Soviet war veteran found in Afghanistan after 33 years

Tuesday 5th March, 2013

A Soviet soldier who went missing in Afghanistan nearly 33 years ago has been found living with Afghans in the western province of Herat.

The soldier is semi-nomadic, has the adopted Afghan name Sheikh Abdullah and practises herbal medicine, Russia’s RIA news agency reports.

An ethnic Uzbek, he was found by ex-Soviet veterans of the war.

He was wounded in battle in 1980, only months after the Soviet invasion, and was rescued by local Afghans.

The head of the official veterans’ committee, Ruslan Aushev, said Sheikh Abdullah – real name Bakhretdin Khakimov – was tracked down in Shindand district after a year-long search. He had served with a motorised rifle unit.

The committee lists 264 Soviet soldiers as still missing in Afghanistan, half of them Russians. In the first decade after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 the committee found 29 missing soldiers – and 22 of them decided to return home, while seven opted to stay in Afghanistan, RIA reports.

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