Kabir Desert (Desert of Salt).
A desert area (Dasht e Kavir) located approximately 200 miles southeast of Tehran, Iran. On 24 April 1980 the Kabir Desert played a part in the abortive military operation by the United States to rescue American hostages held in the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Eight U.S. “Sea Stallion” helicopters launched from the USS Nimitz in the Gulf of Oman landed at Posht-a-Badam (Desert One) in the first phase of the operation. One hundred eighty men were in the rescue force. Only five of the helicopters were able to complete the flight. As there was no provision made for backup helicopters, President Jimmy Carter, in direct contact with the ground force, aborted the mission. In the preparation for departure, one of the Sea Stallions crashed into a C-130 transport, killing eight Americans. The rest of the force escaped, in one of the most ineptly planned and executed military operations in modern military history.
The capital and largest city in Afghanistan, Kabul is located 180 miles west of Peshawar, Pakistan. The city lies on the Kabul River at a point where the main approaches from the Kyber Pass into Pakistan and India intersect with the passes from the Hindu Kush in the north and Kandahar and Gerdez in the south. Formerly a walled city, Kabul was invaded in 656 by Arabs who took control of it from its Persian-speaking and Parthan populace. Islam was not established there until the sixteenth century, however, until Babur became master in 1504. From 1526 until 1738 it was a provincial capital of the Mongol Empire. In 1747, with the murder of Nadir Shah, Kabul became the a part of the new Afghanistan under Ahmad Shah, the founder of the country, and became its capital in 1773. The British occupied Kabul from 1839 to 1842 and from 1879 to 1880, during the First and Second Afghan Wars. In more modern times, Kabul has been the scene of renewed conflict. On 14 February 1979, Adolph Dubs (qv), the United States ambassador to Afghanistan, was killed in the crossfire of a Soviet-engineered attempt to rescue a group of hostages held in a Kabul hotel. Dubs had been kidnapped from his car by four right-wing Muslim terrorists and was being held in the hotel when the police stormed the building. On 2 August 1979, an Afghan army uprising in Kabul prompted an