausef
or fight under suspicious officers imposing a Godless foreign
ideology upon them. By 1988, they defected and came over in droves.
Some of the men to the right of Ausef were former Communist soldiers.
Their officers did not fare so well.