I went on HuffPo live to talk about this story:
A former Soviet soldier has been discovered hiding in Afghanistan under an assumed identity 33 years after going missing.
Bakhretdin Khakimov disappeared during the first months of the nine-year war that was sparked when Soviet tanks rolled into Afghanistan in late 1979.
The ethnic Uzbek, originally from Samarkand, was wounded in battle in 1980 and rescued by nearby villagers, according to the BBC. He later adopted the local name Sheikh Abdullah and has lived by practicing herbal medicine learnt from his saviors.
Khakimov was found two weeks ago by members of the Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee, or WIAC, a nonprofit, Moscow-based organization, who spent an entire year retracing his steps, reports Russia’s RIA news agency.
Anyway, remarks below go something like this; events like this aren’t so unusual, as American defectors from Vietnam and Korean wars remained in both countries post-war (as well as third states such as Sweden); it’s hard to know how many more former Soviet soldiers might still be in Afghanistan; we don’t know if this gentleman’s story is true (some Soviet defectors, especially from Central Asia, joined the mujahideen for ideological reasons); and we’ll likely never get the full story. Enjoy…