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article imageMissing Soviet soldier lived nomadically with Afghans since 1980

By Paul Iddon     Mar 5, 2013 in World
A Soviet veteran from the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980's was found after being missing and living in that country among the locals for nearly 33 years.
Bakhretdin Khakimov an ethnic Uzbek who arrived in Afghanistan in 1980, shortly after the Soviets invaded that country, with the Soviet army was found living a nomadic life under a new identity of Sheikh Abdullah. He had fought in one of the Soviet armies motorized rifles units and was wounded in battle shortly after his deployment in 1980. He was rescued by local Afghans and has lived with them ever since.
Upon adopting a new life and identity Khakimov practiced herbal medicine. He was found after being missing for 33-years living in the Herat province in the west of the country. Like many of his Afghan neighbours he still bears the everlasting scars of war. A shaking hand and shoulder along with a nervous tic are permanent wounds he is burdened with.
Two ex-Soviet soldiers originating from the Ukraine were previously interviewed by the BBC in 2009. They are Muslims and live with their Afghan Muslim kinsmen in the north of the country. (BBC News, March 5 2013)
The Soviet war in Afghanistan which began after the Soviet intervention into that country's internal affairs in the closing days of 1979 lasted until their forced withdrawal at the hands of U.S.-backed Islamic insurgents. 15,000 soldiers of the Red Army were killed throughout the course of that bloodbath along with roughly a million Afghans. (Famagusta Gazette, March 5 2013)
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