I am looking for a short story, the plot which goes as follows:

This short story involves the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, where the two viewpoint characters (one Soviet and one Afghan) witness battles between the Afghan insurgents and the occupying Soviet troops.

The Soviets defeat the Afghans in a massive combined arms attack utilising helicopter gunships and artillery, but their attacks awake a dragon, which destroys the entire Soviet force.

I don't recall any further details other than the plot described so far.

  • 2
    Unrealistic: the Afghans don't need the help of dragons to hold any invasion force at bay! :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


After some searching, I found the story. It is Black Tulip by Harry Turtledove:

"Black Tulip" is a short story by Harry Turtledove. It was published in Redshift, edited by Al Sarantonio, Roc, 2001. It is a fantasy story set against the backdrop of the Soviet War in Afghanistan. It uses two POVs, Soviet soldier Sergei and Mujahideen fighter Abdul Satar Ahmedi, as they and their respective comrades prepare to battle over the Soviet-occupied town of Bulola. What neither side knows is that there is a dragon in the mountains outside the town. When fighting erupts, the dragon, long disturbed by the fighting in and around the town, fully awakens, and destroys the Soviet garrison.


Sounds like Andrzej Sapkowski's 2009 novel Viper (originally Żmija in Polish).

From this review:

Viper is set near the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the action is centered around a member of the Soviet special forces, Pavel Levart, as he becomes embroiled within a millennia-long story of a hidden treasure and a monstrous golden viper whose very presence signals the impending death of whoever encounters it. As Levart and his comrades push further into the Hindu Kush, where the viper is based, echoes of previous expeditions, ranging from Alexander the Great's soldiers to 19th century British soldiers, begin to ring, both metaphorically and in a very "real" sense, all around them.

  • Thanks for the answer (+1), but I don't think this is the story (IIRC the story involves an actual flying, firebreathing dragon).
    – March Ho
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 13:05

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